“I don’t remember driving on this bit of road last time.” I thought to myself as I set off once more along the A1. I’d only travelled it a few weeks ago and I was certain I was going the right way. Why did it look so different?
Then it dawned on me, last time I drove this route there had been a serious hold up here and we barely moved for an hour! The scenery went past much slower. Two lanes merged into three just after the junction and then the road narrowed again back into two.
Same route but a different journey.
During our last journey we had passed the time in the traffic jam with a story tape called “Seriously Weird”. This time the story CD from the library refused to play on the car CD player and I’d already had complaints from the back despite the fact we were making better progress.
I remembered that other journey I made at the end of last year, again travelling the same road. The fog and the ice and the snow…..(Following Fog Lights)
On this occasion my eventual destination was somewhere different. I wouldn’t be turning off at the usual junction to visit my parents. This was an adventure for me and youngest son, oldest son being away on his own holiday escapade.
We were visiting friends and they had given me fantastic directions. My navigator in the back, now distracted from the lack of story CD, read them out to me, past the sign to the swimming pool, Black Horse pub on the right, over two mini roundabouts (can we really drive straight over the top?) and along the wiggly road! The Sat Nav finally fell in line with the route we wanted to take and I amazed myself – I was driving in London!
OK this may not be a very big deal for some of you and I was only in the suburbs not the city but this was a journey I may not have even considered if Andrew was still around. I would have chickened out and planned a time convenient for him to drive us instead.
It’s another step forward and something else to tick off on my own personal CV of achievements in the past nine months.
The word “journey” itself has been an interesting one this year.
The Sunday before Andrew died as we sat in church together I was doodling during the sermon, pretending to take notes, and it was a word that popped into my head and it started my thoughts for the Nativity play last year. I thought about all the characters and how they each had to travel to reach Bethlehem.
Maybe God had given the word for me personally as well?
And now I have found out about “A Different Journey”, I wrote briefly about it a couple of posts ago. It is a Christian organisation working with people who have been widowed at a young age. It has been great getting in touch with others who are on a similar path and I have booked to go on a weekend away. It will be a chance to meet others travelling in the same direction, not the one we all expected when we set off.
I love the fact that we are on the same journey and have appreciated reading other people stories as they are a comfort.
The organiser wrote me an email and said
“Although there are similarities each person’s journey is unique in time taken to grieve and recover.”
However at the moment it is the sameness that most attracts me. The fact that these people can understand on a deeper level because they have shared this kind of journey.
There are many times when I want to be unique and stand out in the crowd, just look at the picture of the dress I posted in the last blog, that is not the dress of a woman who wants to fade into the background and not be noticed!
But then there are times when you just want to wear jeans and a T shirt, nothing special just something comfortable.
Today, in my jeans and Tshirt, I go and pick up the new car. Something else “different”. Something else that Andrew hasn’t shared with me.
I was sorting out the documents to take to the garage and found the receipts for both our current car and the previous family car we bought together. I looked at how much we had spent before and satisfied myself that I had made a sensible purchase price wise this time, Andrew would be smiling. But then I always imagine him smiling down at me with each new step forward I take.
(I have a photo of "happy" Andrew by my laptop and that’s the face I always see giving me courage to carry on despite the tears. A few are inevitably falling as I type...)
Our current car was imported it, a cheaper viable option at the time. When it was delivered Andrew was away.
“What do I do when it arrives?” I was flustered.
“Just look round it and make sure it looks OK. You’ll be fine.”
I knew he really wanted to be there to take delivery but he trusted me to do this on my own.
When the car arrived neither me and nor the delivery truck driver could find the CD player but that was the only "problem". It said CD on the radio so the man left reasoning it must be somewhere in the car. It was eventually found underneath the front passenger seat.
So I was the first person to drive our car and I will be the last, at least while I own it.
From now on I whatever journeys I make will be different even if they follow a familiar route.
And Andrew is still there smiling, trusting me to do the right thing without him here.
Some things are different but some will forever be the same.