Yesterday, while driving to pick up from a bloodmobile, the ’15 Toyota Prius set at a cruising speed of 65 mph, my thought set filled with memories of the last car ride I had with my father.
At this point in his declining health (symptoms of bulbar option ALS), Dad could no longer speak, but he could walk with a helping hand, lift his arms and point with his fingers and make head nods/shakes.
I put Dad in the front passenger seat of my ’95 BMW 325i, Mom in the back, and drove around the northeast Tennessee countryside, taking Dad by his former job as an assistant professor at East Tennessee State University.
I wanted to drive and drive and drive but eventually, in agreement with Mom, after a few hours of driving around, I took Dad to the emergency entrance of our local hospital.
When we arrived, Dad shook his head and made a circle motion with his right index finger, indicating that he wanted me to keep driving.
I wish I had ignored my mother’s plea to take Dad on inside because it was the last time Dad and I had that car guy bonding experience we’d shared through the years, going to the local dirt track on Friday nights and flying out to Long Beach for the Toyota Grand Prix amongst many car-related trips we made together.
Those are all memories now.
My mother spends most days on her own, assisting her church when she can.
She certainly wants Dad in her daily life more than I ever will.
But, after Dad died, I lost interest in car shows, NASCAR races and Indycar/F1 motoring news…too painful of a reminder of that last day with Dad away from the medical industry.
Dad was known as a good dancer, according to Mom.
So now I dance because there are no painful memories that can pop up unexpectedly while dancing.
I can be like Dad, a man’s man, holding a woman’s hand.
And I do.
And will continue to do so until I can’t.
It’s who I am.