This is Darth Taco – Drew’s big black Tacoma TRD 4×4 truck with black rims, what would you call it? ;) Darth just got a facelift this week with a grill guard added on. I’m thrilled about this for a few reasons….
Since I drive it almost exclusively now, and I go pretty far to work and back – often on country roads at night – there’s always the possibility of hitting a hog or deer. So my night drives will now be that much safer. But even moreso, his birthday is coming soon and so it was sort of an early birthday present to him from his folks… which is exactly what he would have wanted. When he first got this truck, all he talked about was getting a grill guard installed and having it lifted a few inches. I can’t blame him, safety aside, its just plane cool and sexy looking. It feels so good to have this done – both for my safety and for him.
It got me thinking about the importance of doing things still for our loved ones even after they have passed on as a way to continue to show our love for them. This is so very important. I cannot express just how meaningful this has been in moving forward from loss in my life. My mom died when I was nine, so growing up I didn’t understand this concept. Our family as a whole didn’t really. We swept it under the rug, as was typical to do. But when I was in my mid-twenties and began to work through the grief of her loss more deeply, I decided I wanted a relationship with her again. She existed. And she’ll always exist to me… and I wanted to acknowledge those feelings. When people die, we sometimes assume that our relationship with them also has to die… sometimes without even realizing it we have this assumption. Well, it doesn’t. Your loved one died, but your love for them did not. And you should still get to show it however the heck you want to.
This is what I started to learn as I began honoring my mom. On her birthday each year, February 26th, I buy her a card and write a letter in it to her as if she were here. And then I buy her some flowers, wine, and a deliciously fancy piece of cake from somewhere extra special that I enjoy for her. Aside from being a great excuse to buy myself some decadence, it has helped me to feel reconnected to her – to give myself permission to still love my mom and show that love, no matter whether she is here or in another realm. This has truly validated me in amazing ways and helped me to let go of painful emotions over time. It has even helped me to feel for the first time in 10 years like I have an actual relationship with her.
I’m now taking all that I’ve learned from honoring her and bringing it into my grieving for Drew. I’m sure to some people, the fact that I continue to do many things to honor him and talk of him still daily might seem sad. It might seem like I’m holding on, clinging tightly or like I’m not allowing myself to move forward. But its just the opposite actually. Doing things to continue to honor him allows me to establish what our new relationship will be, two worlds apart. It gives me a positive way to still love him and to continue to show that love so that I’m not just bottling up my love and trying to hide it away or let it die out. It’ll never die out. Just like my mom, he existed, and he exists still to me. Its just becoming something new and different. Honoring him helps me to focus on the evolution of this relationship instead of on everything that I have lost. I haven’t lost it. It’s always right here, in my heart, everyone we lose is. And if we can learn to honor them – whether its with flowers and cake or a new grill guard – we can have a relationship with them that will never die.