Lessons from Lou

This blog is about my journey through the brain tumor world with my dear husband, Lou. While not a journey I would wish on even my worst enemy, it is a journey that has enlightened and awakened me to what lies within us, and around us, each and every moment of each and every day. There are lessons here....lessons in this journey.....lessons from Lou....that I would like to share with you.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois

Picture of Lou (sick) and I at a party, circa 2005, long ago and faraway. I'm now a middle aged widow, trying to get my life back together. Mother of two young adult sons, living with two adult cats.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's Just A Car

Or is it? I think not. I think it is NOT "just a car". It's a part of the family. For all the times I felt it was NOT the car that was "right" for me, because it was really LOU'S car, I now find that parting with it is like putting a family pet to sleep. A little background. When I met Lou, he had a little two seater, convertible sports car. He loved that car. I came to learn that he always had nice cars. Nice, as in foreign, cars. I grew up in Detroit. My dad worked for General Motors. There were NO foreign cars in OUR family. There were hardly any foreign cars in Detroit for that matter. I know nothing about cars. They are not all that high on my priority list. I did like the sports car, of course. We drove it for two years until Drew was born. We actually put his car seat in the small space in the back for awhile, not a good idea. Then we graduated to the sedan. And that was our car, for 23 years. That is still our car. That's why Lou bought nice cars I guess, we're still driving it 23 years later. Only now, it's time for it to go. It's been time for it to go for awhile. We didn't want to get a new one while Lou was sick. He would never have been able to understand that. It's time now. I took it in to the shop for something minor, I thought, and they wanted $2,500 out of me. No way. Just spent I forgot how much on it a few months ago. We did the bare minimum to get by for a month or so. It's time to go car shopping. Only now I don't want to. Suddenly, I can't bear the thought of parting with what I always felt was the car that was too big and too sedate. Safe. It was always safe though. Lou cared alot about that. Lou kept it in tip top shape, always. No wonder it lasted 23 years. Now it has rust on it. Just a tiny bit. He wouldn't be happy about that, at all. Now I feel badly that I didn't take care of the rust. Now I feel badly that I ever complained about it, how big it was (well, I'm a horrible parallel parker which is a necessity in the city and difficult with a large sedan). When I left the repair place, I was crying. It all came back to me. So many trips down to his family home in that car to visit his mom. So many trips to visit my folks. Carseats. Carpooling the kids. Driving out to the country club. Lou with a cigar and the sunroof open. The HUGE car phone we had, probably the first one ever made! Taking Drew to college. And, driving Lou while he was sick. He never understood that he could no longer drive. He loved that car. And now, it's time for it to go. It's just a car, darn it. I could care less about cars. It's A THING. But it's not. It's not at all. It's another piece of Lou that we are losing. THAT'S what it is. And THAT'S why it hurts.


Blogger Sue said...

Oh Cathy I wish I could make it all better for you -- it is all part of that word Grief. Memories thank goodness they never go away. Even though they hurt they are what keeps us going. Even though parting with that car is horrible enjoy the shopping for the new. My mom went through that and now she just loves her new car!

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Lou wants you to have a cute little two-seater convertible, to remind you of the early days together, and him, and easier to park besides...

11:41 AM  
Blogger Shelley said...

I agree with the poster above...and it's GOT to be RED!!!!

Love you, City Mouse...
your Country Mouse


1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're exactly right. It is the losing another bit of "Lou" that makes this so hard. You are holding on tightly; not a surprise. Why should you not? Hold on to Lou while the world changes for you; he would want you to. And you would feel very bad if you rushed through all of this. Love you dear, Regina

9:17 PM  
Anonymous sharonbates said...

Oh Cathy....once again...thanks for sharing your thoughts....reminds me of a similar experience....when Kirby and I met, he had just purchased a simple 2-wheel drive, 4 cyl Ford Ranger (being the practical, frugal person that he was)...10-1/2 years later and over 200,000 miles later...we talked about trading it in (this was after his dx)....I couldn't bear the thought....and then it was decided for me...last summer, while I was driving back from work one day, it died...and it didn't seem worthwhile to replace the motor in a vehicle that old (and since I really needed a dependable vehicle at that time...and now).....BUT it was VERY HARD to see it go....it was "Kirby"...even now when I meet a green Ford Ranger on the road, I can hardly stand it....and yet, it was JUST a truck??? to someone else maybe, but to me, it was "Kirby's truck" and I could have driven it forever. The "new" Toyota truck that I have now is truly "JUST a truck."
Thanks for sharing....at least I know I am not alone in my thinking.
Love, Sharon

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Kathie said...

Cathy I understand totally. What ever it is it is not "JUST A" it is part of Lou. I have the same memories of my dad's truck. Our truck had died and we needed a new one. Dad was in the hospital and he had a new (2 year old maybe) truck sitting in the garage at mom and dad's house. Mom wanted us to take it (she knew he would never come home to drive it) I could not do it. When (if) dad were ever to come home he needed his truck there even if he never drove it. The tuck was such a part of dad. This truck and the ones he had before. Well we bought a new used truck and dad never came home. I was lucky enought for our very dear friends to buy it. Now that was back in 85 and the truck still sits at their house to be driving to the dump, to pick up rocks, pull the boat to the dock. What ever it is your need a truck for, but it is there for me to see and think of dad. On one hand guess I am glad we did not take it as one day it would have to be replace and it would be so hard to do. It was and is part of dad as your car is part of Lou. It is not "JUST A CAR".
Love you Kathie
P.S. It is so good to read what you, Michelle and others write on these sites it gives me things to think about, things I never put much thought into. Thank You.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Claudia said...

Dearest Cathy:
It is not just you. In 1996, Rob and I bought a used BMW M5 because our boys thought we needed a "muscle car." We acquired it in October and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in November and had his first brain surgery in December. Until he died in August, 2005, for as long as he was able to drive, that was still his car. After he died, our older son King, who has a smaller, newer BMW now, asked for the car. He still has it and we are still paying to insure it and keep it in good repair, because none of us can bear to part with something Rob loved so much. I am not sure that I totally understand the connection between men and their "machines," but my sons and I still feel that bond and cannot sever it.

I also need a new car but cannot quite part with the one that I used to drive Rob back and forth to all his doctors' appointments the last year of his life. I read once that it is not that we love these things so much, but that they become "invested objects," the repositories where we place--or misdirect, perhaps--our memories. Letting go of the things does not mean letting go of the memories, but maybe they are the triggers that put us back in touch so quickly and readily with the recollections that we treasure.

I don't know...but I do understand how you feel about this.

Love to you and your boys,

7:29 AM  

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