My Grief Challenges

My ’64 Falcon March 8, 2014

 Chugger     Yes, you are looking at my first car, a ’64 Falcon. I loved that 4 door Ford. Such a precious memory. When it was handed to me, I think the bet was that it wouldn’t last a week. Most of my family did not like the car. I hope to, always, remember how cute my Dad looked driving it, proudly, when no one else would sit behind the wheel. The day he said I could have it***pure joy.                                                                                                                                 My Dad is very tidy, 20130803_071954 so my new to me car wasn’t filthy, but I needed to do some touch ups. I first figured out how to remove the back seat. I may have found some coins, but  for sure I found hay.  There was more hay in the trunk, dried mud and shredded stuff. Under the front seat, hay. I think it looked like mice had taken up residence, at one time.  With the ceiling, sides, windows and seats cleaned to my liking, the carpet was last. I cleaned up the back carpet, pretty good. As I was scrubbing the front passenger side, the carpet was pretty loose, worn ? As it lifted, I noticed light coming up from under the car. Upon further examination, I realized the floor board had rusted through. In a place just below the dash, but near the door. I sat, in the seat to check if it felt like a persons foot would break it through. Nope, it was in a spot that would be avoided. My worry was for the driver side. Not one problem, just a small rusted out spot, at the heel of the accelerator pedal. Great care went into scrubbing the outside. I was certain I could make the maroon with rusty spots color, look nice.  I don’t know what was wrong with my family for not liking the Falcon.   Oh, and yes, under the hood, I had cleaned up the mud and oil around the engine and under the hood, it was pristine.                                                                                                                             I remember moving to Spokane. A friend filled his pick up and I had the Falcon bulging. What a precious car. One day,  I was visiting my Great Aunt and Uncle. The day I took this photo I had been bragging to them about what a wonderful gift I had received.   As our talks proceeded, my Uncle asked if it was sluggish going up hill. Now, why did he ask that ? As it was, I had some stories about the rudeness of other drivers, as I  snailed up some minor inclines. My Aunt and Uncle listened, as I told a few stories, we were laughing, near the end with the usual trickles of joy water on our cheeks. My Aunt, being of the same mind as myself, asked if I had a name for my car. I answered, ashamedly, I had a few, but I didn’t know of other people named their rigs. I, then,  learned, that there are those of us that do. My Aunt, recalling one of my funny hill stories, suggested, Chugger. She was spot on.                                    Chugger had been such a fun rig.   I remember a surprise visit to my Dad’s work, from Spokane, driving Chugger. I hope to always remember his chuckle as he was amazed that the Falcon was still running. I informed him, that the Falcon’s name was Chugger. It seems it wasn’t long after that, that Dad had painted names on the forklifts, he worked on. Another namer-yes !!!                                                                                                                                          My trusty rusty car and I had helped many people move things. We had given many people rides-who had none.   When I was an instructor at European Health Spa, in Spokane, many a cold, snowy night, Chugger and I were able to give rides, to co-workers, so they would not have to deal with the elements. I did need to tell one tall passenger, where not to put his feet. One night, after closing the Spa, as we proceeded up a very steep hill, both front windows, were  open for viewing. It did not take long before my passenger questioned my endearment for my car. At that time, the heaters didn’t work, well, after all, it was winter. The cold air didn’t let the windows un-ice. It had never been a problem for me. I just opened the driver window and looked out, and scraped the window in front of me, as often as I could. All my passengers, always made it home safely. AND would later ask for  rides. What a treat that was for me, a way to help others.    Chugger, was my car for a few  years,  from about 1980 to about 1985, until he was sold for 200 $. What a sad day that was  for me.              Some other enduring names of cars I have had, in my care: Sputz, Stump-jumper, Charmer, Theee V-dub (van), Wee Bus-(bus is on the plate of that car-so that is a d.oing factor), Challenger, Champ (my trip van).                                                                                                        You folks may be wondering why I spent time reveling over my Chugger car.  So was I. I had 3 other things I was going to write about. This seems to happen for each post. Each post has started out very different from the final typing. I get the idea formed, and then as I am praying about it, God changes it.   Just this very moment, I, figured  out why I wrote about Chugger.    You see, it has been a tremendous fear for me that as God moves me mercifully forward, that I would have to endure various losings of Shawn, over and over and over—such dread.  I saw today, as I typed, that some of my memories of Chugger are faded, some are very prominent. I even had 1 photo.  I have enough wonderful memories with that car to hold a very special place in my mind. Chugger was an inanimate object. Shawn was my precious son. So, if I can have memories of a car, surely, I will be able to keep memories of my Shawner.                                                                                                                                                3 take aways: * I was a good steward to my precious Chugger car.  ** My car and I were able to help many, unselfishly. *** I was grateful for what others thought was useless. I hope God will help me to use those car positives as examples of how to deal with Shawn’s goneness. Maybe, in time, I will be able to look back and find positives, in this grief situation.  Before today I had not given it any thought, regarding Chugger and our positives.                         Something strange. In my last post. I ended with Shawn’s words-love you Mom. I heard those, ever so quiet words, many times throughout this past week, and when I was finally able to read notes, Melissa’s was—“love you, Mom”.                                                                 I cannot tell you how many times the summer of 2012, I had wanted to record something from Shawn, and he told me I couldn’t. I do have memories to hold. No I am not idolizing Shawn, he was my baby. I miss him. I, also,  thank God for giving Shawn the courage to want to rebuild our relationship. I just hope others will use their moments with their precious endearments, wisely. Don’t look for what changes you think they need to make. Let God do His work as the Potter. Be there-wholeheartedly. Realize the unique needs, of those you are blessed to have in your life,  and try to meet them , Always, try to see how you can bring out the positives.  Even if it is just a cool breeze through a rusted floor board. Encourage, as much, as possible, in the areas that seem to be most challenging. My standard is Christ.              I have been challenged. How am I treating others ? Am I giving them the weight their creator gave them when He brought them into being ? I do not want to be dismissive, even though I am still in emotion-overload. I want to be attentive. I want to make precious memories to hold. I do not want my memory folders filled with regrets and guilt.    K


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