Monday, April 4, 2011

Failing Autopilot

When people have asked me how I am managing to function over the last year, I've always given the same answer.  The only one I can think of as a logical explanation.

I'm on autopilot. 

Have been for a while now.

I keep my head down and keep on keeping on.  Do what I need to, go where I have to. 

The benefit of having a small herd of children is that I have virtually no down time.  I've always got something to do, somewhere someone needs driven, some event that needs planned or something to clean.

No down time = no time to shut my brain off.

No time to think about everything else.

No time to dwell on the past, anticipate the future. 

I have to worry about right now.

Sometimes, though, the autopilot fails me.  Sometimes it stops working.

Most often it fails me in the car. 

I'd suppose the reason for that is that the kids, even if they all are with me, are contained.  I don't have to worry about anyone. 

I do my best thinking in the car.  A blessing and a curse these days.

I can clear my mind, even if it's only for a few minutes, of everything else I have to worry about.  I can turn on the radio and just drive.

That's when I think about him the most.  When my eyes fill with the tears that I don't fight back. 

I was with him for a lot of his lasts

One of the lasts: the last time he drove.

He shouldn't have been driving, and he knew it.  He took off like a bat out of hell one morning, pretended that he needed to leave immediately and didn't have time to wait for me.

I knew what it was about though.

He just wanted to drive one last time.

He knew the end was near.  He wanted to savor that feeling one more time.

He always loved to drive.  I know that's where I get it from.

Mom and I took off after him that morning and caught up.  I stayed with him at work.   I was supposed to tell him no and take the keys away.   I was supposed to drive him home. 

I didn't. 

I sat in the passenger seat, ready to grab the wheel if I needed to. 

I watched him gripping the wheel for the last time.  Watched him sigh when he pulled up to the house and put the car into park.  He handed me the keys as soon as he got out.

He knew.

I don't want to say I let him drive home that day, because I didn't.  I didn't ever tell him what to do. 

I didn't let him drive home.  I just didn't stop him. 

I was fortunate enough to be there with him.

Every time I grip the wheel I think about him driving home for the last time.

Maybe that's why my autopilot seems to fail the most frequently in the car.

It can't work all the time, right?

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