The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Emotions Run Deep

I ended up donating my parent's 1988 Buick LeSabre to charity today and its brought back all sorts of very sad emotions that I had thought I had worked through since my mother passed away in 2007. My father bought the vehicle new in 1988 and it was the last vehicle he purchased. He died in 1994 from cancer induced by asbestos. My mother kept the car and when her health started to fail in 2000, I began to drive her around exclusively in that vehicle. In 2002, with her health in a more fragile state, she moved in with my wife, me, and our kids.

It has been an enormous struggle for me and for my family to work through our loss of her, and it has been even more problematic because I have found it very difficult to change the house to any appreciable sense. It was about 1.5 years before I rearranged her bathroom and we began to use it again. It took about 2 years before I was able to go through her bedroom and make it into a room we use again and 2.5 years before I changed her sitting room into a library room of sorts.

One of the last big issues I had to try to figure out was what to do with her car. It was not in great condition, but it had so much sentimental value. Yet, it really was unwieldy for us to try to keep it along with our vehicles, especially because during the last 3.5 years, we drove it perhaps twice a year.

Part of what has happened in my family (probably due to my emotions and sense of loss) is that I have found it hard to throw things away or get rid of things... this has been going on for a long time, but especially so since 2007. I have been struggling with my wife's help to declutter our home, and to organize our lives so that instead of me always living in the past, and thinking about all the emotions I have about people who have passed away in my life... instead of that... I can be more focused on NOW, and seek to be more loving and present for my wife and my kids. I want to immerse myself in joyous, happy times with them, instead of feeling the pain and sorrows of all the emotions of loss and sadness I have been literally drowning in.

So, today I think was another, VERY BIG step for me... I could never wrap my mind around selling my parent's car. I felt guilty even thinking about it. Yet, it was an impediment to my striving to be a person living in the present, and towards my primary aspiration/goal of being as good and mentally present a father and husband as I can be for my family. I ended up donating the vehicle to my region's National Public Radio station. It seemed like a way to have the car end up doing something good that would be in keeping with how my parent's raised me. I am hopeful that what I did in donating the vehicle honors them and is something they would approve of for me to do.

I had originally planned to try to donate the vehicle in mid-May, but kept hemming and hawing, mostly out of feelings of sadness and hesitation. It took me until last week to make the actual call to get the donation process rolling, and I kept working through my emotions... telling myself that I was doing this to help make my family's life better, that I was donating the vehicle to try to help others, and that I was really doing something that my parent's would approve of. Still, I felt like I had gone through a wringer of emotions.

Yet, I knew I really could not keep the car... I could not successfully store it any longer, the cost of keeping insurance on the vehicle was a financial burden for a vehicle driven only twice a year, and even though it hurt like hell emotionally, I *knew* mentally that I *needed* to give up the vehicle so that I could grow in the way I wanted to for my family.

When the people came to take the vehicle this morning, I was taking pictures of all different views of the vehicle as it sat in my driveway. I had tears rolling down my cheeks, and probably looked like an utter fool to the fellows who came to get the car. But, I *did* donate it, and I *did* watch it drive away this morning. I admit I still feel very sad, but I also know I did an important thing... another step to help me be a better father and husband to my family.

I think I will go and visit my elderly father-in-law this afternoon. I think that may help elevate my emotions a bit. I hope so.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lost both my parents and I understand your feelings and pain. What has helped me is knowing my Dad and Mom would want me to go on and not mourn forever.

Friday, 13 August, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Saturday, 14 August, 2010  
Blogger BBC said...

Me thinks you let your feelings run too deep, at least when it comes to close family ties.

But do you ever give a crap about the larger world? We are one of the few life forms on this rock that fuss over all that crap.

Or not, my parents dying didn't bother me one wit.

Sunday, 15 August, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Monday, 16 August, 2010  
Blogger BBC said...

You seem to be picking up some Chinese sex spam.

1988 Buick LeSabre

Not to hurt your tender feelings but a 1988 Buick LeSaber is only good for giving away.

What I'm wondering about is if you will be claiming it on your next income tax return as a donation.

Monday, 16 August, 2010  
Blogger GaP said...

you're moving on a bit, Professor. That seems healthy. You don't have to keep a car around to remember your parents. Keep the faith, my friend...

Tuesday, 17 August, 2010  

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