Yesterday I wrote about my father, including my grief at his absences and death. Today I was reminded again of grief while watching the film Rush:Beyond the Lighted Stage on my DVR. That documentary film includes information on drummer Neil Peart’s loss of his only child and his wife within a ten month period. After those losses he resigned from the band and left on his motorcycle alone for a 55,000 mile (88,000 km) trip all over North and Central America. He ultimately wrote a book, Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road, about his experiences and rejoined Rush, with whom he still drums today. I’ve downloaded the book and will be reading it soon. I completely understand the road as a place of healing, but we all need our own methods.
My mother suffered a multitude of losses, starting with the death of her parents when she was in her twenties. That was followed by my father’s passing in 1960 when they were both 40. She ultimately remarried ten years later, and in 1996 suffered the death of her oldest daughter, my sister Diana, within two days of the passing of my stepfather, Ted.
Then ten years later, in 2006, one of my brothers, Irv, also died of cancer. His funeral was the last time Mom was out of the house. Her health was failing and she was in constant pain, so after several months of hospice care she decided that she would quit eating and drinking. Since we were bound by her health care advanced directives we followed her orders, as painful as that was to do. She reminded us that at age 86 she had outlived two husbands and two of her six children, and that it was time for her to join them in the next life.
So she did.
If I were in a situation like Mom’s or Neil’s, and could do so, I’d go on a road trip alone. I’d do it in a car instead of on a bike, probably a C7 Corvette. But I’d take the time to drive, see more of the country, and listen to lots of tunes, including those of Rush. And with the road, the tunes, and God, I’d heal.