Driving. It’s something Gabe never got to do. Well, not legally anyway. He drove on someones private property, and he pulled the car from the back to the front to park it once, but that is the extent of it. On his 15th birthday (which ended up being just 19 days before he died) he went to the DMV website and started taking practice tests. He often talked about what kind of car he would get, and how he would modify it. He was completely unrealistic in what he would have actually been able to get, but he liked to dream big. He was SO excited at the prospect of driving.
Gabe driving was not something that Doug and I were too excited about. He was reckless-always. Reckless on his bike, on his skateboard, in his actions.
I imagine he would not have been the most careful driver. Gabe had a hard time thinking things through. He had ADHD, sensory processing dysfunction, and difficulties with planning. Driving would have been an extremely challenging task. But he was very thrilled about it.
Driving has been on my mind lately because Gabe’s middle brother will soon be learning to drive. Milestones like that are hard to navigate. It is wonderful to see him grow up, to see who he’s becoming, and help him figure out life. It is also so difficult though because my oldest didn’t make it this far. Since 19 days after he turned 15, my middle son has lived longer than his older brother. That is a very difficult reality. And I’ll feel it again when the youngest surpasses that age.
It wasn’t supposed to go this way. This year should look very different. The rest of our lives should look very different. Sometimes I think people feel like parents grieve too long, but I know I will never stop grieving. I can’t. Because when a child dies you lose the FUTURE. You still have A future, but not the one that should have played out. I know, many things alter the future and we have to shift and reassess, change and rewrite things. But the death of a child is a completely different thing. I can’t just rewrite things, because my brain always sees the picture of life as it should be- with my oldest son who is now 17 pulling up to the front of our house in a beat up old car, and telling us that he got another ticket. Because that is exactly how it would be.