We were running a bit late, as we’d stayed home long enough for me to register her for a park district sports class. If we didn’t do it right at 9:00 a.m., she might not have gotten a spot.
As we turned right off of our street, habitually following our daily route to her preschool, I noticed a big construction vehicle blocking the way up ahead.
We turned and drove down a block we rarely pass through in the morning, and not often anytime of day. I noticed the various houses we went by and whether they’d put up any holiday decorations. I was especially interested and impressed to see how some of our neighborhood friends have decorated their homes.
Then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a big white van parked on the side of the street. There were a few men pushing something covered into the back of it. After further examination, I realized there were two levels and two stretcher-type things in each. That’s when it dawned on me what was in there.
I had just witnessed a dead body being placed in the van.
Then I saw a man in a suit and tie walking away from the van and my gaze moved to the house it was in front of. There were three people standing on the front porch and one of them was crying. She seemed to be comforted by the other two, who were standing on either side, with their arms around her.
The woman appeared to be watching the body being taken away.
Was it her husband’s body?
Was she saying goodbye to the body of the love of her life?
Then it was time for us to turn the corner and head closer towards my daughter’s preschool.
Our detour was over and we were back to our routine.
Except that I couldn’t shake the image of the body being put in the van and the grieving woman watching from the porch.
It made me wonder about two of college friends, who both lost their husbands recently to cancer. I thought about what those moments may have been like for them, when they said goodbye to their husbands’ bodies.
It reminded me of what it felt like to say goodbye to our baby Molly, after she died, when we let them take her body away from us that evening.
Detours aren’t always easy, and rarely expected.
But somehow, we get through them.
We survive with the help of loved ones, and sometimes strangers, who travel with us, making our journeys lighter and brighter.