Yesterday morning I woke up with a horrible feeling in my stomach. The drive home loomed ahead of me - four and a half hours alone in the car.
I've driven those same kilometres a hundred times between when I started university in 1992 and now. I've driven that distance and more with only the CBC as my companion. I've driven that highway with fellow students and bags of laundry packing my car to capacity. I've even had a freshly bathed cat snoozing in a pet carrier beside his owner in the back seat.
I've driven that route in good weather and bad - even in a few blizzards when I'm sure I shouldn't have been driving. I've done that trip late at night, staring at the sides of the road, praying that a moose or a deer didn't step out in front of me. I've driven when I was sure that I would fall asleep at the wheel if I didn't pull over and get out for some fresh air.
I am not afraid of driving. I've been driving one type of motorized vehicle or another since I was barely old enough to steer (snow-mobiles, 3 and then 4-wheelers, sea doos, trucks, boats, very fast cars and clunkers too).
Yesterday morning, though, it didn't feel right. I've been stressed about going home for stuff before, but it has never felt "not right" like that before.
My father and I had discussed the possibility that I might not get home for the service if the weather was bad. I made the call as soon as I got out of bed and told him I wasn't coming, then I went and looked at the Nova Scotia highway webcams. The Wentworth Valley is notorious for having unpredictable weather. The Westchester camera showed snow on the sides of the road, but the view was obscured by slushy rain on the lens. It may have been perfectly fine by the time I got that far; there may have been no problems at all with the roads, but I just didn't feel right about travelling.
I feel horrible about not being home with my family today, but something just told me that I wasn't meant to be on the roads yesterday.
So, while I should have been driving, instead I sat on my couch and I knit. I thought about Jen and I knit. I knit while I watched "Little Women" (the version with Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, etc), and I had a good cry when Beth died. And I kept on knitting.
Today, my body is at work.
But my heart is with my family with my aunt who has suffered what no mother should, with my cousin's husband who has lost the woman with whom he wanted only to grow old, with my grandmother who has been through so much and yet still amazes me with her grace, with my dad and his two youngest sisters as they support their sister, and with my cousins... My cousins who used to be eight in number, but are now seven.
My mind will be with Jen, thankful that she is no longer hurting, sad that she is gone too soon, and happy for the times we were able to spend together when she was with us.