Farewell to Our Family Car

family minivan
© photo by RossHelen for Canva

She was a lovely gray, indistinguishable from the many other metal-colored Sienna vans on the road. Her name was Misty Stephenson III, a title decided by our children somewhere in Colorado during a family road trip.

She was a member of the family and the womb within which we took our tentative first steps as a three-child family and road trip troupe. Papered with stickers from doctor visits signaling Covid and flu shots, and regular wellness visits from kids aged 10, 7, and 5. She went with us everywhere and we loved her.

Then Mommy killed her, with a poorly timed left-hand turn in front of a white truck. With the 5-year-old in the back.

We were ok. Everyone was ok. It’s the mantra we all repeat over and over after such an experience until we actually believe it.

Misty kept us safe and protected in that accident, but her end was indisputable. Aside from the emotional scars of a significant accident, we experienced the trauma of losing someone important to us. A steady part of our day-to-day life was gone forever. 

But kids are resilient, and they were ready for something new after our two-week foray in the remaining family car, a 2013 Subaru Outback built for four (I don’t care what salesman Randy told us about three car seats in the rear).  

A new-to-us Honda Odyssey found her way to our garage. She cooed to us, comforting in her safety standards and promises of longevity. She was tentatively nicknamed Stormy Thundercloud V (despite my husband’s insistence that maybe we shouldn’t personify every object in our lives) and has made a lovely new addition to the family.

But loss is hard. Loss of a family car, loss of trust in a parent’s ability to keep you safe, loss of income as you take on an unexpected and completely avoidable expense. 

Loss of confidence in your capacity to take care of your family without making devastating mistakes. I’m still working through this one.

But you keep moving forward because there’s no time to do anything else. One foot in front of the other. If you stop and think about the losses and the mistakes and the potential for absolute catastrophe, you might not start moving ever again.

Stormy Thundercloud V keeps us moving these days. We’ve christened her with crumbs and taken her to all our routine locations: school, basketball practice, gymnastics, and the library. We speak fondly of Misty and our adventures together, we recognize her loss, and we look ahead to new adventures with Stormy.  

We’ll be ok. Everyone will be ok.

How do you feel about your family car? 


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