Roadside Memorials

I drove from one town to another yesterday to meet my mother for lunch.  On my way out of town I followed a country road and passed a telephone pole with a picture of a young man stapled to it.  Under his photo were bunches of flowers and some stuffed animals.

I had read about him just last week.  He was very young, only eighteen I believe, and he was a local athlete about to travel to represent his town in a competition.  I can’t remember the sport; I just remember thinking how sad that his bright future was cut short so soon.  I also read that speed and alcohol were thought to be a factor.  🙁

As I drove by and saw the roadside memorial I wondered about the people that had placed the flowers and stuffies there. Who were they to him and how, if at all, did this memorial help them to heal?  Did they do it so that people would remember this young man and say “ah, this is where it happened”, or did they do it as a warning that this part of the road had claimed a life so slow down or it could be you next? Why are so many people inclined to put up these roadside memorials?  On my way back home later in the day I passed three more along a different highway.

I tried to imagine if I would do the same if my son were killed on a stretch of highway. (A. Very. Painful. Exercise I can tell you.) I don’t know.  I just don’t know if I would be drawn to or repelled by the place that witnessed his last breath.  Would I feel that I was closer to him there; that there was some invisible doorway and if I stayed close I might get another glimpse of him?  When I look at that telephone pole I am reminded of a violent end to a young mans life.  I tend to believe that is what I would see if he were my own son and that vision would keep me from the place.  But again, I don’t really know for sure and I hope I never find out.

My husband is not a fan of roadside memorials.  He doesn’t think memorials belong along roads.  That it should be a more private affair and not shared with motorists who are becoming immune to seeing them anyway because there are so many now. In the past I’ve been moved by some and I have to admit I’ve also thought some were…well…kinda tacky looking but I don’t mind them being there.  If it gives some degree of comfort to those who have lost a loved one then what’s the harm I say.  But would I feel the need to visit the exact spot my loved one was taken from me? I just don’t know.  What do you think?  Are roadside memorials helpful or a little macabre?

p.s.  Don’t forget to turn all your lights off Saturday night  (march 26) at 8:30pm.  It’s Earth Hour again!


Family History & Breaking the Cycle ~

If you follow Tara Cronica regularly you know this month Jacquie created our header in which she chose ‘Finding Lyrical Beauty in History’. Great job Jake, I love that each month we get a fresh new look which reflects Lyrical beauty and our unique personalities.

Family history makes me think of my family tree branching off in different directions with lots of similar character traits and connections of generations past. There is family history in our names dating back decades, our behaviours, and our genetics.

When you have history with someone it changes everything. There is an element of trust that goes along with it, which takes years to build but has to start somewhere, right? When you first meet someone new it’s fresh and exciting but it can be a little unsettling that you don’t know their history. You are unaware of their family traits that have been passed down from generation to generation. Is your potential mother in-law a control freak, brother in-law a narcissist or soon to be sister in-law a manic depressive? How many of these traits will present themselves in your potential partner over the years because of genetics or simply because it’s what they know. It’s a gamble really. No matter what our genetic history or family traits are, we all have a choice of who we want to be.

Who hasn’t been told at some point in their lives “you’re just like your mother/father” or “your grandfather used to do the same thing.” (that’s not always a good thing) As human beings we find comfort in belonging. If you’re adopted you have a completely different understanding of family history because it starts with you. Nobody in your family looks like you and you’re not sure which traits you’ve picked up through osmosis or genetics.

I don’t think there is anyone out there who hasn’t at least once in their lifetime cringed at just the thought of being just like your _____. (I will let you fill in that blank) That is when one of those traits passed down is not one we want to be associated with. It’s when this trait is staring back at you in the mirror that you need to do something about it. It will lead you around and around instead of moving forward to break the cycle.

Some negative family traits would be families who don’t communicate or speak for years out of stubbornness, families who don’t show affection because they didn’t get any while growing up, even though they crave it themselves. Abuse is a cycle among some families. There are two ways you can go, you can repeat the cycle or break it. It’s not right to think that because you didn’t get something that you shouldn’t give it freely yourself, or that you did get treated poorly so you justify doing it. If you can identify the behaviours or traits you don’t want, whether they started with your parents or grandparents, or maybe they started with you, you’re on the right path. Being aware is the first step, making that connection is the hard part, and then taking steps to avoid history from repeating itself is success!  It means growth in a positive direction is happening. You take the good and remove the bad, what you take with you is a choice, it’s not bound to you. You choose each day who you want to be.

I think when history does repeat itself it can mean the lesson was not learned or there was a lack of growth along that chosen path. History within a family is a wonderful feeling, knowing every single thing about someone, having followed their growth throughout the years is comfort, plain and simple. We all love comfort. But sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone and stand on our own two feet. We need to welcome others into our circle and embrace their history, even the parts unknown to us. History is out there waiting to be found, we just need to explore a little further.