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Driving East...

TransCanada Highway, Photo Christopher Martin Photography

There's something about hitting the Trans-Canada Highway #1, and heading east...

My eyesight heightens.

My energy rises.

A subdued excitement fills my heart, and the many possible, happy unknowns dance in my mind.

But the anticipation isn't real. It stems from a longing for the past, to drive and arrive in a moment in time when all who I loved and cherished still lived. I know this feeling when it takes hold, and I know it's not real, but it never ceases to amaze and fill me with happiness and hope that one day, someday, I'll find a way to head east and meet those loved ones again.

Of course, the past I'm viewing is sorely tinted through rust-colored glasses. I know this, but I don't let the realization stop my excitement as I grip the steering wheel, press down on the accelerator and get my car up to highway speed, my happy, sparkling eyes centered on the vast horizon.

Maybe I inherited my late mother's excitement, for she felt the exact same way when we'd load up the car and head out on an eastern road trip. I talk to her, the spirit of her, in the car now, as she and I head east. In every trip I take, I feel my mom sitting in the passenger seat. She lived to pack up and roam free...

With my sunglasses on, I believe I've melded into my late father, with those steely eyes and assured grip on the wheel, driving as he once did, his big, old Buick beasts, a smooth operator after the RCMP re-taught him how to expertly drive.

In losing my parents, I have become them. They are in me now and with me, in everything I do, wherever I go. I am no longer just me. I am a part of a loving triad. What I see, they see. What I experience, they experience, too. I am no longer all alone.

When this pandemic is finally in the history books, I will load up the car, wheel it onto Highway 1, and point the windshield east again to parts unknown. Without music or radio sounds, only the onrushing wind, I will take my parents on a trip into the rising sun, and we will be rejuvenated by that warm glow.