94: Another Miami Moon

94: Another Miami Moon

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grieving and Recovery

Another Miami Moon

In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.

~Robert Ingersoll

It’s 5:30 p.m. on a Monday, the peak of Miami rush hour, and my car is speeding up the ramp from U.S. 1 onto I-95 heading north to my parents’ home in Hollywood, Florida. My speeding abruptly turns into bumper-to-bumper crawling. A dangerous game of lane weaving gains me a few yards on competing drivers, who unlike me, have all the time in the world to get where they’re going. Can’t they tell I don’t? Can’t they sense my urgency, see my pleading eyes, the strain on my face? If only God would part the Red Sea of creeping taillights with a screaming emergency vehicle I could slip behind and follow.

My sister, a nurse, had called unexpectedly. She was down from Daytona, staying with Mom and Dad for a while. “You’d better get here,” she said in an ominous tone. I had just been there yesterday for a nice Sunday visit and everything seemed stable. Still, I grabbed my keys and flew down the stairs from my third floor South Miami apartment, not waiting for the elevator. This had to be a false alarm. It was too soon. I wasn’t ready.

Hunching over the steering wheel, I raise desperate eyes to heaven. What I see through the blur of tears and my dusty windshield startles me. In the darkening sky, a brilliant full moon is gently rising, casting what feels almost like a protective glow upon Miami’s motorized masses. The sudden sight of it loosens my inner knots, and reminds me of the tradition I started years back when travel became my passion. “Even when we’re separated by so many miles, sometimes continents,” I said to my parents, “we share the same moon. Wherever we are, when we spot the full moon, let’s think of each other, sending love and energy across the distance. That’ll make us feel closer.”

With that memory, I sit stuck in traffic. There’s nothing to do but stare at the moon. It stares back, lulling me into a stupor with its steady, hypnotic eye. The next instant my awareness shifts. I’m keenly alert... and I know with certainty. A wave of calm peace washes over me. I surrender, float in it. Traffic no longer matters. Now, I too, have all the time in the world. No need to drive in an insane hurry to get to Hollywood. It’s too late. I rest my head on the seatback and look out at the cars around me with eyes no longer frantic. The other drivers remain unseeing and oblivious, probably even to the moon.

But now, Dad’s with me. He’s telling me not to worry about being late. He’s letting me know this time he’s the traveler who couldn’t wait to leave on his own journey. His way is traffic-free. He’s taken a short detour to meet me here before passing on. He says that for us, yesterday was goodbye, but wants me to understand that on his road or mine, we’re not apart. He knows I’ll catch the humor and meaning of his choosing a moonlit night to go—so he won’t get lost in the dark, but mostly as proof he’s keeping our full moon tradition.

Amid earthbound souls inching forward on the highway, I stop and go, cry and laugh, sending love and energy to one who soars on a higher way.

~Jude Bagatti

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