Batteries and Points

My sister and I sat in the car, hazards flashing, waiting for the funeral procession to begin. I’d put the key in the ignition and turned on the heat but hadn’t started the car. No need to waste the gas, I thought. Suddenly we heard a “ping,” a light flashed on the dashboard, and the car went silent. No radio, no heater, nothing.

This morning my sister and I drove three hours to Albany to attend the funeral of our aunt. Well, not our aunt, but someone we thought of and called aunt. Neither one of us was able to go to the wake last night, she because of work, me because of the baby. So at 5:45 we bundled into the car and drove. We had no problems getting there, even running into our parents at a rest stop on the New York State Thruway. But in the parking lot of Leahy’s Funeral Home in Troy, New York, my car stopped cooperating.

It wasn’t a crisis. My battery had died after five faithful years of service. We hopped in my father’s car to go to the mass, then returned to jump my car before lunch. We made it home fine, and I even got to put the baby to bed. I sit here now typing, thinking about the day. About the best laid plans, about the unforeseen events that can derail a day. About my aunt’s life well-lived and the family she leaves behind. As I thought about my slice today, I thought about the “point”—what would the message be? What wisdom would I leave my readers with? I’ve come to the conclusion that the point of the Slice of Life Challenge is that not everything has to have a point. There doesn’t have to be a lesson to everything. Sometimes just recording what happened is enough.

So that is what happened to me today. I drove to a funeral, my car wouldn’t start, I spent the day with my family and then my car did start. I drove home, and I put my baby to bed. Now I’m writing my Slice. There was no “point,” but there was love, and laughter, and tears, and sadness. And maybe that’s better.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Batteries and Points

  1. jmjd

    And maybe the point was no to make a minor inconvenience into a moment of drama, but to do as you did and take it in stride. I’m sorry for your loss.

  2. Well – that’s life, and you experienced quite a span of living in this one day. Plus, you wrote a perfectly put together slice. Bravo!

  3. It’s so human to want there to be a point, right? It’s like our urge to believe in good and bad luck. We just want meaning. Even as I was reading your post and appreciating the truth that not everything has a lesson, part of my mind was trying to tidily pack it up for you–something about family and carrying on.

  4. Or that taking time to be together and remember is more important than any of the possible inconveniences. Point or not, a slice is a bit of your day through a writer’s lens. Today, success.

  5. There was no “point,” but there was love, and laughter, and tears, and sadness. And maybe that’s better.
    I love this part- sometimes the point is in our reflection. I am sorry for your loss, but glad the car did not stress you. Great slice!

  6. Just finished in an interesting book in which the writer talks about life as story, and acknowledges that life isn’t nearly as tidy and focused as stories are. Your slice of life is moving and relatable, all the same.

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