By Andrea Cadelli
I sit at my laptop in the kitchen, my finger trembling over the submit button. Why can’t I do this? How can I explain to the kids that I had to sell their daddy’s truck? These questions wrestle me to the ground. I’m ready to tap out. But, I can’t bring myself to do it.
I stare at my computer vaguely aware that a fly has landed on the screen. The smell of coffee fills the air, but my cup sits beside me getting cold. In the background, I hear Robin Roberts updating the world on Hurricane Harvey. My mind drifts off.
I shuffle through memories rumbling as loud as the engine under the hood: Teaching my niece how to drive her daddy’s truck in parking lots, my brother fixing it up in his spare time, the Dean Martin CD he left in the player. God, you loved this truck, Andrew. It feels like it’s all I have left of you, brother, and it’s so hard to let go.
I know I must sell it before I have to sink another $1,400 to keep it running. I want desperately to give it to his son, Dino, but he’s only nine.
The Ad: 1993 Chevy Silverado 1500 4X4. Runs great. Looks good. New tires. 137K miles. $3,900. Call for test drive.
“What shape will the truck be in by the time he’s sixteen? It just isn’t financially feasible to keep hanging onto it.” I know this. I repeat it out loud to myself until I steal the courage to hit submit. My computer dings, the ad confirmation pops up, and the levy to my heart breaks open.
Letting Go Opens Space For Brighter Days Ahead
Selling my youngest brother’s truck after he died of cancer felt like a betrayal. Gina Lee was his pride and joy and he loved having an older truck that he could work on himself.
By proxy, I loved this old half ton piece of metal because I knew how much it meant to Andrew, and he meant the world to me. I didn’t realize that by refusing to let go of it, I was using it as a crutch to replace the grief of losing him. It was more than just money I had wrapped into that vehicle; it had a piece of my heart.
When I finally decided to sell it, I wanted to find a buyer who would love and cherish the truck as much as Andrew did.
A guy texted and said he wanted to bring his son over to look at it. Ryan had just turned 16 and he wanted an older truck that he could work on with his uncle who was a mechanic. I told them to stop by at 4pm for a test drive.
Ryan introduced himself and told me how much he loved the truck and that it was exactly what he was looking for. He shared some of his plans and what he wanted to do to fix it up.
I told him that it was my brother’s truck and that he had loved working on it too. A tingling sensation started in my stomach and rose up into my throat. I could feel Andrew’s presence surrounding us as we stood outside visiting about the vehicle.
I knew I had found the perfect buyer. Ryan even came by several weeks later to show me the work he’d completed on the truck. He opened the driver’s side door and pulled out a frame he’d made that had my brother’s license plate with before and after pictures of the truck around it. “And I wanted you to have this,” he said with a smile. My eyes started welling up as I said, “Thank you, Ryan. His kids will love this.”
As painful as it first felt, letting go of my brother’s truck allowed me to heal places of my heart that had gone silent, to find connection through love and my brother’s story, and most of all, to move forward in the present. This is now a part of my story of losing my brother.
Owning your stories helps you heal. Rewriting the ending allows you to learn from the past without letting it define you. Sharing them is your way of healing the world. What is your story about letting go?
Andrea Cadelli, MFA is a Storyteller, Speaker, and Author of Life After This.
Want to say “thanks” to Andrea for contributing her story to the Letting Go Cafe. It is a passionate and inspiring story of the struggle we can experience when faced with loss.
Thank you, Lynn. I’m glad you found the story inspiring. Human struggle is part of our collective human experience and we all find healing and community when we share our stories.
Hi Lynn. Thank you for your comment and for visiting the Letting Go Cafe. Andrea is an amazing story teller.