One of the best captures I’ve read about the emotional landmarks turned landmines in our lives, was written by Emily Rapp when she describes the feelings associated with revisiting Louisa Street; the place where her son’s steady decline was documented by trips to the pediatrician’s office; the street which later would house her son’s dead body, in the funeral home:
It is not a headstone or a memorial or a place where ashes were scattered, but part of me — and part of Ronan — lives in the middle of this street at a strange, undocumented emotional address to which no mail comes and that nobody apart from me will ever visit.
These emotional landmarks seem so benign, so inoffensive to anyone other than ourselves: the street of yourchild’s pediatrician’s office; a family home; that old joint where he once proposed; a marker of something so pinnacle, so changing, and yet it’s only a place.
Each time I travel down the QEW, each and every time, there is a point of the highway, marked specifically at Fifty Road, when my heart races a little faster, my stomach sinks a little lower and my mind is transported. This section of the highway marks the veering of two sets of experiences:
1. The road that brought both myself and my mother, to approximately 32 weeks worth of radiation and chemotherapy sessions.
2. The other, is the road we regularly travel to bring our daughter to the Children’s Hospital, for countless procedures, surgeries and hospital stays — 48 such stays this past year.
Fifty Road has become my emotional address.
This part of the highway, where hundreds of souls pass without flicker, bares a weight so heavy, it feels like an actual impact each time I drive through it. It feels very similar to passing a transport truck at 120km/hour on a bidirectional highway separated by no median: you feel it’s weight, the wind it musters and the slight pull inward as though it were a passing vortex designed to pull you under it’s wheels.
And as quickly as you approached the address, you bypass it. Not without leaving you drenched in the residual emotions and memories of every lived experience that accompanied each North bound trip.
Today it was a sunny day, traveling past Fifty Road. The roads were clear, the traffic, light; and my heart it fractured down familiar lines, as it always does, by Fifty Road.