You see them along the Interstate highways in Kansas, Arizona and nearly everywhere else in the country. Those haunting small white crosses and bouquets of flowers that are mostly plastic. That way, they survive the weather.
These are the roadside memorials for those who lost their lives, while driving along major highways and lonely roads. I don’t remember seeing them when I was growing up, but they seem to be so common these days.
The memorial (photo above) is the closest one to where I live. A young man couldn’t manage the turn on our road and skidded into a utility pole. I knew the moment this young man passed away because I was reading, late at night, about 1 am when my reading light went off. All the lights went off in our house. A power outage.
Little did I know at the time that when the room went dark, so did the lives of this young mans family and friends. It’s been several years now, and the ribbons, the messages and the notes are all faded.
Faded by the harsh Adirondack weather. But, I’m sure the memory of this boy has not faded one tiny bit in the hearts of his loved ones.
Every time I see one of those white crosses along I-81 or I-75 or a county road to a desolate town in northern New York State, I try to enter the minds of those left behind. Could they afford a proper headstone? Mostly likely they could, but some need within the family wanted drivers, strangers, to pause for a moment to reflect on the loss of a life that meant the world to them.
But, for the rest of us, it’s only a glimpse of a place where some live human being, for whatever reason, left this life abruptly and without preparation.
When you pass one of these memorials, pause your thinking and mutter a farewell prayer for the forlorn soul.
You have such a kindness about you. This was very touching
Wow, I see them quite a few times. Always so touching and sad. You gave it a new kind of life in this piece. You’re an amazing writer.