About the time we were leaving the hospital following Emily’s sugeries, a friend of ours started work on a grief website to go along with the book she was writing. She asked if I would consider writing about our “trial” once life slowed down a bit. Writing has always been my outlet, so this seemed like a natural way to document and reflect on all we had been through during those 2 months. I considered titles and particular points I wanted to make and decided I wanted to relate it to viewing a roller coaster from the sidewalk below. It would be something I had once ridden, with all its twists and turns, but a ride I was no longer on. It would be me gaining a clearer view of the ride and all that had happened as I observed the ride on solid ground.
But, solid ground was not to be mine.
After 5 1/2 months of living life without my precious daughter, I cannot say that I am on the sidewalk, but I can feel the roller coaster beginning to slow. I no longer feel as though I am being carried away. The movements seem much more deliberate and I have more time to view my surroundings.
The morning sickness has begun to subside as well. This has brought me to a place where “normal” activities seem inviting once again. I am beginning to cook and clean and school on a regular basis.
But, with this slowing back to normal speed comes a certain amount of reflection. Not the kind of reflection I would be capable of if I were on the ground, but the kind of reflection one feels when one is suspended upside-down or is slowly climbing yet another hill. I find myself fearfully asking, “What next?” I consider what I perceive to be the future ahead of me and I struggle to find joy with that picture. But, I am also seeing where I have been and considering all the loops and hills I have already survived.
Sometimes I long for the sidewalk below; that place where I was going to gain all this clarity and share all this insight with other onlookers or those just coming off the ride themselves. And after I had given out words of wisdom, I was going to breathe a huge sigh of relief and say, “So glad that is over!”
You see, the way I have dealt with many difficult things in my life is to shut my eyes and wait for it to be over. If this were your average roller coaster, that might work. But, the truth of this particular roller coaster is no matter how tight I shut my eyes and no matter how long I hold my breath, it won’t be “over.” Oh yes, someday the roller coaster will level out to the point I may forget I am even on it, but there will also be days all throughout my life when I will find myself diving over a hill or looping upside-down and sideways. This ride will only be over as I take my final breath.
Yet, this thought does not cause me angst. Consider the number of truly “rough spots” on a roller coaster. They are actually very few. What causes the most difficulty is the anticipation of those rough spots. As I gain more clarity from being on the ride itself, I pray that I will be “anxious for nothing” for the Lord, Who put me on this ride, buckled me in and sits beside me. He has heard my cries and has bottled my tears. He will be there to the end and will welcome me to the beginning.