“You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. . . Up, down. Up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just interesting to me that a ride could make me so. . . so frightened. So scared. So sick. So excited and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing.” ~ Grams on “Parenthood.”
Some have said I’ve been on one hell of a rollercoaster ride this year. I would argue that it’s been more like the Millenium Force at Cedar Point after three corn dogs slathered in yellow mustard and a large plastic baggie full of blue cotton candy. In the past seven months my rickety car has climbed toward the sky, stayed suspended at the top for a few moments in time, and plummeted down at lightning speed – taking my breath away.
Words like “hashimotos”, “disease”, “cancer”, “malignant”, “benign, “tumors” bandied about.
Liquid shit in my pants.
Written eulogies in my head.
And, just like that, I looked like the Maitlands’ caseworker on Beetlejuice with smoke coming out the slit in my throat. I healed.
I also made the decision to stay here with my family. It might have been my three year old niece’s Hershey-colored eyes or her screams of “Aunt Meh” or our nightly cuddles playing spelling games on my iPad. It might have been being back home with all my Griswold’s. It might even have been the mountains topped with frozen white stuff that I’d missed so much. It was definitely not the religion.
Tips for the Ride:
- It’s so easy to keep moving back a few spaces in line so as to not ever reach the ticket counter at all. Buy a ticket.
- Don’t stand back by the Porta Potty eyeing the Millenium Force and all the brave people buckling themselves in. Get in line. Make your way to the front step by step.
- Don’t sit safely in the middle. Don’t take the back seat. Plant your ass in the very first seat in your life, strap yourself in, put your hands in the air, and scream.
- Don’t close your eyes at the top. When you’re sitting for those few moments at the highest point, take it in, look around, breathe in.
- When you’re screeching full speed downward don’t open your mouth. You don’t want to choke on an errant fly, for one, and the screaming isn’t going to do you any good. Remember this: you’re about to climb once more.
- Don’t exit the ride until you’ve come to a complete and full stop.