Rough Day

For awhile there, things got better. Life did move on, and although we missed Ben terribly, we managed to live and things went on pretty normally. Well, we hit a roadbump today. I know they are going to come up, but it’s still hard when it happens. Today was the Buddy Walk, and as you all know, we formed a team in Ben’s honor and went to walk for him. It was a lovely day, crisp and cool, but sunny and full of fall color. The kind of day that makes you want to dress your kids up cute and take their picture outside.
This week, coming up to the walk, was harder than I expected. It made me miss Ben more than normal…and it hurt more to think of him than it has in awhile. Today was rough…seeing Ben’s peers, other kids with Down Syndrome, how happy they were today as their friends and family cheered them on made me think of how much Ben loved the people in his life and how much joy he brought us.
There were bright moments and comfort to be found today also. A group of our closest friends and family came to walk with us. Scott’s sister Jill surprised us by being here from Seattle (of all places!). After the walk we invited our “young friends” (a term which, unintentionally, hurt my dad’s feelings) back to the house for Burgers and fun. Babies played. Much laughter was carried out. We talked about life and the past and things not important…also some things important.
I scheduled time with friends today because I thought it would be fun to do after the walk, and I probably knew unconsciously how much it would help. Being surrounded by people who love and care for us and for Ben was a million times better than coming back to an empty house with all those memories.

I heard a story on NPR the other day…. A woman spoke about a hike she had taken up a mountain. How when you climb a mountain, and we’re not talking Everest here, just a casual hike…you only want to know about the top. She spoke about coming down after reaching the top and meeting some other hikers, a couple. The couple was obviously tired, hot and impatient. They were obviously arguing. The wife of this couple asked the woman coming down the mountain “It doesn’t get much harder than this, does it?”
Now, this woman knew the next part…going up to the summit…was much harder. It was rocky and steep. There was a lot to go before reaching the top. But, she said, there are times in our lives when people don’t want the truth. They want to be reassured. By asking the question, the person is not looking for a truthful and thorough answer, they want to know that things will be okay.

I think that life is like this. Sometimes I think to myself “The worst is behind me” because although I know that life always has surprises in store, some pleasant and some terrible, I don’t want to know about them. I don’t want to know that there will be days when it still feels like Ben has been gone only an hour, and the grieving is just setting in. I want to think that there will only be days when I remember him, love him, and am able to move through life normally. I don’t want to think that in my future there are sure to be other losses, sickness, hard times. I want to know that the top is right around the corner and my Ben is waiting there for me. And the view is beautiful.

But here’s what I think…having climbed a few mountains (literally and figuratively) in my time. The top is worth waiting for. On our honeymoon Scott and I climbed a mountain that had four false peaks. You would think you were getting to the top, only to look up and see more trail. It was hot out. The trail was so rocky and steep at some points we had to scramble up on all fours. But when we did finally reach the top, the view was so breathtaking…the wind was so strong…we looked down at the path and you know what? I couldn’t point out the hard parts. I couldn’t look at it and say “that’s where I fell”…”that’s the part that took me ten minutes”…all I could see was what was around me and I knew that getting there was worth it.

I’m not the first person to make an analogy about life being like a mountain…but I liked the commentary I heard this week and the point it put on the idea for me. I don’t want to know how far the top is. I don’t want to know how hard it will be to get there. I don’t want to know if the hardest part is done. I want to know that what I’m doing is worth it, that there is a mountain top to get to…and that it will be a great view.


3 Responses to “Rough Day”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you

    Thank you, Kym–for your honesty, your willingness to share your pain, your hopeful attitude. You sound like a person of great faith. which is no surprise to me. You and Scott have been so brave to carry on in Ben’s name and though it breaks your hearts over and over again, it is still worth continuing the climb.


  2. Anonymous Says:

    I wish I coulda come

    Hi Kym, Scott and Baby Pirate,

    I was really bummed that I couldn’t join you on the Buddy Walk this year. I had a teen program planned at the library, so I couldn’t call in sick either! 😦

    I’m sure your emotions will stay stirred up for awhile, but know that there are dozens and dozens of people who think of you each day and wish you the very best.

    Lots of Love,
    Jocie Baldwin

  3. zoobily_zoo Says:

    I thought of you two, and your family, all day long. I was so bummed that we couldn’t come. We had all been looking forward to it. I went to Great Lakes the other day and thought of Ben when I passed the alligator at Rainforest. I’m thinking of you. Let me know when you need some company, I’ll be around.

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