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The Falls

August 30, 2015

We spent the last week of my Love’s time away at a church camp.  Our mornings were filled with VBS (Vacation Bible School) singing many wonderful songs that would make me choke back my tears.  The afternoons were a mix of Bible study and beaches.

Except Friday.  Friday my friend took us to ‘The Falls’.  It is an old dam that did some kind of mill at some point but is now just a lovely flowing rapid and a bridge over the dam.  It was a little scary for me because I am terrified of heights.  The thought of my children falling and getting hurt from any height causes me to feel dizzy and a little sick to my stomach.Down the Rapids

These little rapids were running a little fast because of a huge rainfall the day before.  Curly got stuck and was unable to get up and was too scared to let go.  I waded out and got his hand, but he just wasn’t strong enough to stand up in the current.  My friend who took us there waded farther down the stream to a spot to catch Curly when I let him go.  I did, he looked at me terrified but trusted that we were not going to let anything bad happen to him.

It was a scary moment for the both of us.

My friend ‘caught’ him (where she was the current was so minor he just stood up) and he said: “That was fun, I want to do it again!”

I waded down to my friend and we stood there while the kids figured out a way to float down the rapids without scraping themselves.  (They didn’t, by the way, they had some scrapes to show for their adventure).  But, while standing there she told me about her friend who died in the rapids.  It was in June, and the current was too strong.  His father watched, helpless, as his son was swept away because he couldn’t swim.  I asked her if she found it hard to be at the falls because of this.  No, she doesn’t.

As we talked more about it my mind was racing.  bridgefalls

As she tells me more about the tragedy all I can think about is the poor family.  How horrible the father must feel.  How deviated the mother would be.  Did he have siblings?  I say all the old, normal things like: ‘what a nightmare!’  And ‘how does a family recover from something like that.’  My friend smiles at me, probably thinking that I am being facetious.  But I was being serious.

Oh.

How DOES a family recover from this?!

ready!

I don’t know how a family recovers from this.  What I do know is that recovery from a death looks very different for everyone.  For me, being able to feel empathy for others is huge.  For my Love, driving down my street in a certain direction is huge.   But this day, listening about someone’s tragedy that wasn’t mine made me forget that I was still in the process of my very own.  I didn’t forget about Gift, I will never forget him.  What I did forget was the pain of losing him.  I am no longer carrying around that heavy burden.

jump

I watched as my friend (bottom left, looking all lovely) climbed the edge of the falls, walked out onto the outside of the bridge and jumped.  Just jumped.  No effort, no fear.  No burden.  Jumped.  She then got out and climbed to the top of the railing and jumped.  My biggest fear.  Most parent’s fear is a child dying.  I’ve done that.  But what that fear is, really, is the anticipated feelings that come with something we can’t control.  I can’t control death.  I could stop my children from jumping because it scares me, but it doesn’t scare them.  I would be asking them to not live a fun life just because I am too scared to let anything bad happen to them again.  But I can’t stop bad things from happening either.  What I can do is embrace the joy that living brings.

I can let go of the fear.  I can let go of the things I can’t control and just fill my heart with joy.

As I realized that I had let go of the burdens of fear I decided it was time for me to take the plunge too.  I don’t have to live in fear or ladened down with burdens too heavy for my heart to carry.  So I took on my fear.  I climbed out on the ledge, and I jumped.

makingasplashedit

Two splashes, one me, one Sweetness so I didn’t have to jump alone. She took my job, being by her side to help her through difficult times.

When I jumped I released the loss and now just feel grateful for having what I have and what I have had.  I let go of holding too tight and to just breathed easy again.  It was cathartic, the fall and the cold water; washing over me.  It felt different and fun, not being afraid.  I really enjoyed my time there.  I want to take my love there.  And I would like to jump again.

(Note:  All photos except the last are curtesy of Tanya Cooper, the last one is care of Casey Distefano)

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