Well, this is going to be long. But I’d like to let you all know how our trip went. Friday, July 14 was Emma’s birthday. I hadn’t really anticipated it being too hard. My week had been going well, and I fooled myself into thinking that Friday would be the same as any other day and would take my effort to make it different. I was wrong. Sometimes grief takes on a life of its own and marks the days for you.
I awoke Friday morning from a dream about Elise, Emma, and me. It left me with the feeling that someone I loved or myself was going to die. I know that I should have no fear of death. But as I read not too long ago, fear is a feeling and can not be rationally explained away. And so that morning I felt it. I bawled as John held me, from fear, and from the feeling of missing Emma whom I can now only hold in dreams. As I started to calm down the Lord began to whisper to me. Three years ago he brought me to this same place. This place of realization that the lives of those I love and even my own life are only temporary. At that time he asked me to place into his hands those same lives, to trust him and accept gracefully his decision on those lives. It didn’t happen instantly, but I did make that decsion. That was three years ago. Elise was only 5 months old and Emma did not yet exist here on earth. When she was born, I was able to act out in faithfullness that promise I made to God. This Friday, God was asking me again: “Will you place your life and the lives of those you love in my hands?” I don’t know if I have ever done this really well with anyone other than Emma. And to tell you the truth his question scared me. “God,” I said. “Are you planning on taking another from me? I don’t know if I can handle that. I’m sorry Lord, but it seems to me that placing others in your hands leads to death.” I knew as soon as I said it that that wasn’t fair. Emma lives in heaven and I would never choose to lose one day of the seven months she lived here with us. At the end of it, I was able to at least admit my willingness to trust him in the same way I did with Emma, but I just don’t know if I am there yet.
I must have needed those tears as the rest of the day was not so bad. Although as I was eating my breakfast Elise walks into the room and says, “Mom, Pooka (our cat) spilled food on that special book you are making.” Unfortunately I had left Emma’s album out open to the last page I had been working on. It wasn’t finished so it didn’t have a page cover on it yet. When I went to investigate I found that Pooka had thrown up all over my open journal and album. Needless to say, I was rather upset. As I cleaned it up though I was able to see that she had only completely ruined one album page, which I can redo. I have a few small evidences of the accident elsewhere in the book, but I think it was God’s way of reminding me not to put too much emphasis on things. The things themselves are not the same as the memories. I definitely need to hold the things loosely.
Well, as bad as the day started, it turned out wonderful. Elise and I went and got flowers and then John, Elise, and I had a picnic at Emma’s grave. When I mentioned our plans to visit the grave to Elise, she said, “OK, but don’t forget to pray.” We always pray at Emma’s grave and I guess Elise knows how important this is. Though we couldn’t get her to pray herself, she made sure that we did once we got there.
We left a little after 2:00 to head to Branson on what we expected to be an uneventful drive. We were just about 10 minutes outside of Branson on a very curvy road. Bekah and I were talking, so we missed it, but everyone else gasped as a car coming the other direction flipped through the air and landed right side up in the ditch. We pulled over. Mark went to check the car’s occupants and John called 911. Thankfully there was only one person in the car, who didn’t appear to be very hurt. He did appear to be very drunk though. We ended up waiting for probably 45 minutes to an hour as the police, ambulances, and fire trucks got there. The guys helped direct traffic and then gave their witness accounts to the police before we left. We are very thankful that this guy went off the road before hitting anyone else and that he went off where he did as a little ways down the road there are some pretty nasty drop offs.
We arrived at our cabins at Bavarian Village Resort, just down the road from Silver Dollar City. I’m sorry we forgot to get pictures of the cabins, which were very cute tiny A-frames. In fact I wasn’t very responsible at all with the camera, but you will see further on some of the few pictures we got. That night, we all, excepting Elise and Megan, went to see a comedy show. Then we drove down the strip and stopped for ice cream. We were up pretty late, but Elise slept well.
The next morning we went for breakfast at IHOP and met the rest of my family that were coming. We got into Silver Dollar City and began a day of fun. There was definitely more to do than we had time for and Elise did complain as we didn’t do some of the things we had talked about. She rode several rides though, and we saw the Purina dog show, which was very good. Elise was quite brave when it came to rides. Neither John nor I are big roller coaster fans, so when she gets a little older we will have to make sure we take someone who is with us on trips to ride with her. 🙂 As it was, I rode several of the little kid rides with her. Then she rode one that she was tall enough to do by herself. I asked her if she wanted to go on it by herself (I will admit I was tired of going in circles) and she said she did. She appeared a little nervous, but didn’t want to admit it for the world. In the pictures below you can see Elise and I looking at animals in the petting farm. Then there are a couple of the frog ride, the one she did by herself. Finally, Hannah took her on a ride so there is one of them waiting in line for it and then on it. I’m sorry I don’t have a group pictures, we forgot to do that. We did however do the tintype picture of our whole group, so if you want to see us all dressed up you’ll have to come over and see it. Elise took the picture very seriously.
Unfortunately we were unable to find the items we were looking for for Emma’s birthday. I will have to keep looking for those.