Thursday, April 17, 2014

Picking Up Where We Left Off and "Paying the Magic Forward"

It's been over a year and a half since my sister and I were working on this blog together.  Today would have been her 43rd birthday and tomorrow marks 20 months since she was ushered into Heaven.  It has been a very long and difficult 20 months. God has taught me much and I have grow immensely. Also, I have come to a point where I am finally ready to pick up where I left off.  So in the next few blog posts I am going to finish out our last trip to Disneyland as a family in July of 2012, referring to notes I took from her and Aunt Diva the last week of her life.  Then I will begin posting things from the parks in the last year and a half since. It is all still relevant information and not outdated. Things haven't changed that much.

She liked this blog and loved helping me take pictures for it, often laughing at me when I would do crazy things to get a picture and then introduce myself as Disneyland Diva and tell the stranger it was for my blog. She would want me to keep it up and if she were here she would be giving me her opinions on things,  asking me if I got a picture of this or that, and discussing ros and cons of our experiences at Disneyland. And so, because it was something we both enjoyed, I am pressing forward and am going to work on getting caught up. And boy do I have a lot of catching up to do!

So before I set out on the next thing we were going to discuss from that July 2012 trip, here are a few pictures that we got as a group that last trip that I wanted to share on this "Picking Up Where We Left Off" post.
 Cars Land

Radiator Springs' Founder, Stanley
Red the Firetruck
Ornament Valley
Flo's V-8

Main Street USA

Main Street USA
(We are registered Native American on one side of our family)
These are some of the group pictures we were able to get and I treasure them! My sister was a trooper and she held up amazingly well despite being just a couple of weeks from her death.  You would never have guessed from looking at her in any of these pictures.

It was a magical, bittersweet, wonderful, heart-breaking trip for our family. We had help from dear family and friends to be able to afford to make this trip possible, but we didn't have any special assistance passes or any make a wish badges or anything that would have let anyone know that the woman in the front of the last picture above, had been given a prognosis of possibly just one more week to live and this was her last trip to Disneyland.

Why do I say this?  Well, because we had two ECVs.  One for my sister and one for my father that week.  They would not have lasted an hour in the parks otherwise. They simply could not stand or walk for very long. My sister was in the last weeks of her life.  She had immense pain and suffering, but she hid it well. She'd been doing that for years.  My father had debilitating hip pain that had not be properly diagnosed.  He hadn't had a moment of pain-free life for over a year, but he also hid it well. To look at us, it may have seemed like we were just a selfish or lazy family trying to get around the long July queues and cut in ahead of others with our ECV's.  After all, ECVs should be left for the folks who "really need them."  We did really need them, but to look at us you wouldn't know it. We needed to find tables quickly in restaurants or my sister would get sick if she couldn't eat at the right times. She got very cold and couldn't sit just anywhere. We were trying to fit in everything she had missed out on during treatments the last three years of her life, and that was a lot!  I may have been kind of pushy trying to make sure she did it. No, I'm her older sister, so I'm sure I was pushy. I may have been short with people or impatient, or demanding. It may have upset people that I was one person in line sometimes and then at the last second several more people joined us because they couldn't stand that long.  So looking at us, I'm sure no one had any idea that the entire time I was fighting back tears, sick to my stomach, distressed, worried, and doing everything I could not to keep thinking that this was the last time I would be doing all these things with my sister. All the while, doing everything in my power not to show her any of that, but to try to act like I was having the time of my life. So to a stranger, you never would have known that I was completely and utterly heart-broken.

I guess I want to say that we can't tell by looking at someone what they are enduring. We have no idea, but often we are quick to judge or quick to complain when we see someone do something that seems pushy or selfish or demanding.  I know I am.  But in looking back on that week, I have realized that something needs to change.
So I guess I want to say, "Pay the Magic Forward!"
I'm saying this to myself as well as anyone else reading this.  Be magnanimous! Be kind! Give people the benefit of the doubt.  Consciously try to add a little magic to someones trip every time you are in the parks.  If we all did that it really would be a lot more like the happiest place on earth for everyone. And you never know how just a small kindness to a stranger who may be enduring an incredible hardship, could make a huge difference in their day.  That spot in line, or seat, or table, or kind gesture may be just what a tired mother, or that person who just lost their job, or that terminally ill person needs.  

Will you commit with me to do your best to "Pay the Magic Forward!" on each trip into the parks from now on?