When I was a kid I thought life was like a roller coaster. I don’t know where I heard that, but it seems to be a common metaphor for the ups and downs of life. Before I’d experienced real heartache and grief, that metaphor seemed spot-on. Now, I don’t think life is really like that at all. To me, life is less like a roller coaster and more like that ride that swings you forward and backward. I think it’s a pirate ship ride. Anyway, in the life I’ve lived the past few years that swinging ride feels like a much better metaphor for life. You swing towards something happy and just as you reach it life takes you back down. Then you get thrown backwards into a new happy which you can’t really enjoy because suddenly you’re heading towards the ground again.
(Photo: Collin and Eric sitting at Bo’s Thinking Spot)
Bo was like a brother to Collin. He passed away only two weeks before we would’ve told him we were expecting. He was one of the first people Collin asked to be a groomsman. When Collin told him we were dating, Bo was so mad he hadn’t told him sooner. He reacted to our relationship better than a few of our blood relatives did. He was family; the family you get to choose. He was so important to us. And we didn’t get to tell him I’m pregnant.
When Collin told me he had passed, I didn’t believe him. I felt denial very intensely and then blind anger like I’ve never felt before. There was a day I couldn’t stop crying because I hadn’t really taken the time to admit that he was really gone.
One of my favorite memories of Bo was when he and I were on the deck outside Old Chicago’s. I had a winter jacket on, but I was still shivering from the cold. Bo put his arm around me and was teasing me, “Why’re you cold Catie?! It’s not cold!” I can still hear the way he said my name. I felt like a little sister to Bo. He was always a gentleman and he was always so kind. He would tease me but never in a mean way. He always told me I was family but when he found out Collin and I were dating, he said it even more. When we were leaving to move to California there were a couple of times when he would tear up telling me to make sure Collin called him and to remember that we always have a home in Colorado.
When we planned our trip to visit Colorado, there were a few people we were going to make sure to see. I knew without a doubt Bo would be so happy for us. I couldn’t wait to tell him he was going to be our child’s uncle Bo. I still cry when I let myself think about the fact that Bo passed away only two weeks before we would’ve told him.
Life is really unfair. Whenever you try to plan or expect anything, it all changes instantly. There are reasons to be happy and there are ways to look at what happens so that you can remain optimistic but it’s really hard. Sometimes you have a good day and things seem to go right. On those days it’s easier to be optimistic. But on the other days, it’s impossible. If you believe in something, you can sometimes find comfort. But not all the time. When something horrible happens that just seems so very unfair, nothing helps.
First, as of today I am seventeen weeks pregnant. Collin and I didn’t plan the pregnancy, but we wanted it. We found out on a sad day, but we were happy about it. I really do believe this baby is meant to be. We are so excited. Second, I still have straight A’s but that might change because I’m taking my first college math class. We’ll see. Third, so far I’ve written the first few chapters of a book I someday want to publish. My mom is reading it enthusiastically and her comments are helping me stay motivated. The writer’s block is real but I will publish it someday.
Life is a challenge but it’s worth it. The plans and expectations you have will change, but sometimes the most unexpected things work out to be beautiful. There are so many reasons to be a pessimist and it’s so hard to look on the bright side sometimes. But, even on the impossible days, it’s worth it. The fight to keep going past the very unfair days is worth it. “Life is life”, as Bo would say. So live it.
(Photo: The Tattoo Collin and Eric got in honor of Bo)
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