Kaitlyn, you always have loved roller coasters. Ever since you were big enough and I wasn’t too scared to let you on one, you have loved them. You were always so fearless.
When I was growing up my family used to go to the fun park in Myrtle Beach and ride the roller coaster that was there called “The Swamp Fox.” I remember I was 6 years old when I got on it with my father for the first time. It was really fun. However, all the subsequent times I got on there in the future were really rather terrifying. It was an old wooden roller coaster and it would climb the big hill going “clickety clack, clickety clack” as it crept up to the top and I would be in sheer terror knowing that once we got to the top I would be plummeted to the bottom of the hill at full force feeling like my stomach was going to come out of my mouth. However, each and every time I went, I got on the thing.
Then there was a day when I was 13 and I listened to that “clickety clack, clikety clack” of that roller coaster going up to the top and I thought to myself “Why do I get on this thing? Why do I do this to myself?” What in the world was I doing putting myself riding a ride that I absolutely hated? That day I made the decision to never get on it again, and I never did.
Fast forward to the time I grew up, got married and had my two girls. We started going to Disney World. They didn’t have regular roller coasters per se, but they did have Space Mountain which was a roller coaster ride in the dark that made you think you were flying through space. This ride did not bother me. It seems as long as I didn’t know when the dreaded fall would come, I was ok. However, you girls were almost into your teens before I ever let you get on. Sorry about that. Ya’ll never let me live that down.
Then they built Splash Mountain and that was a nice water flume ride through Brer Rabbit’s World and then you got to the top and plummeted the great distance to the bottom which looked horrifying to me. I just simply did not LIKE going from great heights to the bottom of something at great speed. So I let you and your daddy get on there while me and your sister waited 2 hours for you to ride (it was summer…very long lines). Of course you loved it, then we all started getting on it every time. We all loved it.
Then they made Rockin’ Roller coaster and that was a steel roller coaster in the dark that made you think you were riding in a limousine (a very fast one) through the streets of Hollywood. It started out at a few g forces. I don’t know who, but one of you and your daddy “tested” the ride for us and it was decided that it was very fun. So we all got on. 100 or so rides later, (over the years) it was the best ride with the best adrenaline rush we had ever been on. It had corkscrews and loops, but I never knew when the dips were coming and even so they came so fast that I didn’t have time to worry about them.
Then at Universal Studio’s Island of Adventure, they had “The Hulk” which was a steel roller coaster that shot you out of a cannon like thing at g force and it had corkscrews and upside down loops and we all loved it and have ridden it numerous times. Though I could very well see where I was going on this ride, the dips and everything came so fast I didn’t worry about it on this one either. All these steel coasters had no horrid “clickety clack, clickety clack” noise and the ride was smooth.
You always wanted to go to other places in other states that had big roller coasters all over the country and halfway planned it with friends one summer, but somehow it never happened. Then you got so busy in school, I don’t think you ever got to ride another one for years. Not since you were 18 I believe.
Thanks to you I got brave enough to get on those roller coasters with you, Steph and your daddy. I would have never known how fun they could be without you. I would have never known the joy of many things had it not been for you.
We’ve not gone back to Disney World since the last time you went with us in 2008 when you were 18. After that you went away to college. We had been to Disney World over the years at least 14 times.
I don’t ride roller coasters anymore. But now I feel like I’m on a virtual one that your death has forced me to be on. Long gone is the thrill of getting on those nice steel roller coasters and having the most wonderful adrenaline rush in the world. Now I hear that “clickety Clack, Clickety Clack” as I go to the top of my grief and then plunged down in even deeper depths of grief. Going to the top is horrible because I know what is coming when I get there, and going down is even worse as I plummet, instead of my stomach coming out of my body, it is…..my heart.