I wrote an article about Trey’s love for Kennywood 4 years ago. That article is here. It was viewed 22 thousand times on Facebook and countless times overall. Simply put, it was my heart for my son and appreciation for a place like Kennywood written down for all to see.
Trey always loved Kennywood. When we weren’t there he talked about it. He would spend many hours watching rides of roller coasters on the computer but always came away from them talking about Kennywood. There are many people who share precious memories of being with Trey at Kennywood.
The summer after he completed his battle, Kennywood brought us in and showed us a tree in the center of the ride, The Jack Rabbit. It was named “Trey’s Tree.” We got to go inside and stand by the tree and take pictures. Late that summer I was blessed to be given the first ever MSA Sports Perseverance Award. That ceremony was recorded and you can see it here.
Last summer, we buy season passes every year, we created another memory. I took Joe and Bella there for their school picnic and let them both go. I was letting go, again. Granted, as I said goodbye I only went in the parking lot to take a nice air conditioned nap. Yes, Bella called near tears minutes later having lost a $20 bill so my nap didn’t happen and I spent the rest of the time wandering around by myself until Rachel got there after work. We have yet to drop them off and go home. I suppose that’s next.
I remember Trey’s last visit there. There were several rides that he had wanted to ride but was not tall enough…before that day. That little cancer riddled child just barely hit every mark for every ride he had wanted to ride. I give God credit for that for sure. Clearly, Rachel didn’t let him go on The Phantom’s Revenge and does not regret it one bit. He was filled with joy and loved every minute.
We could look back and be sad. Why was he taken from us? Why don’t we get to make more memories? Why aren’t I dropping off Joe, Bella, and Trey at Kennywood? We could be like that.
We refuse to be like that. Some would say that we were robbed of our son. Well, we will not be robbed of our precious memories. We have cried our tears. We have mourned our loss. We have been comforted by so many people. Because of that, we have the ability to have those sweet memories.
I grieve for those who can’t move on. I am sad for those who look back and only see pain. We had comfort, support, and encouragement in every step along the way. THAT is why our memories can be so beautiful…with only the tinge of sadness.
Do me a favor. Do us a favor. Continue to come alongside those who are in their battle. When God puts something on your heart for someone who is in a similar situation, go for it. If you know someone who has experienced a similar loss, remember them and don’t assume that they are doing as well as we are. They probably feel like everyone else has moved on. For them, the memories just bring pain.
Again, to Kennywood and all of you…thanks.