Turning a Nightmare into a Dream

Posted on February 8th, 2013

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Stella and Yedidya EpcottI’m holding my daughter’s hand on Disney’s Rock and Roller Coaster. We are singing Aerosmith at the top of our lungs while the coaster plunges us round and round and upside down. We speed through the darkness and are just in awe of this ride. We get off and our first thought is how to get back on and do it again. We are screaming with pure delight and for a moment, a short moment, we are not thinking of cancer.

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“Look, Dolphins!” my niece screams and my son and his cousin run to the aquarium window and stand in awe of the magnificent creatures swimming by. And for a moment, a short moment, I am not thinking of what it must be like for a nine year old to worry about his mother and wonder just what is happening to her.

“That wasn’t so bad,” my teenage son says stepping off the “Tower of Terror” with a smile. I wonder if he has really stopped for a moment thinking about his own tower of terror.

photo-2photo-5And so we ride the rides and see the shows and marvel at the Disney magic. We enjoy being together as a family and getting a break, a real vacation from the “situation.” And it seems to me that Stella is gaining strength more and more each day.

We have all loved the rides, but I think the one who has loved it most is the one who has gone on the least amount of rides. I see that Stella truly enjoys the fact that everyone is having such a great time. We are with her parents and her brother’s family, a big crew. But you can tell by the smiles how much this means to her.

We are squeezing. We are taking life and squeezing as much enjoyment as we can out of every second. Sure I get concerned that Stella is doing too much. But then I remind myself that this is how she wants to live. And that to best of her ability, she will. So she may have to go about in a wheelchair or an electric scooter. And she may have to leave the parks sooner than the rest of us.

photo-3But cancer be damned. She’s going to have fun and make sure the rest of us do too.

photo-1There are two ways to ride roller coasters. The first is to close your eyes, hang on, and hope the ride ends as soon as possible. When we got here, that’s how I rode. But that’s not much fun and you can really miss out.

So the other way to ride is to keep your eyes open, your arms in the air, and scream with delight while you relish the speed and every twist and turn.

Once you are buckled in, you’re on the ride, whether you like it or not. You can’t control what the ride will do. So you might as well try and forget that the ride is scary and instead focus on having as much fun as you can.

photo-4coasterAnd after hitting the Rock and Roller Coaster three times and Space Mountain four, that’s exactly what we will keep doing.

Yarden Frankl, Walt Disney World, Florida


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  1. carla friedman says:

    Amazing…amazing…amazing….all of you. The love, smiles, hugs just shine through your words. What a wonderful time for all of you to share. So proud that you all went on those rides too. Your words are beautiful and so true but then so is your whole family. Enjoy Stella and family. We love you.

  2. Tammy berman says:

    You go girl. I hope you feel as good as you look! Sorry I missed you when you were in washington. I was out of the country. Please may Hashem give you continued strength to make a speedy recovery.

  3. Iris says:

    You’re so right Yarden, I can’t think of a better metaphor for life than a roller coaster–especially Space Mountain–life is about holding on, going through the ups and downs, and doing it all in the dark no less–thank you for the post. Stella, thank you for being who you are, for your smile and your love of life. We love you guys so much.

  4. Judy Rheome-DeSantis says:

    You are blessed to have Stella, and Stella is blessed to have you all. Hold on tight with both hands, remember that Someone has you safely buckled in, and will bring you safely to the end of the ride.

  5. Aunt Rhea and Uncle Bob says:

    We are delighting in reading of the joy you are having on the rides and we are looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. We will be with Steve and Carrie.

  6. Aviva says:

    I’m so glad this trip is everything you have wanted it to be — filled with big smiles, good weather, and lots and lots of love with the family you love. Let it fill you up until your next opportunity for this much fun comes along. Stella, you look like you’re having a great time, as does everyone! Enjoy every second.

    Shabbat Shalom.
    With lots of hugs and love,


  7. Devorh {Debbie} Kler says:

    Thank you for sharing your Disney trip with all of us ! You all look soooo happy and having a blast !!! Enjoy and continue to send us photo’s and memories !! Good Shabbos !!!