The Last Ride

Tiffanni and I were married in January of 1999. The plan was to make sure that we did it over a break so that our college friends could come and we could go back to school for the spring semester. But I overloaded my schedule and finished early. 20+ hours at school, 25 hours a week at Red Lobster, For the Seafood Lover in You, and threw in some baseball so I wouldn’t have to sleep at all.

January is the worst time to get married. Not that it matters on the wedding day, but there are so many limited options for anniversary get-aways in the years that follow. A few years ago we decided to spend a few nights in Chattanooga, only to return after one because they shut down the city for a blizzard (the Southern kind- ice and wind chill.) But January it was. It made sense eleven months earlier when we started planning the festivities. A lot happens in eleven months.

I like surprises, so I told Tiffanni to pack warm for the honeymoon and that’s all of the hints that she got. We went on a cruise to the Bahamas and back to Orlando for a couple of nights. We stayed in the Wilderness Lodge at Disney and then went to the Animal Kingdom. Tiff and I had been to every park in the area except Disney’s Theme Park Zoo, so we gave it a shot. And true to Disney, it was brilliant.

Over the next 17+ years, we made a life of hitting theme parks. Vacations and excursions were planned around roller coasters- The Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Universal Studios, Six Flags, Alabama Adventures, Busch Gardens, Sea World Orlando, Sea World San Diego, Disney Quest, Point Mallard, White Water Atlanta- we like theme parks.

Last week we went on our Summer Vacation with Tiff’s side of the family to Orlando. There’s eleven of us. I know, because there are no 11-person configurations of dinner tables that works well. Someone gets stuck on the end and I knee-joust with them all night.

Last year, Jay and I took the kids to Aquatica, a water park, while my in-laws took Tiffanni and Stacey shopping. It just seemed like Tiffanni couldn’t do theme parks anymore. She moves so much that the heat is unbearable and I knew that she couldn’t walk around a park anymore. So for the last several months, Tiffanni begged to go to Disney. She told me, “We’re going.”

There aren’t many things in life worse than telling your partner, “No.” I never bought into the subordination theory of marriage- we were partners and made decisions together. Some things I was good at and needed to make the call on, some things she was, but mostly we made decisions together. That whole your husband is the head thing, that actually stems from the curse of sin (Genesis 3:16), and I’d prefer to not subject myself to curses if I can. So, we partnered. But lately, I have to say, “No,” a lot. It doesn’t feel right and I hate it.

So I avoided talking about it with Tiffanni all week in Orlando. I thought that if I pretended that it wasn’t an option, that it would just go away. And she pestered. “I want to go. Can we please go?”

On the next to last night, my mother-in-law and I talked and agreed it was just too hard. It wouldn’t work and Tiffanni just couldn’t make it. I went to bed sad. So many parts of this disease take from you without warning. You don’t realize that it’s the last time to do something until it’s over. But to my surprise, I woke to a text from my mother-in-law that just said, “Let’s do it. We’ll make it work. Let’s do Animal Kingdom, it’s the most shady and the easiest to maneuver.” With mixed feelings, I responded, “Ok.”

Tiffanni came into the room to wake me on the last day and to ask one last time, “Can we please go? I want to go so bad.” I don’t think it was about a park, or a ride- it was about independence. It was about memories. It was about being normal.

So we went. The Animal Kingdom. The place where it all started. And this time I got to feel the significance of the moment all day. Each ride, each snack, each smile from Tiffanni and our kids. We fought the heat and the extra work of a wheelchair. I noticed the beauty of the moment all day. And we smiled, and we laughed, and we played, and we were normal for one last ride.

lastride

33 Comments for “The Last Ride”

says:

Oh……Jeremy…That photo. I could see her hands up before I scrolled down. So much is captured in that single photo. So much. I’m so glad y’all had your day there.

Graham Brown

says:

I’m tearing up at work man. I can’t have all that. I work with construction guys and I won’t hear the end of it. I’m happy to hear you were able to go. I know the feeling of not wanting to say no.

says:

Beautiful story. And you made her happy, may be the last ride, but only God can call that shot. I believe in miracles, and am praying one for Tiffany and Stacey.
Thank you for your honesty and for sharing your and Tiffanies journey with us.
As always prayers continuing for you and your family. Praying for healing for your children as well.
God bless you Jeremy

cindy Herschberg

says:

It is so AWESOME that she got to go !!, I understand this very well , although on a smaller level than Tiffani . I too have a list that is growing with NO’s I sometimes just want to do stuff even if I cant do stuff if that makes sense. I just want to be a part get out of this house and the routine that I have now. So when I saw your photos on facebook and saw Tiffani in them I was THRILLED for HER and FOR the WHOLE FAMILY !! It made my day !! You are a great husband and she is so blessed to have you!! Praying for your whole family !! God Bless !!

Janet Smith

says:

I read the post that Suzanne wrote the day of that ride – and I felt a jolt of joy and a big smile appeared on my face. Love you guys.

Hannah Harmon

says:

Thanks for the tears Jerm. This picture is perfect, she looks so happy! All of your post are so beautifully written & I look forward to them every week. Love you both.

Heather Odom

says:

I cried when Suzanne posted that Tiff and Stacey rode and I’m crying even more seeing that huge smile on her face!!! Thank you for saying “ok”.

Pam Webber

says:

Dreams Really do come true at Disney…I love that smile on her face! You guys are Champions! Love you all!!!

Amy Ford

says:

Wow! This really hit home as we traveled to DC last week for the first time with Pam in a wheelchair. I tend to ignore her limits and just say “of course we can do this!”. It’s so hard to see her miss out on the things I know she loves to do. Like your family we just make it work!! Love you all!!

says:

I am crying and and completley happy too!!! I pray with all of my heart there be many more rides. I love love love this picture and this story… Thank you!!!!

Brandi Holmes

says:

Beautifully written as usual! I’m so glad you take to take her somewhere she was really wanting to go! That’s so awesome and something you both will never forget!

Julie Kent

says:

Cannot say with words how much I love this. Tiffanni, you go girl! So glad you both were able to experience that day! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us.

Becky George

says:

I’m so glad you guys went. To me it’s a victory. The evidence is the memories.
I celebrate every tiny and big victory with you guys.
Love the picture.
You two’s hero status isn’t changing 😁
Becky

Ginger Morris

says:

You guys are inspiring! Your love is amazing and reflects the love Christ has for us. I love you both. Jeremy knowing you from such a young child I’m so proud of the man, husband and father you have becone. Praying for your beautiful wife.

Judy Smith

says:

This is such a beautiful story, and it’s easy for the reader to feel your love for Tiffani in the words you use to tell it. I’m so glad you had this trip. I am still praying that you will make many more wonderful memories as you live through the next many years. I’m praying that Tiffani will be blessed with some kind of healing. I say it again. MS is a horrible disease. Deserved by no one. I’m praying for her and for you as you minister to her day by day.

Lynn Defourneaux

says:

So wonderful. I love the priceless smile on Tiffani’s face. How wonderful that you all made that happen.

Cissy McNish

says:

Its really true……
There are such things as brave knights in jeans and wishes really can come true.
You are, and they did……💑
I love you PJ….💙

Candice Higdon

says:

God is so good to give us those moments He knows we need in the midst of madness. Love the smile on Tiff’s face!

Missy Holcombe

says:

You do it every time! The first place was about being normal and independent. Saying NO is very difficult especially when you’re the wife (was never taught the curse of sin thing, but Morgan says I should hear it). Seems like I woke up in the driver’s seat and I never asked to leave the passengers side. Normal is something I only feel when I play pretend and absorb myself in the lives around me, when someone takes the time to play a game with me or we go to church. You are so right about doing something for the last time. It happens before you know it and it seems so unfair. But you tackled the odds and made it happen even if it may have been for the last time. The memories will last a lifetime and that smile is priceless! Memories are far more valuable to me now, but they’re much more fun when they’re shared. We love you guys! You’re my hero!

says:

This was good. Really good. I’m not talking about the post, or the words, but rather the expression of love in real time. The post moved me, but the people in the post move me more.

Phoebe Kebbel

says:

Her inner spirit and drive to live and love are so strong! She is an inspiration. Love the picture and her happy,happy face 🙂

Brooke Karr

says:

I don’t know if she meant to, but Tiffani is throwing up a “rock on” gesture and I love that so much.

Kathy Mills

says:

Awesome Jeremy!!! I know that you already know this, but you have an amazing family and support group. Plus you and your beautiful wife Tiff, are a true inspiration to us all. Thanks for sharing.

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