death · grief · vulnerability

Plot Twist


Have you ever had those moments where you want to yell “plot twist?”

I feel like my entire year has been devoted to that phrase.

From leaving the south to come west…. to discovering my dad had cancer and was going to die… the entire year has felt like a constant plot twist for me.

I didn’t see these things coming…. and for them to come, I would’ve had to see the details in-between coming too…. and well they resembled small plot twists.

I’ve always been the one who likes to control my life…. my destiny… where I am going next and who I am going with…. I basically like to be in control…. and well… this year, I haven’t been.

I finally let it all go to the wind… I let my life go with the constant mindset of living and just being where I am.

One of the last moments I had where I was trying to control life was back in April. I was supposed to fly LAX to ATL and the flight was delayed… meaning I missed my connecting flight to Shreveport and had to rent a car to drive to Tuscaloosa for a wedding.

It wasn’t until the next weekend, when I was in Shreveport and ready to board the plane to head back to LAX that we discovered the flight back had been cancelled.

So much had happened that week. I wasn’t irritated that I had to rent a car. It was kind of expensive, but I needed to get to a wedding… so it was worth it. And then that’s the week I knew deep within me dad was going to die…. that he was so sick.

So when we discovered we would have to wait 10 hours before they could fly me home… well I just went with it. Of course dad was livid with the airlines…. always trying to take care of his girls… and more irritated that he couldn’t control it than anything.

But the four of us got to spend the day together. It was Easter sunday…. and little did I know the last we would spend together…. as a family…. just the four of us.

We weren’t in church…. we weren’t dressed up. We really didn’t even acknowledge the fact that it was Easter. Instead we had breakfast at a truck stop sort of restaurant…. we were all at each others throats too…. and then we went to see dad’s house.

I sat in the truck and watch Bridge and dad chuck a tennis ball back a forth for an hour while mom videoed them…. and it was just the four of us…. being well…. the Winder’s….. weird and strangely annoying, yet incredibly ridiculous to watch.

And my dad must’ve been in so much pain, but he acted like he was fine… chunking the ball at my sister rather than too her. And then we went home and I laid on the couch next to dad until it was time to go back to the airport…..never did I realize that it would be the last time we would sit and watch sports together, while falling asleep.

But then when it was time to say goodbye I was so sad and so scared. I knew deep down it was goodbye from reality….. the last real time we would spend together… like that as a family of four…. without hospitals and IVs.

But I wasn’t thinking about that…. I was thinking that the delayed flight had purchased me time with my godfather…. who was in town but I didn’t get to see until I was in the airport that afternoon.

Now….. looking back… I realize a delayed flight + a $280 rent car in Atlanta + a delayed flight in Shreveport was actually the price I paid to spend 10 extra hours with my dad and my family…… in the moment it looked like a bunch of chaos…. a bunch of headaches…. a late night/early morning drive to Tuscaloosa…. a no sleep all week because I was so busy…. and a “dad’s angry with the airlines because he’s not getting our way.”

But now…. now it’s not chaos…. looking back it’s clear…. the plot twist makes sense. The small, little things that happened…. the small amount of money that was spent…. it was nothing compared to the moments I got to spend with my dad and family on that last Easter sunday.

I’ll forever hold that in my heart….. and now I don’t really get bothered over things like that…. because honestly, they are worth it…. what looked so annoying and like a giant headache became a great blessing… and a moment that I’ll never get back.

It even made having my car towed in LA while I was in Shreveport, then having someone else get it and watch it… that much easier. Mom said, “Amanda, just roll with it. You don’t know what will come out of your car sitting in Malibu for two months.”

And I don’t. Maybe nothing. Maybe something…. but I do know that situation in April taught me to just go with the plot twist…. just live in that moment…. because I had no idea it would give so much in return.

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