Sunday, July 19, 2009

The road not taken

Not too long ago, my daughter, Rani, talked on Facebook or in her blog, about Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken." If memory serves me well, she wasn't too fond of that road because she felt it was a lonely road, and quite frankly, she'd rather have her friends along for the ride. I've been thinking about that road and about her comment an awful lot lately, and I hate to say it, but I think she's missing out on something by not taking that road.
To refresh your memory, here's the poem (taken from

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I can see how one could easily think that going down a road not taken could be a very lonely experience, but I don't think that's Frost's point. Besides, I've grown more as a person in my solitude (not loneliness) anyway. The way I see it, he's telling us that he's taking the more difficult road, the one less traveled, and that has made all the difference in his life.

That's what Dave and I did in choosing to let Lily live. It's not so much that we did something many people don't do--I know many others have chosen to continue their pregnancy after hearing devastating news about their unborn child. But it has not been easy. Now, taking care of Lily isn't that much different than taking care of a healthy newborn, especially now that her tube is out. The biggest difference is in the visits from hospice (which she is now off) and her speech language pathologist, early interventionist, and physical therapist. Plus, she's had more doctor's appointments. What's difficult is living day to day not knowing what the next day is going to bring, worrying about her cries and her color and whether or not she's aspirating. Wondering if we will will get to find out if her hair will still be black once it grows out or if it will be curly like it seems to be growing. Things like that weigh on you. They're pretty heavy and I walk through life a whole lot differently than I used to, carrying that weight.

But oh, the difference! Lily has been a joy and a blessing. We have truly learned how to be grateful for the small moments. We have been given a miracle. Yet I still find myself taking advantage of what we've been given, especially when she seems to be doing so well.

While this has been difficult, I could not choose the other path, the easier one. Dave and I know that the easiest way isn't always the right way, and we feel this also applied to Lily. We went into this knowing that it wouldn't be easy.

But look at the road not taken in the poem. It hasn't been taken! Just think, the traveler has the opportunity to take that path and become a pioneer! That traveler is the one who gets to "pave the way" for others to follow. I'm not saying that Dave and I are the first to take this road. But I remember Dave telling me when we first found out about Lily that he read countless stories of people who had terminated their pregnancies and those who chose to continue their pregnancies. He said the ones who terminated always felt regret, but those who continued (regardless of the outcome) felt so blessed and would not do it any differently. What if our story helps someone make a decision? There are other stories out there that have that power. Or what if our story answers a parent's question about her child's care? We have gone to so many other blogs to get answers about Lily's care. Then we have made a difference for someone else.

So it's not a lonely road. We have made friends along the way. We have been given the strength to make it through because of prayers that have been lifted up for us. We have been comforted in knowing that so many people are taking the time to pray for our family and that they truly wish the best for Lily. Don't be afraid of that road not taken, my child. Oh, the difference!

(Another note: please pray for my best friend, Yvonne. She passed out the other day and fell and broke her jaw in 3 places. She finally got to come home from the hospital, but her jaw is wired shut and she's in a lot of pain.)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Yet I still find myself taking advantage of what we've been given, especially when she seems to be doing so well.

    I don't think it's exactly as you say. I think it's called resting. Those times when you slow down because things are falling into a routine, and all seems to be stable and "easy." I think those are the rests that God knows we really need. I don't believe for a minute that you don't realize what a gift you have, whether it's a calm and restful time, or a difficult time.

    And I'm with you. I would never wish to have chosen the other road, now that I know what love springs out of me for such a precious child. But it still strikes me how I just never could have understood, before I walked this road. I completely misunderstood the love that parents I knew of special needs children had for their own. I thought they were just amazingly saintly. Not so - they experienced love - and have been blessed and changed by having their children. Not much different than what we get to experience by becoming parents of any baby, huh? Only with an extra bit of specialness for not really ever taking completely for granted that we can always have that baby.

    I am so glad Lily is doing so well, off hospice, without the tube. What an answer to prayer she is.

  3. Jill, your family has been such an inspiration to me. Thank you for keeping up with your blog! :0)

    Ginger (David's Mommy)

  4. Thanks Jill for asking for prayers for me! They are very much appreciated! Things are slowly getting better! I'm tryin to use Lily's determination as my inspiration to think myself better!

    Love you! Yvonne