Hi blog readers. It is Diana. Ben has frequently mentioned my support for his climbing in his blog entries, but I thought it might be helpful for those who care about him and our family to hear my thoughts directly.
When Ben & I met, he was a climber. In fact, one of the first emails he sent me before we started dating was after an abandoned attempt at Denali. The conditions that year were unsafe, as he would also find in years to follow. Ben made several trips to Denali before he was able to summit.
I grew up with a dad who was a dreamer. He was the happiest when he was dreaming or pursuing his dreams. My mom is very practical but also a very supportive wife. I am also very practical and try to follow my mom’s example as a supportive wife. Being supportive has become much easier for me over the years. In fact, as I have listened to countless stories about other mountain climbers, Ben’s dreams have become my dreams.
There are risks with pursuing dreams, especially with dreams as big as Ben’s. In my job, I work in a very risk-adverse field and I weigh and manage risk every day. For example, Ben knows I REALLY don’t want him to climb K2. That is a risk I am not willing to take.
Ben has always had safety in mind. He has abandoned several summit attempts because of bad weather or physical or mental health of teammates or himself. “The mountain will always be there” and “going up is optional, coming down is mandatory,” he tells me. There are many stories he could tell that prove these are more than just words to him.
In 2007, Ben made his first trip to Mt Everest. While he was gone, we found out I was pregnant with Alexander. When Ben called off his first Everest attempt, which was his Big Dream, I was so overwhelmed by his love for me and our baby, whom he had not even met! He was willing to put a long time dream on hold to support my dream of having children. I know that he now thinks of Alexander & Annelyse constantly and would not intentionally do anything to leave them fatherless. I trust Ben’s climbing skills and his judgment. I know he puts himself through mental tests while climbing at high altitudes to ensure he is still thinking straight. (If he can remember our anniversary at 20,000 feet, then he will never have an excuse for forgetting it at home!)
So what about accidents? What about avalanches or other situations out of his control? My response to that is... first, situations happen every day that are outside of our control. We all come across situations every day where we are 30 seconds away from an accident. I can’t worry about these. I can only pray. Which brings me to my final response. My trust is in God. God controls Ben’s life and my life and the lives of our kids. If God’s plan is for our children to be fatherless, I only have the option to trust that there is a reason for that. I know it sounds morbid. But it doesn’t feel morbid to me. If feels like complete trust.
So for those that have asked questions and voiced concern, thank you. Thank you for caring for our family enough to be concerned. And thank you for joining me in prayer as Ben continues to pursue his climbing dreams this fall.
Climb on Ben! Your biggest fans are supporting you! We love you!