Monthly Archives: September 2014

One day


Sometimes, grief sneaks up. And sometimes, you expect it. Then, occasionally, it’s a mixture of the two. Today was one of those days. A day that is one day too soon. Or so it seems. You see, today is the day BEFORE we found out Bennie would not be able to stay with us here on earth. One day BEFORE everything about how we understood the world changed forever. One day BEFORE I expected to be bowled over by memories. I had planned for this day in my head…tomorrow. Not today. Maybe it was that very planning that made it all come today…somehow, my brain and my heart couldn’t deal with it tomorrow. So it came today. And while I was not so very surprised to be overwhelmed, since this month seems to be full of that, I was somehow surprised that it was today. I woke from dreams of Bennie that I haven’t had for nearly a year now. Dreams I had when we were with him in the hospital and just after we came home without him. Dreams of searching and running and pushing through brambles and trees, trying to find my son and not being able to. Ripping and tearing clothes, dark, dirt streaked hands and face, tears, screams. Terrifying and unsettling dreams that over time have settled and moved back. But there they were. Waking me. Reminding me. Pressing in on me. I got up. I paced. I snuggled my cat. I looked out into the night. I took deep breaths and repeated words that have provided some peace to me over the last 12 months. Eventually, I slept again. And woke again. Repeat. I got up. I got ready for work. I sat in my car as I drove and cried gulping, shaking tears. I asked some of Bennie’s people to give me some memories to help shore me up. I walked in and tried to push it back. To function. To make phone calls and answer e-mails and handle tasks. I came home and found myself exhausted. Unable to get up. To move. To do simple tasks like dishes. All I could do was sit and remember. Waking, one year and one day ago, full of hope. Finally getting a diagnosis so we could solve whatever the problem was. Trying to be joyful as it was my husbands birthday. Hours going by. No one talking to us. No one telling us. Being told to sit. Kindness and compassion from doctors who had to explain what they’d found. Hearing the results. Crumbling. Shock. Moving but not remembering. Feeling, in a physical way, our hearts breaking. One day. One day changes everything. Everything about life. And the fact that a person can make decisions they thought impossible and unimaginable because they must. Because of love. One day. A day early.
heart rock




Today, Bennie would be 1. There are moments when that seems impossible. And then moments where it seems that the year has rushed by in such a way that I don’t even really remember most of it. There are lots of reasons for this I suppose. Grief has a funny way of erasing time…or making you lose track of it. My husband wrote this week about feeling like he was finally waking up, coming out of a fog. I suppose that is what is happening to me too in some ways. These anniversary dates make you realize, oh! Time HAS passed. More than I realized. Am I “better” now that it has been a year? Am I “healed”? No, I don’t suppose so. But, I am able to find space for both grief and joy. For both Bennie and Little Miss Sunshine. It’s been a stumbling, struggling, long, hard, complicated, and strange journey. It will be lifelong I think. Which I’m OK with. That in itself is a big leap forward. That acceptance that my love for Bennie will never fade, even as we move farther away from his life with us. That feels good. And peaceful. And hopeful.


The idea of hope has swirled around us for the last year. While we sat in the hospital with Benton last fall we began conjuring up the idea for a foundation to honor him, to keep his goodness going. Hope was always part of that, perhaps at first only in name but as time moved forward we could feel that hope in a tangible, physical way. It was necessary, like breath. We had to hold onto it or sink trying. Some days, it has been very hard to find it…hope is an elusive thing when you need it most. It slips and slides away from you, just out of your grasp because sometimes it feels like there isn’t any room for it in your broken, crumbling heart and your bruised and battered soul. But, somehow, it finds its way in…through grace, through kindness, through love, through faith. It sits and waits for you to find it. What a lovely thing that is…something so giving and patient in a time when you need it. I know I am much less so…I am impatient to be “OK” or “back to normal”…whatever that might be. I suppose that my normal can be what I make it. I am most certainly forever changed by having the privilege of being chosen to be Bennie’s mom. I wouldn’t give those 25 perfectly imperfect days back for anything. He is, was, and will always be the very best of me. So, happy birthday buddy. I love you and I will look for you in the sky and the beauty of sunrises and the breeze as it blows. I know you are here. And I miss you.