Happy Birthday my sweet baby boy. I love and miss you. The years pass, but…
March 28th will be Ben's 10th birthday. To be honest, I was never able to put the headstone on his grave. I have never been able to buy flowers for his grave. My parents do all of that for me. I have not been to visit him in eight years. I am trying to process how this can all be true. Love should transcend pain, the years should have lessened the pain. Maybe if I had done more trauma therapy, my walls would have come down. But, grief is unique for everyone, our paths are different. Compartmentalization and survival mode can last years. During deep meditation in NYC after Ben's death with Alexandre Tannous, I connected with Ben's spirit. As we floated as one through the universe, without words he told me many things. Pertinent to my life over the years, was the moment he showed me a ladybug (I’m here with you all the time, he said as he showed me a picture of a ladybug). They appear when I need guidance. I know Ben is pushing me to do certain things in life....I only started listening to Ben this January when I decided to quit my job as an attorney and continue my mission by publishing my book. To speak out, show others they are not alone, try to alleviate someone's pain, and talk about grief, unconditional love and radical forgiveness. Riley and I saw a ladybug Friday at the local running trail, crawling across the fence as we stretched. I knew it was Ben calling me back to him, to who I am, who I want to be, what I stand for, to stay the course through anxiety and fear, to remember unconditional love in all forms. My father, who has put flowers on Ben's grave periodically, sent a picture of those to be placed today for his birthday. I had already begun thinking about his birthday with a few tears, but today a torrent of emotion ran through me. I need to rely on Ben now, I have to be with him, lay with him again. It has been too long. Now that my soul is opening up to more in my life, to possibilities, I need him to be with me day to day. To talk to him like I did on my darkest days in 2014. Ben I'm back, speak to me, I love you. I'll see you tomorrow Ben!
Excerpt from The Gift of Ben, Chapter 45 (a breakdown I had in summer 2014, as I simply started running)
My legs were beginning to buckle as I neared town. The pounding of my feet had not beaten any form of recognition into my life, only confusion and disbelief. When I finally took my eyes off the road, I saw the cemetery looming before me. Shadows of massive oak trees draped like curtains over rows of small, arched gravestones. A desolate silence comforted me. There I could exist anonymous and alone with nothing but my pounding heart and burning lungs.
I slowed down to a walk, looking for the most private place to expunge my demons. I shuffled over to a large mausoleum to the left, collapsing behind one of its ten-foot-high walls. By the time I leaned my back against the cool cement and tucked my legs underneath my arms, I had surrendered.
“I can’t do this. I simply can’t. We can’t survive this. Please help me,” I cried to Ben, tears wetting the sleeves of my shirt.
There was no response, only silence beneath the moonlight. I lifted my gaze to find a bench in front of me, a tribute to a three-year-old son, inscribed: “With infinite maternal love. ‘A little child shall lead them.’ Isaiah 11:6.”
I stood in the darkness and walked helplessly to Ben’s gravesite, stretching out over his body. The ground was moist, and a coolness soaked through to my skin. I wanted to float away into the night sky, become the glittering stillness of the stars. Far removed from the reality of the earth, destined to exist unmoving yet resolute.
“I love you, Ben. I miss you. Please, please help me. I can’t do this alone,” I repeated until I saw headlights reflecting off of the glossy finish of the nearest gravestone. Kyle had finally found me; he had come to take me home.