by Benjamin's Mom
Waking up on the day marking my son Ben's two year physical absence from our lives, I wasn't sure how the day would go. Took our little dog with me, and decided to travel the route Ben took on his last day. Drove to his town where he served the community as a pediatrician, stopped at his former practice building; pictured him walking in with that spring in his step, big smile, always joking.... morning rounds done; he loved serving his kids/families, and they loved him.
His office manager came out to parking lot while I was reliving the joy in his life's work, and she said, not a day goes by that his partners, nurses, staff don't say "What would Ben do", or recall a funny/endearing story of him; or families still visiting his art center in the waiting room, where they kids write him letters, draw pictures for him. It comforted me.
I then drove to his home on the lake; needed to see the milkweed pods he planted on the dam for the monarch's migration; the paths he cleared through the woods; his huge "mother tree"; the quiet ripples on the water; yes, he was there, and I talked his arm off!
I finished the day at the fishing site on a country road where he left us; reviewed all the "dreams" for our lives, his Dad and me, his sister, his brothers--now forever changed. He was our "Go To Guy". I have sobbed, smiled, felt him in my heart where he will forever be, and am so grateful for everyday he blessed us with his presence.
Now, facing the third year, I am somewhat better but still desperate to believe that there will be more. Maybe in another lifetime or in a realm we can't imagine with our finite minds. I just know his spirit lives on, and that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other each day--can't bear to miss a second of it. I send hope to all of you. How I wish I had known Ben needed hope to face his tomorrows.
I wrote the above six months ago. Since then, my husband and I spent time in the south, escaping the holiday traditions that crush the heart. Our days walking on the beach cleared my thinking and brought me to conclusions. A peace has settled over me to calm the storm that has raged in me every day since we lost our Ben in July of 2012.
He was a wonderful son, brother, father, husband, uncle, friend; he was bright, funny, loving, and we never, never, ever would have believed he would end his life; had no clue. He carried his depression deep inside, never let us see it, or feel the concern....that was our Ben.
I know this is how many of you suffer, wondering what could I have done to save my child? Others tried so hard to save their child knowing they suffered so. It has taken me these 30 months of heartache, with an overwhelming longing to see him, hear his voice, just one more chance to hold him; tell him how much I love them, and that I understand now.
I want to encourage all of you that there is a break in the storm; the days do lighten. It's as if a fog is lifting; the caring and love for our other children, grandchildren, friends, patients, even those I do not know, but feel the need to serve, has resurfaced.
I find myself able to bring the good, loving, fun memories to mind; replace the anguish of the why with the gratefulness for the time we did have Ben here in his physical presence. He seems so close; I do picture him in my heart, but also have decided he is busy, caring for babies and children on another dimension, loving creation, walking fields with his dogs, skimming over oceans, traveling the galaxy. I do believe his spirit soars.
I share this with you, because there were many days and nights, this family of the forum gave me slivers of hope in the darkest of times; gave me strength when I couldn't imagine going on, and comforted my shattered soul. I thank God for all of you, and wish I could hug each of you with a promise that it does get better....not perfect, as perfect would only be to bask in their presence again, and not without longing, for that is a permanent part of my soul now, but better, with a peace that truly does pass all understanding.
This post first appeared on the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors forum. Reprinted with the permission of the author. Visit our moderated community of support to those who have experienced the tragic loss of a loved one to suicide.