We’re learning lessons every day.

Yesterday was our first day back. Michael went to work, Banyan went to school, and I packed my schedule in preparation for Benjamin’s Celebration of Life*. By the end of the day, I was kind of wrecked. We all were. I hadn’t given myself the space to just sit, to be with Benjamin in my heart. I felt the loss of that space painfully last night as sleep and grief fought for my captivity. I vowed to do better today.

Banyan, I’m so happy to say, has had a very sweet reintegration into school. His middle school family has been eager to help him, and us, in every possible way. He has walked with a certain lightness about him, an unspoken relief that this is all going kind of okay so far. It is tempered with authentic sadness that he shares with us readily, and handles so beautifully. He continues to bring us joy when we need it most.

When Banyan came home from school yesterday we played a little one on one basketball in the driveway. I was chasing a ball when I put my hand up against the live oak in our front yard. I saw brothers. That tree has been the backdrop for every first day of school picture, ever. So many little things throughout the day spring up at me in that way, sending sharp pains through my chest.

This writing space has given me so many gifts. It has helped me process Benjamin’s illness, genetic predisposition, relapse, failed treatment and death as they were happening, so that I could be fully present. I am so grateful for this practice. Another gift is that most people I see regularly already know what has happened in our life, so I don’t have to say the words. Today, I saw someone who didn’t know. I had to say the words. I had to tell the story, of how close we were to that clinical trial, and how much it hurts now. It was a horribly painful experience, to speak it. But I also got to say, out loud, how proud I am to have been Benjamin’s mom. That made me stand up a little straighter. It was such an honor.

I accomplished much today, but I also gave myself space and time to be with Benjamin in my heart. The calendula and forget-me-nots from his burial are wilting, and it makes me so sad. With every day, I fear he will feel farther away, when all I want is his closeness. I want him here. When I pull into the driveway, I want to see the top of his head bouncing toward the front window, excited to see me. I want to pull four plates out of the cabinet at dinnertime. I want to pack two lunchboxes. I want his voice in this house, and his breath and his body. I know, I know–no more pain, I know. But I want him here. As much time as we had to prepare for this, I don’t feel ready. It feels abrupt. It feels much, much too soon.

*Benjamin’s Celebration of Life will take place at Sarasota Middle School, Saturday, March 4th, 2pm. All are welcome. 

24 thoughts on “Balance.

  1. I pray for your continued strength as you navigate your way through this unthinkable, unfathomable grief.

  2. I am so sorry for your pain but I am also so glad you are letting your grief ebb and flow as it should. I,am sending you much love ❤️

  3. Surrounding you all in love. Before you learn to live with loss, there is a time of discovering all the things that are lost. So much, so much, there will be so much pain. Blessings, as you navigate that discovery process.

  4. Prayers everyday for your family this has brought me tears daily as my heart hurts for you I have placed his Christmas ornament on my desk and as I sit doing schoolwork I think what a precious little boy he was it hurts. I am so sorry for your loss it was a pleasure to be his nurse and hear his laugh down the hall hugs

  5. Much too soon. I want you to have all those beautiful moments, too. I’m so sorry for your pain and so grateful for the good. Love you and holding you every day, dear Mama. ❤❤❤

  6. Sweet friend, this is your path to take. No book, person, or article will be able to tell you what is right. I stand in love, support, and friendship with you, your family, and all who loved Benjamin. His incredible light has shown on, and united more that we will ever know. His incredible bravery stands as a testament to who he was and where he came from. I cherish our time together and will forever hold him close in my heart.

  7. I believe that Benjamin is your guardian angel and he will never be far from you. Keep holding him close in your heart, I know that he is doing the same. Our love and prayers are with you and your family. You have been a gift to all of us. Thank you for your courage and honesty. May God Bless you and keep your family , and may you feel His presence.

  8. I think of you and your family many times each day .
    I’m privileged to witness and thankful that this space brings you a tiny sliver of peace.

    I’m sending light your way.
    Nancy <3

  9. I love that you are still writing here and finding a comfort in doing so . It was much too soon and no matter how much time was given, how can you prepare yourself for this? You are a remarkable person and writer. I wish I could take away your pain and make it all right again. Thinking of you always ♥️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *