Tag Archive: Benjamin


Those Life Lessons

During my early years as a parɘnt I was infused with the thrill of being a role model and instructor. I would teach my children how to be kind, generous, honest, patient, responsible and trustworthy. I only asked that through it all I would retain my humor and ability to have fun. Well, nearly 35 years later, I realize most of those lessons I wanted to teach my children were actually lessons for me.

Their dependence on me for everything has taught me to be responsible and trustworthy. The years of constant demands have taught me patience and generosity. Loving and nurturing them has taught me kindness. But the loss of my child has taught me far more than I ever imagined.

I learned that when you love someone, they never ‘die’. They continuɘ to live in your heart, in your mind and in your memory. The only thing separating me from my Benjamin is my breath.

I learned that it only takes a moment for your whole life to change forever. My life changed forever in the moments it took for the words, “He didn’t make it” to registɘr in my mind.

My intuition deepened and my awareness of the intangible aspects of life increased. Some may call it imagination. I call it awareness. I realized it was always there, but I had only made contact with the fringes of it. For example, last night I had a short, but encouraging conversation with Ben’s brother. After hanging up I went into the kitchen to finish dinner. As I lifted a pot to put it into the sink my shoulder became weak and I nearly dropped the pot. I felt it ‘twinge’ for about 5 minutes. I believe Ben was there, looking over my shoulder watching me prepare his ‘macaroni pie’. Another time I’ve felt that ‘twinge’ was a couple years ago, while driving his ŧruck. At that time I was daydreaming while driving and it was the nudge I needed to get my attention back on the road. I am sure there are other little things I miss, but I don’t want to miss a single one. They are unbelievably comforting.

I learned my God is a tower of strength and a fountain of mercy. And He gave Benjamin to me. When that realization hit me, I was bowed by the blessed gifŧ I’d been given.

But probably the biggest gift Ben has given me is the fact that I am no longer afraid of ‘dying’. I will only be moving into the next realm. And Benjie will be there to welcome me.  That thought makes me smile.

December 18

It is his birthday! He would be thirty-one. I wonder if he would be married. I wonder if he would have any children. I try to picture them in my head, but all I see are his laughing brown eyes, his cheeky grin and his sun-streaked hair. I remember his sturdy, little sun-tanned body. He was always on the go. He hopped, skipped or ran, everywhere he went.

Only when he entered his teens did he slow down a bit. I remember him once breaking away from his cluster of buddies and ambling towards me. I remember him throwing his arm across my shoulders as we turned and walked towards our car. I’m sorry I didn’t tell him how much that meant to me. Maybe he knew, but he probably didn’t think about it again.

Chocolatɘ cake was his favorite and I baked him one every year. I still do. I will bake him one today with love and longing and a lot of sweet memories. Memories that no one can take from me. And somehow, I feel he’ll be sharing it with the rest of us and hearing our rousing round of Happy Birthday.

Because when you share your body with another and give them life, there is a link between those two people that death cannot touch. That tie is stronger than death. It is love. It is unconditional love. It is not broken by death. Because of that link, I do not consider Ben as dead. He isn’t. He is alive, but in another realm.

I’ll explain more about what his passing on has taught me tomorrow. Today I celebrate his birth and his life. I celebrate his indomitable spirit, his generous heart, his bɘautiful being…..

This song was on his iPʘd. It is one of my favorites.

 

Forever in Memories

Closeup

Growing Up

My muse is shaking her head at me. I have about one hour to finish this if it is going to be posted today.

The fire burned a hole in Benjie’s leg and took the skin off his chest and back, but remarkably it didn’t touch his face. He suffered the pain with a stoic acceptance, knowing he had brought it upon himself. While he healed he built kites. His siblings and friends collected the palm stems for him, then kept him company while he sat at the table and glued them together.

As Ben grew older his passion for kites was replaced by motorcycles. He would salvage an old rusty frame from somewhere and tinker with it, adding parts he’d accumulate from who knows where. The first couple of bikes he worked on, he never could get running, but it didn’t dampen his ardor for them.

When he was eighteen, he moved to Texas with his Mom and started riding dirt bikes. He worked at several different jobs and became the proud owner of a 125 and 250. He collected all the gear; boots, helmet, overalls, pads, and goggles. Every Saturday morning, he’d throw everything into his truck, strap his bikes in the back and take off for the track. The tracks were all over southern Texas, from Houston, to San Antonio and the Hill Country. His Mom just made sure he had something to eat and drink. A few times she was able to watch him race. It was exhilarating, but also scary. It surprised her to realize how much stamina and effort went into competing on a dirt bike track. And Ben was very competitive. He didn’t like to lose and started collecting tall gangly trophies. Every time he brought home another one, he proudly showed it to his Mom and let her ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ over it.

When he was twenty Benjie went to Nebraska to help his Aunt and her family. His uncle was terminally ill with cancer and she needed help on their farm. But disaster struck. His Mom got a call at 2:30 one night. It was from a Doctor in a medical center in North Platte. He was calling to say Ben had run into a high tensile steel wire fence while riding his motorcycle and had been thrown off his bike. He’d hit the ground with such force, it had dislocated the ball in his right shoulder and shattered it into four pieces. Ben had been wearing all his gear, but he was a couple miles from the house and all by himself. He somehow managed to get himself back to the house. It seemed like 100 miles away, but was actually only about half a mile. There a neighbor found him sprawled on the floor going into shock. The Doctor was calling his Mom to tell her he had begun to operate and after seeing the extent of the damage, he stitched him back up and sent him to Omaha. So Ben had a not so smooth 6-hour ride in the back of an ambulance with his shoulder encased in ice.

Ben’s Mom flew to Omaha the next day and was able to talk to the surgeon for a few minutes before he started the surgery. He told her at first he thought he’d have to put in a prosthetic joint, but after taking into consideration Ben’s age, overall health and well-being, he decided to try and repair the ball and socket. Ben wasn’t happy to see his Mom. He told her she shouldn’t have come all that way and put herself to so much expense. He told her he was going to be fine. His Mom just held his face in her hands, looked into his angry brown eyes, smiled and told him he was being silly.

The surgeon did an excellent job. He made the right decision. There was a lot of scar tissue, but Ben slowly regained almost full range of motion. Three months later, standing beside his motorcycle, Ben told his Mom he didn’t know if he’d ever be able to ride it again. She felt like telling him he should get rid of it and not even think of getting on another motorcycle. But instead, she said, “You’ll know when the time comes whether you will, or not.”  Six months later, he was waving to his Mom as she watched him once again pull out of the driveway with his bike in the back of his truck. She noticed a new sticker on the back of his truck. It said “No Fear”.

Later Ben went back to Nebraska. He had a job to finish. The day, Ben turned 21, he attended his uncle’s funeral.

To be continued…..

There is always a beginning

This week my muse is telling me I should post every day for the next 7 days. She has been telling me this for the last 2 days, but I’ve been stalling. I’ve been trying to talk her out of this.

Every day?!?!?

“Yes,” she says with a soft smile, while firmly nodding her head.

It is not an easy thing to consider. There’s a lot going on (as usual). I’m traveling (again). I have a job interview on Monday, and if it goes well, I’ll be looking for a place to live and organizing another move.

Please listen to the audio as you read this first installment of my mini-marathon.

So once upon a time….

Thirty-one years ago a little boy was born. He had light brown hair, dark brown eyes, a squished up face and he cried a lot. Poor little guy. His Mom wasn’t ready for her 4th baby. She was only 23 and her first born wasn’t yet four.

She named him Benjamin. She said, Continue reading

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