Tag Archive: Benjie

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.

The Missing Piece

Families are so fragile. They are like jigsaw puzzles. They need to be handled with care, or they fall apart. The members of a family are like the pieces of a puzzle, and if the puzzle is shifted too radically, too quickly, pieces (members) drop out and possibly get lost. They may be lost forever, or they may be found and fit back into the picture.  When a long-lost piece to a puzzle is found, it is fit back in with gladness and there is a sense of completeness. Families are like this. But so often, a family puzzle has many missing pieces and the whole becomes shaky and unstable.

Sometimes there is a piece that stands out because it has been mistreated and has faded, or may be missing some of its color. But as long as it fits into the space, it is put back. Just like a member of a family. Someone may be jaded or hurting, but they are welcomed and loved anyway.

Like pieces of a puzzle, members of a family who go away cannot be replaced. The empty space they leave is surrounded with hope and longing, but remains empty until they return. In a family, when someone we love disappears, we may try to patch things up and continue on, but nothing is the same. That gaping hole is always there and the family is never the same.

……I sip my wine and nibble my chocolate and realize my family is like this….

Five years ago our family’s puzzle was swept off the table, onto the floor. Each one of us broke into pieces. Each piece has been carefully looked for and put back in place. It required a tremendous effort, a lot of heartache and a lot of soul searching. But one piece had been drastically changed. At first, we thought we’d never find it again. Then bit by bit we realized it was right there all the time, but had changed so much we didn’t recognize it. As we dreamed of it and whispered lovingly to it, it grew greater and we recognized our beloved  Benjie.

He has changed so much. He has grown into more than we could ever imagine. He has become our inspiration. He has replaced our fear with faith. He is our very own beacon of light and it is amazing how he enters our thoughts and dreams and we are stronger as a result.

…..My wine glass is empty and the sun has set…..


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