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.