A lost boy (dad) ...
The winter has been rather mild and sunnier than most this year. I know in other parts, it's been the opposite. Here I go talking about the weather... moving on...
It has been a different year this year without Ben. The feeling of emptiness and sadness hasn't changed. What I mean by that, and I'll try to explain, is that it seems to have been harder than usual this year. I'm thinking missing him is even more pronounced since it has been 2 years and 9 months since he left us. It's been that long since I hugged Ben or hearing his voice in the house and hearing his jokes and singing to himself. Everyday it's been tougher not seeing him. Maybe I'm fearing forgetting the feeling of having him around; the feeling of looking at the couch and seeing him sitting there with his earbuds listening to music off his computer. This may account for the daily playing of various recordings and videos I listen to and watch to connect and retain that feeling I had when he was here. The photos, audio and video recordings are ok but they are the same. I almost want him to say something new, an expression I haven't heard yet. Perhaps a song he sung to himself which I've not yet heard. It's like listening to a song over and over until the "special feeling" it gave fades slowly. Don't get me wrong, hearing his voice is always special but I wish I had an entire day recorded to listen to how he reacted to things.
The house is so silent. It's like the life and colour was sucked out of it. Us three now exist in a stark white house, dressed all in white, mechanically going about our daily routines day in, day out. It's a bland, insipid series of events that fill up our days. They say that you have a different life after losing a child and you can never go back to your old life. Well, I couldn't agree more. The life, I am so desperately trying to hang onto cannot be kept anymore. It does not, nor will it ever, exist again. It is slowly slipping through my fingers. But that is the life I had with Ben, when he was here. That is the life I need to keep my sanity. The life I need to relive my happier moments with him. That is why, it seems, that I am after something that I can never attain. Only memories remain ... and those are fading ever so slowly. I've tried going to different places and standing in the very spot where he stood hoping to get a feeling or some kind of divine lightning strike or a vision, but nothing. Just a quick, flash of him standing there.
Though it has been difficult for all of us, I suggested to Steph that we should go to Disneyland to try and kick start the happy metre again. It seemed we needed this. She wanted to bring a friends with her; besides possibly Ben, what other teenager wants to go alone with their parents to Disneyland? So we brought her friend along. They had a great time. It was nice to see her enjoying the rides and the sites. For me, personally, it was extremely tough. Many of the places we went to, we were last there with Ben. The places had a different meaning. It was an entirely odd feel. First of all, much of the time, Steph and her friend went off on their own getting in as many rides as possible, while we walked around mostly saying I remember Ben was here and he said this, or he bought that. We tried not to show our mixed feelings. I think Pam was better at this than I was. We went on a couple of rides with the girls but we couldn't go on others, first of all because of the wait times at the lineups, but also because of the memories. Thunder Mountain Railroad was one I couldn't do. Maybe one day but even though it's been almost 3 years, it's still like it all happened yesterday,
On the "Ben's Blog" page, I mentioned a few things that Ben did when he was younger. I've been finding myself looking at all those older photos and trying to remember the feelings I had with Ben. It's strange how the sad feelings and the saddest day of all, when Ben left us, slowly erode away the memories of the good times at different ages. Perhaps those will come back in time. But then I'm getting older and maybe I'll have trouble remembering things? Living in this house that holds so many memories, it's hard to move forward. I can understand how some people need to move away so it won't hurt as much.
So starting this "new" life is not easy. You're held back by the memories you don't want to forget yet pushed forward by your survival instinct to move on with your life. Does this get any easier, because I certainly don't see that. I thought of moving to Europe and staying with cousins for a few months to change my thought process. I thought of taking off on the motorcycle for a few weeks to jump start this "new life", but I'm not sure what will work. Maybe it's time I joined a grieving parents group, though this is a personal journey. I know I need to get back in shape, perhaps that will be another option. Maybe all of the above? I know that getting back to nature always puts things into perspective. As the weather warms up I'll be able to get outdoors more. Any suggestions?
Meanwhile, the hunt for rare and amazing photos, videos, drawings and memories of Ben continues. They're all I have left of my best guy!
A Dad who's had to deal with the struggle and death, from cancer, of both his parents and his amazing son.