I know life throws some wicked curves at you every once in a while. The trick is to adapt and carry on. But some of these curves can happen each and every day. Or they can be spaced out just enough for you to relax and think that there are no more curves, and then bam!
Friends and strangers a like, post lots of great things on social media making you think everything is amazing and fun and life is good. But when you talk to them face to face, things aren't as bright as they seem on their Facebook page. So if this statement is true and my Facebook page is full of sadness from losing Ben, then I guess n real life it's worse. Well, yes and no, I guess. There are days, and they're often, when I look back and ask myself, what was I doing on this day 2 years ago or 3 years ago, But mostly it's been what was Ben doing this time 2 or 3 years ago. Then I end up reliving everything we all went through during that time. Why do I put myself through this? Well, maybe it's because I want to feel a connection of what we did with Ben this time of the year. Maybe it's to feel what it felt like to have Ben around at this time. Maybe it's so I won't forget.
As I write this, it's July 21st 2018. I only went for a bike ride yesterday for the first time this year. Why do I feel guilty for riding my bike which I did with Ben almost everyday in the Spring and Summers? Why do I feel awful riding the same paths we used to go on? Is it all because I can and he can't? I feel like I'm cheating because he can no longer go for a bike ride, or have an ice cream or go for walk in the forest or laugh or sing. I just feel awful even attempting these things knowing that he can't. You know, the feeling I had when Ben was in his last few months (and way before that too) was always why can't I change places with him. I've lived long enough to have a university degree, to have a family and a house, to travel and drive a car... Ben didn't get a chance to do this. Why wasn't it possible for me to change places with him so he can experience life. As a parent who loses a child, you always feel like you're cheating, like you shouldn't be here but rather your child should be. It just seems unfair that I'm around but he's not. He was all that was good and innocent and kind and smart and optimistic. It seems now that all that is gone in my life. My enthusiasm for the simple, fun things is not there anymore. Maybe it's just dormant. Maybe it's been pushed underground and one day will resurface. But I think when a parent loses a child, you go through a metamorphosis, where you are no longer that person you were before. You become a new version of yourself. As much as you'd love to return to those days when your child was here, you can't. It's just not possible. It's sad and tragic and no matter how much you try by visiting places where you and your child frequented or by eating at the same restaurants or doing the same activities, it's just never going to be the same. That's all I really want. Is to have things as they were when Ben was here. Can't I even have that for 10 seconds? So I can feel what it felt like to have him here? To say things to him I've always said but want to tell him again and again? I just hurts so much inside to not get a second chance. Once it's over, it's over.
I want people to ask me about Ben so I can tell his story, so I can explain what a special guy he was. We put a plaque on a bench in a park recently. When I walk by there, I just want to listen to what people are saying as they read his plaque. I want to come up and tell them, "Yes, I'm Ben's Dad". Is that weird? Have I finally gone mad or psychotic? Most days, I don't like this new life. It was way more fun and happy before Ben left. Maybe I'm depressed, maybe I've lost it ... but all I know is I can't change things back to how they were but I want to so badly.
Returning to the bike ride from yesterday, it was very lonely. I would turn around to talk to him but he wasn't there. Just me by myself with Ben in my head. I know there have been a lot of maybe's in this post but maybe one day I'll be able to move on but right now, it's just a slow, moving one-step-forward-and-two-steps-back, kind of a feeling. Time, they say, heals all wounds. Well, this is the deepest one and I have a feeling it won't be healing to quickly or at all. Plus, it was so hard hanging up Ben's bike in the garage last week. : (