Several times a week we go by the cemetery where Bennett is. Parker and I started saying hi as we drive by and now Fletch says hi and blows him kisses. He’s a pretty great little brother.
There’s a space in my heart. It’s where I go to find you. It’s where I keep all of your things. Sometimes it’s your nursery in the old house. Other times it’s Daddy’s shop where you spent so many hours ‘fixing cars.’
When you were first gone, forgive me, I couldn’t go there often. It hurt too much to open the door and spend time in that space. I honestly don’t remember much about that first year, but I do know that I would just poke my head in, or dip a toe in and I would be hysterical. It was too hard to recognize that you were gone from this world.
As the years passed I found I could open the door and stay in that heart shaped space a little longer. It was hard and I was a wreck, but after awhile I felt it oddly comforting. It was where you were. The memories didn’t hurt as much as they brought me relief. They were a reminder that you existed.
I’m amazed at how my life has grown around this space, how I have been able to function. You have given me such a will to not only live, but thrive. Your memory pushes me every day to find some sort of peace in this messed up situation.
You would be seven this May, such a long way away from the chubby 18 month old that I remember. I need this space now. I need to know you after the five long years that you have been gone. I need to say your name and be surrounded by your things. I want to wrap this space around me like a warm, crocheted blanket. It is my solace now and has become a part of who I am. Thank you for letting me love you my Benny Bear.
On February 1st Perry, my youngest rainbow baby officially became older than her brother Benny who passed. Now both of my rainbows have outlived their brother.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tough. Part of me sighs in relief that Perry has made it past 18 months and the other part of me is sobbing inside. That perfect little boy will forever be frozen in time at a year and a half. It nearly breaks me.
Time makes no sense and just keeps moving forward, further away from my Benny. His two younger siblings will never hear his laugh, pull on his curls or touch his dimples. They will know him in memory only.
I am trying to understand what that looks like to them. Benny will forever be this idea, something that existed way before them. I only hope that we can show them how real he was.
As the years have passed, Darcy has forgotten. She was so young when Benny died and the memories seem to be fewer and further between. It’s heartbreaking. A lot of the time it’s as if we are reintroducing her to him as well.
Time is the enemy and the hero all at once. As cliche as it sounds, it can heal. It can breathe joy back into a broken heart. We’ve been lucky to have the other three. We’ve been lucky to have each other. I just wish we could have it all
Your mama is missing you tonight buddy. XOXO
A month and a half after Benny died it was Christmas. Instead of sending Christmas cards, I was sending thank you cards to amazingly generous people that had helped us out. The second year, I decided there was no way that I could ever send a Christmas card again. It felt weird without my entire family being involved. five years later, not much has changed for me.
My sister sent this to me today and man does this author speak to me. Maybe some day I will be ready to send out cards again, maybe not. That’s the funny thing about grief, everyone’s path is different.
Send the cards. Or dont. Just do whatever makes this season survivable. Sending love.
I just the other day said to a friend that I was waiting for Benny to show up. I hadn’t really felt him since we moved. Over the past year it’s felt like it’s taken some time for the little guy to find us as we lived our gypsy lifestyle.
Well, after the day we had, I’m feeling like I was heard, in a BIG way! We had Darcy’s 10th birthday party at a local bakery/restaurant. She’s huge into baking this year and on a whim I booked a cupcake decorating party for her and her friends.
At one point in the party Darcy walked back from the bathroom with someone behind her. One of Darcy’s girlfriend’s had a sweatshirt with her school name on it and someone asked her if she knew Darcy Roaf. Darcy looked at her and said ‘that’s me.’ The woman asked Darcy for her parents and came over to us. It was Benny’s nurse. From the hospital. From the night he died. The first person to give us a glimpse of hope that losing a child is survivable.
We hadn’t seen her in years and caught up after the party with lots of hugs. It was totally random that she had stopped at the restaurant this afternoon. Totally random that we happened to be there having Darcy’s party. Even more random that today is 11/17. Benny’s half birthday. He would be 6.5 today.
We got home tonight and were trying to pick a movie to watch with Darcy and decided on the Sandlot. I haven’t watched this movie in years and I was shocked to discover that Parker had never EVER seen it! Five minutes in, we all look at each other when one of the main characters names is Benny. He’s the hero of the storyline. This characters initials happen to be the exact same as Benny’s, BFR.
Benny has a dream in which Babe Ruth (again initials BR) gives Benny a speech…’Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.’ In the next scene Benny puts on some PF Flyers (Perry, Fletcher?) to try to save the day.
Bah, maybe I’m reaching here. But I FEEL it!! Today certainly feels a little like kismet. Thanks Buddy. I don’t know why I ever doubt you. XOXO
I woke up this morning like any other morning. A flurry of activity trying to get everyone ready. Just another day.
Just like it was just another day 5 years ago. Except it wasn’t. November 8th changed us forever. I look back on that day now and I hardly recognize myself. Things have changed. I have changed.
I’m not entirely certain I could ever imagine the path my life has taken since we lost Benny. I’m not sure I really thought much into the future during those first bleak days. Hope seemed like something reserved for someone else.
So here I am 5 years out and I can tell you that my life is almost unrecognizable. I never imagined feeling fulfilled again. I never thought that I would be able to laugh again or allow myself to feel vulnerable.
My heart will always ache. Even in my most joyous of times a part of me will be sad. I will never hold my son again. My children will never all be together in one place. I never thought this would be my story.
I certainly didn’t think that I would be waking up to try and organize the post move chaos that is my life while nursing two sick kiddos. This was not my plan for the day. I wanted to breathe, soak it all in. But my plans are as steadfast as they were on this day 5 years ago. I must remember how little control I actually have.
There are times when I look in the mirror and I wonder how different I must look. Older, sadder, perhaps wiser. Definitely content.
I’m reminded of the Velveteen Rabbit in these moments. We read a passage from the book at Benny’s Memorial and my goodness is it fitting for today.
‘You become, it takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But those things don’t matter at all because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’
Maybe in all of this grief and this heartache, I’ve ”become.’ I don’t think this is a final step or the end of anything. I think this is just where I am today.
I love you, my Benny bear. Thank you for every laugh, every snuggle and every smile that you brought into our lives. I love and miss you every single day.