In the last six years, two people who are forever intermingled in the fabric of my life have died. Oh, there have been many that are part of my extended family that have passed away. However, these two people, one in their 70's and one just minutes old, were so precious to me. My father, George, helped give me life and my son, Benjamin, I helped to give life. Both of them taken before I was ready to let them go.
My father lived a long life, but he had five children and 21 grandchildren who loved him and whom he loved and 77 years was just not long enough. Today is the four-year anniversary of his death. I was not there when he died. The rest of my family was, but I live out-of-state and could not get there in time. My mother kept telling me it was ok, that he knew how much I loved him. But I did not get to say goodbye. We had just been up to visit him and my mother just three weeks before he passed. It was the first time I had seen him in four years and it was the first time he held his granddaughter. My dad loved babies...LOVED them. My mom said that week we were there was the best week my dad had had in a very long time. My dad was not big on showing affection, but we said we loved each other as I was leaving to head back home and we planned to meet up half-way between our homes after he had his knee surgery. Three short weeks later, he was dead. I miss him so much.
My son Benjamin, born at just 22 weeks gestation, lived just minutes before leaping into the arms of Jesus. Only minutes to memorize his face. Not long enough. Only minutes to hold him, love on him, kiss him. Not long enough. And then he was gone.
Almost six years later, and the pain sometimes is as if it just happened. Today is one of those days. School is getting ready to begin. Parents are shopping for clothes and school supplies, gearing up for fall sports and other activities. But we're not. Ben would have started Kindergarten this year. Another first we do not get with him. No getting him dressed the first day, taking his picture the first day of school, walking him to school, getting him settled into his classroom, greeting him at the end of the school day and seeing what he thought. No soccer or basketball or football or at night. It hurts. But you know what hurts too? Not being able to talk about him. Not having anyone out side of my husband and daughter and I, even acknowledge he existed. Even my own son doesn't talk about him. Can I just tell everyone, please, please, PLEASE, let me talk about my son. Please acknowledge that he existed. You don't have to say a lot. Really, just "I'm sorry" is enough. Please don't tell me he is in Heaven and is better off and I will see him again. I know that. I KNOW that. I BELIEVE that. But it doesn't make it any easier or less painful. Not when these "first" happen. I miss my little boy...more than I could ever say.
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