Holding my sweet girl while she sobs her eyes out and asks me “What if I lose you too?” is almost as bad as watching Ben die all over again.
What do I say to that? The natural response is to say “Nothing will happen to me.” But the truth is that we just lost the strongest man in the world. The Titan. And if The Titan can fall then why couldn’t I?
The truth is…I could. I mean, who ever would have thought that ongoing back pain could ultimately mean stage 4, utterly incurable and barely treatable cancer? (With a small ‘c’). But it did. Didn’t it?
Who ever thought The Titan could fall? But he did.
I started to give the standard answer … “Nothing will happen to me. I won’t leave you.” But then that pissed me off. It felt disrespectful to Ben. He certainly didn’t want to leave us, but he did. So if I promise that I won’t, does that mean Ben didn’t love us enough? Of course not.
So I told her the truth. Daddy didn’t want to leave us. He tried everything to stay. But sometimes bad things happen to good people.
And probably nothing will happen to me, but if it does, this is what will happen: you will know how much I loved you and didn’t want to leave you. You will know I am in Heaven because I believe I will be, and no one can ever convince me otherwise. You will be surrounded by love. Forever. You will have Zak and Raegan, Gramma and Grampa, Auntie Barb, Auntie Lisa, Auntie Nancy, Connie and Kirby, Beth, Auntie Colleen, Jeff (yes…Jeff). The list goes on.
You will have everyone who ever loved your dad and I. You will graduate from high school, you will go to university, you will find a life partner if you choose, and you will always have loving friends. Because you welcome love. And sometimes bad things will still happen, but you will get through it all because you are strong, and you are resilient. Because there is so much to love about life, even when it’s hard.
And I told her that despite all our pain right now, I guarantee there is someone in the world right this moment who experiencing far worse. Someone who wishes they had our problems.
So I guess my answer wasn’t all fairies and pixie dust, but it was honest, which is exactly what Ben would have wanted. I hope it helped her. She is asleep beside me now as I write this, so I think it may have actually helped. At least I was honest. And as Dr B once joked (when I told him that Ben was a wee bit “out of it” and asking if I had confessed to all my crimes, and I just responded “yes” because it was easier then explaining that I’m not a criminal) … “the truth shall set you free.”