You know how Facebook will show you on any given day what you were doing on this day any number of years ago? Well today I woke up to two things. The first was a reminder that two years ago Ben and I celebrated our 20th anniversary a few days early by going out to dinner at the golf course where Jaime worked at the time. It was a lovely evening – especially because Jaime was our server which was particularly enjoyable.
There she is, age 15 at the time, setting up our table. Ahhh … if only that happened at home. I recall talking to Ben about how we should require our kids to wear uniforms at home and maybe they would behave better. Haha.
The second thing that popped up on my Facebook feed was the last blog post of a young woman who was dying. She had asked her husband to publish it after she passed away, and he did. If you want to read the post, click here.
If you don’t want to read the post, let me just share the jist of it with you. Charlotte Kitley was 36 years old with a husband and two young children when she died on September 16, 2014. She knew she was dying. She knew she was to be denied the opportunities that she had hoped to live to see. But this was the part that caught my attention last year:
“But, they are not to be denied of you. So, in my absence, please, please, enjoy life. Take it by both hands, grab it, shake it and believe in every second of it. Adore your children. You have literally no idea how blessed you are to shout at them in the morning to hurry up and clean their teeth.
Embrace your loved one and if they cannot embrace you back, find someone who will. Everyone deserves to love and be loved in return. Don’t settle for less. Find a job you enjoy, but don’t become a slave to it. You will not have ‘I wish I’d worked more’ on your headstone. Dance, laugh and eat with your friends. True, honest, strong friendships are an utter blessing and a choice we get to make, rather than have to share a loyalty with because there happens to be link through blood. Choose wisely then treasure them with all the love you can muster. Surround yourself with beautiful things. Life has a lot of grey and sadness – look for that rainbow and frame it. There is beauty in everything, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to see it.“
I believe that everyone grieves in their own time, and if they are forced to do it in a way that doesn’t work for them I am certain they will suffer much longer than they would have otherwise. I am very pleased with myself, quite frankly, for refusing to allow others to dictate a time frame for me. I am a people pleaser by nature but this time I have (mostly) stood my ground. I have taken the time I needed. I have done it my way. I will continue to do it my way. And in doing so, I am starting to find myself healing a little bit.
I miss Ben desperately and I don’t think anyone could read this blog and not realize that. Half my soul was ripped from my body the day he died. It wasn’t only because he died, either. It was also from having had to live through the most torturous nine months. It was watching him die over those months. It was watching our children watch him die. It was watching others who loved him watch him die. Between April 10th 2015 and, well, pretty much today, I have felt like I have been running through a mine field trying to save a child. No one reading this can really understand what that was like for us, and thank God for that.
But lately I have found my heart beat slowing a bit. I feel as though it might just be possible to allow myself to live in a state of happiness without betraying Ben’s memory. I know, without a doubt, that Ben would want me to take pleasure in life, and so maybe it is time to try. Maybe the real betrayal lies not in my own continued living and my own happiness, but rather in not enjoying my life? The one I am so lucky to have, despite the fact that Ben’s ended far too early. And since I know Ben would have wanted me to be happy and to live in a state of happiness, then possibly I am not in fact doing him any favours by living in a constant state of mourning.
Maybe the best thing I could do to honour him is to grab life by the tallywhackers. Food for thought, anyways.
Today I went to the gym for 7am. After working out for an hour my trainer was helping me stretch when she started laughing and said, “You have your pants on inside out.” Ben would have cracked up over that. I’m still laughing about it. So is our new puppy.