I’ve always thought of Spring as a new beginning, and this one is no different. In fact, as I write these words I am counting down the last of (approximately) eleven hours to another new beginning. At midnight tonight I will be officially retired from the RCMP. A pensioner. HA! You have no idea how much that word makes me laugh. If I close my eyes for 30 seconds I can literally see, hear and feel those early days where I privately thought of the “Over 40’s” in the RCMP as “Dinosaurs.” I “tolerated” them but thought it was time for them to move over and let the new blood in. Good grief.
When I close my eyes I can see these Training days as if they happened moments ago:
… and the first post …
It’s true that the older you get, the faster time passes. I am now acutely aware that every day is, in some way, a “last time.” Today it is the “last day I am a police officer.” I’m moving over and making room for this …
Starting this new life without Ben is not something I ever thought I’d be doing, and yet here I am. The other day I read this:
“You are living without the person you can’t possibly have lost. The loneliness can not be captured in any word, phrase or song. It’s palpable, breathtaking and seemingly void of all reality. It’s cold, cruel and takes your heart to a level of pain you didn’t even realize existed before death laid its cold hand on your barely beating heart.”
Those words capture the way I have felt since the moment Ben took his last breath, and it will remain the way I feel on some level until the day I die. But I am also acutely aware of the fact that I am not dead. Ben’s body is dead. Mine is not. Fair or unfair, that’s just the way it is. Sometimes I have to say the words out loud to myself to both believe them and to remind myself that my life does, indeed, go on. And Ben would want it to.
So, in the spirit of continuing to move forward, I whisked Raegan off to New York for a week of sightseeing … just the two of us. Unfortunately, I was super sick the whole time we were there, but I loved every second of being with her one on one. I love that we have New York all to ourselves.
One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the 911 Memorial Museum. We were there for several hours and I could have stayed several more. This art covers one of the walls, and I loved it so much I now have the saying on my key chain beside the guitar pick with “The Titan” on it.
No Day Shall Erase You From The Memory Of Time. Damn right.
Raegan and I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and, as usual, left a little piece of Ben there until the end of time. Or until the bridge is replaced, anyway. This time it was Raegan who whipped out the marker before I had even thought of it …
While Raegan and I explored New York, and Zak attended classes at school (sorry Zak … that is the life of a student), Jaime explored Australia and New Zealand with her classmates.
She had a great time, by all accounts, and now is prepping for the big day … GRADUATION!! (Well, first her birthday … can’t believe she’s almost 18 … and then grad).
Despite the fact that Zak didn’t travel over Spring Break, what he has done is far more inspiring. Today my boy celebrates three years of sobriety! I am thrilled. Ben is thrilled for sure. You may recall how that first sobriety anniversary was bittersweet for us. (You can read Ben’s post about it here. ) Zak hit his one year sober-versary a mere two days before Ben received his death sentence. Talk about sobering (pun intended). But as Ben wrote, Zak was a source of inspiration for him, and I love that both of them got to experience it. And since I’m in a bragging mood … here is my inspirational man-child with his equally inspirational girl friend.
Ahhhhh …. my pride cup runneth over.
And so, despite the fact that my grief continues to haunt me every moment, it now does so at a lower volume. Low enough between waves that I find I can enjoy some of what life has to offer again.
One last thing … while I was going through some photos I rediscovered these two. The one of Ben was taken in Hollywood on our honeymoon in 1994. The one of the girls was taken in the exact same spot just weeks shy of 22 years later. Funny how life works. I sometimes imagine it as this continual reel of film where you can see all the things that happen in one spot over the years. Perhaps our grandchildren will visit this same spot one day.
Happy April 6th. Happy Spring. Happy birthday, Lelita. Happy sober-versary, Zak. Happy retirement, me.
Forever missing you Ben. #BenTheTitan