--by dotmatrix, posted Dec 3, 2020
A couple of days ago I found a picture of Ben and me when I was 32 and Ben was about 8. It was Halloween and I had painted all the kids' faces that year. Ben was a pirate. I hadn't seen that photo in years. It brought back that beautiful day. My three best friends were there, too. As usual, they brought treats for all the kids like three gorgeous Santas. It was a long and happy evening of fun and celebration. Then, along with the memory and the love and joy it brought came the pain. It always shows up, too. I'm used to it but this rush of memories made it very hard to handle.
Yesterday I lit a candle with intention of finding a way to live with this pain because it has been seriously affecting my health. This practice of lighting a candle is something I haven't done since I was at mass, probably ages ago. This idea of having a clear intention while lighting the candle came from Jan's Solstice challenge and the first-day practice. So I did it, and I put this picture in front of the candle. Out loud, I said, "Help me find a way to live with this pain so that it doesn't make me sick anymore." It was very soothing to watch the candle. The pain didn't go away, but I know answers can take a lot of time, sometimes. So I just said, "Thank you."
As I looked at that photo, I remembered something else. When he was little, Ben would just run up to me and hug me and say, "You're so beautiful, Mommy." I called him my Tenderheart Bear like the little bears on television. Tenderheart was pink, so Ben wasn't especially thrilled by this, but he didn't really mind.
When he was very small, he'd say, "You're so blootiful." He had trouble pronouncing some words, so I got him a speech therapist at school. But before he was able to speak properly, one of the teachers at summer day camp said to me,
"Your son is my favorite kid and I'm not supposed to say that. But today he looked at me and said, 'Miss Tina, you are so blootiful!' We were at lunch and I was eating Ramen. Then he broke my heart and said, 'You're even blootiful when you're eating noodles!'"
I never forgot the joy and delight on her face or the laughter we shared, bonding over the love for this sweet little soul. And that I can hold on to. Love. I realized today that, if that's the price I have to pay every time I have a memory of Benny, then I'll pay it. Because I wouldn't want to ever forget.
Oceans' 7.8+ Billion
Yet, I have been rehashing his last days with us before he disappeared, wondering if I did something wrong, said something wrong. It's been tearing me apart. I wrote about it a bit on our challenge feed and then, after a loving response, to PJ. And our dear, wise friend PJ reminded me that there is no need to fix this. It cannot *be* fixed. I need to let go of taking this on my shoulders and trust that Ben is in this ocean of love that supports and holds us all. Every single one of us. A very wise guy, PJ.
That message hit my heart so hard when I read it. When the pain comes, I say, "This can't be fixed. I can let go." I picture the ocean. I'm not in charge of this. God is. Who/whatever that is and it might be all of us. That's comforting to me actually. And it's funny. For months now I have been dreaming of oceans, being in the middle of a vast ocean. Now I understand what it means.
Thank you, PJ. Thank you KindSpring for being my family and the safe place to bring my pain and sorrow, since Day 1. Thank you for holding me in your ocean of love.
PS 7.8 Billion is the current population of Earth. But if you consider how many have lived since the beginning of time, it's more like there are 103+ Billion in the ocean. Well, that's unless we've lived more than once. Either way, that's a big ocean. Infinite, maybe.