"Hate is not the opposite of love, the opposite of love is individuality." - D.H. Lawrence
On August 19, 2014, at approximately 10 p.m., you would have found me running in pants and a long-sleeve shirt, sweater flowing around my waist, right down the middle of an old country road in Ridgefield, Connecticut. It was pitch black. Headphones blared "Ben songs" in my ears. We had just returned from a healing vacation in Colorado and Texas, but I had found out startling news about investigations and legal proceedings geared toward, not only my husband's control over our children, but mine as well. I began to question who I was fundamentally as a person, my role as a parent. We were healing...and, now we were stalled again. I hadn't run in years, but I sprinted the distance from our house to...where? Nowhere? My heart began pounding, racing. I sobbed, raised the volume of the music, talked to Ben, to God, to whoever would listen. I can't do this. We can't take much more. Help me, Ben. Guide me. I ran down the center of the road, since the darkness hid the shoulder from view. I didn't care if a car came straight at me, I didn't care if my heart burst. I was breaking and knew nothing else to do but run, yell, cry. Scream.
In the end, however, I did get over when cars passed. Partly to remain safe, partly to ensure no one saw me. I needed this time to break. Alone. My journey took me to the cemetery where we had recently placed my son in the ground. Legs shaking, lungs burning, heart racing, I collapsed in privacy behind the wall of a mausoleum. You would have heard a broken woman, sobbing, talking to her son who had passed. I can't do this. I simply can't. We can't survive THIS. Help me. When I lifted my head, this view met my gaze:
In the months to follow, I struggled (and still struggle) with many things. How do I face the negativity and hurtful comments geared toward my husband and family? Toward me, for not loving Ben enough, if I still loved my husband? Investigations? Criminal trial? Moving, losing...nearly everything? But mostly...losing my heart and soul - my son. I avoided reading most of the negative comments and deleted Facebook pages. I tried to handle investigations with grace, but also as a lawyer-Mama Bear protecting her children and family. For awhile I didn't blog because my emotions were simply pain, grief and anger. Hurt. Disbelief. Trauma. So, I took the time in silence and tried to find myself, as well. I needed time to decide how one handles...THIS...an experience that is beyond words or imagination. The past year has been and my future will be a continuing journey of self exploration and acceptance, as much as it is forgiveness of my husband.
After last summer, I rarely read the news anymore. Or watch television. It's all so negative and depressing. For us personally, we felt so much love last summer but negativity as well. How can I correct that? How can we all heal? Recently, I've been inundated with emails from blog readers, some with personal stories or messages of support, others responding to my July 7th request to share the love. Over the past few weeks, on some of my most trying days, when I wasn't sure I could make it another night, I've read an email and felt a physical lifting and lightness of my heart and spirit. If love is truly the core of it all, our interconnectedness, expressed spiritually and through shared energy, then YOU (yes, all of you) have become part of me and my healing. Knowing I've reached you, lightens my load. It adds to my positive energy, maybe all of our positive energies, turning the tide from last summer. For we are not individuals, we are connected, we are love, and God is love. Small things we think, say and do actually can AFFECT others. Let's make it positive.
This love, positivity and acceptance (of others and ourselves, along with our imperfections) IS simply and purely BEN. On August 19, 2014, I asked him to lead me. He has sent me his smile, laughter, love and positive energy this year. That smile. Those eyes. You all remind me of him each and every day. Due to the overwhelming response on July 7th, I offer a simple idea for the summer -- if you engage in a random gift of love -- whether it is holding the door for someone, volunteering, offering someone a sandwich, giving someone a seat on the train, paying for someone's coffee, or simply accepting someone different from you, saying I love you one extra time or offering a hug -- think of Ben and any person you have loved and/or lost, all the angels in Heaven watching over us right now. And, keep reaching out with your stories and thoughts. I read them all!
I received this email titled "Rainbows and Miracles" from a Ridgefield resident:
"Tears from Heaven. 7/7/15. At 7:15pm the skies opened up with a flood of tears from heaven. Buckets and buckets. Flooding the streets of Ridgefield. Huge huge baby tears. Then the sun breaking through - rain - rain - sun - should I chase the rainbow or just know there is a huge rainbow over the town of Ridgefield in honor of Ben. The one year cycle has been completed commemorating the passing of your beautiful Guardian Angel. Let the rainbows and miracles begin."
At 7:15 pm, on July 7, 2014...I had just arrived at the hospital to find out our life had changed forever.
"Let the rainbows and miracles begin."