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Alan D Busch

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I Grieve For Ben At My Side
by Alan D Busch   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Posted: Wednesday, November 04, 2009

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Next week will mark the ninth anniversary of my son Ben's passing. Here are some thoughts I have about that somber reality.

I Grieve For Ben at My Side

I devotedly await the impossible. If Ben could only come crashing

through the kitchen door on his skateboard again, we’d be able to

return our lives to the way they once were.

Mind you, it was not always pleasant.

I’ve known the experience of wrestling a 220 lb. man in the

throes of diabetic hypoglycemia and bear-hugging him while

a grand mal epileptic seizure ran its course. And I can assure

you that combating the devastating impact of chronic disease

on your child’s life is, like a child’s death, an event for which

no parent can adequately prepare himself. Our family

experienced both.

The days and years of Ben’s life were few and troubled. I think

we did the best we could for Ben although there have been

times when I’ve had serious doubts. Ben begrudgingly

surrendered his childhood to the pernicious demands of

juvenile diabetes when ten and a half years old. Gone were the

yesterdays and tomorrows of his childhood. His hopefulness

for a normal future, his expectations of success and for long

life became bleak. He acceded to the basic requirements of

diabetic care but refused to live his life unless it were on his

own terms.

Ben lived in the present tense better than anyone I’ve ever

known, experiencing each day as if it were his last. I loved no

one more than Ben, but we clashed often. I feared diabetes.

Ben largely ignored it. Believe me when I tell you we did not

welcome the additional burden of epilepsy with which he

was diagnosed just after his eighteenth birthday.

Parental bereavement takes no days off. This year I will   

commemorate the three thousand, two hundred and eighty-fifth day

I have been grieving for Ben. The 24th of Cheshvan,

5761, corresponding to November 22, 2000, the day before

Thanksgiving, was the last day I spoke to him, touched him

and marveled at his gift for living life.

On the eve of the anniversary of Ben’s passing, I will light a ner

neshuma, a memorial candle, this year for the ninth time, a

I’ve done since Ben’s life ended after twenty-two and a

half years. But as important as it is, the light of the memorial

does not soothe the pain of my loss. There is no

balm for parental grief.

Its pain worsens as the gulf that separates us widens. I return

older each time. Ben remains twenty-two years old as he was

then and will always be. Instead of recalling his young

manhood, I tend to think of him more and more as

the little boy he once was. He has missed so much of life. I

don’t think any number of memorial candles can illumine the

darkness that shrouds the life of a bereaved parent.

Though of my past, I grieve for Ben at my side one day at a

time, every day of the week, month and year. Ben must

remain an eternal zikaron, an everlasting remembrance.

That is, I suspect, the way of most, perhaps of all bereaved

parents. Ask any one of them how it works. A friend

and fellow bereaved parent notes: “I know what you mean and

it's been 28 years for me. I can't imagine the days!! Yet I still

grieve and always will. I don't want a day to come when I

can't remember her face or things she said and did.”

Contrary to the well-intentioned but wayward counsel of

some consolers, I don't wish to put Ben’s death behind me. I

hold it in front of my eyes. It neither blinds nor causes me to

stumble. Even though I’ve never put much stock in the old

platitude that “time heals all wounds”, I do worry that   

someday Ben’s death will feel more like history than

yesterday’s tragedy. I refuse to surrender his memory to the

amnesia of time.

While still struggling to clarify the impact such profound grief

has had on my life, I’ve considered the possibility that guilt

hides behind my grief; the guilt I have felt at times for

somehow having failed Ben in his life. I think about it a lot. I

just don’t know, but of one thing I am certain. My grief, like

that of others who have loved and lost their own Bens,

remains my steadfast companion.

Alan D. Busch









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Reviewed by m j hollingshead
i am so sorry for your loss, we are never ready or prepared to lose a child, it is natural that our children bury us and not the other way round.

Reviewed by Micki Peluso
Hi alan,

I read an commented on this very special article. One of my favs, but then I say that about all your stories lol. The fomatting came in bad on this one.

Stay well,

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