As I’m sitting here writing this, today is April 30, 2018, just two days before the second anniversary of Ben’s death. Benjamin died on May 2, 2016 at about 11pm in Lurie Children’s PICU in Chicago. This sounds so trite, but I can’t believe it’s already been two years.
It seems like just yesterday, I was pregnant with them back in 2012, taking weekly photos of my growing belly. It seems like just yesterday we were in the NICU with the trips after they were born prematurely. It seems like just yesterday, we were bringing them home later that year, or moving into our house in St Charles in Spring 2013, or getting Benjamin’s diagnosis of spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, or taking them on a car trip to my home in Virginia for the first time, or taking them for their first day of preschool (where I wept like a baby by the way). The list of ‘ors’ can go on and on.
It also seems like just yesterday that I held him for that last time after the doctor told us there was nothing they could do for him, they couldn’t bring him back, and he died in my arms.
And at some point, he will have been gone longer than he was alive. Every day takes me further from the period of time when he was here with us. Yet every day, I crave just one more minute with him. What I have learned in this is that life doesn’t stop for grief. The sun keeps rising, and the days keep coming. You figure out a way to simply survive. There is an adjustment period, a period of disbelief, a period of realization, a period of anger, a period of sadness, a period of numbness … and all of these ‘periods’ still happen for me by the way … even two years later.
What has helped me through the days is accepting and understanding that he served his purpose here - out of his death, we established Ben Smiles. Out of his death, we’ve met some amazing people and families. Out of his death, we’re attempting to give back and have an impact with families that are like ours was.
So in honor of my boy on this second anniversary, and to thank Lurie Children’s Hospital for all of the support, care and compassion they gave us and Benjamin over the years, I’ll be making a Book donation. For every Ben’s Adventures book sold from May 2 through May 25, I will donate a signed copy to the hospital for them to use in their Child Life Resource Library. It’s just a small gesture but I hope that I can share Ben’s story with others and can offer a small bright spot in a child’s day at the hospital. Books can be purchased here if you feel compelled: bit.ly/BensAdv, and please share with your friends.
Thank you for reading.