Tuesday, September 13, 2005

_ Preface to In Memory of Ben

Dear Ben,

I was there when you came into this world ...
I was there just before you left ...
We all miss you terribly much ...

Love, Dad

I do not know why Ben died that dark and terrible Wednesday, November 22, 2000; I do, however, know the 'how', the 'when', the 'where', but the 'why' of Ben's death, of our tragedy is not answerable within the limitations of the tangible world; its answer cannot be provided by the accident reconstructionist, the police officer who wrote up the report, the EMT(s) who kept Ben alive en route to the hospital, the ER trauma team who fought mightily to save him or by the rabbis whose words of comfort, whose search for meaning in seemingly random and arbitrary sufferings-however profound and well-intended-predictably fail to satisfactorily address this most unanswerable of questions.

Since Ben's death I have spoken with a good many parents who-like me-have suffered life's most hurtful loss. Anger, depression, cynicism, confusion, impairment-to name but a few-are among the typical responses to a reality so overwhelming that it's a wonder itself how well most parents hold up in the aftermath of their tragedies.

The following vignettes do not comprise a biography of Ben. They are neither chronological nor comprehensive in scope. Furthermore, they reflect how it was that I saw Ben; his mother, brother and sister would probably recall different memories and understand Ben's life differently than I.

It is with a profound sense of loss and love that I dedicate the following glimpses of Ben's life to his memory and to all the countless many who both knew and loved him. Taken together, we can see through a window whose access to light was often obscured by darkness, which was at times as difficult to open as it was to close.

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