Sunday, December 25, 2005

Dear Readers ... below please find Chapter 53 of In Memory of Ben

Please feel free to comment though I sense that some readers may be reluctant to do so because the content is sensitive. However, I welcome any and all comments. It is just one way that you can help me keep Ben's memory alive!

Ben’s Leaf on the Etz Chaim

“In Memory Of
Benjamin Busch
Whose Good Deeds, Kind
Nature & Gentle Manner
Will Forever Be An
Inspiration To Us”

These words are inscribed on a leaf of the “Etz Chaim”, the Tree of Life, in my synagogue. Have you ever wondered why we affix a memorial leaf to a ‘Tree of Life’? For the same reason, I suppose, that the “Mourner’s Kaddish” makes no mention of death whatsoever … and for the same reason that we say “L’Chaim-To Life”- upon raising a glass in celebration together.

The answer is actually this: that the leaf-though it painfully confronts me with both the realization and recollection of Ben’s death-is in fact a reminder of my obligation to celebrate his life. No matter that it ended prematurely, abruptly, agonizingly! However, the very unimagineably worst part of it all is-having read the attending paramedic’s deposition-that Ben was both conscious and able to speak for a brief while before finally and permanently losing consciousness … that he understood what had happened, during which time he suffered horrendous pain and bespoke his fear that he was dying. As Ben’s dad, the certain knowledge that my son’s last waking moments were consumed by such trauma and fear leaves me cold and quiet, my thoughts inchoate …

As a Jew, I am thankful that our faith is one of eternal optimism. We learn that life is inherently miraculous and therefore holy; we are guardians of life’s sanctity. Often over these last five years, I have had to revert back to this sustaining belief-in those moments when the unalterable fact of the death of my child has become nearly overwhelming, when the solitude of a Sunday morning is replaced by the uneasy quiet of a mourner’s lonely room … when all that tangibly remains are a few personal belongings: a shirt, suit, some old boots, a bicycle in need of repair, a signature that surprisingly appeared when I turned the page of scrapbook … when the absolute permanence and enormity of a child’s death makes one feel so insignificant, so powerlessly tiny! To have to navigate daily these treacherous waters is no simple task as we are invariably reminded of how vast God’s ocean is whilst we remain adrift in such a small boat! Life’s only antidote to the pain of our loss is the tenacity with which we remember our children … that we simply refuse to allow their memory to die; though their bodies are gone, their physicality ended, our linkage to them instead becomes one of remembrance, of dedication and rededication, all of which reminds us how very fortunate we are indeed to have enjoyed their time with us for as long as we did.

2 comments:

Jack's Shack said...

Alan,

If I may be bold, there is the chance that amidst the pain and fear that he may also have been happy or felt secure. That may sound ridiculous and it may be nothing more then the fervent wishes of another father, but I think that that possibility remains and perhaps it should be considered.

From what I have read you seem to have been a very good father and that usually comes through to the children. In any case I wish you nothing but strength and well wishes.

Alan aka Avrum ben Avrum said...

Dear Jack,

Thank you very much for your kind response. I very much appreciate it. For Ben's sake, I do hope that you are right. Such a beautiful thought! I am,

Very Sincerely yours,

Alan D. Busch