Sunday, February 12, 2006

Missing Ben

I won’t need many words with which to adequately express myself on this question but-while on the way home tonight- I passed by the eastern gate of the cemetary wherein my son Ben lies. It was already by then well after dark, the gates closed and locked. I could do nothing more than drive by, turn my head in his direction and feel this awful pain in my gut which still afflicts me very much even several to many hours later at the time of this writing.

Were I to attempt a description of this feeling, this pain, I’d ask first that you try imagining the physicality of an enormous void, a vast, overwhelming emptiness. Now place yourself within that void, that emptiness-almost desert like with neither hope nor manifestation of refuge though mirages certainly do abound. Soon you’ll realize just how doomed you indeed are to drift indefinately toward an uncertain destination with assurance only that such wanderings will remain a frequent traveling companion.

The rabbis say that our sleep is 1/64th of death. In like manner, one could argue that sympathy is 1/64th of empathy though I admit here that such arithmetic does elude me. However verbose and hyperbolic I may often seem while writing of Ben’s quasi-tangible, permanent absence, it is really nothing more than the sounds of my silly head trying to translate the beats of my heart.

How very much I do miss Ben!

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Just last night it happened for the second time. You know how it is! When and while it happens-no matter how bizarre it might seem upon later reflection-it is characterized by its own twisted and skewed normalcy. People whom we know in real life appear but out of context-playing new roles: an architect customer of ours suddenly becomes a policeman warning me about a sticker on my windshield. Then there are folks whom we do not know; faces that are just not recognizable! I have often wondered about how it happens that complete strangers just show up, as it were?

Last night, I dreamt of Ben.

It seems, as I recall, to have lasted for but a moment. There Ben was, he and I, just the two of us. We were talking about ... ? Well, I remember only one thing! I asked Ben if he'd take a "leap" with me?! What sort of "leap" it was or meant, I don't know. I must have looked away from Ben momentarily because when I turned around to face him again, his person to whom I had just spoken, had meanwhile become a flattened image-picture framed as it were-lying on the ground!

I awoke.

Realizing that I had indeed dreamt of Ben, I resolved to explore this for meaning-not just then, but a day later. How often we so quickly forget the whole of a dream's content but in this case, I was
certain not to forget.

Much like my younger son's silhouette medalion of Ben that he wears around his neck, Ben rarely if ever absents himself from my thoughts. Even when very busy at work, he remains close at hand, in the corner of my mind ... almost as if he were watching me ... awaiting the "right" moment to reappear, just a short visit before once again he has to leave-having stayed just long enough to moisten my eyes. I suppose he has others to visit; I can't be the only one. I hope not. It would be very much out of character for Ben to not comfort his many loved ones. He was such a "ba'al chesed", a master of kindness. Therefore, I know, that when not by me, he is with others; never alone nor leaving others lonely for him ... thankfully!

Perhaps this is all a dreadful metaphor of our last moments together that Wednesday morning when-having driven him to the train station-I must have looked away again for when I saw him later that day, he appeared much like he did just before I awoke last night.