Monday, May 29, 2006

Dear Readers ...

This morning, Memorial Day, 2006, I finished what I hope to be the last proof/editing of The Book of Ben before sending a copy to an editor. Featured here is a revision of Chapter 54 entitled ... Ben's Leaf on the Etz Chaim. As always, I wish to thank any and all readers who spend even the tiniest bit of their time reading this on-going story of my late son Ben Z' L and appreciate comments should you have them.

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

This leaf appears on the “Etz Chaim”
[1] 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” [2]

when raising a glass in celebration together.

Though the leaf serves as a painful reminder of both the realization and recollection of the end of Ben’s life, its primary purpose is to obligate us to celebrate the time of his life-no matter that it ended prematurely, abruptly, agonizingly!

Speaking the Unspeakable

Still the very worst part remains … 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, and that he understood what had happened, while 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 our faith is one of eternal optimism and teaches us that life is inherently miraculous and therefore holy.

We serve as guardians of its sanctity.

Loose Ends

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 remain are a few personal belongings: a shirt, suit, some old boots, a bicycle in need of repair, a child’s signature surprisingly appearing when I turned the page of a scrapbook.

The absolute enormity of a child’s death leaves one feeling so insignificant, so powerlessly tiny. To have to navigate these treacherous waters daily is no simple task as we are invariably reminded of how vast God’s ocean is while 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 memories 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 serve to remind us of how fortunate we are indeed to have enjoyed our time with them for as long as we did.

[1] The Tree of Life

[2] To Life


Regina Clare Jane said...

Oh, Alan- I am always so touched by your writings... on one hand, as I read this, I thank God that I will never know the pain of losing a child... but on the other hand, I will never know what it was like to hold one in my arms and caress them in their fears or give them a glass of water to drink. You write about Ben so beautifully- I know he is with you still...

Alan aka Avrum ben Avrum said...

Dear Regina ....

Many many thanks for your support and exceedingly kind words. I do very much appreciate them. I remain ...

Very Sincerely yours,

Alan D. Busch

Anonymous said...


Just want to say that I am very sorry to hear about your son. You are also an extremely creative person and your writing is great. Good luck with the future and I hope time heals your pain. May God be with you.