29 years ago today

By Crispina ffrench

This life is full and bombarded with magic on the daily. 

So crazy to think that today Ben would be 29 years old.  29! The day I became a mom.

Today was an optional school day for Lucy and Violet.  They think about and miss their big brother Ben more than words can convey so today we set aside to chill out at home – or not.

 Tonight begins our new family tradition of celebrating Ben’s birthday with his dad Charlie, and Marge.  We will share a lovely meal, have a fire in the yard, read the birthday cards we send to Ben. There will be cake and ice cream.

Some days there is a hole in my heart 9 miles wide, left there when Ben died.  Those difficult days are welcome, as long as they are fleeting.  They remind me of the deep-rooted connection Ben and I shared, how he spoke to my thoughts. 

Some days I feel like I am pretending to carry that connection in my heart.  On those ‘pretending days’ I just want a super clear sign from Ben that we are both still sharing that sacred closeness…

I want to dream with him and know how he is doing.  I want to connect with him in some tangible way to reassure myself…

Running through woods, over hills and down banks I feel him running with me – maybe in me.  He boosts me up the hills and lands each footstep with care.  I feel his warmth hug me from behind when meditating, letting the sun soak his very essence into my face.

Every day I am thankful for, and proud of, Ben’s bravery.  Bravery to stand with a smile and music in the face of what some would have seen as dire circumstances.  Bravery to get up everyday and live a magical life full of adventure and dream achieving   Bravery to prioritize body and health without missing out on all that life has to offer.

This magical person, my sweet son Ben, came into my life and showered me with the sparkles that are our life/death connection for 9,745 days.  He taught me how to be a good mother, to enjoy each day, to make decisions that support me, to be easy on myself, and Ben taught me about unconditional love – both to give and to receive. 

Some days, when alone, I miss him so much that tears stream down my face without control, then I buck up and know that he stuck around as long as he could.  He had to stop the suffering and in doing so, he was able to set me free from watching it.

Today, I fill that 9 mile-wide hole in my heart with unconditional love and send it out into the ether – for you Ben.  May you know, and I be reminded, of the beauty you continue to share on this day – your 29th Birthday – and Every. Single. Day.

Happy Birthday on the other side Benno – I love you, we all do.

Ben’s dad and I set up a fund in Ben’s name that supports a scholarship for musicians in need. Donate if you can and spread the word if you know anyone eligible to apply for the grant. Our goal is to raise enough money to have real impact in the lives of recipients in perpetuity, the way Ben had immeasurable, and unforgettable impact on the lives of so many.

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