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Life After Death


It is a question that some, perhaps many of you reading this now may well have posed to yourselves since becoming aware of Ben’s death:

How do you go on after losing a child?

The answer to that question which has emerged for me over the past year and a half is inherently a simple one:

Because the only real alternative to going on is giving up.

A more difficult question may well be:

How have you been able to prevent yourself from giving up?

After prolonged consideration, it seems my answer to this second question comes down to this: 

There are five people in my life who have done so much, and mean so much to me that I cannot, and must not let them down.  And if I give up I will be doing just that. 

So who are those people?

Tim:  A son like no other.  I can still vividly remember him giving me a major life lesson, unknowingly of course, when he was just nine years of age.  And he has given me plenty more lessons over the years since.  He is, in so many ways, the man I aspire to be.  Giving up is not something he would ever contemplate, and neither, therefore, can I.

Linda:  The love of my life, and the bearer of the greatest gifts that life will ever bestow upon me.  Her boundless energy has remained undiminished by the challenges we have faced.  As has been the case during all the years I have known her, when the going gets toughest she rolls up her sleeves and continues to do whatever difficult deeds need to done. 

How can I not follow that lead?

Laura:  There is not a single person in the world who was more greatly and directly affected by Ben’s death than Laura.  She and Ben were as close, and as well-matched as any couple I have ever met or known.  So the courage she has shown in dealing with his loss, moving forward with her life, but continuing to honour Ben’s memory in so many uplifting ways, has been truly remarkable.  I sincerely hope she will continue to be a ray of sunlight in our lives forever.

Diedre:  The younger of my two sisters, Diedre lost her 16-year old son, Daniel, to suicide in 2009.  Had I not had Diedre in my life to show me first-hand, through her powerful example, that a parent can be strong enough to deal with the greatest loss of all, and do so with dignity and good humour and ongoing compassion for others, I may not have believed those things were possible.  She remains my role model and inspiration.

It is sometimes said we should never meet our heroes, as they are sure to disappoint.  I beg to differ.  I have met four of mine ‑ these four above – and, as far as I am concerned, they are everything we could reasonably conceive a hero to be.

I mentioned earlier that there are five people I feel compelled not to let down.  The fifth is also a hero of mine. 

However profound we may believe our grief to be, there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that, if conscious thought were available to him now, Ben would be suffering greater pain and anguish for the consequences of what occurred on Australia Day 2019 than the rest of us put together.  And I cannot, must not add to that pain by giving up.

Ben, you have nothing to apologise for, to any of us.  You lived life on your own terms, as all heroes do.  The moments you gave us will last us forever, and we are better and stronger and more complete people for having had you in our lives.

We love you Ben, and we always will.

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