It is hard to believe we have crossed the one-year anniversary of when we launched Ben Towne Foundation. Though the official celebration wasn’t until September, as of July 1st we were up and running! So much has happened in this first year. It has been beyond our imaginations. We are grateful that you have remained with us – continuing to invest in our story and willing to participate in this new chapter.
When I think back to Ben’s diagnosis, our cancer journey, and how we shared about his treatment and life on CaringBridge it seems like a lifetime ago. I went back to that blog the other day to re-read my own words and in a second I returned to our old life – reliving everything as if it were yesterday. It is still unfathomable what happened to Ben – to us. And to be honest, it is challenging to know how to use this blog here now. So much of our life has been shared publically. But it feels like right now we are at sort of an impasse. Everything with the foundation is exciting and moving in huge ways – and for that we are thankful and motivated to continue our endeavors. Yet on the other hand, our grief and longing for Ben remains – at times as surprisingly intense and dark as ever. I often find myself still thinking, “This is not survivable,” or, “I can’t stay here another minute without him.” But then something fantastic happens and I am momentarily lifted.
As the spokesperson for much of this, I feel this great tension. I want to shout about the good things that are happening and I hope you can sense the momentum that is taking place in this city. It is amazing. But I also want to share how we are doing in the aftermath of Ben’s life – as a family. For I feel like that is an important a part of the “awareness” piece – to know what childhood cancer does to the families from whom it brutally takes. Yet, it is difficult for me to know that you – the innocent reader – will open your email, or click a link on facebook, not knowing whether you’re going to read about the sweet girl scouts selling lemonade or my strong desire to die and be reunited with my son.
For as exciting as everything is right now professionally with the foundation – at the end of the day, it is happening as a result of our son’s death. That is a tension we are going to live with for the rest of our days here. But how much of that strain to share publically leaves me in a quandary. I continue to write privately, as it is for me a way to express my grief and crazy longing for Ben. But what is an appropriate amount to share here on this blog? Would it be better suited for some other medium? Or just in my personal files? What do people want to know from us? There is a part of me that assumes you only want to hear the good parts – for our life is just too sad. Yet, that would not be the whole truth – and I believe it is “truth” that creates response in people. So it is an open-ended question for me. I suppose we will just continue to try to balance this tension one entry at a time. But as of late I have been so frustrated by how to proceed that I thought perhaps it was best to just acknowledge this tension.
So there you have it.