IT MUST BE LOVE
(click to view)
One note. That is all it takes of this instrumentation to break my heart wide open and in rushes a flood of memories. It is strange how melodies hold so much emotion and transport you so quickly to another time and place. Ryan asked me the other day why I cry every time they play this commercial. The simplest answer, which I gave him, is that I miss Ben. The longer, grief-filled answer is that I want our old life back. I want to go back to the time when our first born was here, when we had hope, when we didn’t have to live with the weight of his absence, when there wasn’t a huge hole in my heart and in our family.
So as the US Open kicks off, we are missing Ben acutely. As I have said before, his interests probably would have ebbed and changed. Seven is very different than 3 ½. But this is where we were left with him. This is what he loved in his final months here – to watch his favorite players. To root on Roger. To shout for Rafa.
I’m guessing Ben has a better seat now then he did on our couch. I imagine his little angel-spirit-self following Roger through the locker room and onto the court. Crouching near the umpire’s chair, with a big smile on his face he is saying, “Mom – this is so cool!” And yet his absence on my couch could not be more apparent. The emptiness in our house awakened.
It must be love – hence why it hurts so much to separated from him. Still.
by Tracy Rocca
Earlier this summer, a very bittersweet email came through my inbox. It was written with love and clear heartache by an old college friend, Tracy. Tracy is an incredibly accomplished artist. She resides in New Mexico, but her work is shown all over the country. In September, her work will be on exhibit at Winston Wacther in New York. Let me share a brief part of our exchange:
I’ve thought of you quite a bit lately as my niece was diagnosed with leukemia, and the repeated chemo treatments are taking such a toll on her little body. Camille is a beautiful 13 year old girl who’s trying her best to keep up her regular activities, but the side effects are too extreme. Your foundation has given me so much hope that someday the treatment for cancer won’t look like this. As you say on your website, having cancer will feel more like catching a common cold.
It’s hard to be so close to Camille’s situation and feel so helpless. I’ve wondered what I can possibly do, and then it came to me… The best thing I can do for Camille is give something to you!
I started a painting about three months ago, and it was the first piece I’ve made with no intention other than I knew it needed to be made. I’m in the throws of preparing for a show in New York so the timing for an extra piece wasn’t exactly ideal, but it was therapeutic somehow. Camille is a budding artist, and the piece reminded me of her. It also gave me time to process the magnitude of her situation.
My work is about hope. The very thing the Ben Towne Foundation represents. I would love to donate this piece in Camille’s name. Perhaps it could bring joy to someone fighting against cancer as a patient or researcher.
So earlier this month, Ben Towne Foundation was the grateful recipient of this absolutely gorgeous painting “Camille”. We receive it with great appreciation and of course with hope that our work will do just that – change the way kids are treated and cured from pediatric cancer – so that all children, like Ben and Camille, will not have to endure this kind of horrible suffering. Thank you Tracy for using your incredible talent to honor your niece. Our thoughts and hopes are with your entire family, and especially Camille.
For more information on Tracy Rocca’s work you can visit her website at www.tracyrocca.com.
The afternoon we came home from the Brave event in June, Ryan was ecstatic about his coin box and anxious to get started. We talked together about how we would fill it over the summer and then come September we would give the money to the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research in order to help kids with cancer have better medicines. At the end of our conversation he said, “But Ben doesn’t get to have one.” We said, “No, he doesn’t. But maybe you could do one for him.” Ryan responded by saying, “We can share one!” He then proceeded to write both their names on the top of his box. As a mother I felt like my heart might burst open. I thought to myself, “He gets it. And how amazing that he could think of Ben as well – what a sweet sweet boy I have.”
Fast forward to July and Ryan had been fiercely collecting coins. I swear that boy has coin radar going on. He will spot a penny on the deck of the ferry boat, a dime under the seat of the car, or a loose quarter on the workbench in the garage. If there has been a coin in Ryan’s path this summer he has found it! One day he said to me, “Mom, my coin box is getting so heavy! I think it is almost full!” I said, “That is so great Ryan. You are doing such a good job of helping. It will be so fun to give all these coins to the Center in September.” A loooong pause ensued. “But I don’t want to give away my coins – they’re mine!” I told him he could keep the coin box and refill it – wouldn’t that be great? No, it wouldn’t be. Didn’t he want to help the kids who were sick like Ben? No, he didn’t. And what followed was a four-year-old tantrum on the floor about how we were taking his money from him, that it wasn’t very nice to take people’s money and this means we are stealing. Lovely.
At first I could appreciate his passion and the pride he took in his scavenging efforts. But after a few minutes of crocodile self-centered tears I had had enough. I wanted to say, “Do you know how lucky you are? Do you know that Ben never got to camping, or swimming, or taste all the fun treats you have had this summer because he was so sick? Maybe you should go have a time out in his room and ponder how selfish you are being.” HAHA!! Of course I didn’t say that, but you can bet I thought it. Jeff interceded to remind me that Ryan was only four and that he had woken up at 5:30am that morning. Maybe we should drop it and talk about it next month. Good point.
So here we are in August. When I came home the other day, I could over hear Ryan telling our friend Kara all about his coin box and that he was “going to give ALL the coins to the foundation.” I smiled to myself cautiously, because there are still a lot of days between now and September and I feel like this could go down either way. So if you see us carrying our living son into the coin drive in September with tears running down his cute cheeks, you will now know why. Hopefully your summer of family philanthropy is going well.
Speaking of next month, please click here for details on how you can make your Ben Towne Foundation Summer Coin Drive donation!