It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. On 26 September 2017 that nightmare became my reality. It was around 8.30pm and I was standing in the hallway of the gym, in shorts and a singlet, holding just my phone and keys. “There’s been a serious accident and they are working on him at the moment.” Those words will remain forever in my brain. My blood ran cold and I could physically hear my heart pounding.
That afternoon I had dropped my gorgeous boy Ben, 15, off for a haircut. It was school holidays, he had a shift at work, and I would pick him up at the gym afterwards. “Have a great haircut and a great shift, I love you”. “Thanks mum, love you too”.
Hours later my world would be turned upside down and my life would never be the same. Shaken to the core, we would spend the next four nights in the ICU of the Children’s Hospital. I was told that Ben had been trapped under equipment and we didn’t know if he would make it.
Why is it only in the face of death that we truly focus on life?
Ben and I had a very close and unique relationship. He was passionate about life, love and football. For over 15 years, he had been my number one priority and every decision was based on what I believed was best for him. Now, it was also about what he would have wanted. I decided to open the last part of his life to those he spent time with – his friends.
I stood back and watched the love and compassion these kids shared and showered over him and it made me realise how important this connection was.
The death of your child or loved one is the most devastating and heartbreaking experience, but I learnt through Ben that it doesn’t have to be soul destroying.
The months that followed losing him, were enveloped in a kind of surreal fog. 15 wonderful years of life with Ben gives me a reason to keep going. His gorgeous smile, his cheeky laugh and his crazy sense of humour and passion for making a difference and endless giving – this is the legacy I must continue.
Two years on I am not the same person. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss Ben but what I have learnt about death and life since then, has given me a unique perspective that I share.
Everyone grieves differently, death is an inevitable part of life. Talking about a person that has died can’t make it worse. Talking with Ben’s friends and others feeling a loss, sharing stories and funny moments, makes me realise that I’m not the only one still thinking about him.
I don’t need people to make it better or understand, they can’t, I don’t understand myself, I just need there to be purpose.
So, as we arrive at the two-year anniversary, I know that these conversations and deeper connections are what keep me going. My tears are not only of sadness, but of hope, pride and love and it is Ben’s life that drives me to continue his legacy of making a difference.
There is no question that night changed my life forever and nothing will ever make it okay. What I have experienced lets me help others to remember that they can also learn to live again and with purpose.
There really is life after death xx