Ben's obituary was in the paper today. My sister wrote it, and the picture was one I took at Alyssa's high school graduation in 2009. It was when he was still healthy. Before the ravages of liver disease had taken over his body.
I think his obituary was very hard for my dad to see. An obituary can be the one tangible thing that makes you know you aren't in a nightmare. It is in print to look at again and again. It breaks through that foggy mist that you live in those first few days after a loved ones death. You know, there is no longer a hope that person will walk in the door and that it was all a mistake. It makes it all very real. I think Dad went through this today.
Dad has really been struggling today. Not only with the loss of his son, but with the betrayal of his own body. He has been very achy all week. His lower back decided to spasm up on him a few days ago. He was in a lot of pain for a couple of days. I gave him his extra pain med, we used the heat and massage on his chair. Monday, I got him in the car to take him to the hospital. The trip to Des Moines, itself, seemed to do the trick though. We went to lunch at one of his favorite places, (gave me a gut ache though) and he was feeling much better. He decided to go back home instead of to the hospital.
Today he has had a lot of accidents. We had to change his pants every time he tried to make it to the bathroom. He was exhausted. He decided to lay down for a bit in his room. He got up to use the urinal instead of try to get to the bathroom. Then he accidentally spilled it all over his pants, the floor and his bed. He was embarrassed and frustrated. We had to change his pants again. We also had to change his bed. It has a special sheet got the mattress. We only have one. He had to wait until it was washed and dried before he could go to bed.
I told him it was ok for him to be sad about Ben. That he didn't need to be strong for anyone. "I just wish we knew what happened." He said in a broken voice.
He is heartbroken in a way I have never seen him before. I don't remember him taking any death this hard before. Not his mother's, not my mother's. Once he said that people asked him why he doesn't cry at funerals. "I have seen too much," is his answer. WWII had this effect on him.
This is different. His sadness is deep. So very deep. He never expected to out live Ben. Losing Ben has left a hole that I don't know how to fill. Ben was his buddy. They did everything together. Ben was not just his son, he was his best friend.
I bought him a suit for the funeral today. When he looked at it I could see in his face what he was thinking. That he should be the one, not his son.