Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Now What?

I was all set to write about grief today, but then I realized that that's probably a really self-serving thing. There was a time in my life where I was consumed with it, but that's over now. And in typical man fashion I spent a lot of time smoking and drinking and crying in the shower so no one could hear me. I still drink once in awhile, shower most every day, but usually without the crying. 

So now what? What replaces that grief?

Babies. A wife. A couple of loving dogs.

Right after Fish died, one of my cousins and his wife had a baby. The first time I held Ethan, a lot of healing happened. Not that Ethan was born to conquer my anguish, rather, God used this new child to show me that the hole can be filled. The love I have for that little guy now fills part of the place where love for Fish was. 

Shay came along about 6 months after that. I was determined I didn't want anything to do with someone who had just broken up with a boyfriend, telling a mutual friend that "I've been through that shit before." After Fish died, I challenged myself not to give up time with friends for silly reasons, you know, work, getting up early, lack of funds. This caused me to get my ass on the road at 5:30 pm to head to North Platte. Tee time the next morning? I'll make it back in time. I didn't want to miss a good night with my friends JJ, Kelli, Tiny... and whoever else was there. And what did I find? The woman I would marry. Now, I can't claim to recall all of the night - Shay will attest to that - but here we are a year and a half later, married for 6 months already.

And of course, dogs. Shay loves the buggers. I, being the dumbass that I am, thought I should show her pictures of a couple of Aussies. The rest is known to you, noble readers. That's ok, though. I love those dogs. I love taking Charlie for rides and listening to him bark in the bed of the pickup for the first five miles. I love playing fetch with Hannah and hearing her growl when I try to take her ball from her.

Friends - the ones I had have grown even closer, and the ones I've made I don't want to lose. My family counts here as well. My siblings and parents are friends now, more than they ever have been. I'm closer to a few of my cousins than I ever thought I would be.

And memories. I honestly still think about Fisher every day. Every. Day. I doubt that will change. And, yes, I still cry in the shower every once in awhile, because I miss this man. Sometimes when I'm in the shower I see the tattoo I got in memory of him in the same way I saw it the day I got it. It's been 2 years and 2 months since his death, and 20 months since I got the tattoo, and sometimes it gets smothered over. That's how life works, I suppose. There are days, though, where I see it, and it hits me all over again. That's ok. I don't want to forget. Thanksgivings in OKC, pushing his pickup out of Troester's pasture with my pickup, camping, playing video games, gyros at Jim's after school. The way he answered the phone - "Bennnnnnyyyyyyyyy". And his laugh. I think if you polled all of us who love him, we would all say that's what we miss the most. These things no longer make me sad. They make me smile.

Why would I want to write about grief? God has surrounded me with all I need to fill that hole. It'll never be filled the way it was, though. Have you ever dug a hole in the ground? When you throw the dirt back into the hole, it never seems to fill up the way it was. It's softer, and the hole never fills up completely. That's how it is now. I'd rather have that than the emptiness I had when he first died, though. And I'd much rather write about the gifts that God has showered me with since that time. You know why? Because that's what Fish would want. 


  1. I don't know what to say other than to acknowledge what you've said here with a good amount of respect.

  2. mmh - I agree with Ms. Smith.
    Some people call it "the grieving process"
    but I like your words a lot more.

  3. Tonight I had time ( wasn't boredom!) to sit and read your blog form start to current. You have such a gift of writing and you and Shay remind me so much of when Phil & I started out. It was 3 years before we had a positive tax return! By then we had two babies! When I read about your trials and tribulations about the future I want to tell you "Patience, Ben, Patience" but I know that wouldn't have done anything for me at the time but make me mad so I'll just go with your plan of turning things over to God!

    This particular blog is obviously quite touching to me. I hadn't seen that picture of Ryan and I love it! Yes, grief is selfish but it's very necessary for the entire process. I have to stop when it hurts the most and think about where Fish is and what a wonderful and glorious place it is and how absolutely thrilled his mom must be to have him with her and it puts my selfishness in perspective for me. Wanting him here is just for me, myself and I and that's not what I want to be about. Given that, I'm not gonna lie that I would LOVE to hear that laugh one more time :-)