Remembering Ben

Okay I kept waiting for the right words, the best words.  Now months and months later I am heading to Ben Wong’s memorial service and finally I know the words aren’t ever going to be perfect.  That wasn’t our relationship.  But the words can be real and human.  So here’s the piece that I would like to share.  Just a little piece, remembering Ben.

Becoming Human After All

You told me you were going to live forever.
I get it.
Nobody does.
I felt the earth shift a bit the day you passed away
That bedrock I always knew was there
Suddenly gone

You told me you admired how I had picked being human over being special
It wasn’t easy
Special – has perks

Ben, I had this whole piece written while I was running.  This cool use of the lyrics of a song that was playing, it seemed like the perfect way to write a piece for you.

In my mind the story was one of realness, loving and loss.  Now it is jumble of words and pieces that don’t hold together.

Why am I such a better writer while running?

I keep waiting to write something meaningful and powerful about you, Ben
You changed my life
At least I did get to come and say good bye
Just you and me
Well mostly me – I think a lot of you had left already

I do though remember the last two times I saw you
At the birthday party
No words – just looking into your eyes
Had a moment when I wondered if that was enough
Others seemed to stay longer and talk
You & I just smiled and looked into each eyes for a moment or so
Still it was like swimming in the ocean
The depths
The joy
The sparkle
Much life
Though we all knew you were going

Then earlier in the year
Sure you were a bit wobbly
I knew Jock wasn’t to sure dancing was a good idea
Still I saw a child in your eyes
A child wanting to just play, dance and be
I was very grateful for that last dance

Over the years there have been many miles between us
Your life was becoming one much smaller and quieter than mine
I hardly heard form you
Except through others who were over for tea
Or dinner, or something

Not sure why I never made it over often for tea
I did try a couple times
Usually you weren’t doing that well
Company wasn’t invited

Still I never questioned my connection
You had once doubted if I would ever really get that you loved me
At some point I did
That ground never needed to be covered again
Don’t know if you knew I loved you
You didn’t seem to know how many people did
Sure they loved BEN – but not Ben
The human Ben – the man behind the magic
Well I did

I liked that you were a bit of a mother hen, when the place was shutdown and it was just a very small group of us – or Jock off doing Jock things (not often but at times)
You actually seemed so vulnerable and real in those moments
Or when you’d get excited about something – like the big Winnie The Pooh stuffed animal you guys found as a Christmas gift
Or when you convinced me to take a Virginia Satir program
Or the Good Morning Vietnam T-shirt you bought back as a gift from your travel there
Many would have wondered why that t-shirt was so special
But I knew

May be I didn’t do so well at staying in touch
I assumed you’d know how much I loved you by how I lived my life
Taking the messages you offered and transforming the messy, crazy shit
Into something
Something human
Not heroic
Not grand or extraordinary
But simply human
Being human after all
That’s how much I loved you
I had/have the courage to be human after all

The pain
The sadness
The crazy
The cracked
The helpless
The victim
The joy
Ah yes – you helped me see the possibilities that come with being human

But I think I still wanted you to live forever
I wanted to know that bedrock never cracked, never crumbled
Yet you are gone
I am afloat

That which was solid is no more
But some how that which is in my heart remains
Not bedrock – pulsing, moving – loving
Holding on & Letting go
The best of being human after all