The 5 year anniversary of our son’s death, Ben Koier, is an extra tough date. I guess because I can’t believe it has been 5 years. (Ben was killed by a drunk driver in 2011.) There are many days that it feels like yesterday. And many reminders that still make it sting. Reminders like seeing his friends moving on with their lives…graduating from college, getting their own homes, getting married and even having children.
While I am happy for them, I feel so cheated. I often wonder what kind of man Ben would be today and what would be important to him? I can’t help feeling that I am being deprived of so much.
The entire year is filled with tough dates. Mother’s Day is especially tough because it is a day that you are honored by your children. My only son is gone. It’s a day I grieve now when it used to be so special. I am blessed with very thoughtful and loving step-children who always love on me and even a few special friends that reach out because they think of me as a “fake mom.”
And then Father’s Day hurts too because I feel the pain of Ben’s dad. Missing his only son. They were so close. And my husband Rick also feels sad. He and Ben liked each other a lot and got along so well.
Ben’s birthday is another date, August 6, 1991, that is very difficult. It reminds me that I don’t get to see him grow and evolve as a man.
Of course the family holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas feel like something is missing. There’s an emptiness that I can’t fill. I “go through them” but my heart isn’t always present. Instead, I ache inside and do my best to hide the pain.
And then it starts all over again with Easter, when I see families at church hugging their children and enjoying each other.
I think it will always be this way. I will always feel sadness on these dates and even many days in between… when I see his picture or something triggers a memory. It’s been a process to get to the “acceptance” phase of my grief journey.
I don’t want to be here.