When I found out about the death of Kidd Kraddick on Sunday, I was sad. Probably sadder than I should have been for someone that I didn’t really know. I cried, I watched too much Netflix, I slept in the next day instead of getting my errands done. At one point, I asked myself, “Self, why are you taking this so hard?”
The honest answer: I’m still dealing with Ben’s death.
Every time I talk about his death, I say that it doesn’t feel real. Most of the time, it doesn’t. I could just as easily imagine him at home or in the hospital and that I’ll visit him the next time I’m in town. On the occasions that I have gone to his grave site to visit him there, the realness, the finality, is crushing.
I don’t think I’ve been doing it consciously, but lately I have been reading books about death, watching sad movies, and getting overly emotional (well, even more overly emotional than I normally am). I think it’s a way for me to experience the emotions while keeping their hold on me at arm’s length. It’s like watching Beaches, or The Notebook, or The Joy Luck Club (all three guaranteed to produce a good cry). If I watch and cry while Bette Midler croons, then I just feel sad for the lady in the movie and not really sad for myself or my situation. Sometimes a good cry is cathartic, but in this case, I think it’s more an attempt at avoidance.
I know I need to deal with losing Ben, but how, other than time, do you deal with something like that?
On the Kidd Kraddick Facebook page, they encouraged everyone to do a random act of kindness in honor of Kidd and his giving spirit. I think that’s what I am trying to take away from this: being a better person, making more of an effort, giving more of myself to others. I am reminded of the poem read by the Rabbi at Ben’s funeral.
When I die, give what’s left of me away
To children and old people who wait to die.
If you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms around anyone and
Give them what you need to give to me.
I want to leave you something,
Something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I’ve known or loved.
If you cannot give me away,
At least let me live in your eyes,
And not in your mind.
You can love me most
By letting hands touch hands,
By letting hearts touch hearts,
And by letting go of
Children who need to be free.
Love does not die, bodies do.
So, when all that’s left of me is love,
Give me away.
The poem is by Merrit Malloy but I will always think of it as Ben’s poem. I don’t know if it’s what Ben would want (I hate to put words in a dead person’s mouth), but I feel like this is what I should do. So I’m working on giving love away.
All this to say that I still miss Ben, I’m still trying to make sense of it all, and I’m still trying to heal.