It was an emotional day, from start to finish. We knew it would be.
How is it possible that one year had passed since we said goodbye to Ben's earthly body? It seems so long ago, and yet like yesterday. The pain is still very real.
We picked up Jack from school and went directly to the cemetery. We knew he wouldn't have wanted to go - how does a six-year-old understand the concept of talking to the ground where his twin is buried? - so we bribed him with a trip to Paula's Donuts afterward. We needed to just take a moment. Together. As a family. We put some flowers on Ben's grave and we prayed. For God to mend our hurting hearts. To help us continue to take steps forward, even amidst our grief. To continue to hold Ben close until we're able to see him again.
We hurt deeply because we loved greatly.
We thought a good way to celebrate Ben's life would be to release butterflies. Sixty Painted Ladies. We had been worried whether or not they would fly because of the weather. It was an oddly chilly day, hovering right around fifty-five, much different than the days surrounding it. But the cold overcast day made us feel that all of nature was mourning the loss of our son. It comforted us to think that even God was sad to have allowed Ben to be taken from us. In an eerie way, it was sort of comforting.
After we left the cemetery, Jack asked for us to turn the CD to his favorite song: "There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Yup. Tears. Both of us. But it also brought us comfort: Jack gets it. Jesus is with us all the time + Ben is with Jesus = Ben is with us where we go. And as close as Jack was to his identical twin, we also know that there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Such a beautiful sight, to see our family members in our backyard, releasing these beautiful creatures into the air. The perfect way to celebrate Ben's first anniversary in heaven.
Love you forever, Ben!