I woke up to a text from Ben’s mom this morning, as I sort of expected I would. She told me that she would be spending the day at the beach with his sister and nieces, and planned to plant a Larkspur in his memory in the garden. I didn’t really know what to say back, but told her that sounded like a lovely day, and let her know I had dinner with her brother Mark and his wife Kay and their family the night before and was thankful to spend more time with them. Uncle Mark was the officiant at our wedding, and always he was one of the uncles that Ben and I felt closest to. Always a great listener full of helpful advice, funny stories and lots of wisdom. The love he has for his wife and family is so strong and palpable it’s contagious.

The Bradshaw family has always treated me as one of their own, and being away from my own family I am particularly grateful for that. His parents always had a refrigerator to dig through, cable TV and a comfy couch to kill time on. After we parted ways, I lost (and missed) that comfort. Dinner last night was something I needed. A family together, siblings, cousins, children, probably 15 people or so. Everyone gathered around a table, sharing a meal and stories. When they prayed, I also went to my knees and silently thought of how thankful I was to be surrounded by people who loved me. While my relationship with Ben was tumultuous, we were very much in love and I always felt like a member of his family. Always accepted without condition, even though our beliefs differed greatly.

Ben would have been 30 today. A milestone that I had no doubt we’d experience together at one point. Our birthdays were only 3 months apart, so I always had a good few weeks of “old man” jokes before it was my turn. I started the day wondering if there was anything I could do in his memory, but as the day progressed I found myself just thinking about him a lot. I’ve found that most of the hurt and resentment I had felt over our split has mostly┬ádissipated, as I expected it would. I’m becoming more adjusted to the reality of the situation, but pangs of sadness hit me from time to time. It seems that I’m not the best at the memorial rituals, but he’s on my mind today- as are all of the wonderful, loving, beautiful people he left behind.