I walk past his room and peek in. It is empty. There is very little evidence that Ben was even there – other than the bed sheets are not as straight as they ought to be and the odd nick-nack appears here and there. Yet – his presence is everywhere. I am filled with memories as I stand there.
I hate the emptiness.
I walk in. Still no Ben. As if he would just “appear” out of thin air if I walked in to his room further.
This room has been Ben’s since he was tiny – well – okay Ben was never tiny. I have watched him grow from a needy young lad into a fine young gentleman. I have seen him rejoice at his graduation from elementary to secondary school and from secondary to post secondary. I have seen him struggle with friends and endear new friends. This room has been filled with paint-ball material, Pokeman cards, Nintendos… and a multitude of games I don’t even know how to pronounce. It has been the place of late night chats, late night movies, and quiet slumber.
I hate that it now lays empty – no Ben.
There is no, “good morning, Mum” from him. There is no, “Can I borrow a car today?”. There is no, “What’s for dinner?”.
I hate it.
Not sure why this time was so hard to say good-by. Not sure why my heart is so heavy this time. Not sure why that room seems so damned empty.
I sigh. I turn around to walk out and realize that window needs to be closed. This is the window through which I had looked so often at the snow falling this past winter. This is the window through which I had watched clouds drift by over the blue sky – through which I had heard the young winter wind howl and the snow plows force their way down the street. Those were the days I wondered how long I had to live? Would I have surgery? Would I be sick from chemo? Would I outlive my first treatments? Then, this same window – I opened in the spring to hear the song of the cardinal and children playing in the streets. The open window ushered in the spring breeze and with it – hope. Those were the days of wild anticipation of the day – of the forthcoming summer and promises that my family would be together once more.
I crank the window closed to prepare for the cold weather. It is time for change. I don’t like change. The trees are changing colour, the crickets are gearing up, and the summer harvest has produced a bountiful crop. Ben is back to school. My Ben. He is on the other side of the window. If only I could crank that window open once more to welcome spring, the return of the summer breeze, and my Ben!
I turn away and leave the room. One more backwards glance reminds me to fix the sheets.
Instead – I walk away and them just they way they are.