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1000 Days

If a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day (2 Peter 3:8), what are a thousand days like?

Today we have lived 1000 days without Ben on this earth. March 23, 2024 is 1000 days since June 27, 2021. I really can't believe it actually. I miss him as much today as the day he passed from my arms into the arms of Jesus.

It feels like it was just yesterday that we could hold him and it feels like eternity since we've held him.

It feels like Ben was just here and also like we've lived so much life without him.

It is the constant living in the "both and." It is both - he was in our life just a breath ago and it has been such a long time since we've seen him.

As his 5th birthday approaches I am cautiously anticipating it. For my three older sons I have sewn a lifetime cowpoke quilt to celebrate this special birthday. I am not making one for Ben... Or should I? It doesn't make sense to make one or does it? I would do it if he were alive, but since he is not, I probably shouldn't. I bought the material years ago to be prepared for this fourth little blessing, but what do I do with it now? This has been my mental dialogue for 1000 days, 100,000 moments.

They still make the fabric for the quilt that I will never make for Ben.

This is the logical and illogical processing of grief. It is so far from God's original design I believe it is beyond our comprehension to understand it. We simply cannot make sense of death while still living. Maybe once I'm in heaven I will understand grief, but then I will be in a place where I will never have to face it again, so my understanding of it will be unnecessary.

Here is a glimpse into a moment in one of my 1000 days: Recently we learned that someone said, "When are Gillham's going to get over the fact that Ben died?" I am so thankful that this person has never faced a hard thing in their life that would have taught them empathy, sympathy or compassion. I'm so thankful that I don't know who this is. I am so thankful I didn't have a pistol loaded or my fist clenched and this person didn't have the audacity to say this to my face, because my flesh might have taught them a lesson or seven. To be abundantly clear I love Jesus, but I have righteous anger related to this heartless statement. Their misunderstanding comes from ignorance and arrogance, and from them giving time substantially more credit than it deserves. Many people believe that simply because time has past, our grief must be easier. Why in tarnation would it be getting easier to live life without Ben - where does this idea even come from? What is "easier" anyhow? Does this mean we cry less? Does this mean I don't have to buckle him in his carseat anymore? Would it be because I have one less plate to set at the table? Again, what is "easier"?

Could you imagine if I was disrespectful enough to tell a parent of a living child that we are never going to talk about or celebrate that child again? Could you imagine if I said, "We already celebrated a baby shower and a first birthday, but when are you going to get over the fact that they were born?" I cannot fathom such an idea that would be so cold and unkind. I give you permission to punch me in the nose if I dare to be so thoughtless.

This person also had a poor understanding of which prepositional phrase to use...

We will NEVER get "over" having to do the rest of our lives without Ben, but we are learning to live with our grief better.

Our life is not better without Ben, but it can still be a good life. (Thanks Dooder, for that precious insight!)

This is part of my 1000 day journey: To deal with heartache upon heartache. To experience joy upon joy. To experience sorrow and heartache and joy and delight at the exact same time - they are constantly intertwined in grief.

Ben loved riding a horse with his Daddy and his Daddy loved it to the core of his being.

This was a good day, 3 years ago, in March 2021, where we are simply doing life as a family.

After the little boys played in the truck, we realized that they left something on that ran the battery dead. I am riding a spunky horse solo. Roy had the two little boys with him & Jake & Matt are riding double.

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