On a Significant Date, “Love Is A Song That Never Ends”

ALS,Walt Disney World
A PhotoPass photographer caught this moment in front of the Castle at Walt Disney World. It was actually the first time we returned after Ben’s ALS diagnosis in 2010

For me, today, July 6, will always be the day everything changed. It’s not a typical milestone date. No diagnosis, no birthday, no death date, but the day that Ben went into the hospital. Dates are important to me, for better or for worse. One of the many reasons this date is so significant is because it became the day when we could no longer deny or postpone Ben’s fate with ALS. So much happened leading up to this day. I’ve documented it often, and you can click here to see the details of that date. When choosing a quote for this post, the unwavering feeling is the song from Bambi, “Love is a Song That Never Ends.”

As a teacher, the end of June and beginning of July is a happy time. This year was particularly challenging, so I was more exhilarated than usual to leave the school building. I am trying to focus on the future, because I have put in place exciting prospects. Still, the memories of that summer nine years ago are like Eeyore’s gray clouds. I don’t relive each and every detail anymoreI allow myself to feel the sadness, grateful that it is no longer as paralyzing as it once was. I also continue to reflect on that time—where I was, where I am, how far I have come (or not).

Today, I happen to be home with a bad cold and laryngitis, so writing, remembering, and reflecting are perfect activities. Tears have fallen, and that’s fine. I will watch my “One Dance” video and listen to the lyrics, remembering how that song was the one that allowed me to acknowledge to myself that Ben was never coming home from the hospital, that we would never dance again, and that he was going to die. Yes, that may have been obvious to everyone else, and it is not that it was not obvious to me, but being alone and facing that in our apartment was a terrible heartache. An important message for me in the original Inside Out is that we can aim for joy, but it is not that simple, because our experiences are comprised of so many emotions and moments of significance, and sometimes joy arises from or coincides with anguish in unexpected ways.

Making summer plans had become a conflict of grief and wanting, or knowing that I should want, to move forward with my life. I made my plans with a clear conscience. I have no rules about my grief anymore, and I embrace it when it appears in good and bad memories. I will visit friends, human ones and my animal buddies at the Georgia Aquarium. I have again become accustomed to traveling by myself and I appreciate my good friends. I am also comfortable with wishing that one day, I will have a new love for company. I still don’t act on those wishes, leaving it to the fairies to deliver to me. But, I am living. Ben is always with me, and that’s okay, too. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way. After all, “Love is a Song That Never Ends.”

July 2024 calendar. Slightly different arrangement but same photos and memories. I guess that’s a good analogy for grief- the memories may shift somewhat but they are still there and strong.