Today there is a burning in my chest. It isn’t indigestion, and I am not sick. It is a feeling I have never felt before, but I find myself trying to manage its severity with every breath I take. It ignites its power when an unexpected picture appears, a precious memory crosses my mind, or when part of my day becomes a shareable moment. This pain, while NOT insurmountable, has wholly encompassed who I am at this moment and for the foreseeable future. This burning is from suffering a tremendous loss, and nothing could have prepared me for this journey I am getting ready to take.
We fell in love almost instantly. While both of us had been in previous marriages, there was a connection created that couldn’t be understood unless witnessed first-hand. The love we felt in such a short period was the kind that weakens the soul yet, feeds your purpose in this life. The type of love that makes you question how you ever existed before and made you appreciate everything we had been through because it lead us to each other, our other half.
You told me your darkest secrets and things you thought no one could ever love you for, only to realize I loved you more for them. I would be a champion in your corner to help you through all of the demons you fought every day. You shared your amazement and how appreciative you were because you never had this level of support from a relationship before. We would talk for hours about our passions, dreams, and what we meant to each other. The night before you died you shared that you couldn’t believe how well I knew you; the effort I had made to understand everything that made you Ben. That in this short time, you were happier and more yourself than you had ever been. We were planning on buying a house, we had set a wedding date, and you asked me every day why you had to wait so long to marry me. You would tell me how beautiful I am, how I would have your babies and how excited you were for our future. I was your person and what you had been looking for your whole life.
But on Saturday, June 9th, 2018, at 9:52 am, I found that you had peacefully passed away in your sleep. You didn’t have the slightest look of pain on your face or showed any signs of distress, just that your body had decided to discontinue the battle it had been fighting for so long. I had been trying so hard to get you better, but I now know that my efforts fell short. You were taken away from me before we even had a chance to appreciate the incredible gift we had in each other. We didn’t have an opportunity to write the rest of our story or prove to the world that there is plenty of life to live regardless of your past.
I will love you to the day I die, Benjamin Joseph Hankins. I am trying so hard to figure out how I am supposed to go on without you. You made an impact in my life, and you will not be forgotten.