You’ve Been My Shelter

Life has become so normal so fast. A week ago, Dr. Emans said that the outcome from Ben’s surgery was “phenomenal”. Ben no longer needs me, or anyone else, on a minute-by-minute or even hourly basis. So, I’m back to traveling, for work and sometimes for fun. But let me tell you about the first weekend in June.

The LOVE I've been feeling, Kripalu, June 1, 2013

The LOVE I've been feeling, Kripalu, June 1, 2013

I’m driving down the Mass Pike, returning home after a weekend spent with my college roomie Laura at our nearly annual Kripalu yoga and meditation weekend in the Berkshires. I have tears streaming down my face as I listen to all the best, and old, music on my iPhone blaring out at me through Bluetooth.

The weekend rejuvenated me, as does any good weekend spent with a terrific friend. But it also gave me the space and time to relax and let the stress of the past months disappear in the sweaty yoga studios, in my gazes across beautiful lakes, in my walks through forest trails around Tanglewood and in the serene surroundings of the former monastery.

As I’m listening to the Housemartins I realize that they are completely summing up for me how I’ve felt about all the help, support, love, and wonderful wishes I received during the time leading up to, during and after Ben’s spine surgery.

Ben not missing me when I was away! June 1, 2013

I tried to reply with not very glamorous emails to everyone who reached out to us, but it hasn’t felt like enough. Yet, I didn’t know how to put into a legible thank you note just exactly how your thoughts and gifts—whether they were prayers, meals, cards, pictures, blankets, wine, books, magazines, balloons, coffee, cookies, toys, phone calls, emails, texts, Facebook posts, tweets, visits, gift cards or responses to my specific cries for help with Charlotte and Lucy—have impacted me.

I was lifted up and carried when I didn’t think my legs could take me much farther. I was given a huge squeeze when I felt very alone. I heard your strong voices telling me we could get through this, and these voices erased all elements of self-doubt I was experiencing. And I’ll summon all of these gifts you’ve given me again for Ben’s next surgery, on October 17, and for many surgeries beyond.

But let’s have the Housemartins tell you what it was really like. You need to crank up the volume on this to get the right effect. And you have to imagine me, in my Volkswagen, alone, just past Northampton, listening to this song for the first time in a very long time, and hearing all of you say to me:

In times when you’re troubled
Seems more than you can afford
And you feel, you feel you need a friend
Someone to share the load

And when your skies grow cloudy
I want you to know got a friend that’s true
Just like a shelter, in a time of storm
I’ll see you through, that’s what I’ll do

When your dreams are scattered
Just like the wind blown sand
And you feel, you feel you need a friend
I’ll be there, reach out your hand

And when the tempest is raging
I want you to know got a friend that’s true
Just like a shelter, in a time of storm
I’ll see you through, that’s what I’ll do

I’ll see you through your bad times
I’ll see you through your fears
I’ll see you through your hang ups
Honey I’ll dry all your tears

Thank you, so much, for reaching out your hands. We couldn’t have made it through without you.


Andrea Ghose posted on June 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Thank you for your beautiful sharing on friends who have been your shelter. Say hi to Laura. We are so glad that you could spend a weekend together!

Heather, Geoff & Hannah posted on June 23, 2013 at 12:36 am

We are SO thrilled to hear how phenomenally successful Ben’s surgery has been, and we’ll be praying the next will be the same.

And thanks for sharing your heart so honestly. I am so glad that you are getting the chance to travel some, and to even get away with friends. What huge refreshment of body and soul that can bring.

You’re SO right about friends. Wish we lived closer so we could be of tangible help, but we keep you all in our thoughts and prayers so often. Ben, and each one of you is such an inspiration to us!

With love,

Annie Brummer posted on June 25, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Congratulations on your great surgery results, Ben !! Jack saw your mom’s posting and said ” he looks really good ! “. What grade will you be entering in fall ? ( of course I know you don’t care to think about school now that summer’s here ! ). All our best wishes – Mrs. B. ( Annie )

Louise posted on June 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm

So happy for ye all. Love always to Ben

Colin Stead posted on March 21, 2016 at 7:12 am

Very pleased for you all. I too am a big fan of the Housemartins (or The Beautiful South as they are now known). I often find song lyrics with a soulful tune can express how I feel so much better than just talking about things. Most of the time anyway!

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