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If your heart is open enough to share this kind of vulnerability, then you’re doing this life thing just right. Sending love to you, your family, and your friend. I hope today is a good day for each of you.

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founding

This says what I feel better than I could’ve managed. Be open when you can and take some alone time when it gets to be too much. You seem like someone who doesn’t waste energy resisting your feelings. That, and your self awareness and inclination toward empathy serves you well. Loss of a loved one is hard. I can also confirm that those who’ve passed on are still very much here with us.

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Thank you, Julie. ❤️

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Mar 23Liked by Ben Wakeman

Agreed, Julie (and Troy). Well said.

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Thanks so much, my friend. I really appreciate you reading and commenting on so much of my work. I hope you have a great weekend.

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Mar 23Liked by Ben Wakeman

"I began to read. And I began to cry. My chest ached. I stopped the recording and tried to breathe for a few minutes. I began again, struggling to contort my mouth into the shape it takes to give voice to this collection of characters, but they all sounded like me— scared, sad, and hollow. I read some more and cried some more. It took three times longer to capture the 3,000 words that make up a typical chapter in this story. I was exhausted."

Geez Ben, I'm so sorry this was such a big effort of a chapter for you to pull off. We never would have known, and you delivered an incredible punch and reveal with the chapter this week.

As for the rest, my heart goes out to you my friend. Thank you for sharing so openly. I think doing such is brave and important. I hope your dog is at least comfortable. I hope your parents find comfort in moving closer. I hope your friend is able to navigate their diagnosis and live to the fullest for as long as possible. And I hope you, Ben, get to find all the creative success you so deserve.

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It’s funny, it wasn’t the chapter at all or killing off a character. It was all the other stuff I hadn’t really been processing in the real world. The fiction is just a shadow puppet show for all the things moving in the undercurrents of my real life.

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The more significant a person's life, the more significant their death. You could not feel the loss, if there had been nothing to lose. Morun their loss, and their impending loss, but remember how much they mean to you, and how much they will always mean. Remember why. Carry on.

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Thanks for reading and commenting Chip. I appreciate you.

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Hugs, Ben. You speak for my heart so often here, and I am grateful for your bravery. I won't tell you to be strong, or feel better, or think happy thoughts, because that's nonsense. Feel what it is, for as long as it takes, and know you are supported and appreciated in all the places you choose to put your time and energy. Thank you. 💜

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Thanks Meg, that means a lot to me. You were among the first to welcome me into this community that has meant so much to me for the past year. I look forward to our upcoming conversation.

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Me too. 🙂

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I listened to this while returning from the mundane and frustrating task of shopping on a Sunday morning with tears rolling down my face. I applaud your big open heart, your ability to not feel regret at having to follow a course not necessarily wished for for the sake of your family. We do these things because of love, yours so evident in your voice…

This was so moving - thank you.

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Thanks so much for listening, Susie. This is such a loving and supportive community here. I feel so incredibly lucky to be a part of it.

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Mar 24Liked by Ben Wakeman

Ben, I’m very much holding you in my heart while you navigate your deepening relationship to Death. I know it’s awfully complex, as we very rarely choose to enter into said relationship, but I encourage you to be open to the idea that there’s much to be learned in this tender place that you find yourself.

In regards to not knowing how any of this works, I suspect that none of us know—and I wonder whether things like aging, love and death were never meant to be understood; only experienced.

I’m going to ping you an email, but I just wanted to challenge what you said re the void of knowledge about life and how to live it well: the copy of Ten Things I Would Tell My Younger Self that sits on my desk would heartily disagree… Sending you love, my friend ❤️

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Thank you, friend. I didn't plan to do any of this when I woke up yesterday but I needed some way to roll the weight up and off of my chest so I started writing and then narrating and playing a little music. In the cold light of today, it feels I might have overshared but your response and the response from so many others in this community is so tender and kind. It's an embarrassment of riches to have such an outreach from people I've never had the pleasure of even meeting.

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Mar 23Liked by Ben Wakeman

Sending love, Ben - takes a brave heart to show up even while it's breaking. 💙

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Thank you, brother.

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Mar 23Liked by Ben Wakeman

My niece and my sister-in-law are at the hospital. My niece’s best friend (33yo) had a stroke a week ago. Yesterday her brain started to swell and she died while in surgery. I didn’t know the girl, but know my niece and sister-in-law lost father/grandfather and mother/grandmother in the past year.

At the time they were told the parents, in their 80’s, had lived a good life and didn’t suffer. I do not know what you tell the family and friends of a 33yo young woman. Taken so suddenly. No chance to say goodbye. To pray with her.

Life is rarely “fair”. Very good things can happen to very undeserving people. And very bad things can happen to good people we love.

One thing I’ve learned over 68 years. Those who have passed on are still with me. They live on in my heart and my memories. My mom passed almost 2 years ago. I think of her often, and talk about her as well.

I’ve also learned that sometimes life just sucks.

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How tragic. I'm so sorry for her. Thanks for reading and commenting, Scott. I love the idea of these people living on inside of our memories.

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Thanks for your piece today, Ben. I think a lot about death, as well, and even though I'm an unpublished novelist, in my first WIP, I've killed off quite a few people, including the protagonist's mother, grandmother, and aunt. So. But at 68 (two months from my next b-day), it's hard to imagine that I have another 20 or 30 years left. It's possible: my father lived to 92, and my mother will celebrate her 96th in June on my birthday, and we all keep moving forward. Until we don't.

We all have euphemisms for death, but my favorite comes from a longtime good friend of mine: "Until the Big Guy in the Sky pulls our Fun Ticket." So, with that said, I'll keep having as much fun as possible, creating music, photography, and writing, and doing my best to love my friends and family. Death comes to us all eventually, and so many talented and creative people were here for such a short time it seems both unfair and astonishing. When we were young, we felt invincible and invulnerable, but even back then, I can recall several friends and acquaintances who didn't survive long enough to make it through high school.

Every moment is special, and I'm grateful for each one. Thanks again for your piece. I really appreciate it.

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Thanks for the wonderful comment Timothy. It sounds like we have a number of common interests beyond death! I appreciate you reading the piece.

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God - Ben - thank you for sharing. I don’t know you at all but I see myself and so much more in this. It’s like we’ve all dragged ourselves into a war we never wanted to fight, out of responsibility, out of duty, out of love, out of fear, as fathers and wives, as husbands and mothers, as hopeful children. Creative spirit always the unsaid casualty. But not here, not this time.

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I'm glad this piece spoke to you E.T. Thanks so much for reading and for commenting. It's a strange and counterintuitive thing that it's the most personal work we share that as the most universal appeal.

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Ben, I find in the openness of your sharing an invitation. So much in this world these days has pointed us to forgetting that strength is in bending. Thank you. And I’m so sorry you’re hurting.

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Thanks, Holly. I appreciate you reading.

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pure gold take heart

the recommendations are gold as well

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The recommendations from this community are pure gold. Thanks for reading Appleton.

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Beautifully written. You really brought us on the journey with you. I've only just discovered your writing and so glad I signed up. Feel your loss and wishing well to you and yours.

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Thanks so much for your kind attention, Shoni. I'm glad you're here.

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To you, Ben, I’m sending love.

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Thank you, friend. I appreciate you. Really loved your reading of your most recent story. You're a pro now!

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Oh lord I've been panicking that all I've done is badly copy Chloe (who, along with you, is a master). But I was studying her delivery, and then it seeped in, and now I want to apologise (I've also fantasised, in that apology conversation, reminding her that imitation is the highest form of flattery etc. Oh My Brain.) And on that subject, I am loving listening to HH. My word you do the different voices well. Really a joy. Hats off.

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The only thing I hear in common between you and Chloe is the lovely accent. You sound 100% like you -- well the you that performs your writing. I'm sure you don't talk to your kids that way!

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Okay. I'm going to put my demons on the back seat where they belong and believe you instead. Thanks x

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Mar 24Liked by Ben Wakeman

What a generous way to reshape your sorrow into something so honest and resonate for your readers. Peace and strength to you in this hard season, dear Ben.

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Thank you for being here Ann.

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Mar 23Liked by Ben Wakeman

Boy, life hurts sometimes. Glad you could open to it, let the damn break and let the waters do what they do. Maybe not a purification of all that ails, but certainly waters that honor this untamable life. Thank you for sharing so vulnerably…and thank you for mentioning unfixed in this deeply personal offering.

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