My Friend Ben


Tammy

My name is Tammy. I am 30yrs old, married and have two children. I want to write to you about my friend Ben. He committed suicide one week ago today and nobody knows why. Today's date is December 5th, 1997. Ben died at the age of 29, November 28th, 1997. My email address is macdowal@superaje.com.

I was Ben's neighbor for eight years but never really got to know him until about five years later. My husband brought him home from work one day. He introduced us. Ben was very handsome and I was attracted to him right away. He owned a small farm just up the road from where my husband and I lived. Ben lived the dream that I wanted to live. Since as long as I can remember when I was a little girl, I always wanted to marry a farmer. There was just something about being a farmers wife that attracted me. Maybe it was because they worked hard for the work they do, and how much they love their family, the closeness. Something I have always lacked in my life. Ben had some farm animals. He loved horses. So did I and so did my daughter. Ben invited me and my family to come and visit him anytime. We were always welcomed. It was a treat for my daughter because Ben would take the time out of his busy work schedule to give her a ride on the horse. It was something I could never give my daughter. I don't work and I don't have enough money to buy a small farm. (It's in my future goals). Over the years I got to know Ben. He was a quiet person. He kept to himself a lot. He was very shy, well mannered, polite, helpful, loved Patsy Cline, you get the general idea. He was everything that a woman wanted and then some. As I got to know Ben, I started having some strong feelings towards him. I was falling in love with him. Two problems. Ben was gay and I was married. My marriage was on the rocks for many years. It was just a matter of time that I thought my marriage would be over. To me, Ben was my Prince Charming. I knew Ben liked me but just as friends but I always wanted to be something more. I wrote Ben a couple of letters stating how I felt about him but never told him that I had fallen in love with him. He was flattered but always stated that we were good friends till the end. My heart was breaking but at least I still had his friendship. Something that I will always treasure. My husband found out my feelings for Ben. I couldn't hide it from him anymore. My husband was upset of course so he went to talk to Ben. Ben reassured him that nothing was going on but just friendship. My husband was happy about that.

Needless to say Ben and I stayed out of touch for awhile till things settled down but all that while my heart ached for him. I knew deep down that Ben and I would never have a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship but it didn't hurt to dream. We started becoming good friends again a couple of months later. We still visited him and the farm. The kids and I missed Ben terribly. Ben wasn't the same. He just didn't seem like himself. My husband and I and our daughter went shopping one day (it was a Wednesday) when we saw Ben. We haven't seen him in awhile and wondered what he was up to. He said he would be over that evening for coffee and to talk to catch up on things. He never showed. The next day was mine and my husbands wedding anniversary. I tried to take my husband out for dinner but ended up not feeling well. The next day we got a phone call saying that Ben had passed away. He shot his lover a couple of times and then he shot himself. When Ben died, I died with him. There was no word, no nothing to let me know "why?" As close as Ben and I were, why didn't he come to me and tell me he was having some problems? I feel partly responsible for Ben's death. I knew he was gay but I didn't let Ben forget how much I cared for him. Was I putting too much pressure on him?

To me Ben was my Prince Charming and now he is gone. I feel so empty and I cry all the time. I know I shouldn't have had feelings for Ben because I was married, but Ben gave me something that my husband couldn't. My husband and I didn't have very much in common and he was always busy with other things that he had no time for me and my children. Ben did. He always did. He made the time to be with us and I felt special. Someone wanted to be with me and the kids and do things. Ben stopped doing his chores and spent time with us. He was everything I wanted in a man. Now it's all gone and I never told Ben that I love him. I'm sorry if this letter doesn't make sense to you. I'm still grieving over him. My heart hurts. I feel so alone and so empty. My world feels like it's ending. I do still have my husband who loves me very much and I feel ashamed because how I'm feeling and dealing towards the death of Ben. My husband is still here with me and Ben's not. My husband knows how much I cared for Ben. He understands which is very hard for me to understand. How can my husband still love me when he knows how I felt about Ben? I miss Ben very much. I just feel guilty for his death. Not knowing why he killed himself bothers me. Was it because of me? Was it the everyday problems of life? No one knows but Ben himself and he took that with him to his grave. I wish I had of been a better friend to him and accept/respect the fact that he wanted to be good friends and nothing more. My heart wouldn't let me. To me Ben was the "one" I have waited for so long. Now he will never know. I am thankful that I still have my husband with me. I love my husband very much and I know in time I will get over Ben but in the meantime my heart still hurts, the wishes of him still wanting to be alive will be here for awhile. When I think about it, Ben is here, not in body but in spirit. I love you Ben, always will. I fell in love with you because of who you are. We will meet again someday. I just hope you are at peace now. I hope that one day you will forgive me?

Love always your friend,

Tammy



You can send email to Tammy at: macdowal@superaje.com
mail welcome


anniversary date 11-28-97
date of post 12-05-97

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW