A TRIBUTE TO BEN
Ben Richards was well known in Tofino for many years, leaving his mark on the town in more than one way. He was vital to the building of the Legion and he was Dispatcher of Tofino Airlines for years, deeply proud of his responsibilities, flying the doctors and others back and forth in the float planes he loved so much.
Earlier this year I went to a Medium to get in touch with anyone on the other side who wanted to connect with me. This is something I do from time to time. But this particular Reading was memorable for a special reason. My ex-husband, Ben Richards, came in again to connect during my Reading.
I was annoyed because Ben had come into my Medium Readings several times, always wanting to apologize for the way our life together had been. This was the fourth Reading Ben had interrupted, taking up time in my precious hour of connection with deceased loved ones. His purpose was always to apologize over and over for how he had treated me and how his drinking had destroyed everything we had. It just made me angry because his apologies could not replace the potential our marriage had, our business or our romantic relationship.
Ben was an alcoholic for many, many years.
When we met, I could see he drank and smoked, but he also seemed to be strikingly intelligent, bright, stimulating, and interesting. A man who could turn his hand to many things with skill and commitment. I could see that we could make a good partnership in life, and I believed that, as a Registered Nurse and an experienced businesswoman, I could get him to stop smoking and drinking. Like many a woman before me, I was to find out just how intractable an enemy alcohol can be.
I moved to Tofino to be with Ben and we started out in our life together. I immediately began to nourish and support my new husband, who clearly had a drink problem. I tried in every way to persuade him to commit to sobriety. After some considerable effort, Ben went on the wagon and was sober for six wonderful months. We had a lot of fun. His bright mind and creative excitement with life was contagious. We began to plan and dream of the many things we could do together. Life was good.
Then Ben fell off the wagon briefly, and after a hard fight, I persuaded him to once more quit drinking and give life a chance. I said to him, “Ben, God gives us all many chances in life to do the right thing. We don’t know when our last chance is, or even if there is a last chance. But why not consider that this might be your last chance to take your rightful place in the world and stay sober this time?” We talked and argued and talked in the way such couples do, and amazingly, Ben dug down deep and sobered up again. We had a wonderful six months more as a real couple, having a great time with life. We put music on in the evening and we danced around our home. We played and dreamed and hoped and made plans like everyone does.
Then disaster struck. An old drinking buddy came to town and set up in our back yard. Ben had no chance. Within hours, he was back on drink and having a great time with his old friend. This is the story of so many alcoholics. In the end, it’s the old drinking buddy who decides how the die is cast. In my experience with him, Ben never was able to stay sober again though he went to rehab twice.
As time went on, and we ran our business, a motel in Tofino, Ben went further and further downhill. Many rumors were started, partly through Ben himself, as to what a bad person I was. My continuous pleading with him to try again fell on deaf ears and some in the community began to blame me. Amazing stories as to my general badness expanded and spread around town. It was desperately hard for me to carry on.
But I’d seen Ben at his best, and Ben at his best was worth a fight. So I kept trying. We had a business contract giving each of us half of our business, and I had two strong reasons for staying in the marriage. This man I knew had such amazing gifts and abilities–and intelligence–and the beautiful little business we were partners in. As he descended further and further into the depths of truly insane alcoholism, my reputation fell into tatters. When Alanon died and disappeared, I joined AA hoping to find there the support I needed to hang on and the support Ben needed to get sober. That didn’t work. People began to think I was an alcoholic, too.
Finally I had to give in. It was hopeless. He would never again be sober, that was clear. What a bitter pill to swallow after seeing how wonderful he was when he was sober. That would never happen again in my experience. I put the business on the market against his wishes and we sold it quickly. The idea of the money brightened his attitude to selling and he agreed to the sale. We divorced and I moved away, did an R.N. refresher and a diploma in Medical Transcription, and went back to work in the world, alone again
I tell this story to you because Ben finally made it.
During that last Medium Reading, when I was so annoyed that he came in again, I thought he’d come once more to apologize. I said to the Medium, “I don’t want to hear from him. Tell him to go away and let someone else come in. He only comes to apologize over and over and I just don’t care. It does no good now.”
The Medium paused, looking off to the right as though she was looking right at someone standing there. She said, “No, that’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying Thank you.”
I was shocked. I said, “What? He’s thanking me?”
“Yes, he is saying,’ Thank you for everything you tried so hard to do for me.’ He just wants you to understand something. He keeps saying, ‘I’ve evolved. I’ve evolved. I’ve changed. I’ve EVOLVED! And I am so grateful for all you did for me. You tried and tried. I need you to know, I made it.’
I was thrilled. I said, “Well, that’s wonderful. That’s different. He’s thanking me! That’s amazing! I’m so glad to hear those words. Tell him thank you for making the effort to get through to me. It means the world that he said that.”
And it did. It still does.
Ben finally made it. He has evolved, and the fact that he didn’t make it here, but had to wait till he passed over, and he got sober and evolved in another country, another world, makes no difference. The important thing is, Ben Richards made it. And he has gone on to further adventures and is probably on earth again somewhere, making a go of life this time. He was so intelligent and creative and competent with so many skills, and now all facets of his wonderful self are busy living a good life, whether in that other world or in this one, it doesn’t matter.
Ben made it.
I want the people of Tofino to know that Ben finally got it together. He needed healing on a level not available in this world, and he got it.
The real Ben Richards was a wonderful and amazing man. Despite the trials of our life together, I was lucky to have known him when he was sober and his real self, for those two six month periods, during our eight year marriage.
I know he loved Tofino so much and rather than have everyone think that was all he was, just another alcoholic, I want everyone to know that he was so much more than that and today he is living life in a full way, thanks to the grace of God.
I know he wants to tell those others, too, who tried so hard to help him, I know he wants to tell you all, Thank You for all you did. I pass this message on to the folks in Tofino who remember Ben when he did good things and left a good mark on the town.
Sometimes no matter how hard we fight for someone, we don’t have the knowledge to heal. Sometimes a higher power has to step in and do the job.
Thanks be to Creator, who fought for Ben and gave him his life back, though not here with us.
We should never give up on anyone. There, but for the Grace of God, go all of us.