Ben speaks (#TeamDuke)


The following are the words of Ben – my inspirational son. The words are written from the heart, with love, and are published in the hope that they will reach the target ‘audience’. I also want to publish them to show that there is light after dark, there is hope after despair, and wherever and whenever there is love, good will be the result.

I’m not entirely sure how to start these things, so I’ll start how Dad loves to, with a cheeky quote (although Im pretty sure there is nothing remotely cheeky about this quote, other than taking the pi** out of Dad”

“Triangular sandwiches taste better than square ones.” – Kay, Peter

Right now that’s done, onto the real reason I’m here. As many of you may, or may not know, this past year (give or take a few months), has been a hectic one, and probably the hardest of my life. It feels appropriate I write this blog on the 5 year anniversary of my incredible Grandad passing away, whom I share many treasured memories with. A wonderful man, married to a wonderful woman and Gran. Unfortunately both are watching down from the heavens now, but I live to make them proud. They made this family everything it ever is, and everything it ever will be. I love them both dearly, and miss them greatly.

The song Angels by Robbie Williams is a song I used as a strength at the time, a song me and Mum used to relate to each other. A song we listened to around the passing of Grandad, because it allowed us to release our emotions. “She offers me protection, a lot of love and affection” etc, this were lyrics I related to Mum, because she was my angel sent from heaven. Spent many of special mother and son moments together, and I was very lucky, so lucky to call her my Mum.

Unfortunately this paragraph takes a little turn for the worst. So, as many of you may know, my Mum walked out on the family over a year ago whilst I was away having the time of my life in America. She “found the light”, and ran away with Rich(ard), a man who shared a similar unrealistic dream of saving the world, and similarly left a wife and two sons behind. Me and Mum were a tight as you could be as a mother & son, inseparable, we were the same person. She was my emotional support, and my rock whenever I was feeling down. So in July 2016 when she walked away from her family, is for the first time really, where we found our roads taking different turns. I chose to stay with my Dad & Sister, and she chose to run. I’d be lying if I said even now, my heart doesn’t break a little everyday when I wake up and realise she isn’t just downstairs for a chat. The whole process felt like mourning, she was alive, but not the Mother I knew and loved it. It genuinely felt like a death, and was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt in my life. To see the affect it had on my Dad (who I’ll get onto later), and my sister was heart wrenching. I knew I had to stay strong for them, even on the days when I wanted to break down and turn into a recluse, I knew I had to stay strong for them. I also knew I’d made the right decision, because family for me is everything, family is my divine.

Fast forward a year, and things regarding Mum are possibly worse. She had deleted Facebook, and told me and my sister she’s cutting contact. We haven’t seen her for over a year, and again it has caused a great amount of emotional outpouring, and even caused me to shed a tear or two. If anyone knows me well enough, they know I don’t cry! But it allowed me to release my emotion and carry on being the strength for my family. All I truly want from her is a sign, some human emotion that she still cares. It’s upsetting reading her open letter on Facebook. All I can impress on people is that is not Mum, it’s what she has been turned into by people who now coward away, and try and hide behind what they’ve done, and instead now turn on the people they previously called their friend. It takes a lot for me to write this down, I’m a closed book and only open up for people I feel a true connection with, and trust. This has possibly been my greatest learning curve in life, and there is no doubt I have come out a stronger person.

The truth is though, we as a family now are stronger than ever for so many reasons and I am happier than I ever have been, and content with the course life is taking. I have a new job, a career driven job and everyday learning something new, and gaining a tremendous amount of experience. A girlfriend (who’d have thought it). Gaby, all though only in my life for a short amount of time, has shown a tremendous amount of courage herself and has been there for me when I was possibly at my lowest. It took me some time to realise it, but I feel I have truly met someone special and someone who I can be myself around, and makes me incredibly happy. My job, working in media for the first time in 2 years has also provided a timely boost, and the start of a new era.

I have my music, music to me is cathartic and switches me off from the world. Although bands like Architects may seem like screamy nonsense to some, to me they are more than that. There music reaches out to me like nothing else can.My sister Liv is moving onto far greater things, and has the fire in her eyes that had be extinguished so cruelly over a year ago. I am prouder of Liv than I could ever tell her. She has overcome adversity and come out fighting! Dad, my hero and my best friend. Taking on the role of Dum (Dad & Mum), even the household chores! This man has been a pillar of strength, and has held me and Liv up when all we wanted to do is fall. I could sit here and write for hours, but he knows, he’s saved us both. He’s everything I want to be, and couldn’t be prouder of everything he does. Audrey, the wee one. The support she has offered has just been off the scale, she has offered me and Liv a female figure to turn to. To her I probably give my biggest thank you. She’s taken on a load that she really didn’t have to, but she cared, she showed that she cares, and that was massive to me, Dad and Liv. She’s a great laugh and just fits in to our home perfectly.
There are too many people to thank, The Wallers, The Dukes/Ashby’s, Kathy, Cathy, Liam, Connor, James etc, the list is endless, but you know who you all are.

I struggle to put this kind of thing into words. We as a family now are at a great point in our lives. If Mum was ever to return I’d welcome her back with open arms. Despite everything that’s happened, I love her dearly, and if anything, the last year has made me appreciate the time I had her there 1000x more than I did.
We’re closer now than we ever have been. Keep an eye out for Dad’s new one, and he’ll tell you all about it.



One thought on “Ben speaks (#TeamDuke)

  1. Hi Ben….I am So touched by what you have written, especially to read that your Mum has decided to cut all contact…..that makes me feel So sad inside for you all. And also, very Not understandable…as a mother I just can’t get over it, how you can just cut off all contact with your children….I have to be honest that I never expected this from her. I am happy though that you all are strong as a family and keep each other up and going, keep that up!! I feel proud of all of you how you all dealt with this and still do. Keep up the love for each other as this will hold you together, enjoy each other and be there for another. Much Love, Angelique


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