Ok so its high time for a feel good story and it is one that is very close to my heart! Anyone who know me well can tell you how much I love music and the stories they tell. There are a few bands who take the top spots in my book and I am going to share with you the amazing experience my family and I had with one of them, Breaking Benjamin!
In October 2015, my husband took me to my second Breaking Benjamin concert with VIP tickets. Our daughter at the time wanted to go so bad but was not able to do so. I promised her that one day I would take her to see them but until then she decided that she was going to record a message for Ben and begged me to show it to him. Alrighty then I said I would do my very best, if allowed. Lucky for me their band manager was kind enough to allow me to show it and Ben was great in answering her question. It was an amazing night and an emotional show. Ashes of Eden live for the first time, having not heard it before, was something I will never forget!
Five months later, I fulfilled my promise and took my daughter, Kaitlyn, to their show with VIP tickets. Wow what a night it turned out to be, one for the record books for sure. I finally learned the name of the man who allowed me to show her video all those months earlier, the bands tour manager, John Phillips. After our meet and greet with the band and a mini emotional meltdown, Kaitlyn was taken in by the crew and we were all treated to an experience of a lifetime!
Five months later, we got to go see them again in Houston, the day before our vacation began. Kaitlyn was so excited to see her bestie, John, and the band again!
John and Kaitlyn
Waiting for meet and greet
Then just a few short months later, we all meet up again in Tulsa for another amazing concert experience thanks to John! I was able to bring my nieces to their first ever rock concert and my mom came too! I would not have been able to give them that experience without his help and it is a memory I hold very dear to my heart!
So now in closing, I have two very important things to say…….
First to John, I can never thank you enough for what you have done for not only Kaitlyn, but for me!(I will explain that part shortly). For allowing us the opportunity to see these shows in a way not everyone gets to and for taking Kaitlyn under your wing and being her friend. She truly cares about you and the friendship you both have developed. It means a great deal to her and after the past year, she needs it more now than ever! You saw something that day in Amarillo, took action, and forever altered both our lives! We are both grateful for that!
And now I get to the hard part and share with you why it means so much to me. In 2009, two years after overcoming an addiction to meth, I began to experience chronic unexplained pain. Over the next seven years, I tried anything and everything to manage and I did well until August 2016. What was once just pain, turned into a health crisis I am still battling today. Here is a page from my journal……
I thought I knew what agony was, turns out I had only known pain. It was not until my pain became sickness that I truly got a taste of agony. Not until I read the burnt pages of my soul did I understand. The days I laid on the bathroom floor screaming into my hands and begging for relief. The nights I dreaded to sleep for fear I would not wake up. The people I lost because they could not handle my suffering for they did not understand. The hopelessness when you beg for help and no one listens or believes you. Living everyday as if it’s your last because you have been so close to death. Grateful for the people who decided you were worth sticking around for, and even more so for the stories that give hope.
I could go on for days explaining all the ways that Ben’s words and story helped me to keep going and still does to this day. How the songs gave me a voice when I was to tired to speak. I will admit, it is hard sometimes to listen too, the feelings are so raw and emotional. I ask myself often why I never said any of this face to face? Four chances and nothing. What do you say? How do you begin? I do not like to live with regret I can do something about but I have to believe that THIS is the way it was supposed to be. I was meant to write it down and share it in written words instead. It is significant because a few weeks after the first show in Lubbock 2015, I wrote down my feelings for the first time ever. My first poem was born from that inspiring night and my writings have grounded me as my life imploded around me. I am finally able to express my pain and thoughts and it was inspired by Ben, the band, a few other amazing people who encouraged me to break through fear and find the courage to share my story. So now I have no regrets when it comes to this amazing experience!
In closing I leave you with that poem and one last thank you before I sound like a broken record…..
Go ahead and stay
You won’t listen no matter what I say
Infects my soul
Drains my mind
Breaks my heart in all kinds of ways
Wash the day away
I just hope for a better day ~ Jennifer Steen