Friday, June 4, 2010

three cheers for Ben

This past week my brother-in-law, Van's, little brother Ben, passed away.
One moment he was in the sound booth at church and the next was he lifted up with strong arms into the presence of God.
He was born 32 years ago on a November day.
When the doctors saw that he had Down's Syndrome they advised he be put in a home.
Ben's parents, Josh and Evelyn, decided the home he should be put in was theirs.
Who better to love a sweet boy that two fantastic parents and 4 big brothers?
So that's what they did. They loved him good and hard.
And now they are missing him like crazy.
Because that is what happens when you love someone good and hard and they up and go to heaven before you.
You could see the love on his brothers faces as they talked about Ben, as they praised him and told stories on him and shared their grief with us.
They told about his love for people and his passion for music and church and his prayer life.
They told about his stubborn streak and his ability to seize each day with joy, his great affection for his nieces and nephews and his eye for the ladies.
Being at his memorial service yesterday was amazing and heart wrenching.
It was packed out in the church.
Living in a small community, Ben touched most everyone there with his joy, his love of life and his frequent phone calls.
He was a people person and it showed in the seats.
I told Scott when I got home that "we bawled our eyes out and laughed our heads off."
There was so much about Ben to joy and sorrow about.
My favorite story that was told was when Ben was in the special olympics as a little boy and was all set to run a good race.
His brother, Rod, was at the finish line cheering him on.
His other brothers and parents yelling from the sidelines.
As Ben took off running the cheering for him grew loud and strong.
Ben got so excited about the cheering he stopped running and started cheering for himself.
And I have this sense that Ben knew yesterday when his family and friends gathered to celebrate him en masse...
to laugh and cry together for him and who he was...that he was in on it.
I think somehow in however it is that the heavenlies work, that he saw it all.
And I think that he got a kick out of so many people loving him so good.
And I think that up in the heavens, in that new perfect body that he is rocking, singing a fantastic new worship song that he penned on arrival, surrounded by angels, hanging out with Jesus, he took a moment to stop...and cheer.

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Kelly @ Love Well said...

What a beautiful life (and tribute). I'm so sorry for your extended family's loss.

glimpse of my world said...

Very sweet!!

Mariel said...

so sorry for your family's loss, but sounds like Ben was a huge blessing to all who knew him!

Nichola said...

Beautifully written *tears

Laura said...

Thank you sharing this beautiful tribute. I'm sure your family is experiencing both sweet joy and sorrow during this time.

colleena said...

Being a school teacher in the last week of school I have not allowed myself the time to mourn Ben's Passing... As one of the people Ben called his sister this has been a hard thing not to do. Thank you for being eyes at the celebration of his life for those of us who were unable to attend. You captured his life beautifully.

Erica said...

Sue, Thanks for this beautiful post. I read it to Ben's brothers and parents this morning and they were so appreciative of how you captured the spirit of the day and of Ben. Love you!

susanna said...

Love you back, Erica! Squeeze them for us today!

sister sheri said...

Beautiful tribute.

Katy W. said...

You did a great job capturing the celebration and sorrow of such a day. I think because of your words, even your readers will be touched by the life Ben led.

Amy Liz said...

This brought tears to my eyes...precious.

Chad and Sondra said...

I love this. I too, had a family member with Down Syndrome who passed away in his thirties. Reading this brought tears to my eyes as it brought back so many sweet memories of David. His memory lives on in our family and community as I am sure Ben will live on in his. God blesses us with such special people!