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Three Years

You will always be remembered and loved. 

Realizing that I have survived another year without my little brother. I miss him very much. I love him very much.

January 30, 2009

Five Years

As many of you know, Sunday marks five years since we lost Ben so suddenly. I will be visiting his grave as I do every year on this date. The tradition is to leave a stone each visit. For those who knew and loved him, and would like to visit but cannot, I can leave a stone for you. Just let me know. If you want to visit, that's okay, too. Love to you all.

January 20, 2011

Six Years

Love to all my friends and family whose hearts ache over the loss of our Ben six years ago today. We love you and miss you, little brother.

Kevin W. "Sending my love your way from Oregon! Always will have him, and you guys, on my mind! Sending our thoughts on Brady's behalf as well. We were just talking about you guys the other day. Hope all is well."

Me: "Please tell Brady I said hi! I'm glad you are still in contact with him. Hope you guys are doing well too. Whenever I think of Ben I think of all the people he was going to be with in Oregon. A beautiful place with such beautiful friends."

Andrew T. "I miss him very much, thinking of you guys. I hope Summer is doing well!"

Brandon R. "I get a good laugh thinking of Ben. Great guy!"

Me: He definitely made everyone smile. Not that he was a particularly funny guy, he was just Ben and that is enough to make you smile.

Debra Z. "Julian & I spent the day chanting for peace at McPherson Plaza in DC & sharing music. We fed the hungry and then lit a candle for Ben & left a peace rock on the memorial there. I felt he was with us in spirit & I'm sure he would have approved of our actions. We think of him & the family every single day. The day remained peaceful despite the heavy police presence & the park service notice that camping regulations would be enforced starting at noon. XO"

Me: I KNOW if he was still here, Ben would be right there with you and Julian, making changes to our world. Keep up the good work. Wish I could be there to help.

January 30, 2012

Turning It All Around

As most of you know, 7 years ago today I lost my little brother, Ben. Usually I spend the day at home, looking at pictures, allowing myself to be sad for the day. This is in hopes of being able to be happy, guilt-free the rest of the year. However, today I decided to change the rules. I gave to others today and plan to do more each year in his name. I started off small by taking doughnuts to the teachers at Willow's pre-k, Summer's office staff and fourth grade teachers. Then I donated 58 books to Summer's school for their book swap in hopes that kids who don't have any can have a book to take home. I finished up by donating 3 bags of clothes and shoes to Goodwill. Made it a good day. I did visit his grave, left some stones, watched home movies of him, cried and told him how much I love and miss him. But I want to make this a day to honor him from this point on. Wonder what I will do next year?

Oh, and I finally put up his picture in my house. This is big for me. but now when I see it, I will think of something bigger to do in his name next year.

I do miss him, but I have to remember to live for my beautiful girls, too!

Andrew T. "That is great! Whenever I think about Ben, I remember the fun and hilarious moments but I also think about what Ben seemed to take very seriously. He always wanted to find meaning and truth in his life. I miss that most of all because it's just so rare to find the kind of honesty that was in Ben. He still inspires people and he will never be forgotten."

David W. "It makes me so happy to know Ben's life is still being celebrated and you're an amazing sister. Ben was my best friend, like a brother to me. I always looked up to Ben and he had a lot of influence on my life and it awesome knowing he did on so many others as well."

January 30, 2013

Ben's Books

For those who don't know, I created a little charity called "Ben's Books". Since my little brother passed during reading month and he loved to read about anything and everything, I thought it was appropriate.
Summer's school was having a book exchange last year and I thought about all the children who didn't have a book to exchange. I donated 58 of my own children's books for anyone who wanted to participate. It was such a great feeling that I made my goal this year to collect 100 books. I sent out emails to friends and co-workers and have about 8 boxes full of books! I will count them all tonight and let you know how many I have collected. 
Thank you to all who donated and helped heal my heart. 

January 30, 2014

Echoes in My Heart

Can't believe it's been 9 years today since I saw your sweet face...missing you with all my heart...wish I could call and catch up, or ask what you think of ____, or just to hear your laugh. But, as you would always say, "What can you do?!" 
The echoes of our conversations are just that...echoes. They fade a little every year until I pour over the pictures of you. Then I hear you a little bit louder once again. Sweet Ben, I think of you every day and send you my love. 

MaryJane S. "Love and miss you Ben. Very sweet post Mandy. Lots of love to you and the rest of the family. Xo"

Lucy S. "Awwww! Make my hearts melt. Love and peace to everyone."

Laurel C. "When it snows, it reminds me of when Brit and I taught him and Rachel how to make snowmen and snowballs one year at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Thank you for sharing the pictures, love you and Ben!"

January 30, 2015

Ten Years...A Decade

Ten years...a feels like just a moment ago my heart broke into a million pieces and my world was shattered forever. A decade? A decade. While I don't have a choice about not having you in my life anymore, I have a choice about how I will live my life without you. I choose to miss you but live my life honoring you. I choose to remember you especially on this day and I choose to cherish those memories so they don't fade so soon. I choose to feel the sorrow I have for my loss but remember that I am more than just my loss. I am a wife, a mother, and an aunt. I choose to be the best me I can be for as long as I as am living. I hope you know all that I do in your name, in memory of you. I hope I can make an impact on some people's lives, as I know you would have...had you been able to stay with us and become the man you would have grown to be. A decade. A decade, so long but just moments ago.

Kellie C. "10 years doesn't seem possible! He lives in every book that you place in a child's hand."

Sophie Z. "He was the best person I've ever known."

January 30, 2016

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