Ben, I’m impressed. Throughout high school, with quiet dignity, you conquered every challenge you faced. You worked hard, very hard, and then you worked even harder. Nothing, it seemed, was ever easy. But in the end you walked away from high school with the award for highest overall achievement. We were both surprised at the time, but we shouldn’t have been.
You’re the one who made All State as a sophomore in high school, and then went on to make it every other year.
You’re the one who took your passion for video games and turned that into short stories, poetry, persuasive essays, a competitive research grant at the University of Rochester, and a summer internship on the development of executive function skills.
You’re the one Ben, the young man who has always been kind and compassionate, sensitive and insightful, determined and hardworking, considerate and warm hearted, humorous and sometimes comical.
You are also the one with a unique set of rules that only your family can appreciate. Only a few will be mentioned here.
1. You refuse to eat any ice cream (even your favorite ice cream) unless there is enough in the carton to fill your cup to the top.
2. You’ll only mow the lawn that is flat and square, and
only if it is not too hot and not too late in the day (i.e., after 11 am).
3. No matter what, the pants are dirty and need to be
washed—even if you’ve only worn them for an hour. They’re definitely not going back in the drawer.
4. You should mow the lawn in your pajamas. That way you really haven’t lost any valuable part of the day because you’re still just in the process of getting up.
There are many things, some funny and some heartfelt, that I’ll never forget.
I’ll never forget when we read the Odyssey together, and the Alchemist and The Power Of One.
I’ll never forget driving to fencing together.
I’ll never forget being stranded in Newark in a bombed out basement hotel room with you and Rachel. The door didn’t lock, the parking lot was surrounded by razor wire, and the rest of the family was lounging by the pool in Cancun.
I’ll never forget mopping the floor at Casey’s at 1:30 am while you cleaned up the kitchen (“don’t worry Ben, it’s only dishes”).
I’ll never forget chocolate chip pancakes, turkey bacon sandwiches, and teriyaki bacon jalapeno cheeseburgers.
I’ll never forget piles of clean and folded laundry arranged on your bedroom floor in various stages of being worn again before they need to be put away.
I’ll never forget Frisbee in the front yard and sledding down the small hill in the backyard.
I’ll never forget fixing the tiny arms and legs of wounded action figures.
I’ll never forget sitting on your bedroom floor and making up stories as you and Gabe fell asleep to the piano music playing in the background.
I really don’t want to let go, Ben, but I will because I will always carry with me the sounds of your saxophone floating down the stairs, the picture of you Gabe and Rachel playing Clue in the living room, and the warm relaxed smile that sometimes would spread across your face.
Ben, I wish for you . . .
Great peace and an abundance of patience with yourself and others
Great friends, a wealth of self-confidence, and a never-ending belief in yourself
Great adventures, and
Never hesitate to reach out, my friend, a hand will always be there; and during your journey always remember you never walk alone as your family will forever be there all along the way.