These are the words that I shared at the beginning of the service honoring Ben’s life. He was greatly loved by many not just me…
I can still remember the day Ben and I met back in 2003 like it was yesterday. I was sitting in a large sanctuary much like the one I attend now, when he randomly sat next to me. I actually said hello to him and introduced myself which is something I never did. I could say the rest is history, but in true Ben fashion it wasn’t as simple as that. I was not interested in dating anyone in the military, or moving from Fayetteville NC, EVER. He pursued me incessantly, showing up at my work with new clothes from Express & The Limited and buying things like a Corvette convertible to convince me to go out with him. I eventually gave in and vividly remember him telling everyone we met during my first trip to Ohio that we met in rehab; and that he was a stalker success story. I should have known we were meant to be when he found out how many books I had and didn’t seem the least bit shocked (because he twice as many of his own).
Our life together has been far from easy, but I wouldn’t trade a single moment with him for an easier life. I learned so many lessons from him in our years together about not giving up and fighting with everything you have. After years of infertility, I was ready to give up, but he knew that God was going to give us the desires of our hearts not just once, but multiple times. He prayed for twins and God gave us just that. When he found out he had brain cancer, he faced it the same way he faced everything in life, with all that he had. And he never gave up.
If you saw us together, you might have wondered about the deep love we had for each other because of the deep accent of sarcasm in our interactions with each other, but the two of us couldn’t have been more in love with each other or our children. He tried to make me laugh every day of my life. He encouraged me in every one of my dreams and over the years they became his dreams as well. He pushed me to finish my doctorate and spent years encouraging me to write the book I have longed to write since childhood. He made it his goal to challenge everyone he met to know more about the Lord, more about health, and more about every random topic under the sun (because he knew a lot about everything). He often challenged me as well and never let me give up. When I said it was too hard to get published, he decided to prove me wrong by writing a children’s book, hiring an illustrator, and self- publishing a book as a Christmas gift for me one year.
We didn’t get to adopt or foster together the way that wanted, and we didn’t get to grow old together with a dozen children in our home, but every minute of our life together was blessed beyond measure. He taught me to live life to the fullest and we packed a lifetime of memories into the fourteen years we had together. I look forward to telling our children about what an amazing man their dad was and how much he loved them and fought so hard for them and the for the life we had together. I know heaven is a sweeter place because he is there. I will love you forever Ben!