Reflection by Liz
 
 

things you might not have known about ben...


we all have a very specific relationship with ben, formed uniquely around our individual shared experiences and interests with him. he was many things to many people. that is very obvious. it has been so good for my family to come here and listen to all of these stories and hear about who ben was in your lives. for me, ben is my oldest brother. so, i thought perhaps i could say a few things that you might not have known about ben.


you might not have know that:

when i was a teenager, ben cut me a deal: if i took four years of Spanish, he would take me to a spanish speaking country for my graduation gift... turns out he got into a phd program in San Diego, and wouldn't be around (or have the funds) to take me after graduation, so we planned the trip a summer early: summer 2007. we went to mexico and guatemala, and fit belize in there too. my senior year, you bet i was enrolled in that 4th year of spanish. i probably wouldn't have done that without his bribing.


you might not have know that:

when i was just a baby, he'd get really upset if i was crying, picking me up and dragging me to mom saying "mom. she needs you, she's crying!" mom loves to tell that story.


you might not have known that:

my family lived in hawaii for two years from 1988 to 1990, and because i was born there, "surf girl" became a family nickname for me. it was ben, though, that was so dedicated to calling me "surf girl", all through my life, on postcards, on the phone, or on birthday cards. he even puffy painted it on a little jansport backpack i took to elementary school everyday. however, i was 18 when i first learned to surf. and, as you could have guessed, it was ben who took the time to teach me out on the beach in la jolla when i visited him here over my winter break 4 years ago.


you might not have known that:

ben had dread locks in high school... 10 years later, i got dread locks when i was in high school.


you probably did already know that:

ben ran track in high school...10 years later, i ran track too. long distance, just like him. when he was living in d.c., he'd make huge efforts to come to my meets, standing at not the finish line, but on the 200 meter mark, usually next to dad, calling out splits and yelling "kick it in, kick it in, pass that girl!"


you might not have know that:

it was ben who encouraged me to attend william and mary. i didn't want to, but he said i should go to the best school i got into. of course i ended up loving it. ben wanted people to make their own decisions, but if he thought he knew the best, he spoke his peace. 


you might not have known that:

in 5th grade, when neither of my parents could attend my classroom poetry day, ben and our other brother, eric, both cool college students, came in their places.


you might not have known that:

when i studied abroad in rome, he spent a lot of time pouring over maps with me through skype, figuring out where and how to travel. he was also the one who told me to push harder than my friends wanted to, and more than i wanted to sometimes, in order to really take advantage of travel opportunities.


you might not have known that:

when a crazed axe-weelding drugged man broke into my apartment last september, he was the one who i called crying on the phone, asking what i should do and if it was irrational that i was scared and paranoid of going home at night.


you might not have known that:

ben cut out newspaper and magazine scraps that said "God is Love" and posted them around different places: little reminders to himself of his Creator. today we actually found one taped to his TI-82 calculator. 


knowing ben, i'm sure you have your own stories about him, what he did for you, what you did for him, what you did together. there are many stories about ben i don't know. of course it seems impossible to move forward now, without him here with us on Earth. i miss him greatly. there is peace knowing that our Father in heaven has a Will, and that our motivation to invest in and love people and God as Ben did should only be amplified in light of his death. we can be unified with Ben once again.

Given at Ben’s Memorial Service on August 14, 2012: