Ben Campbell was just 17 years old. On October 11, 2011, he posted on his Facebook “Today is the best day of my life.” And then a short time after that posting, he was killed when the car he was riding in was hit by another car.
He wasn’t my child, but was a child of our community. And today is now Saturday, October 15, 2011 and today our community is saying goodbye to a boy who was stolen away just as his life was about to begin. As I sit here and write this, I think about all of the experiences that he will never have, because he is gone. I think about all of the kids that have been effected by his death. I think about his family, and what they must be going through. And I think about the boy who was driving the car, and my prayers are with him, as the 16 year old girl who was in the back seat. I don’t even know if she realizes Ben is gone, because she is still in the hospital.
And as I think about all of the sadness, and what a horrible experience to have for everyone, I remember something Ben’s mother said. “Parents hug your kids every time you get the chance.”
I try to shift the sadness to the back of my thoughts, and try to focus on more positive things. I need to remind myself all the time that my loved ones are a gift, and every moment I have with them is precious, never take it for granted. Look at every mealtime as an honor that I am able to share it with my kids and my husband.
Don’t dwell on what could happen, rather embrace the time we have to share with others, and try to make a difference for someone else. Be thankful and grateful for the moments I have had. Especially the simple ones like seeing my silly 17 year old son come walking up the stairs with his Elmer Fudd hat on as he is dancing to one of his favorite songs. Those moments are priceless, and I have been lucky enough to experience it. For those moments I am eternally grateful.
I vow not only to make sure my children and my husband know how much I love them, but also to never take for granted the time I have with them, and to make every moment count. I don’t want something horrible to happen and be filled with regret for not spending enough time with them all.
I vow to live every day to the fullest, and experience life and do everything I have ever dreamed to do, and pass that along to my children. Make time to laugh and cry. Do the silly things that we will always have to look back on.
I vow to make every day count, and do what I can for others by making a difference in their lives as well. We all have the power to make a difference, even if it seems small to us, it can have a profound effect on others.
So Ben Campbell, where ever you are now, I want you to know that you are loved, and you have made a difference for me, and because of you, I hope to make a difference too. Because of you, I will live every day to the fullest and make certain I have no regrets. We were all so lucky to have known you for the time you were here with us. You will forever be in our hearts.