It has been said that the most important word in the English language is the word Remember. Because if we all Remembered, a lot more marriages would stay together, more parents would spend quality time with their children, humans would treat one other with more dignity and mankind in general would reflect on the Hand of God in their lives.
- After every family prayer, we immediately follow our "Amen" by blowing a kiss to Heaven. It's our little way of continually sending our love to our Sunshine Boy.
- After Bennett's death, Ashton refused to sleep in the room they shared for a few months. When I had had enough, I prayed to the Lord for guidance in how to handle this fragile little boy. I was immediately prompted to sing this song to him every night before bed. It worked like magic and has become part of our nightly ritual. And - P.S. - he's been sleeping in his bed ever since. Just another Tender Mercy.
- We have been blessed to have two very special friends offer to take some of Bennett clothes and make Healing Quilts for our family. Each quilt is individual and oh-so-different. But each is PERFECT. When one member of our family is feeling particularly tender, they are gifted a cuddle session or a night's sleep with one of the quilts. As we wrap them up in our arms, Bennett's memory and God's love, they are reminded that - no matter how tough this road is - we are in it together. And that - in the end - it's going to be okay. God's grace will make us whole.
- More recently, the girls have really been aching for Bennett. I have turned - once again - to the power of music for healing. I have begun singing this song to them as they lay cuddled up in our Healing Quilts. It reminds us that God is in control of all things and that He has a specific timeline and plan for each of us. Including our little Bennett.
- Whenever we visit Bennett's grave (which is quite often), we always write him a note or color a picture in a journal that was so lovingly left in a water tight container at his grave by a friend. This journal has become priceless. It documents the road to healing for our family. It is real, tender, tough and divine. We love it.
- Another tradition we have when visiting Bennett's grave is to hold hands and circle round his memorial (ring around the rosies style) while singing His Song and our own version of You Are My Sunshine. These songs remind us of our Little Sunshine Boy. Oh, how we adore him.
- For Bennett's birthday, we released yellow balloons laden with love notes to Heaven. For his "Angel Day" (the day of his passing), I think we'll send off Chinese Lanterns (like the ones seen in here) reminiscent of his Journey Toward Light. What an adventure he's on. What an adventure.
- As I was looking through our Halloween pictures from last year, I saw the above pictures. As a last minute thrown together costume, Bennett was dressed as one of the army men from Toy Story. He was so dang cute.
In this picture, I was reminded how much he LOVED the chocolate dipped pretzels we had at the extended family Halloween Party. So from now on, chocolate covered pretzels will be a regular at our Halloween Day celebrations. All in memory of our Bennett.
- For Christmas, we will use Bennett's Christmas stocking as a Service Stocking. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we will fill Bennett's stocking with pieces of paper documenting ways we have brought Joy into other's lives in remembrance of the Joy Bennett brought to us. And then, on Christmas morning when we may be missing him extra much, we can go through his Christmas stocking and feel all the Joy that was brought about out of our Love and Remembrance of Bennett. I think it will be very, very tender.
- We will also create a Bennett Christmas tree in our home every holiday season. On it will hang pictures of Bennett with items that remind us of his sweet little life. And perhaps we'll include miracles that have occurred in our hearts and others since his death.
Hmmm . . .
- Another seemingly small tradition we have is that - when asked how many children we have - we ALWAYS include Bennett. This has been happening quite a bit since our recent move. We are in an area that did not know our boy and - therefore - only sees us as a family of five. THAT we are NOT. Sometimes it's hard retelling our story time and time again, but it's important for us to have our new neighborhood and congregation know of our Bennett. He IS one of us and will always be considered as an integral member of our Eternal Family unit.
- Most importantly, we continually REMEMBER the covenants - or two-way promises - that we made with God in His Holy House that make it possible for our family to be together. Forever. And when our hearts are aching and we are feeling his loss most poignantly, we cling to one another, remembering a Loving Heavenly Father's Reassurances and Love. And that helps us keep putting one foot in front of another.