March 17, 2004
A pure gift
asked me what made Bennett such a special child. What a gift it
was to be asked to share the ways that Bennett was special and how
he made my life wonderful. So I thought I would share it with all
I wrote this
poem for Bennett, almost two months before he was born.
your journey begin
to the world, son
Open your heart
And soak in the love that pours from our souls.
Open your eyes
And absorb the beauty of nature.
delight, but accept sadness, too.
treasures that abound.
My highest hopes
were for Bennett to experience the greatest things this world has
to offer us; love, beauty, and joy. And there is no doubt in my
mind that he did, indeed, experience these things. He loved simple
things, like bar-b-que potato chips and silly songs. And he showed
his delight and love with his radiant smiles and abundant kissies.
His life had
sadness and suffering too, but there is no way around this for any
of us. He spent way too much time in hospitals. The irony in that
is I originally wanted to have a home birth because I did not want
Bennetts introduction to world to take place in a sterile
cold hospital environment. Despite this, Bennett found a way to
make the hospital fun. He loved to chew on his I.V. tubing and plastic
syringes (needle-less). He kicked his feet every time we went through
the automatic doors in the hospital. His spirit longed for fun,
and he did not let cancer, doctors, or hospitals get in the way.
I often thought
my greatest gift was to teach others, but quite frankly, it is apparent
to me that we all have much to learn from each other. Of course,
as a parent, I thought I had so much to offer Bennett as a teacher
and guide. What I failed to realize when I wrote this welcoming
wish was how much Bennett had to offer me as a teacher. You might
ask how could a child, whose brain was consumed by cancer, who never
learned to talk, who never learned to walk, how could this child
me the greatest lesson we all must learn on this journey. He taught
me how to love. He taught me how to love resolutely, completely,
relentlessly, passionately, and unconditionally. Without this lesson,
I do not think I would have ever come anywhere close to grasping
how much God could love me.
I used to always
say to Bennett, especially when it became apparent that my time
with him was coming to an end, Bennett, I love you so much,
more than anything in this world, and the amazing thing is God loves
you even more. Whenever I said that, I was drawn into one
of those mind-baffling wow moments like when you look
up and try to imagine how many stars are in the sky.
name means, little blessed one, and I know that not
only was Bennett blessed, he was a blessing to many people, especially
me. Bennett was my teacher. He taught me to look for blessings,
to live fully in the moment, to be patient, and to rely absolutely
on the love of God.
When I look
back at the instructions I wrote out to Bennett on how to embrace
this world, I realize these words were probably meant for me more
than him or anyone else. Some of these lessons are easier than others.
My journey has been blessed with a lot of beauty, love, and many
bits of treasure. Yet, I am still learning to accept these tears
that come in waves from time to time.
I am confident
that Bennetts life was exactly what it was meant to be. And
that brings me joy. How could I want anything less for my son?
a life with great purpose, a short time of suffering, and an eternity
experiencing the love of God. What made Bennett so special? He was
an extraordinary blessing, a pure gift of love.
If I speak
in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only
a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy
and can fathom all the mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have
a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the
flames but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these
1 Corinthians 13:13
is to receive a glimpse of heaven. Karen Sund
Dear God, you
have given me so many gifts in this lifetime. And I am grateful
for everyone, but I am most grateful for the opportunities you have
given me to love and for the love you have given me. These glimpses
of heaven are a promise of the eternal love that we have in you.