He Was Too Good for This World

ImageTrying to grapple with reality has been tough. I’m the person who would rather ignore sadness. I avoid books and movies with heart-wrenching plot lines and unhappy endings for this very reason.
But voluntary ignorance does nothing to alter circumstances.
And does no credit to faith.

I’ve heard it said that when a child passes away, it’s because they were too good for this world. I’ve never felt this to be more true.

When I think of Ben, I think of goofy faces. Belly laughs. And the softest of hearts. He was the first to go in for the hug. To help. To make you laugh. To hold his sister’s hand. To reach for his mom’s. And whose absence will continue to fray the strands of my heart.

There aren’t words to adequately express the pain that’s lodged itself in my heart. The brokenness. To be left standing bereft of any remedy, to watch your precious nephew endure the rampage of a malignant tumor is heart wrenching. To see its effect on your sister is even worse.
Our family has always been so good at being there. The moment hard times fall, we mobilize every resource imaginable to fix the problem or at least ease the pain. But these past weeks, we have all stood dumb-founded. Helpless. Unable to do more than huddle together, cry, and pray.

It’s hard to fathom the ability of life to continue. To know that we’ll move on. Go on with our lives. Be ok. I guess that’s the initial impact of grief. It saturates your heart.

The morning of Ben’s last day was so gray. I felt it before I saw it. Rain pelting the side windows. A muggy fog enveloping the house. The granular light filtering through the clouds was the only evidence of the sun that typically shone so brightly.

But the air was clean. The buds hindered by a long, hard winter were tentatively but resolutely peeking out of branches. It was the first I’d seen them since last year.

Spring is supposed to signal new life, not death. Last May, I remember thinking on the same conundrum after my grandfather’s funeral. They lowered the casket as the lilacs bloomed. It felt like such a contradiction. One I never dreamt our family would relive. Especially like this.

But as much as we can never anticipate tragedy in our lives—and detest its invasion with such a fierce grief that leaves our lives and hearts broken—this is not the end.

Spring does bring new life.

One of the greatest comforts to me in preparing to say goodbye to Ben was the assurance that he would be receiving new life. For those that know the Lord, death is merely a departure from the body we know. One of the token phrases of my favorite earthly saint has always been, “This body is rotten—I’m ready for my new one!”

This world is full of suffering. Pain. Heartache. Ben’s final days showed us more of it than any of us want to remember.
But he’s with Jesus now. The arms of our Heavenly Father embracing him now more than figuratively. How much is God sparing Ben in this world by taking him now? Neither do I want or have to imagine. Because he’s Home now.

We mourn his loss on this end. Deeply. We always will. I don’t know that I’ll ever see our family as complete without him.
We might have lost him; but he’s not lost.

God has him.
God has us.

He’s just holding us on different ends of eternity.


Thank you for your continued prayers for our family (Mindy, Andy, Jack & Meg especially) as we lean into God to grieve the loss of one of the sweetest gifts He’s lent us for the past five years.


35 thoughts on “He Was Too Good for This World

  1. Marissa: So beautifully written. Thank you for sharing. My heart goes out to you and all of your family. Words fail me -but please know that prayers for all of you will continue – and love is flowing your way.

  2. Marissa, I had my fifth graders sing this song tonight at their concert. When I picked it, Ben was healthy but ever since he was diagnosed, I’ve dedicated it in my heart to all who love and follow Ben.

    Dan Denecke

    • Yes, Dan…That song certainly resonated deeply with your audience. The Ledgeview Community mourns your family’s loss, Marissa. You are in our thoughts and prayers ~
      Sarah Williams (Bojdak)

  3. this is very well put. I am so sorry for the loss of Ben. I do not know your family personally ,but through Mindys blog I feel I do. Continuing to pray for your family.

  4. Such a painful but beautiful goodbye to a loved one. May Ben rest peacefully in our Savior’s arms…no pain, no fear.

  5. Been thinking of you all day long, friend. Actually woke up at 6am with all of you on my mind (and if you know me, you know I don’t wake up at 6am!) and prayed for you immediately. I didn’t know, of course, that Ben had already gone Home.
    This was beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your heart with us on such a difficult day. “We might have lost him; but he is not lost.” Wow. Tears and hugs for you.

  6. So beautifully said Marissa– and such deep truth. The contradictions of death and life. You are so right about spring, and the new life budding all around us seeming in such contrast to what you and your family are walking through. But as your family has shown so many, God is faithful, and he is holding onto us all. Praying for you and your family continually.

  7. Marissa, my heart breaks for you and your family. I can’t even begin to imagine all that you are dealing with. But as you’ve said, find comfort that he is in the loving arms of God our Father.

  8. Perfectly written, you capture true love, faith and hope. The stories I have followed in these few short months show he was a sweet and special boy to all who knew and loved him. I find great peace in knowing he has found his way to his forever home. Thank you for sharing, it is absolutely beautiful. Love, prayers and hugs.

  9. Even as a counselor who does a lot of grief work, I simply cannot imagine what your family is going through right now. Sending love and prayers, and knowing that He will hold you as you ride through this storm. Please pass on my deepest condolences.

  10. Beautiful. I have had the privilege of being in a homeschool co-op with Kim Goodwin here in California, who grew up with you all in NY. I have been and will continue to pray for you all as you walk through this grief in the days and months ahead. I’m so sorry. Yet trusting you will sense the goodness of God and His mercy the entire way. Know you are loved…xo

  11. Beautiful words! Praying for your family! Thank you for sharing this story with us… It has changed us all!

  12. Never is God our Father and His great love, revealed to a world in need of hope more, then when families can still praise Him in the midst of grief. I have been following Mindy’s blog for the past week or so and your whole family is a testimony to what faith REALLY looks like. Please know that my prayers are with all of you during this time. There will be many difficult days ahead, many times where there will be anger, sadness and questions. Lean on the everlasting Rock of Ages, the One who is strong enough to handle our emotions and NEVER turn away from those whom He loves.

  13. I never left a reply on Ben’s page while he was sick. It was too hard n I didn’t know what to say to bring them comfort. I still don’t know why God allowed this to happen. I saw his mom share on the news how \God loved Ben more than any of us. Ben’s story reached so many. Together thousands have been touched of his young life. I cry when I see his pictures. Praying for all of you. He will not be forgotten.

  14. You wrote so beautifully…..may the tangible presence of the God of the universe wrap around you all now and in the coming days! My daughter wrote a beautiful comforting song …I’d love for you to hear it– it is on i tunes : ‘Morning Light’ by Hannah Jeter

  15. Knowing our loved ones are whole and healthy and experiencing Heaven, with our Lord showing the way, is so comforting. Your thoughtful expression of your grief and loss is beautiful, Marissa. I realize, after years of questioning, that very little in life makes sense as we’d expect it to. So snuggle in those comforting Arms and rest. You’ve all been through so much. God will heal your heart but that piece that your Benjamin captivated? Well … that will always ache, I’m afraid. We heal but we never stop longing for our loved ones presence. God bless you all.

  16. I’m very sorry for your loss. I to am an aunt who has lost a nephew. It is not easy or fair, My nephew has been gone going on his 7th year. God bless you and your family. I sister,will be praying for your heart. Love,Anna Graziano

  17. Marissa- Prayers for you and your family…. i can’t imagine what you are all going through but hope that you take solace in the fact that heaven has gained another angel.

  18. Marissa, Continuing to send love and prayers to you and your family. God bless you and may beautiful little Ben now rest in peace. No more pain, no more suffering.

  19. I received this link in my Facebook feed from a friend, a mother who also lost a son–a twin son to cancer. I was one of his nurses, we will always have a bond. They too are a family of faith and they are survivors. Ben is with Jesus now and his suffering has ended. Unfortunately, I know that your suffering remains. I am a survivor of childhood loss also. My loss was a nephew. A bright, beautiful blonde headed 17 month old boy. Faith, family and friends will be your comfort. My brother and his wife also found comfort in a bereavement group. I want to post the information for you. I don’t want to take for granted that someone else will tell your family about this group.
    It most often takes time and tons of courage to go to a bereavement group meeting. No one wants to even have that need. There will be many days of feeling like this whole thing didn’t really happen, could’t happen, shouldn’t happen. If you ever want this information, here it will be. Prayers of love and hope to you and your family…..you need not walk alone. Peace, love and blessings to you. ~Ruth
    The Compassionate Friends: http://www.compassionatefriends.org/home.aspx
    Providing Grief Support After the Death of a Child
    “The Compassionate Friends is about transforming the pain of grief into the elixir of hope. It takes people out of the isolation society imposes on the bereaved and lets them express their grief naturally. With the shedding of tears, healing comes. And the newly bereaved get to see people who have survived and are learning to live and love again.”
    –Simon Stephens, founder of The Compassionate Friends

  20. Thinking of you too. For some reason, I feel compelled to tell you I too am the aunt of a sweet sweet sweet boy who just went to be with Jesus last month – far too soon! After 15 days with brain cancer, he passed. Grieving with you. Glad He is in the arms of Jesus but it sure doesn’t take away the pain that you have to feel as aunt or your sisters family will endure.
    Going grey for Ben and Kai!

  21. my prayers will continue for this “faith-filled” family, I pray that many are brought to Jesus by their awesome witness, of where our strength comes from..

  22. Beautiful. A book that may be of comfort to you in the grief that lies ahead: “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken.

  23. – I don’t know what to say. but leave you with a song that means a great deal to me – YOU ARE THE NEW DAY – by the King Singers – here are the words – I hope you’ll give the music a listen – You are the new day
    You are the new day
    I will love you more than me
    And more than yesterday
    If you can but prove to me
    You are the new day
    Send the sun in time for dawn
    Let the birds all hail the morning
    Love of life will urge me say
    You are the new day
    When I lay me down at night
    Knowing we must pay
    Thoughts occur that this night might
    Stay yesterday
    Thoughts that we as humans small
    Could slow worlds and end it all
    Lie around me where they fall
    Before the new day
    One more day when time is running out
    For everyone
    Like a breath I knew would come I reach for
    The new day
    Hope is my philosophy
    Just needs days in which to be
    Love of life means hope for me
    Borne on a new day
    You are the new day
    Sara Duhrkopf – Iowa

  24. I am thankful to have been a part of Bens journey. He has been an inspiration to so many. Your family, your sister her husband are a true testimonial to Gods undying love.
    I wish you all peace. I hope the knowledge of Ben flying with angles is a comfort to you all.
    Again thank you for touching my life, my heart…FOREVER!
    May God Bless you

  25. Cannot imagine what your family is feeling. But we grieve right along with you. What a special little boy Ben was. My prayer go out for ben and your family. May you all find some comfort and peace in the time to come. Stay strong…..God Bless.

  26. I am in AWE of the amazing faith your family has. I could only pray to have 1/10th of the faith you all have. I do not know you or your family but my heart could not ache more for all of you! You are in my heart and prayers!

  27. Thank you for sharing Ben with us. A boy I have never even met. We all fell in love with him. Your family is such an inspiration.

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