We asked that people bring photos to share at Benny’s Memorial last November. We had boards and some people brought pictures to hang up. Some people filled up entire boards chronicling my sons life and others brought beautiful photos that we didn’t even know existed in frames. In this world of digital life, it’s rare to have that many pictures of your children printed out and in one place, it was nice.
Truth be told, most of them ended up in Benny’s room. It was too hard at first to be surrounded by all that I had lost. Slowly, the pictures made their way around the house and found new homes on the walls. I didn’t want our house to become a mausoleum, so it was hard to pick and choose what to keep out. Grieving takes on a whole different meaning when you are looking out for the best interests of a 5 year old too.
In the dining room, we have a ‘Benny shelf.’ It’s where his picture that we used for his obituary is kept as well as many, many other treasures that we have received. We have the rocks that my friends daughters painted with Benny’s name on them, angels and sunflowers (this is before we made the sunflower connection, right after the accident). We have a picture of him covered in cake from his first birthday because this makes Darcy laugh. There is a sunflower that was given to me by my LDS friends in a basket (again, they had no idea about the connection). I also have a sunflower candle and the Winnie the Pooh quote from my friend Sue. She said that she had the Pooh quote forever and it seemed fitting, not knowing that we had used it in Benny’s services. We usually have Benny’s bus there too, which is his little matchbox car that he was obsessed with. He would walk around and make engine noises, say ‘bus’ and drive it everywhere (including a friends knee’s right after surgery). This has become our Benny space.
We also have a space in our front hall, which is right on the other side of the wall from the dining room. Sue and her family had given us a memory lamp after Benny’s passing. It wasn’t until after we tore the house apart and then put it back together that I realized it belonged in the front hall, right next to another beautiful picture of my son, given to us by Parker’s, sisters, mother in law. This lamp is on day and night and never gets shut off. It’s our ‘candle’ that always stays lit in his memory. It’s a reminder of how he brightened our world. A fitting tribute to the dude.