I was out walking with my neighbor today and we were talking about mine and Parker’s relationship.  She said to me that if anyone can pull through this, that Parker and I can.  Our therapist said we were both in a similar family situation, that has forced us to become the people that we are today, and that we are not the type that fall apart in a crisis.

I knew that when I married Parker that I was getting an independent, motivated man that loved me unconditionally and would do anything for me.  I never expected that we would be dealt the hand we got, I guess no one ever expects to loose their child.  The statistics on divorce after child loss are extremely high.  I get it, no two people  grieve the same way.  Some fall apart, some can hold it together, some just can’t deal with their spouses strength/weakness.

That first night, I saw the look on Parker’s face as reality began to set in, I will tell you I was terrified.  I thought that I had lost my Parker too.  I was thinking to myself that once again I would have to pick up the pieces of my family’s life and move us forward, alone.  That didn’t happen though.  I have not been alone one minute in my grief, Parker has stood beside me.  He has loved me on the days when I wanted to lie around and do nothing and on the days when I’m neurotic and want to tackle everything in sight.  My marriage has never been stronger and we have never been closer.

I took a lot of things for granted before the accident.  I was a hard worker at DPM, a good mother at home, but there never seemed much time left for Parker.  We were always busy, taken along by the demands of everyday life and the kids needs.  Yet when I needed  him he didn’t fall apart, he became my rock, which I am so unaccustomed to having in my life.  Parker took over and took care of me.  I don’t like to be out of control, but it felt good to not have to be on top of everything for once.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I think deep down I always knew it, but I have a good, solid, loving husband in mine and Darcy’s life.  Could I have survived this without Parker?  Perhaps, I’m a survivor, not a victim.  I know that I wouldn’t feel this ok though.  I wouldn’t be able to smile and love with my whole self if it wasn’t for that man.  I’ve spent my whole life trying to survive and he came along and saved me.  Thank you babe.


When my mom died at 49 I was devastated.  She was my best friend, we did everything together.  I don’t think that many teenagers can say that about their moms.

We rarely fought and it was as if we were perfectly matched, ying and yang.  I was more outspoken, funny and social than her, while she was my conscience, my guide and was always there to lend an ear or an opinion.  She never stopped pushing me to do my best and I could because she believed in me.  She was one of the strongest people I know, but a quiet strength that didn’t beg attention, but rather serenity.

When she was gone all that I ever wanted was more time with her.  I needed her in my life so badly.  I begged over and over to have her back.  For years I was so angry that she was gone, that I almost missed      the most amazing thing…she had come back, just in pieces.

I saw her in my sister Debbie, who tried so hard to take over where Mom left off.  When Deb became a mother, she was my example, my teacher.  She has made me into a better mother.

I found her in my best friend, who I needed so badly in my life.  Tara is like my compass, my conscience and my sounding board all in one.  I don’t know what we would do without her in our life.

Sandy became my kiddos missing grandmother.  She and Mike loved my kids as their own.  I’ve never been more grateful to another human being.  Sandy has been my rock and always seems to know when I need her.  She is always honest with me.

My other ladies have become a part of my family.  Our lives were so empty until they came along.  The strength, love and bond that we share will never end.  I always know that we will be there to take care of one another.

My Aunt Dorothy is a piece of my mom.  She has so many great memories to share with us.  She’s a piece of my past and has worked so hard to keep my moms memory alive.

The biggest piece of her I found in my husband.  He’s the ying to my yang, my perfect balance.  He always pushes me to be a better person.  I can tell Parker anything and he doesn’t judge.    I couldn’t survive Benny’s loss without him.

So, I found her again.  A little scattered and spread out, but it was her. I’m so lucky to have this in my life, even though it took me a good 10 years to see it.

When will I get Benny back?  I’m holding out so much hope for this, to feel somewhat whole again.  I wish I could connect the dots already and see how this works out.  I need to believe in this to move forward.

‘You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.’

Greg Hill Foundation Speech


We had a son named Bennett.  Now I know that every parent says this, but Bennett was so smart and so beautiful.  You could get lost in his deep blue eyes, impish dimples or blond ringlets.  He had a mischevious smile that always kept you guessing what he was planning next.  Benny was very different from our daughter, Darcy.  Where as Darcy was more quiet and careful in new situations or around new people, Bennett would walk right up and try to shake a strangers hand.   He was so rough, so crazy, and so confident in everything he did.  He was all boy.  He challenged me as a parent in many different ways than Darcy did, instead of the theatrics, I was constantyly chasing him, pulling him off of things.  Benny was exhausting to parent, but I always had a smile on my face because he was so funny and engaging.  At 17.5 months he already had a vocabulary that would rival any 2 year olds and was capable of communicating his needs.  He was part of ‘our set’, Bennett and Darcy, from Pride and Predjudice.
 It was roughly 3 months ago today that I laid in bed on a Friday morning like any other  while my kiddos ran and jumped around my room. 3 months ago Benny and I went shopping for a coat and birthday presents for his big sister. He spent most of the time in line flirting with the younger girl behind me. 3 months ago we were running late (per usual) to meet up with a friend. We went to the bouncy house place and I had a blast! Benny kept taking drinks from the water fountain and asking to ‘wash’ his hands. 3 months ago today I called my husband and told him that yeah, things might be financially tight, but I loved being a mom and even though I never expected him, I loved having a son. 3 months ago today we went to Wendy’s and Benny got fries and chicken nuggets and I felt so guilty he didn’t have any fruits or vegetables. He fell off the chair at the restaurant and I thought that was as bad as my day was going to get. 3 months ago I was marveling at the late afternoon snow while Bennett slept in the back of my car, so tired from our busy day. 3 months ago that I was removing him from the car and our world ended and this horrible new reality took hold. What I wouldn’t give to go back to 3 months ago + 1 day. What I wouldn’t give to memorize every dimpled smile, every laugh, every pout and every fit.  But we cannot go backward, we can only go forward.
In the days after losing Benny, we watched people, mostly strangers, enter our lives and show their support.  People in droves started showing up with food, flowers and presents to help us get through this hard time.  We watched in awe as strangers began putting stuffed animals, drawings and flowers on Chester Street in Benny’s memory.  The amount of support was overwhelming and we have been blessed to make many new friends.
Our close friends contacted the Greg Hill Foundation the day after the accident.  They knew that we did not have life insurance for Bennett and that financially we were not prepared to pay for funeral expenses or any time missed from work.  Parker owns his own company and I was working part-time.  No one expects something like this to happen to them.
Greg and company held an online/on-air fundraiser for our family the Friday after Bennett’s Memorial.  It was weird waking up and hearing our name on the radio, weird to hear our tragic story.  What happened still hadn’t really sunk in yet, I don’t know if it ever will.  They were able to raise money from listeners and matched what was raised to help us out.  Again, we witnessed the kindness of strangers rushing to help us out in our time of need.  I cannot begin to explain how healing that was in our darkest hour.  It really brought hope to an otherwise desolate situation.
In December we chose to participate in the Jingle All the Way 5k in Parker’s hometown of Sudbury to benefit the Greg Hill Foundation.  We assembled a team of 50+ walkers and runners and joined the other crazy folks that braved the 8 degree temperatures.  The walk meant the world to us as our team donned ‘Benny’s Bunch’ shirts and we were able to see his smiling face all around us.  Once again the Greg Hill Foundation had provided a healing experience for our family to enable us to take a step forward in our grief.
The injuries that I sustained from the accident were minimal in comparison to losing my son, but I was not prepared to return to work mentally.  When something like this happens, it shifts your whole perspective on what is important.  While I have been out on disability, Parker has had to return to work because there’s no one there to cover for you when you’re the boss.  For Parker it was hard because Benny showed such an interest in what his daddy did.  It took awhile before he was able to get back into his shop and there are still tough days when the motivation just isn’t there.
The money that was raised by the Greg Hill Foundation has allowed us to breathe a little bit and figure out what we want to do next.  It has helped us to pay bills, health insurance and finish out some projects around the house in case we decide some day down the road that we can’t stay.  It has given us options in what is a really terrible situation.  It has allowed us to seek counseling and take the time off of work to grieve and heal as a family.
We are now part of the club no parent wants to be a part of.  I cannot begin to describe what it’s like to witness losing your child.  You can’t imagine the hole that it opens in your heart that only time can mend or the questions that you will never have answered, like why did this happen?
We will never know why Benny was only with us for 18 months.  We will never know why we will not be able to see him grow up with his big sister.  We will never know why he wasn’t ours to keep.
Here is what we do know, we were so blessed to have Bennett in our lives, even if it was for a short time.  The amount of love and happiness that he brought to Parker, Darcy and myself will never be forgotten.  We are lucky that there are people out there like Greg, Erin, Katelynn and Adam who are willing to take the time to make such a difference in peoples lives in their time of need.  We are so thankful to Greg and the Hill Foundation for what they have done for our family.
We want to leave you with a quote from Winnie the pooh-
 ‘If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together…there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you’
Thank you.
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