Ben’s passing was beautiful and loving. It was not easy and I assure you that there were a great number of tears. We will be having calling hours on Thursday at Bowen & Parker Brothers funeral home in Latham from 3-7 PM. Ben’s funeral will be held at Calvary United Methodist Church in Latham at 10 AM on Friday. Throughout this entire journey Ben’s friends and the children of our extended community have embraced us in so many ways. Every child that interacted with Ben throughout this did so with love and kindness. Please affirm this with them. He knew they were his friends and he wouldn’t want them to feel bad for any reason. We know that Ben’s passing may be very hard, confusing or just tough for them. We also know that for some kids it may be easier than for most adults because they have a simple faith and understanding of the world. Please take this opportunity to embrace your children and let them grieve in a way that works for them. No question is inappropriate. No statement is wrong. We have been told that children grieve in pieces and they often swallow the hard news in small bites. If you are concerned that your child is having a tough time please reach out to their school or religious leader. If your child wishes to come to the funeral home or to the service they are welcome. All are welcome, but, if you are not here for any reason please take a moment on Friday to “Focus on the positive” with your loved ones and know that Ben loves you and is at peace. We have asked that the funeral be child friendly and celebratory. I am sure their will be adults crying as their children say, “Stop that. You are embarrassing me.” We are also hoping to see very few ties and fancy dresses. Please be comfortable and wear something that makes you think of Ben or feel good about yourselves.
During the calling hours at the funeral home Ben’s casket will be open. There are several smaller rooms that will be available for the children to be in if they decide or feel uncomfortable. The funeral home spaces meet James’ approval. If your child, or any one for that matter, wishes to write a note, make a drawing, bring a picture, memento or make something to celebrate Ben and their/or their friendship they are welcome to do it. We are open to celebrating Ben’s life through the eyes of a child so please share with us any ideas your children have. I have decided to place a single Lego Mini-figure in Ben’s casket along with a David Ortiz baseball card. Funerals are not really for the person who has completed their journey. They are for the healing of those who must still continue living life. If there is anything Ben has taught us it is that each of us is precious and that life itself needs to be celebrated as much as possible between the times of struggle. The community at large came together to support Ben and our family in unimaginable ways and now we ask you to come together to support each other with just as much effort. We will be asking for your help again in the future as we move forward with the Green Drakkoman Foundation. For now please know that Ben loved you all and he is in a place where there are no children fighting for their lives – a place of celebration and light. He is in the arms of the angels and wishes all of us peace.