Sunday, November 27, 2011

In Memoriam.

Posting this feels a little surreal, because I still keep thinking it's a bad dream.  Here goes.

My Thanksgiving was wonderful, but a little shadowed.  Earlier that week, this world lost an amazing person.  His name was Benjamin Wright.  Our friendship was far from perfect; full of fights, tears, misunderstandings, shouts, heartache, complications, differences of opinions, and choices that may have, in a sense, become barriers between us.  Regardless, I loved Ben.  Our friendship was also full of hope, forgiveness, trust, honesty, laughs, joy, youth, late-nights, lots of food, shared angst, camaraderie, friendly banter, and so many more good and wonderful things.
(The Format was the soundtrack to our friendship.  This was Ben's favorite song by them.  One time, I was going to learn it on guitar for his birthday; it didn't work out, because I didn't learn it fast enough.  But I can still play the first half.  Once, we went and saw The Format, and Ben cried when they played this song.  I took a video of his tears and teased him about it, but I really thought it was beautiful how much he connected with the music.)

Here we are at said Format concert.
 I "met" Ben the summer of 2007.  I've always been a little embarrassed about this, but we met on Facebook.  Ben was a little nervous about moving across the country to go to school in a state where he knew absolutely no one, so he started cruising the BYU network, browsing profiles, searching for anyone that caught his attention.  Despite the fact that Ben was infinitely "cooler" than me, my online persona was one that stuck out.  (Although it may have just been my vibrant hair color...)  He messaged me in a completely non-creepy manner, and against the well-intended advice of family and friends who believed he might possibly be a 43-year-old creeper, I replied.  We continued talking online for the rest of the summer, discovering more and more we had in common.  My first night at BYU, we went out to a movie.  After that, we were pretty much inseparable--except for those times when we were mad at each other for usually silly things (but sometimes not so silly).  We tended to get past those pretty quickly though.
This awkward picture of us was taken on my 18th birthday.
 Ben left BYU after our freshman year.  He wasn't really cut out for it (perhaps the understatement of the year).  Although the move back to Missouri put a few thousand miles between our friendship, we stayed in touch.  We helped each other through the ups-and-downs of adolescence on the phone and interwebs, just as we had when we only live a few hundred yards from each other.  I'm grateful for the advice and lessons (and oh, so many laughs) our continued friendship provided.  I'm grateful for the two times I was able to see Ben after his move back.
This is my favorite picture in the world of Ben.
 After I got married, our friendship distanced a little further, but we still kept tabs on each other.  One of the biggest regrets I've ever had is ignoring/forgetting a feeling I had that I should call him earlier this week.  It never crossed my mind that I would never have another chance to hear Ben answer the phone with an overjoyed, "SQUEAKER!"  It's truly a tragedy to lose someone with whom you have shared such an intimate friendship, especially so early in life.  Ben was so full of life, so full of talent, so full of potential.  It's heartbreaking to know that he isn't here anymore.  This Thanksgiving, I spent a lot of time contemplating my gratitude for the hope I have that someday, I'll be able to hear Ben shout that silly nickname for me again.  I'll be able to give him a hug and tell him I'm sorry for any pain I caused him, that I'm grateful for the growing up we did together.  Benjamin, you are still in my prayers, whether you like that or not.  You're one of the most inspirational people I've ever known, and I'll never, ever forget you.

This is a supremely horrid picture of me, but it's just too classic.

The last picture I ever took of Ben.  From when he came to visit me in Florida.


Autumn said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I've never had one of my friends pass away and I don't envy the experience :(

Renee (and Eric) said...

Thoughts with you and lots of love!