Ben was born and died on Tuesday, early in the morning, March 10th of 2009. At first we thought Ben’s funeral was going to be on Saturday, but because of the severity of Pam’s condition we spent a week in the hospital and had to wait until that Monday. Pastor Brian and Larry Gay from Living Word walked me through, step by step on how to plan for my son’s funeral.
Brian was there for me on March 10th when Ben was born still. He was so gentle with me, but needed to help me think through plans for Ben. A man in our church, Larry, is a funeral director, and he offered his services for free. The whole thing.
While Pam rested at York Hospital, I left with Brian to go plan the details of the funeral. We put together the obituary. We chose a time. A bural plot. The cemetary had a place called “Baby Land” where the babies go. There was a time I never knew this kind of place existed. Now it’s a part of my life forever. Then we picked out his casket.
The caskets were so tiny, I could hold them in my hand. They were made for 8lb babies. Ben was just over 3. The casket he brought out looked plastic and fragile. I needed something better, safer, and majestic. I believe that Ben is with Jesus. I believe that this is just a body, not a soul anymore. I believe that my son and I will see each other again – only this time I don’t have to let go. But he’s my first son, my only son. I would have bought him the world if I could. I would have given him my life. I would have worked in a dead end job with no benefit other than to see him suceed and live a full and beautiful life. So I wanted to give him a casket that I would be proud to lay him in. I wanted to carry my son and for him to know I’m proud of him.
I picked out a casket that was larger, white, with lots of cusion, and plenty of room to put other things in.
Soon, Pam came home and we started that weekend to prepare for the funeral on Monday. My best friends Carl and Tim came into York just to be with me. Pam’s friends became permant fixtures in our house. Everyone was grieving.
I was a youth pastor three years and a young adult pastor for another three before becoming a full time designer. I’ve planned many services, but not one this important. That weekend I had one focus: what was I going to do to honor my son.