For those of you who do not know me my name is Brad Benton, I am Jarrett and Lindsay Benton’s father. I am writing this blog for two reasons, one, it is very therapeutic for me and two, I’d like to share what I have learned as a grieving father.
As many of you know Lindsay was in a car accident on August 21, 2016, it was the Sunday before her first day of class for her senior year. After an emergency surgery, and a week in the STICU at NHRMC Lindsay passed away the following Sunday, August 28, 2016. She was 17 years old.
Lindsay, was a lifetime student at Wilmington Christian Academy and was to be co-captain of WCA cheerleaders, a sport she loved. Lindsay had a dream to be a doctor, a saver of lives and a leader in the medical field. She always knew she had a calling in this field and it changed from one concentration to another until she attended the National Youth Leadership Forum for Medicine at Chapel Hill this past summer. During the nine days she spent at UNC she decided she wanted to be a Trauma Surgeon. My favorite message from her during that week was “Dad, I am having the time of my life.”
She wanted to help people; she wanted to use her passion to be the best surgeon she could possibly be, she wanted to mend broken lives. Well, even in her passing, her dreams where fulfilled as she was an organ donor and through organ donation she mended and saved lives. Little did we know how many lives Lindsay touched during her time here on this earth. We have heard story after story of her “therapy” sessions, her kindness to strangers and her ability to bring reason to difficult situations. To quote one of her tweets, “Don’t ever argue with me, you will lose.” I am assuming she was not including me in that tweet. She was a tenacious, head strong and independent young woman who had her entire life planned out.
She had an infectious smile, a steely stare, and a contagious room shattering laugh. She could melt your heart or make you pound your fist against the wall. She could debate any topic like a pro, and not give up until her point was across. She would hold the smallest of creations with the gentlest hands but she would beat a punching bag until her knuckles bled, and she used gloves. She was a friend, a leader, a captain, an advocate, a lover of life and her guinea pigs. She was also a daughter, and sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin and a friend to many. As parents we think we know our children, but we have come to find we did not know how many lives our daughter had touched. What a blessing it has been to meet so many wonderful people through this.
She was my little girl, she was a big part of my heart, she was my Lindsay Lou.
Although we all miss Lindsay dearly, her legacy lives on thru the Lindsay M. Benton Cheer and Art Fund at Wilmington Christian Academy in adjacent with the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation. The Cheer and Art Fund was established to help the cheerleaders and the parents at WCA. Our goal, through this fund, is to help with some of the cost the parents incur and to allow the cheerleader’s to gain equipment, help with some travel expenses and allow them to be the absolute best they can be. Be the best they can possibly be, this was a goal of Lindsay’s.
The Lindsay M. Benton Foundation was established to bring awareness to organ donation and the importance of donor registration. The Foundation will also financially contribute to Carolina Donor Services, Pretty in Pink, The New Hanover County Special Olympics, as well as the Lindsay M Benton Cheer and Art fund at Wilmington Christian Academy. We will have one major fundraiser each year and this year it will be a volleyball tournament at Capt’n Bill’s in Wilmington NC on September 30th. We would love for each of you to come and be a part of Lindsay’s legacy. Please take the time to view the web site at www.lindsaymbentonfoundation.com The web site has more stories, photos and important information about the volleyball tournament and donor registration.
My goal is to update this blog once a week.
My next blog will be “Take a Minute Before You Speak to a Grieving Parent.”
Blogs to follow:
What TO say to a grieving parent
The fears of a parent
The “First’s and the Never’s”
Time for grieving, when does it end
Continuing a legacy
Pulling together as a blended family
The siblings and friends
The behind the scene heroes
The heroes of turning tragedy into triumph