One More Time

One More Time

The Lindsay M. Benton Volleyball Tournament Round Two was a great success!!! Thank you to everyone that came out to start the day in sweatshirts and ended the day in T-shirts and shorts. It was a beautiful day to enjoy family and friends. As always the entire staff at Captn’ Bill’s Backyard Grill were the most gracious hosts. Thank you John and Erin and your incredible team for always making us feel like family, for your attentiveness, your infectious smiles and the best hugs ever. Thank you for running both tournaments to perfection and thank you for always making us feel like we know what we are doing. We are already looking forward to next year. Please take a moment and enjoy the slide show (with pictures from both events) below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 The foundation works very hard to get sponsors, donations, raffle prizes, t-shirts, swag bags and teams to come out and play. Our tournament in September was a success as far as the raffle, 50/50 tickets sales and donations went. A lot of money was raised for the charities we support, but not a lot of teams showed up to play in the actual tournament. You see, it was one week after one of the worst hurricanes to ever cross the shores of the Atlantic spiked our corner of the world. Volleyball, as you could imagine, was not priority one for a lot of people in our area. Once again Capt’n Bills came through in the clutch, stepped up and gave us Round Two. The generosity that comes from Capt’n Bills is amazing. Our main goal for this tournament is the same for all foundations, to raise funds and awareness, but it is also our goal to provide a fun filled day for everyone. We want to provide an atmosphere that will make each person that attends want to come back the next year. To have a day that promotes family, fun and unity. It makes my heart happy when people come up to me, shake my hand and tell me,”Thank you for a great day!” “Thank you for having this tournament, we had a blast!” “We will be back next year.” As a foundation we will be winding down for the holidays, but will be back in full swing January 2019. Thank you to every sponsor, every person that donated, every person that volunteered, every person that said a prayer, every person that played, and everyone that supports the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation. See you at Capt’n Bills in September 2019.

On another topic, my book, “A Father’s Grief, A year of Healing” is doing well. It will never make the New York Times Best Seller List, nor will it ever make a million dollars, but it is doing what it was intended to do, help people. This book has been a bittersweet journey for me and that is just what I tell people when they say, “It is hard for me to say this to you, but I truly enjoyed your book.” The tears I have seen when a mother or father that has lost a child hugs my neck and tells me “Thank you.” When a wife of many years loses her best friend, her husband, tells me how the book taught her that all grief is different. That she now knows that there are different levels of grief. That you don’t have to lose a child to appreciated the book. When a husband reads the book and hands it to his wife and says, “This will change the way you look at time and make you aware of how precious every moment is.” When parents that have not lost a child tell you they have healed relationships, broken down walls and have a new outlook on life. A line, from the books forward, written by Dr. Huffmon reads, I wish the two of us had gone through our lives blissfully never knowing each other. If we had never met, this book would have never been written and Brad would have his beloved Lindsay Lou.” That line says it all for me, I wish this blog, the book, the foundation, the fundraiser, the book signings, the speaking engagements, the scholarship, the funds at Lindsay’s school never existed. Because if they were not here, Lindsay would be. For the past two years this has been so hard for me to say, everything happens for a reason, when in my heart there is no reason. I have to believe that everything that has come from Lindsay passing, has been for just that, a reason. Since changing the past is not a possibility, THIS is what I, we, must do to continue to honor Lindsay and to be able to move forward without allowing the grief to consume our lives. Thank you for helping us move forward.  I would give it all up, give it all back and give it all away just to hear her say one more time, “Love ya Dad.” 

The Why Day

The Why Day

Mark Twain once said “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”  

I believe we can all say we have the first day nailed down, the day we were born was very important, not only in our lives, but in the lives of our parents. The day we were born truly was the first day of the rest of our life. It was a day that set in motion a vast, infinite amount of paths that have lead us right were we are today. Now, where we are  has been a result of decisions, circumstances and conclusions that have had many forks in the road and it has been up to us to choose which way to go. All of these paths should have led us to the second part of Twain’s statement, “…the day you find out why.”  I am not sure about you, but after fifty three years I am still looking for that flashing neon sign that says, “Today is the day you find out why.”

After I read Twain’s quote, for what I believe, was the very first time, I began to think long and hard about “the why day.” Was it the day I was born? Was Twain insinuating that both days were actually the same day. I know the minute I arrived in this world I had no true thought process, although, I am sure I was tired from the move and I have no doubt I was hungry. But was that day in October many years ago my day to know why? It could have been for my parents, because like all parents, we feel the day our children are born is the greatest day of our lives. We feel like that is why we are put on this earth. to keep the human race moving forward by bringing new life into existence, but is that wonderful day a “why” day? Or could the “why” day be a day you, through no conscious effort, change the life of someone you did not even know? A simple act of emptying the change from your car into the hands of a hungry person who has been down on their luck. Could it be a loving word of encouragement that brings someone back from depression and the darkest thoughts of suicide. Could your day have been yesterday when you showed a random act of kindness and an anonymous onlooker with the hardest of hearts began to soften and realize the joy of compassion. Could your day have unknowingly already passed or is it still waiting to arrive? How do we find out what day our why day is? A question so many will spend a life time asking and may never get the answer.

A life time. To many, this statement means longevity, years of living, years of experiences, years of family and years of love. To me, so far, it has been fifty three years. To others it was only a few hours, a few days, a few months or seventeen years. To the ones that only made it a few days, a few months or seventeen years, I feel they are looking down and know beyond a shadow of a doubt what their “why day” was, it was the day, if they were organ donors, they became a hero. It was the newborn that passed away in their mothers arms. It was the toddler that fought the most courageous fight against a disease they never heard of. It was the father of two that worked every day to save lives running into burning buildings. The mom that said an oath to protect and serve so we could all sleep in peace. It was a beautiful seventeen year old young woman, it was my daughter. It has been every organ donor that has been a hero and a life saver. Lindsay, my daughter, lived a lifetime in seventeen years. She was the one giving her change to a down and out person, she was the one sitting and listening to a friend and bringing them back from a very dark place, she was the one showing a random act of kindness to those who felt unwanted, unliked, or shunned by the popular crowd. She was a leader, she was a sister, she was a friend and she was an organ donor. In my heart and mind she had many days that I thought were her “why day,” but I am almost positive, the lives that she saved would think differently. I have accomplished a lot in my life, and because of Lindsay I have accomplished so much more. I have stood behind a podium many times in front of hospital CEO’s, surgeons, doctors, nurses and family members of other organ donors and told Lindsay’s story. I have become the President of a foundation that we, her four parents, started to continue her legacy and to support the charities Lindsay was involved with. I started a blog for my own therapy and to help other grieving parents. I have become a published author, to help share how I, a father, handled and am still handling the loss of a child, and to hopefully help the next father understand he is not alone. But my “why day” is still yet to come, my day will come with the same sadness and grief that is shared by so many everyday. My “why day” will be my last, when I close my eyes for the last time and know in the depths of my soul, “why.” My day will also bring joy to random strangers and their families as they know their love ones now have a fighting chance. Strangers that in the mist of their joy, morn for the donor and their family. My day will come when I am standing beside Lindsay and we both know our two most important days and why.

Please, if you have not registered to be an organ donor,

let today be the day

you know your

why.