Last Sunday I went to the pool in my neighborhood, I went early because I know how crowded it can get on a nice day. I found myself a chair right beside one of the four sets of steps leading down into the pool. It was a chair with a table on one side and a planter on the other, I had my space, my semi alone space. Not once since Lindsay passed away when I walk through that gate do I not think of her. In my mind I still see her sitting in that chair, “Do you see it?” It’s the one at the end of the pool right in the middle, yeap that was Lindsay’s Lounge. Every time I see someone sitting there I wonder to myself, “Do you know who’s chair you are sitting in?” “Do you know how much that one single chair means to me?” I am going to guess that 99.99% of all the people that have sat in that chair since August 21, 2016 have no idea that was where Lindsay was sitting just hours before her accident. Just another of the hundreds of things that go through my mind when I see, hear or feel certain things. As I settled in for a day of relaxation, sun and cooling off in the pool I put in my new, state of the art ear buds and began to listen to the vast array of music on my old antique iPod. After listening to a few hand picked songs I put my iPod on “Shuffle” and the first song started with “Now watch me whip, Now watch me nae nae” and a huge smile came over my face and in my heart. I can not even begin to tell you the last time I heard that song. You see this song brings back one of the many fond memories of me and Lindsay. Kelli and I were in the living room of our home discussing that specific song and the one of a kind dance moves that went along with it. I told her I could do all the dance moves but one, the actual “Nae nae” part. I was never sure what you were supposed to do. I did not know if you Nae Nea’ed before you whipped it, which possibly brought on the “Break your leg” aspect of the dance. I knew Lindsay would know, so I hollered up stairs and ask her, “Lindsay do know how to Nae Nae?” Before I knew it there were arms and legs flying everywhere headed down the stairs. I believe she actual jumped the last few steps and was dancing before she hit the floor. She said “Do I know how to Nae Nae, watch me watch me.” We put the song on the house sound system and she began to teach the old man a thing or two and by the time it was all over she said “Dad, you have zero rhythm, you really need to stop.” I remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember what she was wearing, and what she said. I remember just standing there watching her “Whiping, Nae Naeing and breaking legs.” We were smiling and laughing the whole time. That is one of the good ones, all brought back by a shuffled song on an old mans iPod.
I have met and talked to so many parents that have lost children since Lindsay passed away. Some had lost a child only weeks or months before we met and others have been grieving their child’s passing for many years. Some parents lost their child at a very young age and some lost their adult child, no matter the age, it was still their child. Some lived with the parents and some had their own families. As I look back and recall these conversations the one common theme to every one was the reminders, the songs, the smells, the pictures, and the list goes on of all the things that remind them of their child. It it still fresh to me and so many others parents that have just recently lost a child, and the reminders are almost daily. The parents that had lost a child years ago, the parents that have had years to heal said the same thing, after all the years they still see or hear reminders almost every day. The old saying “Time heals all wounds” is partially true. Time does heal the wound, but the pain seems to last forever. So time does help with the reminders, it does help with the thousand little things I wrote about last year, but it never takes away the pain that has set up permanent residence in your heart. I believe in my heart it is the reminders that catch you by surprise, the reminders that put a smile on your face that help close that wound. Not long after Lindsay passed away I read a quote by the late Barbara Bush on the loss of her own child. ” The death of a child is so painful, both emotional and spiritual, that I truly wondered if my own heart and spirit would ever heal. I soon learned that I could help myself best by helping others.” Helping others, how I could I ever help others when I could not help myself with the weight of loss and grief. We, as a family, started The Lindsay M. Benton Cheer and Art Fund along with the Lindsay M. Benton Cheer Scholarship at Wilmington Christian Academy. We started The Lindsay M. Benton Foundation, which raises money for all of the charities that Lindsay held dear to her heart and the organizations that helped us through her passing. All of this helped with the healing, the pain and the loss of our Lindsay Lou. I still felt I, personally, needed to do more to help, especially for those parents that had lost a child. That is when I was lead to write this blog, to tell Lindsay’s story, to write what was in my heart, what helped me through the loss of my daughter and what is still keeping me going today.
I hope I make it to the golden years, whatever they may be, and I find that old antique iPod in the bottom of a drawer. Take my electric wheel chair to the retirement village pool, plug in my not so state of the art ear buds, hit shuffle and hear the words “Watch me, watch me” No matter how old, no matter the place, no matter the state of mind, hearing that song will always put a smile on my face. I hope and pray Lindsay has been watching us and I hope she is proud of all we are doing in her name. I do it for her as well as myself, helping others helps me heal my heart.
Please remember the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation second annual Volleyball Tournament will be on September 29, 2018. (We hope to be adding a Cornhole Tournament this year as well. Confirmation to come soon. Please continue to check the web site.) This is Lindsay’s actual birthday. What a great way to remember her and donate to the charities that meant so much to her. You can find out how to become involved, whether it be by becoming a sponsor, volunteering or by donating at lindsaymbentonfoundation.com. What a great way to help others right here in our own community.
You can also join us at Chick Fil A on Market St on July 26th from 5:00-7:00. We are partnering with them for a Spirit Night, with a percentage of the proceeds going directly to LMBF. Vouchers are needed with your purchase, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will gladly email them to you!