Dear Lindsay

Dear Lindsay

Hey Sweetie,

Merry Christmas. I know you can see everything from up there, but just in case I wanted to let you know whats been going on the past few days and that I miss you so very much.

First things first, we put up that pathetic tree again this year. I don’t know if I can ever get rid of it. I sit on the couch and look at it and I see you standing there just shaking your head. Each year we add another angel in memory of you. Just another one of our unwanted new traditions.  

I had a decently good day on Christmas Eve. The house filled up early, everyone was here at the house except Aaron and Mikalya. I am sure you already know this, but they moved to Texas. Pretty sure you had a chance to meet Mikayla, she is a keeper. Her and Aaron seem to be very happy together in the lone star state. They also have a dog named Daisy. Kelli did it again with our meal. We had honey glazed spiral ham, green bean casserole, a delicious cabbage dish, dressing, biscuits and of course your favorite, mashed potatoes and gravy. I even broke out the Grandma’s Molasses for the biscuits. Every time I stand at the sink and I peel that ten pound bag of potatoes I think of you eating mashed potatoes and gravy. You ate enough for a 400 pound grown man and never even flinched. The desserts were amazing as well. We had cakes, cookies, and all kinds of homemade candy. After we ate we had a good time sitting around talking about all the Christmases that have past, and yes ma’am, we talked about you. It was all good, nothing bad, I promise. We gave Andrew and Lauren their gifts because they had to head back home. Lauren’s dad was singing a solo in their churches Christmas Eve program. It was very nice of them to make it back to support him. You never had the chance to meet Lauren but I know you would really like her. Her and Andrew got married this past summer. It was a very nice ceremony but I could not help but think of you and I never taking that walk. The day pretty much ended like all the ones before, everyone rubbing their stomachs as they moaned from being so full. After everyone left Kelli and I sat in the living room and watched a Christmas movie and waited for the fat man to come. Not gonna lie to ya girl, it is hard not having you here during this the most joyous time of the year. 

Well the big day finally came, we got up early, I grabbed the blower and Kelli grabbed your new flowers, we jumped in the truck and headed your way. It still looks so different with one of those big beautiful oak trees gone, hard to believe Florence was able to take down that giant tree. I know you loved it. We had a really good visit with you, always do. We said hello to Sadie and wished her a Merry Christmas. I hope you are still looking after her. I know she was only five, but you can be a great role model for her and continue to show her the ropes. On the way home we stopped by the Waffle House for some breakfast, you know we are classy like that. I felt bad because all those people had to work, but I felt if they had to work we could help them out. We gave our waitress a very good tip. I hope she used it to take herself and her family out to a very nice supper somewhere. When we got back home Kelli started putting the finishing touches on lupper, you know that meal between lunch and supper. We had leftovers and Kelli made a big pan of meatballs and about fifty pounds of baked ziti. While she was cooking I was sitting in your “present opening chair.” We put a beautiful red rose, a lovely candle and my favorite picture of you and Mary on the table beside that chair. I have started sitting it that chair at Christmas because that is where you sat and I just don’t feel right with anyone else sitting there. Hope that is okay. Ya grandma moved up in the world of technology, me and Kelli along with your Uncle Brian and Aunt Julie got her a laptop, she was, to say the least, surprised. We all received wonderful gifts, all of them were from the heart. I have to tell you that on of my favorite gifts did no come from under the tree, it came in the form of a message. I know you remember Haleigh and her mom, Linda. Well Linda posted a picture of Haleigh on Facebook wearing one of the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation hats she had got her for Christmas. The smile that was on her face was amazing, and the tears in her eyes broke my heart, how sweet was that. Here is what Linda posted under the picture,

She is smiling, but the tears are in her eyes and the longing is in her heart. The only Christmas present that made my baby girl cry….we were thinking of sweet Lindsay on Christmas morning with you all. (Haleigh Somberg LOVES the hat by the way!!!!).”  This day like everyday since you left will never be the same. We miss you. we love. you and we will never forget you.

We ended our Christmas holiday last night. Kelli, Jarrett and myself met Heather at Brixx Pizza down at Mayfaire. You are never going to believe this, she drove there!! Yes ma’am Heather got her licence and she got a car for Christmas. Sweetie, you had good taste when it came to friends, she is a good girl. I try to keep in touch with, and check on, all your friends. I think it makes me feel a little closer to you. I hope they don’t think I am some kind of old creeper. Heather is doing good in school and she is missing you too. I feel pretty sure she has discussed it with you but I wanted you to know she has changed her major. She is majoring in social work now, with a minor in psychology. By the way your big brother made the Dean’s list this semester at UNCW. He is so passionate about his acting and his music. If you have any pull up there see what you can do to help him out as he follows his dreams.  I know deep down you are proud of him. He misses you as well. Not going to tell you that ya mom got another dog. I will let her discuss that with you.   

I cant even imagine what Christmas is like in heaven. I am sure it was glorious to say the least. I hope you were surrounded by all your family members that had gone on before you. All the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents you never had the chance to meet. I hope you have had a chance to meet Charlie. If you have I am sure he has given you a really good nickname. The celebration of Gods only sons birthday, what a party y’all must of had. Sometimes I fell like we have it all screwed up down here. We stress more about the right gift than we do about the true act of giving. We care more about the all mighty dollar than we do the “All Mighty.”  Not sure if you have a new year, but just in case Happy New Year!!  

Merry Christmas my Lindsay Lou. I miss you every day, but these days are the hardest.




Where Would You Be Today?…

Where Would You Be Today?…

Lindsay has been on my mind all week. I could see her in almost everything I was doing and everyplace I have been the past few days, and I could feel her as if she was right beside me. Why?

Kelli and I spent some time in Long Island NY this week with Alyssa, my step daughter, and her partner Liz. They are brand new home owners of a not so brand new, but very cozy, apartment in what they refer to as “Melrose Place.” I assume they tagged their complex with his name because of the age of everyone living there, the diversity of the occupants and of course, the drama.  These two young ladies took on the daunting task of renovations and survived it, for the most part, unscathed. They had a few rough rounds with a contractor, and I use that term loosely, that they hired, but in the end they were victorious. We made this journey for multiple reasons. It was Alyssa birthday and also Mothers Day. We were able to go out to dinner with a few of our friends and Kelli was able to see some of her family. For the most part Alyssa and Liz had asked us to come up and help them finish a few little projects. Well these few little projects ended up taking almost three days. It seemed that for every step forward, we took two steps back, back to Home Depot for more supplies. On our last full day there we were all waiting on the balcony, very anxiously, for the UPS driver to bring the last piece of the puzzle to complete these small projects. Once we had the missing hardware in our hands we made the final turn and headed down the home stretch for the finish line. At last projects complete, renovations complete, wife happy, step daughter happy, my job here was done. I truly enjoyed the time we spent with Alyssa and Liz this past week. I am very proud of them both for becoming homeowners, taking on this project and sticking it out when it seemed everything was against them. Congratulations ladies on a job well done!

I can’t help but to admit the whole time I was there I was wondering, as I do most days, where would you be today Lindsay? You see this same apartment was going to be Lindsay’s very short and temporary residence for her eighteenth birthday. One weekend in Long Beach, Long Island NY with her step sister. The plans were in place and all involved were on the same page for this all included birthday gift to one of Lindsay’s favorite places. As you know the gift was never unwrapped, the tickets were never purchased, and Lindsay didn’t make it to Long Beach this time. What if she had? Would she have fallen even more in love with it and after graduating high school moved into “Melrose Place” and started a life living on the beach in New York. Would I have been at her apartment working on projects for her this past week? Maybe I would have been at Chapel Hill or East Carolina loading up the truck as I emptied out a years worth of dorm room memories. Wait, maybe you would have stayed at home an gone to UNCW, a father can dream can’t he? Every day the thought runs through my head “Where would you be today?” Every day the thought “What would you be doing today?” sneaks into my thoughts. Would I be getting post cards from some far away exotic location where there is no phone service. Some place where you were working a photo shoot, either in front of or behind the camera. You had the talent and the beauty to do both. Would you have been with Heather in Charlotte this past week, would you have come back from Florida with Mary after spending some time with Mickey and Donald. Would you finally have had that dinner with Drew at Tower 7, the one you missed out on because of your accident.  Would you be hanging out with ya dad at Seaglass this weekend, I am guessing not. Would you be at the beach with your mom soaking up the sun with ya beach buddy? Would we plan on keeping the boat so you and your friends could ride up and down the waterway, docking and eating lunch with the “cool kids.” Would you continue “doing science projects” in the mud with Mary.  Would you be co staring in the film Jarrett and his friends from school are making? Would you and Jarrett realize that life is short and become the best friends a brother and sister could be. The thoughts are there every day, the wonder of your thoughts, the absents of your voice, the never again’s and the never to be’s. Would you have changed your mind about becoming a doctor? If so what path would you have set your life’s compass to follow? Maybe politics, you would have been one of the greatest with your out spoken opinions and head strong forward moving ideas for the rights of all. Your never being afraid to ask anybody, anything, at anytime to get the answer you were looking for. Would you have been a environmentalist? Your love of this earth we live on, and all that inhabit it, always astonished me. Married with children? I really think not, but you always did surprise me. The possibilities are never ending and the sky is only the beginning of trying to wonder where you would be today, what you would be doing today.

No matter where you would be today, no matter what you would be doing you would always be my little girl. No matter how successful, or not, I would have always been proud of you. No matter how big of a thorn in my side, I would have never pulled it out. No matter how long my sanity stays with me, I will never stop wondering, where would you be today?