The Ben I remember had big eyes and a shy smile. He would walk over from next door and play Game Gear with me, or bring Bessie the beagle for me to pet. Ben was always ready to give me a ride in the go-cart down the driveway and past the garden, or play board games with me like Crossfire or Hungry, Hungry Hippos. We would walk over to help Grandma with her vegetables, although I think we just distracted her more than helped her. But I know she wouldn't have had it any other way.
The Ben I remember was the life of the "kid table" on Thanksgiving and Christmas. He would sit at the end and make us all laugh, dropping potatoes into Stacey's sweet tea when she wasn't looking. We would sneak into the office and play with the phone on the desk, or take pictures of all of us doing crazy things. Ben loved Grandma's cooking and especially her rice and gravy, just like me. After we would eat and I would tag along with Mandy and Stacey outside, Ben would rally up Lenny and Chad to join him on the roof of the garage, where they would toss oranges at us and we would squeal and run away. Little Blake would always want to climb up the trees in the yard just like Ben, Lenny, and Chad would do. And sometimes he still does.
The Ben I remember excelled at sports from a young age. Football was Ben's thing. He was one of the best football players to ever play at Wake Christian. Ben scored the winning touchdown in a crucial game even though he broke his thumb the play before. Ben would talk to anyone about football, and wore his Redskins sweatshirt proudly. You could always count on him to throw a football with you in Grandma and Granddaddy's front yard.
The Ben I remember was a great cousin and friend. I'm thankful for the years God gave me to spend next door to him. And this is the Ben I will hold in my heart forever.
Benjamin Loyd Hamilton
July 13, 1980 - June 27, 2010
Last Thanksgiving we put up a birdhouse where Ben grew up. Our old houses aren't there anymore...just a big road and new townhomes. Some bits of our old driveways are still there too. But whenever I drive by it I always look at that birdhouse and think about him.
This is a hard day. My family appreciates your prayers and encouragement. Thank You, Lord, that Your strength is made perfect in our weakness! And thank You that even though we can't understand Your plan sometimes, You are in control.