Apple, walnut Gorgonzola ravioli over sautéed spinach and portobellos - and every last ingredient came from the #publicmarket #rochester #yum
Little Benjamin Sauer died last night.
When I first read the news late this afternoon, I immediately found myself choked up in that “barely holding it together/on the verge of sobbing” kind of way.
I was still at work, so I said a quiet prayer and hoped that I’d make it through the final few minutes of my day without anyone at the office needing to talk to me. It was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to utter a single word of response without involuntarily releasing the flood of tears silently swelling behind my eyelids.
How does one explain to her all male colleagues that she’s a blubbering mess of emotion after reading a newspaper article about the death of a boy she’s never met?
How could I explain that despite having no personal relationship, Ben Sauer and his family have brought me closer to God and taught me to understand and appreciate the world around me in a whole new way?
I couldn’t, so I squeezed my eyes tight, rallied through the last few minutes, and got into my car to drive home. It was then that I let myself cry.
Baseball great Jackie Robinson once said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
Ben Sauer is undoubtedly one of the most important five year olds to ever have lived.
His mom Mindy’s blog, Blue 4 Ben was initially created to keep close family and friends updated on Ben’s condition and ask for prayers. I’m sure that no one could have anticipated what ended up happening within a matter of days.
The WNY community rallied behind the Sauers and introduced Ben - and his story - to people all across the globe. In the weeks that followed, the support, love, and prayers just kept coming. Ben’s big brown eyes and infectious smile captured the hearts of more people than we’ll ever know.
Our hearts broke for his parents Andy and Mindy, as they fought what seemed to be a losing battle - all while balancing the needs of their very sick little boy with those of everyday life, Ben’s two healthy siblings, and a baby on the way.
Through it all, they never lost their faith. They may have questioned it - but it was always there. That’s no easy feat. Especially for adults.
Cancer is a horrific disease. It invades our bodies, steals lives, and robs us of the ones we love. Worst of all, it doesn’t discriminate. Young, old, healthy, or not.
My grandma’s body was overtaken and defeated by several forms of it in her early 60’s. That same year, my Aunt Susan left four small children, including a newborn, without their mother when cancer took her life. She was in her early 30’s.
Their struggles and legacies were what led me to volunteer at Gilda’s Club for many years. I spent most of my time there in Noogieland, a program designed specifically for children dealing with cancer. I learned so much from the kids I encountered in that playroom. Some of them had cancer themselves while others had parents or siblings with one type of it or another. Reading Mindy’s commentary on how Ben and his twin brother Jack reacted to everything that was happening reminded me of them - and their sweet, innocent acceptance.
It’s incredibly hard to make peace with the fact that such a horrible thing can happen to such pure, undeserving children. We want to be able to explain things to them. Give them a reason. Help them make sense of it.
But more often than not, like in sweet Ben’s case, they end up teaching us. Helping us make sense of things. Giving us hope.
Throughout my years of volunteering, I couldn’t help but notice that the kids who believed in God and came from families who regularly attended church always seemed to be a little better equipped to handle the tough stuff. It’s not that cancer made any more sense to them, they just weren’t as afraid of what might come next if they couldn’t beat it.
I have to admit, I haven’t felt terribly close to God in recent years. After reading Mindy’s posts and becoming invested in Ben’s story, however - I had no choice but to pray. I’ve prayed harder than I have in a long time. I’ve started to look at everyday things in my life in a new light, and I have learned to be more appreciative of what - and who - I do have. Time included.
Today I mourn the loss of such a young, beautiful soul - but at the same time I am grateful for all of the amazing experiences he was able to have in his short time here on earth and I am beyond amazed by all of the lives he was able to touch.
Even more so, I’m comforted knowing that the tears I cried this evening were both happy and sad - because I really and truly do believe that after having made the world a much better place, Ben Sauer is in an even greater place - one where he’s free of pain and surrounded by more love than any of us can ever imagine.
My thoughts, prayers, and love go out to his family and the entire Buffalo community during this insanely difficult time.
Made cute little cupcake sized apple pies for my Dad’s birthday tomorrow! #anticakedad #triedoneforqualitycontrol #itwasdelicous
#tbt to 28 birthdays ago - when my dad was a hipster & I was so terrified of the clown, I refused to let him put me down.
This is a photo from my twentieth birthday party.
Today I turn thirty - and I’m a much older and wiser person - who isn’t even freaking out (much.)
My twenties were great to me. I learned a lot, changed a ton, lost some friends, found myself, learned the true value of family, and experienced both great sorrow and even greater joys.
Although I’m not exactly where I thought I’d be (back when I was young and thirty sounded so old) I’m in a really good place. And for that I am very, very thankful.
To commemorate crossing over into the next decade, I’ve compiled a super trendy list of what the last ten years has taught me, using mostly clichés:
17 Cliché (Yet Very Important) Truths I Learned In My 20’s
It’s cute how they say “cookie” like it’s possible to have just one. #reading #cupoftea #milanocookies #monday