We are all deeply affected by the tragic and shocking passing of our beloved Ben. Everyone who had the blessing of meeting him, even those who only knew him for a brief time, remember his great smile, wonderful laugh, hilarious sense of humor, strong testimony, and dedication as a true friend. The light he brought to us all and the spot he fills in each of our hearts cannot be filled.
Our family is overwhelmed by the immediate outpouring of love, support and shared grief from family, friends, the Duvall community, and even Ben's new friends from college, many of who we may never get the chance to meet. At every turn we are lovingly asked, "What do you need?" with simultaneous genuine offers of "We're here to help in any way we can!"
The answer is, understandably what we really want, none of you are able to give us. That is where our faith in Jesus Christ and knowledge that we'll see our Ben again sustains us second by second, which will eventually turn to minute by minute, then hour to hour, day to day, month to month...
But I can tell you from experience you never really get over it. You never stop grieving. It becomes a part of you, strengthens you, and is part of why we're here in this earthly experience we're all sharing. I'm still grieving for the loss of my first wife, Kimberly. And I know Ben was certainly still grieving the loss of his mom too.
So having gone through this unthinkable process twice now, I'll give my first raw and probably unexpected response to the question of "Doug, what can I do for you? " What you can do for me is sit down and decide, document and communicate your wishes for your own final arrangements / funeral with your own loved ones. (Please don't send a copy to me. I've got enough on my plate, thanks. )
- If you're a young high school or college aged student who thinks you'll live forever (which you won't), I'll give you a pass for now but your assignment is instead to call up your parents and ask them to document their wishes so you know what they want.
-If you're married and busy raising your family, have that discussion with your spouse and write it down, or update your will, so that your family knows what you want.
- And if you're over 50, you have no excuse. Plan the whole thing. Pick your cemetery and buy your plot. Write out your funeral program.
This undoubtedly will seem like an odd request, but I'm telling you from my own experience, it was a singular emotional lifesaver in my own unexpected time of crisis. Just months before Kimberly passed away, she and I discussed these same uncomfortable issues, so thankfully I didn't have the additional stress of trying to guess what she wanted on top of everything else our family needed at that time.
If you procrastinate this unpleasant task, which everybody knows nobody wants to do, you are relegating your loved ones to make those decisions in your absence on their darkest day. Noelle and I have been blessed with probably the best possible support network of an incredible family, church, community and friends. Even in these best of circumstances, organizing an unexpected funeral is the hardest thing I've ever done. And now I've done it twice.
So what you can do lighten our burden? Lighten the inevitable burden of your own immediate family by deciding and documenting what you would want if our situation were yours. Your plans might change, but at least create your Plan A.
I apologize for the unexpected soapbox, which is certainly not the point of this webpage, but right now that is our real and honest answer to each of your collective plea "Doug and Noelle, what can we do for you?" Please do this for your own loved ones.
OK, a deep breath for me, and after you've done that first step, you can keep reading:
At the suggestion of several kind friends as an attempt to respond to the many of you who are wanting to offer help in whatever way you can, we've somewhat reluctantly set up this GoFundMe campaign for anyone near or far to contribute whatever they would like towards Ben's funeral expenses. We are not asking for any specific amount. GoFundMe requires that we list a target goal, which we've simply set at 2001, the year our son Ben was born. Anything left over after meeting our family's own needs will be donated towards helping other struggling youth in the Duvall community. There is a great need there as well, which others in our community have addressed much more adequately than I am able to now.
One last way to help: Another prized keepsake after Kimberly's passing was a book of people's memories and experiences from anyone who wished to contribute (which many of you lovingly did). This memory book is filled with hundreds of stories we had never heard, many from people we've never met, and is now a treasured keepsake to our family. Please help us capture your own fond memories and fun adventures with Ben by sending your own story to [email redacted]. Please include your name and how you know Ben so that in future needful days, which will surely come, we can look back on these shared memories and remember our dear son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend who we all miss so much. There is no frantic rush or deadline to be a part of this effort, as we know everyone is busy. Entries can make it into this memorial book for Ben over the next month or two.
Also, funeral arrangements and timing are still being discussed with immediate family, and will be communicated shortly.
Words can hardly express the gratitude and love Noelle and I feel for all the love and support you continue to extend to our family. Thank you for mourning with those of us who are mourning, and comforting those of us who so desperately are in need of comforting right now.
Doug and Noelle McBride and family
- Marilyn Rivas
- Debby &Doug Neal
- Shari & Matt Ney
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