This is a difficult post for me to write. Often times, I read about people in the community passing away, with comments attached that say phrases like 'unreal' or 'I can't believe he's gone". I mean--of course I understand the sentiment, but I haven't really felt that way about someone in a long time. When I heard about my cousin Ben on Tuesday night, I didn't believe it. My brain didn't even process it. I went to bed with a headache, feeling dizzy, but it didn't even begin to sink in. Not until my family got together the next day did I really feel the impact of what had happened, and how it affected everyone in the family and those who were close to him.
Ben was always a pretty cool kid. Aside from him being born, I think my earliest memory of him was when he was a toddler, we were at a weekly family dinner at my Grandma's house in Orange Park. I had my best friend Andy Burr with me. Ben apparently thought Andy was pretty cool, and wanted to play tag with him, but Ben's way of tagging was to punch Andy square in the nuts, which he did right in the dining room in front of my whole family. "AARGGGGH MY NUTS!" As soon as those words left Andy's mouth, he ran out the front door in embarrassment. Ben was laughing, with his trademark smile, and everyone else just stood there with their mouths open. Well, except my Grandma, who said something like "EHHH? What happened?" Actually, I think my cousin Patti (Ben's Mom) was laughing too.
My Brother got along great with Ben, too, and he would often babysit him along with his siblings, and they always seemed to have a good time. Ben was a good kid, and was always in a good mood around my family, never impolite in any way.
Ben was good at skateboarding, and I wish I had gotten to skate with him more often. Some of the most memorable family get togethers at his house involved Ben and I skating with his neighbor on a ramp that Carl Naegle built. It was fun. In addition to skateboarding, Ben was also really into Motocross. It was his main thing. Sometimes he would come out to my parent's place in Ocala National forest to ride trails along with his step dad Brad, and it was always good to see him.
I guess this kind of leads to what happened to Ben, the whole reason I'm writing this. Ben died in a motorcycle accident this week, and we are all in shock. My thoughts are jumbled, and it's hard for me to even put words together about him. If anyone wants to share any info about Ben here, Please do. Please leave a comment. If you have anything else, please send it to me @ firstname.lastname@example.org, or to my personal email if you have it.
There are news articles about the incident you can read here and here, and there is a guest book you can find by clicking here.
I'm going to miss you, Ben.