Ben turned 46 this year. He’s young. We had plans. We wanted to visit the majority of the 30 plus exchange students we have hosted from around the world. We wanted to buy an RV when our kids were all grown and take time to travel from each of their homes to visit them and our grandchildren. We wanted to skydive (well, he did). We wanted to visit the ocean and hold hands while we walked on the beach. We wanted to enjoy watching our children and grandchildren grow.
Part of coping with the devastation of this disease is recognizing that you are suddenly racing against time to accomplish some of your dreams and everything you wanted to do is no longer a possibility. Tim McGraw’s song, “Live like you were dying”, became our reality. Shortly after Ben became sick, we set about creating a bucket list of things Ben wanted to do before he couldn’t.
We enlisted the help of a good friend, Pete Amador, and were able to take one beautiful trip to Mexico before Ben could no longer travel. COVID, a broken tailbone, declining health, and other priorities seriously limited Ben’s ability to accomplish his bucket list. But Pete wouldn’t let Ben’s dreams go and created a way for him to experience his bucket list through @Bon_voyage_Ben. Using Ben’s bucket list as a guide, Pete took him on several adventures, including running in a Spartan race, driving a Lamborghini, visiting NYC, seeing Garth Brooks and Maroon 5 in concert, and more.
Day 9 is dedicated to taking Ben on more adventures! And we need your help — it doesn’t have to be anywhere extravagant. Take him to work or to the gym, go see some Christmas lights…whatever you choose to do with @Bon_Voyage_Ben, we do hope that you remember to “Live Like You Were Dying”. Don’t wait until you have to race against time to do the things your soul yearns for. Go on that adventure. Visit your loved ones. Heck, even ride a bull named Fu Man Shu. But whatever adventure you choose, do it with love and savor the moment. The images below can be printed on heavy cardstock, trimmed to the edges and then placed on a popsicle stick for you to use while adventuring with Ben today (and hopefully in to the future). Where will Ben go? Be sure to tag him on Facebook and Instragram as well as @Bon_voyage_Ben on Instagram.
Thank you Pete for reminding us to live fully, even in the hardest of times. Thank you for being the truest of friend to Ben – for sitting in hard spaces, for grieving with us, and for taking us on the best adventures. We love you.