Sunday, January 23, 2011

a broken heart...mended with hope

Yesterday I woke up to hearing Adam speaking on the phone with his father. Papa Kjar was so sweet, and first asked how Brooks was doing after his breathing treatments Friday night for RSV :( [He tested positive for it...but is doing a lot better already]

Then he let us know the tragic, heart breaking news that Amanda (Adam's sister...we call her Mandy) had lost her little boy. Bennett Scott Wilkinson was just 20 months old, and he passed away some time in the middle of the night. As soon as Adam told me, tears started streaming down my face as I put myself in Mandy's spot...suddenly losing a young child, a little boy.

I ran into Brooks' room...he was still asleep, but I picked him up and held him in a tight embrace. My chest was heaving...my heart was breaking for the Wilkinsons. Adam came in and then held me, as I held Brooks. We cried together.

Adam then told me that Papa Kjar said that the family would be going to Mandy's home with in the next 1/2 hour to lend support and love. I told Adam, "Are you sure they'd want everyone over right now?" But he assured me it was what Mandy & the family said they wanted.

As we fed Brooks and bundled him up to go, I was praying to Heavenly Father...thanking him with all of my being that he woke up. He was so sick...but had already been doing better since the breathing treatment. Again, I thought of Mandy and the sorrow she was going through.

After arriving at their home, Adam's sweet Aunt Stacey and cousin Hailey stayed in the car with Brooks due to his sickness, so that Adam and I could go in together. Before walking into the house, one of the policemen there took our names..."procedure" he said. Upstairs, a bedroom door opened to a scene I will never forget. Mandy sitting in a chair, holding her little boy...David (her husband, and Bennett's father) standing behind her with one hand on her shoulder and the other on their sweet boy. She looked up with tears on her cheeks. I've never seen such sorrow. The Spirit in the room was so, so fragile, yet it was strong. I could feel such pain, and at the same time a hope in knowing this was not the end. Heavenly Father and Christ have a plan for that little boy. The men (Papa Kjar, Adam, Luke, and David) gave the family sweet, tender blessings. In each one, was a reassurance that families are forever and that Bennett is continuing his journey in Heaven.

Upon returning home, I couldn't stop praying in my heart...praying that the Wilkinson's home would be filled with love. That they would be comforted in knowing that the Gospel provides a way for them to see their little Bennett again. They are a strong family, but I can only imagine how hard the next while will be... And as a mother, I thought of Mandy's grief, and pain from the hole in her heart as she misses her little boy. I have and will forever pray that it will heal. Not too quickly, but surely...because she will be able to feel him wrap his arms around her and feel that mother-to-son embrace again some day.

Later while Brooks slept, I took a nap as well...and woke up with my eyes stinging from all of the tears. It was still so surreal. Their sweet little Bennett was gone. I got on my computer and started putting together a CD of pictures of Bennett to take to Mandy and her family. I couldn't stop smiling while looking at the photos. I do not exaggerate in the slightest when I say that Bennett was a little boy with a heart of gold. Being just 10 months older than Brooks, he always, and I mean always, was so soft and tender with him. Bennett had a smile that would brighten the day of every.single.person who was blessed to know him. He gave the sweetest hugs, and I'd melt seeing him play with his older brother and best friend Ashton (who just turned 3 years old). Adam and I were lucky enough to have them stay with us for a few days in November while their parents and 2 sisters went to Disneyland. Bennett was an angel boy, and I'll be forever grateful for the sweet times we had with him.

Here are some of the photos I put on the CD for their family...these are from when they stayed at our house :)

{This last one is actually from September at the Kjar's cabin...Bennett was snuggling Brooks...always such a sweetheart!}

Upon taking the CD of photos to the Wilkinsons (along with some Tim-Tams and hot chocolate for a sweet treat for the kiddos)...I was able to talk with Mandy. She expressed some tender feelings she had experienced...she said she was going through a type of anguish she never imagined, yet she felt peace. There was no bitterness. She said she is expecting those hard feelings later...but for now, it is a pure heartache. I cried with her. She said, and Dave and Emma (their oldest daughter, 8 years old) agreed, that they were going to keep their little Bennett alive in their home...make a memory book, talk about him often, and cherish every sweet memory of their son and brother. She said that 20 months was so short, TOO short for any little boy or girl. Yet if she had to choose to have the 20 months all over again, knowing that she'd experience the sorrow of losing him, or not have him at all...without a doubt, she'd have him for that short time and she thanks God for every single day that Bennett was with their family. They know he's now their strongest guardian angel.

I know I recently asked for prayers on Brooks' behalf...but now, please please have the Wilkinson family in your prayers. I don't truly know what they are going through...but I do know that they need as many prayers as they can get. God will hear each one. And He will bless their family.

Their hearts are broken...
...but will be mended with the hope and knowledge of seeing their Bennett again.

To anyone reading this, hug your loved ones extra tight today...give an extra kiss...and say "I love you" with even more passion. Every day with those we love is a gift.

26 comments:

Lauren said...

I'm so sorry for their loss :( It's true, the knowledge of the plan of salvation is such a gift in our lives. especially in these types of situations. I can't even imagine the grief they're going through. It's nice that they have you and Adam to support them.
again, I am so sorry :(

Bri!!! said...

I sobbed and sobbed yesterday when I got the phone call from my mom reading to me over the phone the Facebook message Mandy posted. My heart is deeply broken for their family. Thank you for this sweet post. I bawled through the whole thing. There are so many people who love them and I pray they can feel the love of their father in Heaven through this trial.

Shawntae said...

This just breaks my heart! I saw Sharla's picture on FB and started crying at work! Uhhh.
I am so soo sorry for their loss and i'll be praying my heart out for comfort.

Hugs to your family in this hard time.

Aubrey said...

Our prayers are with them. I am going to try even more now to appreciate each day with my family as a special gift.

Shalyn said...

I wish I knew what to write on here- that is the saddest thing I have heard in a long time and cannot imagine what your poor family is going through. All I can think about is how fortunate we are to know that we do indeed have an eternity to be with the precious angels we have lost. You and your family will be in my prayers, sweet friend. I love you.

Larsen Family said...

I am so sorry. Our prayers are with you and your family. We are so truly blessed to know that we will be with our families again. I love you so much. Please call if you need anything.

zack & jord said...

This was absolutely heartbreaking to read, but I appreciate you sharing. Your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for your family's loss.

Nell said...

I am so so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you, or your family must be going through, but it must be such a comfort to have such faith.
You are all in my thoughts and I'm sending a big hug through the blogosphere to you sweet lady. xx

Stephanie Salmon said...

What happened?!! That is so sad and maybe it's insensitive of me or something, but the whole time I was reading your post I kept waiting for you to tell us how he died, and you never did. Oh, I would never wish that on my worst enemy. Just breaks my heart.

Jen said...

I went to high school with Luke and Ben and know how great the Kjar family is. This is just so tragic... makes my heart break. We will keep the Kjar/Wilkinson family in our prayers.

Walkers said...

I Love the Kjar family! I grew up with sharla! and have lately had the oppurtnity to see Bennet and Ashtons sweet faces walking around at church.( we're in the same stake) Every sunday I would see them pass by the Library, always dressed so cute, always with a smile, Bennet always following his cute older brother. What a joy it brought to my heart to see them every sunday, Getting me excited for my little boy to be that age, and hoping that he would bring a smile to other peoples faces as they did to ours! We will pray for your sweet family! Bennet is looking down with a smile on his face still, just as I experienced when he was on earth! What a wonderful blessing to know he's in our Heavenly Fathers arms! There is no greater feeling of peace i would rather feel at a time like this, then to know he's with our loving heavenly father. Push through....and carry on with a smile! Just as he would!

Brooke said...

I am so sorry! I am definitely praying and checking my daughter a million times tonight. This brought me to tears. I can't image, but he is safe in heaven now and looking down on his family! This is a wake up call for me and I am so sorry again!

Eva Marie said...

OMG Haley!!! What happened to poor baby Bennet?I am praying for you and your family during the sad tragic time. I can't even imagine..

Cyndi Lawrence said...

Haley,

My heart aches for Dave and Mandy and their sweet children. Aches! I know too well what the next days, weeks and months will bring, but I also know the comfort and peace they will feel. What I tell people who loose a child is this: If there is anything to treasure through this next little while, it is to cherish each moment when they feel Bennett close. That first year, I felt Travis' arm laying across my shoulder constantly, and I felt him very very near. As the healing comes, and it does though we cannot imagine that it will, that closeness fades as they go on to do the things they have been called home to do. I miss those times, yet I am glad for the healing and the blessings of the Atonement that has allowed us to go forward with faith, and endure to the end. I know we will be together again, an eternal family. My arms cannot wait to hug Travis again, and I know Mandy and Dave's arms will feel so empty. Be there for them. Call them often. You guys have a great family, and that will be such a blessing to them! We love you guys tons. Give Brooks a big hug for us, and we are glad he is doing better. Cyndi

Alli said...

I will be thinking of their family, your family, this week. I am so sorry for their loss and I hope they can have peace after this grave time. I can't imagine the difficulty that faces them and I just hope that they will find many blessings in their future. I send all my love your way.

Jessika and Josh said...

My heart is aching for your family!! Let me know if their is ANYthing we can do for you guys. We love you all and you are all in our prayers.

Adam and Hilary said...

Thanks for sharing, so we can pray for them and your families. Today in primary I gave the lesson on prayer. It truly is a powerful tool. I know Heavenly Father will comfort them at this time. The plan of salvation brings so much peace in knowing we will see our loved ones again someday and continue to develop our relationships throughout the eternities.

I love you! I will give my Adam a tight squeeze! You truly never know when you will see those you love for the last time.

b. lee said...

I have not other words but ... sending thoughts, tears, love, prayer & hope ...

~ a little angel shining bright above ...

Sherri said...

U don't know me & I don't know u, except that I read your beautiful blog. Crazy bloggy world. I have two boys (4& 2 yrsold) & this post, your pictures, this tragic story brought me to tears. The ugly cry....Sending love, hugs & prayers to u & everyone in baby bennett's life. xo

Hailey Smoot Kandell said...

love this post Haley, we love them so much.
We will see Bennett again, we just will and be together forever one day....

Jessica said...

This was beautiful! How sweet of you to write this. Thank you for giving us all this precious reminder! I know I said I love you double X today! I'm keeping your family, and theirs, in my thoughts! -Jessica Rowen

Bri!!! said...

Haley, I just re-read this post an again was deeply touched. Would you mind if I put a link on my blog to this post?

Ashley said...

Oh Haley. This breaks my heart. I have no words to say as I sit here staring at my screen...crying for a family I've never met.

I will be praying for everyone connected to Baby Bennett.

& I'm still praying for sweet Brooks, too.

Emily {WhipperBerry} said...

Haley,
I am so so sorry for this horrible loss! I felt the pain so exquisitely as you wrote your story. I started sobbing so hard that my two year old came up and said "what... what, mama?" I looked into her sweet little face and lost it completely. I just picked her up and squeezed her. I will be sending all of my love to you and your family. What happened to sweet Bennett? Why was it so sudden? I know the Comforter will be with you.

Love,
Emily

Cara said...

I don't know you or your family but I came across this story and it breaks my heart. My son is almost one year (3 weeks to go) and I can't imagine him being taken away from me :(.

I will say prayers for Bennet and his family. I hope this ache gets smaller for everyone.

BUHLER LIFE said...

I cried and cried when I read your blog. We love you guys so much and will be praying for you all. I am so sorry for your loss!

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