Benjamin Wieler's Journal
Remembering Ben and Stancie
Written Dec 21, 2011 3:35pm
When we were in Barcelona, my cousin Stancie came to be with us. She had been a flight attendant with Pan Am for decades and was at that time with Delta. She made everything happen to get us home - on American, so we could fly into Newark rather than LaGuardia. The entire crew attended to our every need. I'm not sure how she made this all happen, but that was Stancie.
Sadly, Stancie died this year at the tender age of 61. While Ben did not travel the world for 40 years as she did, he was well on his way to becoming a world citizen "a la mode de Stancie." (Those who knew her will especially appreciate what I am saying here!) At her memorial service, this blessing was read. While I don't like the notion of a predetermined plan for one's life and death, there is much here I do like. Stancie and Ben were kindred spirits in many ways. They valued friendship and fun and laughter. They stood by their friends and came to their aid without a moment's hesitation. Their lives were full, if all too brief.
An Irish Blessing for Remembered Joy
Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free -
I followed the plan God laid for me.
I could not stay another day,
To love, to laugh, to work or play;
Tasks undone must stay that way.
And if my parting leaves a void,
fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss...
Ah yes, these things I too shall miss.
My life's been full, I've savoured much;
Good times, good friends, a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief -
Don't shorten yours with undue grief.
Be not burdened with tears of sorrow.
Enjoy the sunshine of the morrow.
Written Nov 29, 2009 5:04am
We've been thinking about Ben’s birthday tomorrow, and wanted to share a few photos of Ben and his friends from the “Cherub” summer journalism program at Northwestern. They encapsulate much of what made Ben who he was – his competitiveness, his spontaneity, his great goofy sense of humor, and his love of games of all sorts. The photos are now posted here. If you view the slideshow, the first ten or so pictures are from the Cherub program.
The first few are from the “Jews vs. Gentiles” basketball game, apparently an annual Cherub tradition. Several of you who played sports with Ben over the years have mentioned his calves. Note the calf to calf match-up on Ben and the guy guarding him (second photo in slideshow). Is it any wonder the Gentiles won that year?
The next few are from a trip some of the Cherubs took to the Art Institute of Chicago. They require no explanation.
Love to all during this holiday season, and thank you for all your continued kindnesses.
Written Oct 21, 2009 9:06amTo all who have cared for Ben and our family over the last month: to our friends from Barcelona, from Grace Episcopal and St. Vincent Martyr Churches in Madison and the Unitarian Church in Summit, from the Madison Montessori School, Madison Junior School, Madison High School, Middlebury College and IES Abroad, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Prudential Financial, from Green Hill Road and the Lightning of New Jersey, from the University of the West Indies and University of New Hampshire. And most especially to my friends in Summit, Sparta, Hoboken, Madison and Allendale, NJ, and everywhere in New York State from Long Island to Manhattan to points north and very north of that. And that one very special outlier from Michigan. You all made so many things possible and so many things easier during our time in Barcelona and during that first week home.
Yesterday, I read many of the cards and letters we have received over the last month as I rode the Amtrak train along the Hudson River on my way to spend time with friends in upstate New York. One was addressed to "Kick It Old School." I got a kick out of that! Another came from a friend of Matt's who is serving in the Army. He wrote, "Being in the army at a time of war, we've seen too many young people go early." I grieve for all the families across the United States who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But I am inspired by the words of Emily Dickinson on the cover of one of the sympathy cards: "Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality."