Bryan Benton, March 11, 1975 – February 11, 2012

Bryan was born in 1975 and is our middle son. Always full of life, he was a true “people” person with a magnetic personality. As a little boy, he could say “Roll Tide” before he was two years old and it was a part of his vocabulary all of his life. How he would have loved to see Alabama win the national championship this year making it back to back championships. His brother sent a garden flag while I was in NC and I placed it on Bryan’s grave. The flag said Alabama, Back to Back Champions. I know he would have loved it.

Many of our friends have asked all through the year how we are doing. Our family is still strong and our faith is undaunted. God is strong for us and in us. Without a doubt, there is an unbelievable-sized hole in our hearts. Thousands of tears have been shed. He’s our son and we miss him. Gaylon and I would trade places with him today if that was possible.

One of the greatest pains has been that Bryan never met his baby boy Tucker. Oh my goodness – talk about a boy who looks like his dad and has his personality. He even sucks the same two fingers Bryan sucked. Tucker is a joy and such a blessing to Sarah and to all of us. Bryan was so excited, even giddy, about being a father and having a son. We all found out together, just two weeks before his death, that a baby boy would be joining the family. Bryan took us and Sarah’s family out to dinner to celebrate. I read many of the tributes online from customers and friends who saw him that last week, and many talked about his joy at becoming a dad and having a son. He would have been a great father. I spoke at a conference while there the last weekend we saw Bryan, and Gaylon spent all day Saturday with him. I now believe that was a gift from God. The funeral director estimated that at least a thousand showed up for his funeral, though many could not get in the building.

Bryan was a wonderful husband, who deeply loved Sarah, and I do mean deeply. Many photos adorn their home – photos of all the fun trips they took together. Bryan and Sarah lived more in their almost five years of marriage than many couples ever live.

February 11, 2012 is a day that will be forever etched in our memories – the phone call where we learned our son was gone, having to call his brothers and other family members, making the trip to North Carolina to be with Sarah and help plan the service and so many condolences from friends.

We are now experiencing the saying, “life goes on.” I’m determined to make the most of my remaining time here, as I have learned the painful lesson that one can’t count on tomorrow. There’s only today and I plan to use it wisely.

We will always miss you, dear one, but I know God has you in His arms now. I know we will see you again, and I must admit I am more homesick for heaven than ever. We will always talk about you and always celebrate your life. We will stay in close contact with Sarah and Tucker. We will cherish our remaining children and grandchildren, and we will do our part to make the world a better place in whatever time we have left.

One never knows until they walk in the hardest places if faith can truly sustain. I can say, without hesitation, yes it can! Today I can still sing:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

When darkness seems to hide His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.