~ a vision shared~


I recieved this email from my sister tonight, I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing with you…

i was in bed, trying to go to sleep for the night.  just as i was drifting off, i saw dad with robert.  they were both laughing and smiling.  dad had a big grin on his face….and when have you ever really seen him smile that big?  robert looked so happy too.  it surprised me so much that i bolted upright wide awake and i lost the dream. it was such a brief image because i woke up as soon as i saw them.  i wasn’t sure if it was really real or if it was something my mind made up because i wanted to see it.  all i know is that when i woke up, i looked at the clock and it was 10:15pm on monday night.  somehow it made me feel better, even if maybe it wasn’t real, it was real enough to me…..


Monday  night was 3 weeks, he died close to 10:15pm. Unbelievable.

Now I am crying because I feel happiness and a sense of hope that he is happy and at peace with his son.


He is a Christian and  I know he is in Heaven, I do know all of that, but the earthly me has just been so very worried.. I feel like I have just been waiting to really know.. thank you A.  Really really thank you !

   ~these 2 little friends have been with me for 2 days now.. they really are friends, one looks out while the other drinks.  Then they fly just as high and as fast as they can. I know migration is well under way but I have really enjoyed their visit…

~Welcome Autumn Equinox~

I am welcoming Autumn with arms wide open. I worked on this sweater back in July knowing of course that Autumn will once again arrive. I can’t wait.

I am still so sad about my father, the pain is there but it is a litle deeper inside rather than bubbling over and out..  It is 3 weeks today. 


But the sweater, I fell in love this pattern I had some lovely Blue Sky cotton on hand I can’t remember exactly what I did different to make this more sweater- like. Helpful I know, but all it lacked was a button. I finally got it sewn on.  Now I need just one more to finish it, but I am going to go ahead and call it done.  I wore it today and it was comfy.

    ~can you see the fall leaf button????

Welcome Autumn!
Now once it cools down, I will be soup making and fall veggie roasting ~ can’t wait!!

“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” ~ Malcom X

Please consider joining my group on facebook Justice for Robert Joel Benn-Stop Drunk Driving Now.

I know this will not bring my dad back. I know that.
I just can not allow my dad’s memory to be forgotten. I can not allow him to wiped off this earth without fighting for him. He would want justice, I want justice.

If any good can come from my father’s death, it would be that we as a society will not tolerate senseless killings.   Why would a 3 time convicted DWI individual ever be allowed back behind the wheel? Why would he be able to get his license back. How many chances does one get to kill?  When is enough enough?
This facebook group is created to keep track of  my father’s case and investigation and to give a voice to a victim who can not speak for himself.  Thank you.

Resolve and thou art free. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

papa and the girls   ~August 8, 2009 (my sister’s baby shower)


Today brings the task of laying my father to rest.  This will be a very hard day for my family and I, but we know this must be done.   I do not think I will fully believe what has happened until I see my father.

Such a hard day.  We must be strong and  remain resolved to see this process through.  I know we will find comfort from each other.  As much as I want to turn and run the other way I know I can not.

Peace be unto you and all who you meet and please especially upon my family and all those who knew and loved my dad.


~It is not length of life, but depth of life. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson~

These first few days have been filled with tears, shock, disbelief. I also became angry very angry. These are normal and predictable emotions one feels after losing an important person in your life. I know this is part of the process.

The part that I have been struggling with for these first few days is the act itself. In my mind I can see my father in his car driving, and then I see the crash. Or what I picture in mind what I think it would have looked like. I see him in the car hurt and alone.  At first I kept wondering what condition his body was in. How hurt was he?  I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I will be much relieved when I just see my dad in my mind as he always was.  Happy go lucky and slightly absentminded. He was super smart, always thinking of many things, but often forgetful of the small tasks of life. As in where did I leave my keys, or oh, I flew here to work and I left all my shirts at home, or only bringing his work shoes and leaving his tennis shoes at home. He did these things all the time.

     ~ remembering Rob at 2 years~

I know the painful image will fade hopefully with time. It  just takes time and it can be a slow process.  I am almost 3 years past my brother’s death.  I will admit I was not prepared to be thrown into this process again so quickly.  I also know that I have no control over these things.

At first, not knowing the name of the person who committed this act was troubling me.
However, now that I do know his  name and his history  it does not make me feel any better.  It does not change anything.

I am somewhat comforted by the fact that he will be held accountable for the act that he has done.  Although now I have a deep sadness for the fact that this young man has such a history of trouble and despair.  He has had 3 convictions of DWI.  Now, he can add murder to his list.  He is only 23 years old and to have so much stacked up against you must feel daunting.  To have such a need to be so destructive,so selfish is surely a sign of disease.  It is in the act of choosing to drive that is the hardest  part to understand.   I believe that as a society we can not expect everyone to be well and healthy.  That such a society could not exist without various forms of addiction.  I can accept that.  We can not make people  better  without them wanting to be better.  I just always thought before August 31, 2009 that if a person made mistakes  in his life that were dangerous, harmful, and self destroying  then he would eventually begin to examine and question his own actions.  To one day look inside himself to seek answers and understanding.  To begin to seek a change.  I clearly see that that was an idealistic thought to have.

I want to be clear that I am not a perfect being. I have done things that I should not have done, I certainly have made plenty of bad choices.  I know that each action causes reaction, and life will move you forward if you let it or it will keep you back if you don’t.  I am thankful that my past did not ever stop me from continuing forward.  I  want to be a thoughtful person, I want to understand and I do not ever want to stop growing as an individual.  I believe that what happens to you in life will only strengthen you in the end.   

There is no punishment I can imagine that would be enough to rectify the action of what was done to my father. I would not want to be the decider.  I am not a judge nor am I God.  I would never want to be either.  I do believe that to have to live with the knowledge of what your actions, your choices, your selfishness has caused could potentially be worse then the actual punishment itself.  Almost.  You can not hide from your own mind.


Time is a healer. It will soon heal my raw pain.  One day I will be able to focus on the good of my dad without the horrible images that are in my mind now.  I know this for certain.  I am not ready to forgive yet, but I hope one day I will be able to start that process.  I know my father would want me to do that.  He would want me to focus on the good~ our memories, our laughter and our joy and our sorrow. This is what a life together brings you.  I will always remember.

~Remembering my dad~

img023  ~ my family at the beach, dad in red shirt~

When  I started my first blog back in  June 07 it was mostly  a way for me to deal with my grief over losing my little brother Robert.  I had never blogged before and looking back over some of my early posts, they are quite silly.  Through the first yearI worked through much of my grief and I moved on to other share other parts of my life through this blog. I really try to focus on good things here.  I try to keep things light and cheerful even when I am struggling with other issues in my life, but yesterday I was brought back to a sorrowful place… I need to try to begin to understand my feelings of loss and desperation, and the overwhelming sadness that has once again returned.  So please bear with me…

This post is for my dad~   

Robert Joel Benn, Jr.


On the very same day my sister had her first baby, my father was killed a few hours later by a drunk driver in Austin, TX.  He had just flown in that evening for work the next day.  He  picked up his rental car and was heading to his hotel.  He never made it there.

here is what happened  ~ you can listen to the video….

Apparently the wreckage was so bad, they could not identify him at first, they did not notify his wife until the next day at work – of all places.  How horrible for her to recieve the news over the phone by a complete stranger when she was all alone.


  (my dad with his wife Sherrie, & the girls-  Katie & Peggy Sue)

My dad was a very kind and gentle man. He was not loud, he rarely raised his voice. In times of chaos he would remain calm.  He was always on your side.


I remember growing up  my mother would often  say “Your dad always helps the underdog” or something to that effect.
I was not always certain why she would say that, but thinking back it is a very true statement.  That is one way to describe my dad.
He always felt the need to help those who were in need or who were having a hard time.  If someone was down, he would try to  help them to help themself so they could find their way back up.  He was a teacher, he always tried to find a way to encourage your to do your best.  If you were sad, or stressed or mad he would find a way to make you feel better.

He was an encourager, he was an inspirator, he was empathetic and he would always try to get me to see the other side of a situation and he would ask me – what do you think you would do, if you were that person.  He would ask me how do you think that other person feels?  He would force you to examine an issue from all sides.  He would always tell you that you could do whatever you set out to do.

I remember when I was 18 or 19 not long after I had graduated from high school,  feeling that I was not smart enough to go to college, and I felt  my parents did not really have the money to pay for me to go to school.  Whether that was really true or not, I am not sure, but at the time this is what I believed.  They just finished going through a stressful divorce and all I really wanted  was to be on my  own.  I remember as I was working my first full time job that it did not take too long to feel a bit down and discouraged.  I felt like I was going down a career path that I did not particularly want.   While I was grateful for the opportunity it was not exactly what i wanted.   I knew I wanted to do something I thought was  important, something that I felt would matter in the bigger picture. I wanted to make a difference.  You know, I wanted to “help” people.  I began talk to my dad about my feelings (as he worked at the same company.)   He began to encourage me, little by little I began to listen to him and to believe in what he was saying.  I started very slowly one class at a time but eventually I reached my goal and I graduated from nursing school in May 1993.  I made it because he believed in me (as well as my mom.)  Now it is 16 almost 17 years later I am still a nurse.  I know without a doubt I have provided care to people who were in great need, and I know I have made a difference in many lives.   I know this because many have come back and told me so. Which obviously is very gratifying to me.

Thank you Dad.   You believed in me and you knew I could do it even when I was very unsure.  I don’t know if I ever actually told him thank you. 

  ~Dad with Ginger~

When I was five yrs old my dad walked me to the bus stop on the first day of school with our dog Ginger. I remember getting on the bus and some mean boy said, “Cute dog but not a cute  old man!” I was so mad and upset I am sure I cried because that boy said something mean about my dad. Of course I never said a word about that to him I did not want to hurt his feelings.. He probably would have just chuckled about it really.

    ~my dad with Sara 94~


I remember another time when my dad found out that my husband and I were preparing to pack up and move to Portland, OR with his 2 1/2 year old granddaughter he came dashing over to our house, he sat at our kitchen table and as he put his hand down on the table he set it in a little  glob of jelly ( it had fallen off the toast my daughter had been eating) and he kind of shook his hand and as he looked down at he said without missing a beat, “Look if this is about money, I will give you whatever you need, you don’t have to go all the way to Oregon for money..”

It was very sweet. Of course we went to Portland, because we wanted to move there. It was a beautiful city and  we have beautiful memories of our time there. My dad and his wife actually came out and visited us, and he LOVED it there. He really dug that city.

This morning as I was driving  I remembered  a time was really young maybe 2 or 3 -I remember  we were either driving to my grandparents house or driving home from visiting them, I was so sleepy and I  had laid my head on his chest while sitting in his lap as I began to fall alseep  I remember  listening to his voice while he talked.  It was way down deep in his chest and  it was musical  It put me right to sleep.  I clearly remember feeling very safe and warm at that time.


Some of my favorite sayings come from my dad..
“The waiting is the hardest part” (told to me by him as I waited for my turn to have my tonsils/adenoids out as I was the last of the 3 kids to take my turn, my mom had us all go at the same time!!)
I have told that to so many of my patients I don’t even know how many times it could be.  I have empathized with my patients many a time as they waited scared for their procedure.  I always think of him when I say that.

He also told me after my brother died, “It is always hardest on those left behind.” That is so true.
Of course I have many other wonderful memories but these few have crossed my mind today as I have been trying to absorb his loss.

My dad was devastated when my brother died and he was very sad for quite a long time.  I know he held his grief close to his heart. He kept it inside himself.  He withdrew for a time.  Over this last year or so, he really seemed to find himself again. He seemed much more at peace and more content. He began a mid century modern redesign of his home, he dearly loved that time period. He sought out specific pieces of furniture that would fit and he drove all around to find them. In fact he drove to Chicago to purchase a chair, brought it home and said, “I wish I would have bought that other chair he had for sale, I am going back.” And he did, he drove right back up there and got that other chair all in a week’s worth of time.  My dad was always working on something, he always had projects, he was always looking for his next interest.   That sounds a little familiar actually..

The  part that is hardest is that he was a road warrior, he spent years driving  for his work. We moved to TN in 1979, so he could go to work for my uncle, and he drove back and forth each and every week. He drove all over  Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.  He traveled all the time and was always very safe.
He was laid off from his job in December and this was very hard on him.  He loved to be busy and he loved his work. He had just started working for a Canadian company at the State of TN.  Then  they  sent him to Austin, TX for another project.  He was very happy to go. He was doing what he did best… however he never got the chance.
He was killed by a very senseless act of fear and despair.  A young man thought it was better to run from the police and in the process killed my dad. He was observed throwing beer bottles/cans out of his Lincoln Navigator. My dad was t -boned and he never stood a chance. I fear you can see his blood on the front of that man’s Navigator.  They will not release that man’s name… there is talk that he is influential or something of that sort.   As much pain as all of these details cause, it is a small thing compared to our great loss.   Edited to add: they did release the man’s name and it turns out he has 3 PRIOR convictions for driving while intoxicated.  3 are you kidding me? They have charged him with 1st degree murder.
I am praying for peace .  I think the worst is knowing when I got into bed Monday night after having so much joy for my sister, about 10pm, at that very time my father was brutally killed and destroyed and I had no idea. I did not know. I could not feel it and that just saddens me so much.
I pray he felt no pain, and had no idea of what happened to him. I pray he knew what to do, and I pray my brother reached out his hand to him and said “Come on Dad, let’s go!”.. and I know that somehow the boys are back together again.

~(one of the few times we where ALL together as a family…(my dad is the one at the end..)~

One thing is true, my dad was very traditional, he loved his family and was very diligent in honoring his commitments to his parents, wife and family.   I have many things left to talk to him about. I was not ready. Of course you never are.. I am praying for grace for myself and my family to get through this time.   We really need that right now.

Please keep us in your thoughts and if you have made it this far.  Thank you..