Angel Baby Ben

Mid year 2010 I found out that my dear good friend and Visiting Teaching companion, Kristen, was pregnant with her first baby.  I was so excited for her and her wonderful husband Randy.  The months to follow were spent  comparing pregnancy symptoms, cravings, pains and birthing techniques as I had just delivered my own third child that May.

Kristen absolutely glowed and as her due date of February 25th (2011) approached I would constantly tease her that she was going to deliver early and have a Valentine's Day baby.

February 14th, Valentines Day, came and went mostly without incident, until Kristen's water broke at 4:30 that afternoon.

February 15th was much more eventful.  It was time for little Ben to enter this world and he did just that at 11:35 that morning.  Doctors were a bit concerned because Ben didn't cry when he was born but attributed it to trauma during his birth and put him under observation.  The following day his symptoms had not improved and upon the doctor's suggestion he was transported to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City for further testing.

Initial tests at Primary Children's Hospital revealed that Ben's Glycine (a neurotransmitter) levels were high and after 4 days of testing he was diagnosed with non-ketotic hyperglycinemia (NKH), a genetic disorder that inhibits regulation of Glycine levels.

Ben was given six months to live...

But as the hours progressed into days the reality of how advanced Ben's NKH really was settled in and it was realized that he would not have much time here on earth.  Knowing the inevitable was to happen, Kristen and Randy requested to take him home to spend as much cherished intimate time with him as the Lord would grant.  Doctors stabilized Ben's feeding tube and in the afternoon of day 8 he came home.

My heart just broke for Kristen and Randy as the weight of the situation came to light.  I had suffered a miscarriage myself at 16 weeks some years prior so I was familiar with loss, but nothing in the realm of what they were faced with.  I can't ever fathom the pain and heartache involved with losing such a precious gift so soon after receiving him.

When I heard that Ben had come home a thought formulated in my mind and I immediately wanted to meet him.  I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit this, because it seems so selfish in the midst of all that was going on. But admit it I will, because the lesson that followed is important to me, and I want to honor Ben by sharing it with you.  The lesson Ben taught me will stay with me forever and I want to express my gratitude to him for teaching me, even during his short life.

I wanted to meet him.  I wanted to touch him and hold him and breathe him; breathe in his celestial perfection.  But mostly I wanted to whisper to him.  I wanted to tell him to please pass on a message to the Savior for me.  I wanted him to tell the Savior that I loved Him and missed Him.  You see, even after a year of recovery I still felt a distinct separation from my Savior and I felt like Ben was the perfect messenger to deliver a message to Him for me.  Ben, in my mind, reduced the degrees of separation between my Savior and I down to 1.

It was the perfect plan.  The problem was I didn't want to disrespect Kristen in order to facilitate my own selfish agenda.  I kept a safe distance and gently sent a text on day 9 asking if I could come by and see Ben. She was kind and suggested that I come the following day because he was having a bit of a hard time at that moment.

I fell asleep that night perfectly content that I would be able to whisper my message to Ben in the morning.  I just knew that the Lord wouldn't take Him before I did, I just knew the Lord would want to hear my message.  He would want to hear that I loved Him.


I woke up the following morning, February 25th, to the news that Ben had passed away at around 1:am that morning.  February 25th...his original due date.

I was devastated.

I wasn't devastated for myself (not being able to deliver the message)... that came later.  But I was devastated for Kristen and Randy.  I think often times when we convince ourselves that we have 100% accepted the inevitable that we still secretly hold out hope that the impending result will be different.  Heavenly Father is a God of miracles right?  He loves us and would not want us to suffer?  It makes complete sense to hold out hope that He would save that which we love the most.  That's how I felt.  I still had hope that the Lord would perform a miracle and heal Ben.  So when Ben passed away the weight of reality crashed down upon me, as I'm sure it did for Kristen and Randy.

The reality of not being able to send my message to my Savior didn't sink in till a while later.  I was more confused than anything.  I was so sure I'd be able to whisper those words to him.  I felt ripped of the opportunity to use that one degree of separation to speak to Him.

Later that morning I was walking to the church building and happened upon Kristen and Randy as they were getting ready to make funeral arrangements.  I wrapped Kristen up in my arms and through tears expressed to her my sorrow and heartache for her.  I didn't know what else to say.  I also expressed to her my selfish desire to use Ben as a messenger to my Savior.  She took the news graciously.  Maybe one day I'll have the courage to actually ask her what she thought when I told her.  Maybe one day.  Not yet.

The miracle, for me, came the following day.  Again I was walking through the parking lot toward the church building.  I was mourning the loss of my message to Heaven when the Lord spoke to me.  Loud and clear:
I'm right here.  You didn't need to give Ben a message.  There are no degrees of separation between us.  I am right here...
I stopped frozen and let the revelation wash over me.  Actually, it didn't wash over me.  It sunk into me.  It spoke to my very soul.  It was as if my Savior was standing right next to me and His words  punched right into me... 
That very moment, on a crisp February morning, in the middle of my apartment complex parking lot, the Savior spoke to me.  And from that moment on I have never wavered in my knowledge that there are no degrees of separation between the Savior and I.  It is just He and I.  Always, and forever.

Thank you Ben.  Thank you for not taking my message to Heaven.  For in doing so an exquisite opportunity was created for my Savior to instead deliver a message to me.  A message of personal love and hope.

There is one message I hope to deliver one day though.  A message of personal thanks to you.  For teaching me, even in the short time you were here.  For that I will be forever grateful.


Ben and Daddy Randy

Ben and Momma Kristen

Together Forever

God Be With You Till We Meet Again...


  1. Wow, what a beautiful story, Thankyou for sharing, so often I feel like there are miles between me and my savior - Thankyou for the reminder that he is right there.

  2. Beautiful Sidreis:) Thank you! Very tender and much needed. Love you!

  3. I too was blessed with an angel baby who started my path healing. He was sent to his parents the day my mom was sent in life flight. My angel baby loved me for me and he showed me o was worth loving, which in turn opened my heart to start the healing process. The key here was his dad was my Bishop. My Bishop trusted me with his most precious child which in turn helped me to learn to trust again. After I made my disclosure, my Bishop still allowed me to be around and love his children. I feel Heavenly Father sent my angel at the time I would need someone the most. His dad is still to this day one of my greatest advocates even thoguh our paths have gone different ways. The start of healing journeys begin in so many different ways. I am grateful HF sent my angel and his family who I love dearly and owe part if who I am today due to their love for me.

    1. Rachael - that is a GREAT story!! Isn't it so awesome when those we worry about offending just love us to pieces anyway. I can totally relate to worrying about people not wanting me around their kids. God bless those Angels that trust us by trusting God:-)

  4. Just what I needed to read tonight. Man I can't imagine that kind of loss. What a miracle, though. All of it. No degrees of separation. Wow. Ok. :)


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