Excerpts

In Retrospect

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Weeks preceding Benjamin’s death, there was a “knowing.” I can’t describe it in any other way. I simply “knew” I was to write a book. In fact, I felt the pull so strongly I began making notes for one—a book on mothering, that was what I knew. But that was not the book I was destined to write. Instead the Lord would claim the next ten years of my life to tell a story He wanted to tell. It started slowly at first. A few scribbled notes on the back of a paper napkin. Stephanie’s innocent ramblings in the early weeks after her brother’s death reverberated through our household like shots fired from a pistol. Profound pearls of ageless wisdom disguised as childish prattle pulled cords in my heart and stuck to my soul. Through the fog of overwhelming grief and shock, a clear voice prompted, “This is important. Write it down.” There were a few words here, a few words there, but they grew.

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Prologue

Benjamin Maresco’s family lived in a quiet suburban Midwestern neighborhood. The Marescos sent their children to private schools, attended Mass each week, and participated in Little League sports. Theirs was a comfortable, spacious two-story home that housed children, playthings, hopes, and ambitions. Traditions were time-honored and holidays were ritualized. In this house, birthday cakes, Halloween costumes, and memories were homemade. Yesterday’s artwork and today’s sticky fingerprints decorated the refrigerator, and fresh-baked bread sprang from the oven on cue.

Ben was born into the family on a sunny Friday afternoon in May taking his position as the fourth of five children. His birth was a celebration, planned and orchestrated to take place at home. He was welcomed into the world by his parents, his siblings, and a handful of trusted friends and caretakers.

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