December 25, 2013

Ben Breedlove

December 25, 2013
It's Christmas -- a time for joyous celebration of the birth of Christ, family quality time around the fireplace or snow, singing carols and opening presents. But it's a difficult time for the Breedlove family. Ben Breedlove and his family lay heavy in my heart, not only around this time of year, but constantly. In remembrance of Ben, I want to dedicate this to him, his loved ones and those who were touched by his story. And to introduce him to those who had yet to come across his heartfelt story.

Two years ago today, December 25, the Breedlove's lost a son. A brother. And heaven gained an angel. His name was Ben Breedlove. He was a young man in good faith of the Lord. Humble and warm that he was, Ben was family-oriented who was close to his two siblings, loved to wakeboard and wakesurf, and dreamed about visiting foreign countries. He was known for his videos on his YouTube channel that ranged from giving advice, to spirituality and even about his heart condition. At the young age of 18, he lost his life to HCM on Christmas day in 2011, but not before touching the hearts of millions around the web. 

Ben suffered from hypertrophic cardiomythopathy (HCM), a heart condition that poses a constant risk of sudden death. A condition to leave one fatigued and weakening over time. It lead Ben to a few close calls in which he endured cardiac arrest on four separate occasions. In those times, he felt the presence of angels and visions of heaven as God reached out to him.

On December 21, 2011, shortly before his death, Ben created a two-part video where he held up handwritten note cards that told his story regarding his near-death experiences and his beckoning toward heaven. He touched many hearts and impacted lives in so many ways with his videos, not a single word spoken. There was no need; he was one of those strong silent types. Ever since I came across the videos, he, his loved ones and his story had embedded themselves in my mind and heart. They cross my mind often and I send a little prayer each time. I remember the first time I watched those videos, I couldn't contain the heaviness that set in my heart and the flow of tears. Watching it today still has the same effect on me as it did the first few times. To endure the pain that he went through, as well as his family, is unimaginable and unbearable. My heart warms and I applaud Ben for not turning his back on God as many have during his close calls. Ben and his family's faith was surely tested during those times, but all held true to it through it all. I admire their strength and support. My heart and prayers goes out to his loved ones.

This past October, Ben's sister, Ally, wrote a memoir titled When Will The Heaven Begin in which goes more in depth of Ben's life and his near-death experiences, his family and the hope of heaven. It's as much of a tear-jerker and heartstring-puller as his videos were. 

About the book

In the book, Kid Cudi -- Ben's favorite singer -- wrote a message in regard to him being Ben's idol. He clearly too was touched by the young soul that is Ben and still constantly thinks about him. 

It's not a time to mourn, but a time to remember. To remember Ben. Remember his strength and faith. The love, strength, support and faith of family. Remember his visions, promise and hope of heaven. To remember life's greatest treasures given by God. And also, a time for healing. Hope. Faith. 

"Do you believe in Angels or God? I do." -- Ben Breedlove
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