Monday, March 10, 2014

One Heart, Two Souls

As many of you experienced firsthand, read online or saw on Facebook... the benefit last night was nothing short of amazing.

It was comforting to see so many faces. Some familiar, some I haven't seen in years, many of whom I have never met. Andy took the kids home after just a few minutes because it was just all too overwhelming for our Ben and he let me stay longer in order to visit. Wall-to-wall people and police escorts are generally very foreign to most four-year-olds. Plus, Ben was just so exhausted.

I wish there was a way for Andy to have stayed with me, too. So many would have loved to see him as well. But Benjamin has been very protective of his parents lately. He gets anxious when just one of us is gone and asks about us constantly until we return. Andy was kind enough to care for the kids until I came home just to sing to them before bed.

I received so much comfort from all of the friendly faces. Their stories. Their encouragement. But there was one category of people that made me feel especially emotional.

Other mothers of twins.

I know this story resonates with a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons. But I wonder if other moms of twins perhaps can feel our pain more than the average mom.

When the boys were born, it was easy to treat them as a 'set.' They were, after all, a 'two for one' kinda package deal. When one was hungry, we fed both. When one woke up, we woke up the other. When we bought a toy, we bought an identical one for his brother. It was easier that way. And in many ways, it was survival. It was difficult to tell them apart starting at about three months. I couldn't even tell them apart from their cries.

But the differences seemed to increase as the boys grew older. We'd see hints of personality in how they'd paint, how quickly they responded to directions, how they responded to potty training, making a mess, etc. And those differences seemed to multiply when they started preschool a few mornings a week this past fall.

It's difficult to explain to others, but having stayed home with them for the past five years, I can now tell them apart by their voice, their face, their hair, their walk.

Jack, my firstborn by one minute, tends to be the leader. Determined. Competitive. Independent. He demands respect and has always required a lot of attention from his daddy. Ever since he was born, we've said that Jack has had a sparkle in his eye. Inquisitive and thoughtful. And also a bit of an instigator.

Ben is my compliant and self-sacrificing second-born. He is eager to please and does not like confrontation. Always the peacemaker, Ben is also the first to go in for the hug. And the first to smile for pictures. He's a natural born teacher where things like kindness and thoughtfulness seem to be second-nature.

And yet, they rely on each other in ways that most siblings might not. Because they've always been together. Always. Womb-mates and roommates. Jack didn't like sleeping alone when Ben was in the hospital. Ben always wanted to call and talk to his brother when he was away. Ben has always been cool about taking direction from his brother, and Jack has always received confidence from Ben's quiet strength.

As hokey as it may sound, it's like they have one heart and two souls.

It seriously breaks my heart to think about separating them.

I took them both to Target a few weeks ago, just after Ben had gotten out of the hospital after brain surgery. We got the normal comments of, "Hey, are you twins?" where I'd just smile and nod. But I was surprised when both boys perked up.

"Yeah, we're twins!" Ben said.

And then Jack followed with, "And we're brothers, too!"

It warmed my heart to think about how these boys have come to process their relationship with their brother. Their pal. Their best friend.

Andy and I get overwhelmed when we think about what life may look like without one of our kids here with us. We get overwhelmed to think about what life may look like during the transition and what we will tell Jack. But worrying is not helpful. If anything, it is a black hole. It's not that we're refusing to acknowledge the truth. It's that we cannot handle thinking about much more than one day at a time.

"And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28

God has already brought so much good from this. And even if God doesn't answer our prayers in the way I'm praying He will, I know that He will continue to care for our family, especially in the lives of our favorite twins, Jonathan and Benjamin. Just as He always has.

79 comments:

  1. I have 3 1/2year old twin boys, and I feel so deeply connected to Ben's story. When reading what life is like with your boys, I cannot help but imagine my own. It makes me smile because I too know the utter joy of having the gift of twins, twin boys. But I also understand the very unique element that that it adds to the dynamic of this situation. That part is what leaves me heartbroken right along with you. I have been praying since I have read of Ben's story, and I will not cease. From one twin mama to another I send you love, strength & hope.

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  2. I hate to think that another mother must go through such pain. I am a mother to four beautiful girls, two of which are identical twins (Lauren and Alison). We lost of sweet Lauren 15 months ago at the age of 6. Our hearts are broken, but the pain is intensified beyond belief watching Alison grieve for her other half, it is a pain no one that isn't an identical twin could ever know, not even their parents. I pray for a miracle for your sweet Ben.

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    1. I'm an identical mirror twin - my mother's name is Sharon. I am sorry for your loss. I'm lucky that my twin and I are grown, married, and starting our own families.

      Aimee (my twin) and I struggle putting ourselves in the place of Ben and Jack and have been able to imagine what life would have been like had something so unthinkable happened.... but what you're describing with Alison has taken it to a new level.

      Devastating doesn't even begin to describe it, and it didn't happen to us - it's happening to your families. Being adults with children of our own now, close to the age of Ben, makes it more difficult because we can relate to the twins AND the parents.

      If only there were a way to spare everyone from this pain - and the reality must be so much worse than anything we can imagine.

      To Mindy & you too Sharon - continue to be the strong parents you are. God chose you to be their mommy for a reason. With your help, Jack and Alison will make it through this.

      Praying for a miracle for Ben <3

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  3. Oh, my sweet friend, how my heart aches from this . Your precious boys, your beautiful family,this story of love and faith and hope and GOD is a miracle. I thank God for all of you every day, all day long, and thank Him for so many blessings through unimaginable heartache. I pray every day is blanketed with comfort, peace, and strength for Ben, Andy, you, Jack, Megan, and all of your extended family and friends. In whatever His will may be, may you have peace. <3
    -Kier

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  4. Such a Beautiful description of your boys....as I continued to read and came to God's Word and your hope in trusting in His Promises I just wept......., reminded of what He does Promise all of us. Thank you for sharing these heart filled pages.

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  5. We have never met, but I heard about your story through my sister, Tara Cutaia. The scripture you just shared is one I memorized and clung to when my 3 day old daughter went home to be with the Lord. Isaiah 41:10 was another;" Do not fear for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God, I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you in my victorious right hand." Our Lord is faithful. I am praying for healing for Ben. In addition I am praying strength as you walk through the fire. Lillian Trigilio

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  6. Dear Mindy and Andy,
    I'm sorry to have missed you yesterday. The response was so incredible and I wasn't sure that you would be able to be there. One quick thought from today. I've been reading through Luke and this morning turned to chapter 18, which begins with Jesus teaching His disciples to always pray and not give up. We are not giving up and continuing to pray.

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  7. I have 11 yo boy/girl twins and yes what is happening wuth Ben resonates more with me because I have twins. Albeit not identical but they shared a womb and my daughter is 1 minute older than her twin and she doesn't let him forget it :) my boys have raised money the last several years for Roswell Park and shaved their heads. Well this year is my daughters year. She wil be shaving her head May 29th and had already raised $1130 for such an amazing cause. We all will continue to send prayers to Ben. Ever since I have heard about him I can't thinking of you all and what you are feeling/going through. From one twin mom to another keep up.your strength for your sweet little boy and know there are a lot of twin moms out there sending their love!!!

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  8. I have 5 year old twin boys, Tyler and Ben. As I read your posts, my heart is breaking for your family but I greatly admire your strength and faithfulness in God. The bond between twins is truly a gift from God - something that can only be experienced and cannot be explained. I pray for Ben, for you and your husband, for Jack, and for Megan. Cherish and absorb every moment with your babies. God is with you.

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  9. I have an identical twin sister, we're 23. Growing up, I have always been closer to her than anyone else, although she is definitely more independent. We weren't allowed to have classes together, but our teachers would set up times where we could do things together. I wish I had more twin-y stories from when we were kids, however our stay at home dad passed away a few years ago, and I can't remember most of them.. You all are already so much stronger than you may realize, and I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

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  10. From one twin mom to another..survival is key..my twins will be 6 next month.,my husband was diagnosed with cancer in dec 2013. I want to thank you so much Mindy for sharing your story. We pray for your family and ours. Togather miracles will happen!

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  11. Mindy, I don't know you, but I would do just about anything in my power to save your beautiful Ben for you. I also have twins that are 5 years old, boy/girl. They are complete opposites in every way and rarely get along....however they do not like to be separated. My heart aches for Jack already. Other than the countless prayers I've said I feel so helpless. Please know your boy Ben has captured the hearts of so many. I will pray for your miracle every single day.

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  12. Mindy, I am a complete stranger to you, but I've been following your story for weeks now. I have a friend who lost his twin brother to cancer at the age of 37. He is a wonderful person and also a wonderful pediatrician. If you ever wanted him to talk to Jack about cancer, about being a twin, any of this, I'm sure he would. I would be happy to ask him.

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  13. So after reading your post it brings many feelings to the surface. My oldest son was diagnosed with a very rare brain cancer and FIRST told he would die at 19 months old. I would first share my dream of seeing my son in his casket. I tell you this because I was and i still am so convinced my son is healed. Please don't think BC you may have thoughts of the worst you are wavering in your faith. I began to understand that the love my son received and receives is so much more than many children ever receive. Little comfort I know but we control what we can. You love him everyday and no doubt you learned as I did that you can love even more than you thought possible. They told us not once not twice but three times out son would die. He is now that miracle that is shared between our family and friends but also by our oncologist to other families. Don't you ever believe you won't receive your miracle. My heart breaks for families and their losses and I sometimes wondered why we were so blessed. I don't wonder anymore. I'm sharing a blessing, a true miracle so others facing little to no hope take comfort in knowing that we saw God's hand heal our son. He is now 15 years old and still has brain cancer. Stable for years now, no treatment, and no medical knowledge of why he is alive. Your son WILL be the next beautiful story of survival. God bless each of you

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  14. I can not agree more about the amazing bond between twins. I am the mama of identical 3 year old boys. Also, I completely agree that God is fully in control and able to work miracles. After 2 consecutive miscarriages giving birth to a still born child, God blessed us with these identical boys. God is able!! Continuing to pray for all of you.

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  15. I've always wanted to have a twin and I've also always wanted to be a mother to twins. Though some have thought I was crazy, I know without a doubt how much "twin-ship" is a wonderful blessing. The wife of my cousin (my cousins are identical twins, and not Christians) has been very touched by your writings and story. Her name is Dari. She wanted me to tell you how amazing you are and how thankful she is for you sharing with the world. Dari is a pretty new Christian, and she of course wants her husband, my cousin, to come to know Christ. She's been sharing your posts, made her profile photo "blue4ben"... I'm sure she's sharing this with him, too. Maybe he'll begin to trust in faith in Christ through your example. xoxo my friend, I am so grateful for you!

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  16. I have followed your story, Mindy, since the world first learned of Ben's story,and I have wanted to reach out...to show my support to you, even though we have never met. I feel like we have so much in common. I, too, am a teacher and a mother of three, although my twins ( boys who are almost 2) are younger than my singleton son, who is 3 1/2. After reading your post today, I knew this was my time to reach out to you and show you my support. I do think that twin moms have a different perspective.We are a club that knows the joys of having "two for one," but also the challenges it presents. You simply can't understand until you have lived it...the best and hardest job all wrapped into one.The connection that twins have is strong and unique and I see that in my young boys already, but that bond is a forever bond and NOTHING can break it. Explanations and understanding may be hard, and times of struggle will be frequent, but that love does not fade or go away. I do believe that. Jack will always have a brother and a twin - that will not change...ever. I so admire your strength and courage, and have a deep respect for your ability to remain the mom you love to be through all of this. My heart is with you and this mom of twins sends you heartfelt hugs....

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  17. I am a fraternal twin. I can remember my brother having to have surgery when we were young and the strangeness inside me that this separation caused. It was only for a few days and all is well as we just celebrated turning 45! My heart breaks for your family and a pain that I can only imagine. I will continue to keep Ben and the rest of you in my prayers!

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  18. Holding you and your family in the Light, in the Quaker tradition. All the best and tremendous peace to you and yours.

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  19. My heart is simultaneously breaking and hoping for you. You must know by now that your gift for writing, and ability to convey the unimaginable is amazing. YOU are a gift to your family, and to all who embrace your story. I stopped what I was doing to read to my little girl today, then hugged her (maybe too tight) and thought of you. She said "that's a GOOD hug Mama"...then I hugged her twin sister too. I have a feeling we are all holding our dear ones a bit closer right now as we pray on a miracle for Ben. But please know...you already are one. I wish you peace, stregth, and all the GOOD hugs. From one twin Mama to another- thank you for your truth.

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  20. I'm also a mom of twin boys, 2 years old. Their bond is amazing and ever since I read your story about a week ago I can't stop thinking about it. You are constantly in my and my daughters (ages 4 and 6) prayers. We pray every night for Ben, and Jack too. God can do amazing things, we're not giving up hope for Ben's full healing.

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  21. My heart goes out to you. No mother should have to deal with what you are dealing with. In the midst of everything, YOU are inspirational to ME. Your faithfulness is truly amazing to me. Praying for you all as you continue down this path. May God bless you!

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  22. I too am a mom of identical twin boys. Told to abort at 17 weeks due to a rare disorder called twin to twin transfusion syndrome, we researched all options and flew to Florida for experimental in womb laser surgery. It was a 50/50 shot for survival. I am happy to say we got our miracle babies. Like you, we choose red and blue as identifiers. At age 14, my boys are in their own rooms for the first time because they have always wanted to be together. Twins are such a gift. It breaks my heart for both your boys... but miracles can happen. I know you have not lost hope and we will continue to pray for that miracle... wendy szmara - sister of Kristy Ives, Stacey Ives and laura Kausner.

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  23. Precious woman of God you have become a ministering ANGEL to so many, awakening in them anew
    an awareness of the spiritual battles we face against an already defeated foe. Thank you for the priviledge,
    because of your sharing your Ben with us, of becoming intercessors praying God for the touch of the' MASTERS
    HAND' on the tumor invading Bens brain.
    My heart cries along with my eyes as hourly each day I thank God for the miracle He will grant on Bens behalf.
    May the peace of God which surpasses all our underatanding keep you , Andy and Jack in perfect peace knowing
    without doubt that God is in complete control and His heart is also grieved that his boy Ben has to endure any pain
    in this process of renewal for the thousands of people your family is touching.
    In your darkest hours know that God is holding you while you weep--"and for those tears I died".
    I hope someday to meet you Mindy, this side of heaven-for now I pray without ceasing........

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  24. I am up tonight and can't sleep thinking of your family- especially Ben. My niece died 2 years ago from an aggressive brain tumor (dipg) and I miss her every day. Her name was Tatumn and she was 4 when she went to heaven. I am praying for Ben and your whole family as this is difficult for all of you. Miracles do happen. Keep enjoying every little moment and enjoy 1 day at a time. That's all you can do. Beautiful pictures- stay strong as a family for Ben.

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  25. As a mom of 2 yr old b/g twins my heart aches for you. I could not imagine my loves being seperated as they complete each other just as it seems yours do as well. Please know that you, your sons and your whole family remain in my daily prayers.

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  26. You wrote this line: "But I wonder if other moms of twins perhaps can feel our pain more than the average mom."

    I am a mom of identical twin boys who just turned 4. Ben's story has hit me to my core. I can tell you that I feel MORE pain for this "story" than for any other I've followed...even others involving similar illness. The twin component for me as an identical twin mom takes it to a new level. Gut wrenching.

    I have been crying, praying, begging and pleading on your behalf each day. I have hesitated to write anything...I don't even know what to say. But when I see my Casey (my "baby B" who also was our "blue" twin) Ben comes immediately to my mind and he is prayed for so much. And when I see my Emery...my baby A...I pray for Jack.

    I know God is able. I also know He is good. And loving. And sovereign. I also know that we don't understand how He works sometimes. I also know that some of these things are easy to say until we're presented with the circumstances you face....and suddenly we're forced to choose if we really believe what we say we know.

    Oh Mindy. I'm praying. Oh dear sister.

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  27. I have 14 month old identical twin boys and your story has shaken me to my core. Not a day goes by that I don't pray for your family. Your lives weigh heavy on my heart and as I stare into the eyes of my boys my heart crumbles thinking of you. My Calvin, our Mr. Blue (Nolan wears green) with his soft heart and sweet disposition is my Ben. I know the love that your boys have for each other, I already see it in my own. I also stand firm in the truth, that not only is our God able and powerful and mighty... But he is good. And He is blessed by your faith in Him and love for your son. I have been in prayer for you, for a miracle for Ben and for the Lord to make his name great through your story. He is able Mindy, and He is good. May his love transcend all of our worlds limitations.

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  28. Oh, this just breaks my heart. I am a mother of twins, and my younger twin is named Ben. We have always dressed him in blue so people can tell them apart. I am praying for you and your sweet children and your family and the doctors and everyone around you, and I am praying for a miracle. I wish I could hug you right now.

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  29. I have twin boys that are 7 1/2 yrs. old and one has Autism. I struggle with the "my boys are always a set to me" They are individuals but God gave them to us as a 2 for 1 deal. Your story has touched me in ways you couldn't possible imagine. I am in awe of your strength and how strong your relationship is with God. I only hope to become 1/2 that close with him. You are in my thoughts and prayers all day everyday. God will take care of you and your family ♥♥

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  30. I am praying for u nd ur family! I can't imagine what ur feeling like.

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  31. My heart aches for your family. I have a 6 & 1\2 year old identical twin boys, Gavin and Aiden. They too have the same personality traits and they are best friends. I cannot even imagine having to think about separating them! Praying for a miracle for you son!

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  32. Sending prayers for a miracle & hugs for you all! My heart aches for what you are all going through.

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  33. That's right. It's about the ones left behind! GOD bless you and your family.

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  34. I have been following Ben's story for several weeks now and it has been on my mind constantly. My family looks just like yours. I have twin boys, 5 years old and a baby girl, 10 months. My husband and I are both graduates of Clarence High School. We now live in Houston, TX. They say that the bond between twins is the strongest bond two humans can have. Even stronger than parent and child or husband and wife. I have been praying for Ben every single day, but equally, I pray for Jack's well being. Thank goodness he has such wonderful parents to help him through this. Ben's story has meant so much to me. It reminds me how precious and fragile life is. Literally, thousands of Moms around the world are crying with you. I cannot fathom the anguish you must be feeling. I can't fathom why any parent should have to endure your situation. I'm so very sorry for your pain. Prayers for peace, strength and miracles are coming your way from Houston...

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  35. Dear Mindy,
    Ever since I saw the first post about the heartbreaking struggle your family is in I have felt connected. I am the mother of 33 year old twin daughters and in 2010 my younger twin was diagnosed with hodgkins lymphoma. We got our miracle, now 2 1/2 years cancer free. The bond between my 2 girls is intense and unfathomable to those who don't have a twin. I pray (and cry) every day for you and Andy and the children and especially lift up Ben and Jack. I am thankful that through our mutual friends Betsy Schuessler and Melinda VanEenwyk that I heard of your story. As it was when my son served in Afghanistan and, thank God, came home safe and then again when Beth was diagnosed, my motto has been "faith, family and friends" it is the only way to get through life.
    "But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
    “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
    2 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
    and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
    When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:1,2

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  36. "But I wonder if other moms of twins perhaps can feel our pain more than the average mom" --- I am a mom to twins as well. Both boys (age 2). Since first learning of Ben, my heart has ached and hasn't stopped. Every few hours I stop what I am doing and pray for Ben. My prayers always START with Ben. I think about all of you all the time, and will continue to pray!

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  37. Hi Mindy,
    I am a mom of 4 year old twins too (and I'm the sister of your pastor, Jerry). Your story has resonated very deeply with me and I wanted you to know I'm praying for your family to find strength daily in this situation you've been given. I'm amazed at the depth of your faith, yet thankful for the depth of your honesty during such heartbreak. Ben's story is reaching far far beyond your Buffalo community, allowing those of us thousands of miles away to pray on his behalf. So...thanks for sharing your heart to family, friends and complete strangers like me! We will, in turn, share our heart with Ben's Healer...fervently.

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  38. I am a surviving identical twin... my sister was killed in a car accident when another driver fell asleep at the wheel when we were 25. At the time, I wasn't sure how I would survive this loss; my entire life was shattered. My sister and I were unimaginably close, and dependent on each other. I think of her daily, nearly 7 years later.
    I am in the unique position of also being a recently bereaved parent... My newborn son died 31 minutes after delivery, on the date of his scheduled c-section. This loss has once again, shaken my entire existence as I struggle to come to terms with my new normal.
    I say these things only to let you know, I can empathize with your fear and sadness. The world is scary, and often unfair, and I know that better than many, as do you...
    I am keeping you and your family in my thoughts...

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  39. My mother (age 83) is a twin and she speaks of the bond shared with her sister (who passed away several years ago) with the shared intensity you describe between your sweet boys.

    I am praying and approaching God in the same fashion as the woman before the Judge in the Gospels. Again and again. Over and over. Life, oh, God, we ask for Ben's life here and now to be healed and to continue near his brother and all those who love him so deeply.

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  40. I wake up and Ben is on my mind. I go to sleep and Ben is on my mind. I am praying constantly for the family and Ben. I have three children of my own. Ages 5,6, and 7. Your strength is such an inspiration to me. I pray that if i need to be strong God gives me strength like you and your family have. I will continue to pray.

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  41. I posted once (under my husband's google account as he was signed in) and am not sure if there is a delay in the comments posting or if it didn't work but wanted to share not only my comments but my profile and my blog too as there may be much in it that you will find you relate to, find comfort it, as this journey takes the path that it seems to be taking.
    I am a twin mom as well but unlike so many who have posted here, I am the twin mom of identical twin boys who we are 100% sure have one heart and two soul and one of those souls rests on earth and the other in Heaven.
    We lost our Cole due to complications from TTTS and we were devastated to think of our twins not growing up together. It's not the way it's supposed to be!!!
    Like you, we prayed for a miracle and for God to heal our sons. I didn't understand the Lord then, I grew up in a conservative church but really had never connected with Jesus. It took me years to realize that God did heal my sons, each in His own way. His healing of Cameron was nothing short of miraculous...Cam should not have survived the many trials he did at all let alone survive to be a perfectly healthy and happy 5 year old. His healing of Cole was so hard for me to understand but in time I have come to see the trial of this whole experience as a way for God to bring me closer to Him, to show me, and others through my testimony, that we can celebrate trials with joy as they do bring about things we could never imagine, bring out spiritual gifts we did not know we had.
    I have much more I want to say and will do so in an email to you.
    For now I will leave you with a scripture that came to me when I was reborn in Christ 2.5 years after my boys were born...
    James 1:2-4 (NIV)
    2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

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  42. I am a 39 year old mom of two beautiful girls, and I am also a twin. My sister is my rock. She is my best friend, my confidant, the one person who will NEVER judge me and will never waiver. Your boys have a bond like none other. Twins truly are two bodies, one soul. I pray for Jack, that he knows comfort during this time. And I pray for Ben, who will need the friendship of his brother. God Bless all of you.

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  43. Dear Mindy, i do not know you. I am a friend of Stan and Diane Friesen...from way back:). They continue to post links to your blog...and because i love them, i was drawn in. I'm not a huge blog reader, but yours has captured my heart...not only because as a mom my heart longs for your little one to experience healing, but because as a fellow lover of Jesus your testimony of hope and trust has stirred something deep inside of me. Understanding that we will never fully know how we will respond to crisis until it happens, your words have caused me to pause and consider what i would want my message to be if i were in a similar position. You are walking this road so beautifully...real, honest, gritty, and yet trusting, believing and surrendered. Please know that the Father is already using your journey to speak and minister to people that you may never meet. My prayer for you today is that you would physically be able to feel the presence of Jesus around you, your husband and your littles, as you cling to Him! Thank you...thank you for sharing your heart, thank you for your honesty, and thank you for showing me what it looks like to truly live surrendered to the King!

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  44. Hi Mindy, I'm the mother of three year old identical twin boys. One is Ben and we did (and still do) dress him in blue. My heart is breaking for your family. The anguish, as a mom of twins, seems unbearable. I pray God holds you and your family in the palm of His hand as you walk down this road. I pray He brings you comfort. And we have been praying without stop for a miracle for your sweet Ben.

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  45. I am a mother of almost 4 year old twin girls. I don't even remember where I first read your story but it drew me in from the first glance. As we visited Buffalo this past weekend Ben's name was in the air everywhere we went. My heart breaks for the pain your family is going through. My prayers are being sent your way. I admire your faith and strength in this time. I pray that you get your miracle and never have to go to that black hole of worry and thoughts of what life will look like.

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  46. Wow. I'm 15 and I have started following your blog (I saved it on my favorites list) and I'm generally shocked. For a mother who has been told that her son has only weeks before he dies (I'm praying otherwise)...this is truly awe inspiring. It's beautiful....just amazing! I don't think I would've been that strong as you are...

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  47. Cancer is so limited...
    It cannot:
    cripple love
    shatter hope
    corrode faith
    destroy peace
    kill friendship
    suppress memories
    silence courage
    invade the soul
    conquer the spirit.
    steal eternal life.

    My sister was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma when she was 15 years old and through her journey I have learned that often healing does not come in physical form. It may seem as if the cancer may win, but it hasn't and NEVER will. The victory is in eternal life with God. We don't know each other, but we're family in Christ, so I am constantly praying for comfort and strength for you and your family. My sorority sisters at the University of Alabama from Buffalo shared your story with me and it has been heavy on my heart.

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  48. I heard your story from a mother of multiples group. I too am a mother of twins I can only imagine the intense pain you must be experiencing. you and your precious family are in our prayers. Thank you for letting us into your lives.

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  49. Hello Mindy,

    My daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was 11. Her cancer is considered "childhood cancer". In fact it is the most studied and supposedly most treatable. She has a whole 2 1/2 year of chemo and pills. A whole rigid schedule planned out.
    It has not gone as planned. Her body could not handle the high level of chemo she was on. She developed so many infections. Her worse being sepsis from e-coli. She ended up on life support for 5 1/2 weeks in the PICU. The doctors told us several times that she was not going to make it. So many tears and so many prayers!!
    She did make it! It was through God's loving grace that He allowed my daughter to still be here. My daughter was a miracle and why can't your son be one too?
    You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Sincerely,

    Suzie

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  50. I admire your strength and your attitude in the face of such hardship and can relate to your story as our family was also touched by brain cancer 4 years ago. I am also a mommy to identical 9 year old twin boys and as I read this blog post, I found myself nodding over and over again. While nobody can understand what you and your family are going through, I can speak for many of us when I say, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us so warmly and openly. We are strangers but we are all connected and you are not alone. Sending hope and prayers from my family to yours.

    -Jenny

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  51. I am thinking of you all. You don't know me, but I know your twins. I cared for them during service in the two year olds Kidz park a couple of years ago. I know your Mom and Dad from Bible Study....they came to my baptism. I cried on Sunday when I read an article in the paper about Ben. I just keep putting myself in your place and remembering the times I had scares with my premature son. You are brave. I pray that He comes and holds and rocks Ben in His arms. I pray that he sustains you and your husband and Jack. I pray that you all feel the love we have in our hearts for you. Love conquers all, no matter what, because He loved us first. Keep your eyes on Him.
    Love, Mary

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  52. Thinking of you throughout the days. May God give you strength and peace as you trust Him with this precious treasure of a son. Praying for a miracle for sweet Ben. Love from Tennessee....

    Tiffany- I Peter 1:6-7

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  53. There is a little boy called Jack Robinson who lives in Portsmouth in the UK. He is 4 and an identical twin and was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in January 2014. Your stories have both touched me deeply as I have a 4 year old boy. God bless you. X

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  54. You are, quite simply, an inspiration. Instead of railing against God...you are faithful. Thank you and, as always, prayers.

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  55. Our prayers go out to your son Ben for a healthy and speedy recovery.. Let love and faith be your guide through it all ... Xo The Elijah Family

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  56. Mindy...your way with words is amazing!! You have an inspirational message that flows freely from your heart and expresses endless love and admiration for God and your family. I am inspired by each and every word ;) I am not the mother of twins but I am the mother of a miracle.. my soon to be 9 year old daughter, suffered a grand mal seizure in April 2012 just days before her 7th birthday. She was flown via Star flight from our small town hospital to Children's Hospital of Buffalo and was under the care of Dr.Li and his neurology team. Following Ct scan and MRI tests, Dr Li confirmed her diagnosis to be an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) of the brain. GULP...tears...fear...anxiety... sadness...worry for my younger two children at home who were in the care of our wonderful family and friends. Dr. Li and his team were miraculous in the ways they treated our daughter from the hourly neuro-test rounds while in ICU, to their playful and fun bedside manner, to their God-like hands during her 3 surgeries and endless testing and follow-up. Since the first time I read your blog, I have felt this overwhelming positive vibe that you too will be the mother of a miracle!!! Endless prayers for all of you....<333

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  57. I just read your story and its truly heartbreaking. I have identical twin boys (4.5 years old) and a 17 month old daughter. I can't imagine how this would effect everyone in our family. But when you speak of your boys bond my heart just aches for you. I don't know how my boys would live without each other... they are so close and so interdependent. I totally hear your heartache. I PRAY for your family that God will perform a miracle and Ben will be healed. Blessings to your for sharing your story. And prayers for strength, peace and encouragement for your entire family.

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  58. Mindy, I don't know you personally but I can't stop thinking about your family. My father passed away at 54 years old in Oct 2012 from stage 4 lung cancer which spread to his brain. When he was diagnosed they gave him days to live because his brain tumor was so large...hours later a brain surgeon stepped in that was willing to operate. It was a miracle. It gave him another year and a half to spend with us. My father has a twin brother (not identical) who is still living. Miracles do happen. Sending prayers!

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  59. praying for God's mercy as He leads you on this journey..know He is with you

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  60. I know there are a lot of moms reading and commenting about Ben and mothers are the greatest things in the world. But I'm a 33 year old dad who's 6'1 250 lbs and Ben's story dropkicked me in the chest and put me on my knees. I'll never understand why things like this happen to small children, who still have their innocence. It breaks my heart. I'm not the most religious person and I don't pray much. I always figure the God of the universe has bigger things to worry about than me paying my bills, or for my son's cough to go away. But I have and will keep repeatedly asking Him to work a miracle in Ben. Until that happens I hope you will continue to stay strong, because there is no doubt about it. You have a family of superheroes. I will continue to come home and cherish every moment I have with my wife and son, because this can happen to anyone, without warning. So until he goes to be with the angels or whips this thing's ass (or both), know there is a dad out there cheering him on. Stay strong Ben, your courage has reached more people in a few short weeks than most people will in a lifetime.

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    Replies
    1. I liked your post, Michael. I think of Ben's daddy, Andy and my heart breaks for him too. That's his boy. I'm sure he's reading all of these posts, but I hope he knows we're praying for his comfort too.

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  61. Mindy, I found your blog through a friend. I'm "mom" to four--ages 7, 5, 4, and 2--so my heart is breaking as I read your words and pray for you.
    My sister also did a residency in neurosurgery at the Duke; I don't know if you've inquired there about Ben's condition, but Dr. Allan Friedman is an internationally recognized tumor and vascular neurosurgeon, who may be of help.
    I'm sorry--I know so many people, well-meaning, are offering their advice. It must be overwhelming. We all just wish there were something we could do for Ben!
    I would like to send you a lullaby CD, Hidden in My Heart--mostly comforting Scripture verses set to music. My 5-year-old son LOVES this CD and asks to listen every night as he goes to sleep. He tells me it "fills his heart with joy and trust-ness." I would love for you and Ben to have this CD!
    I will be praying earnestly for you and your precious Ben--and for your whole family! Keep looking to Him!
    Hugs!

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  62. Oops! "at the Duke" :-/ Should have said, "at Duke University."

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  63. I can't stop thinking about Ben and Jack and all the family...I have been praying for you all. G-d does work miracles. Some are direct and very apparent. Many, however, seem to come in disguise. Your story seems to have spread like wildfire and through this miracle you have so many people praying for you. You also have many people offering information you may otherwise never have come across. How amazing is that? I pray for you to have the strength to be open to anything. I pray for G-d to lead you to the solution to Ben's cancer, if there is one. What a miracle it would be, so apparent to those of us with faith, but so hidden from those who do not believe! I wish you the best and will continue to pray for your entire family...

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  64. Praying for all of you.....love from Owosso, MI

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  65. I was a close friend and cousin of Jan and have prayed as all of you have gone through so much tragedy over the years. My heart is breaking for you as you go through the valley. Mike and I (Beverly R (Brooks) Smits are praying for you.

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  66. Praying for a peaceful day for the Sauer family. Love & prayers from Indiana.

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  67. Sharing tears and prayers with you and your family. I don't understand why God would separate twins, but I also understand His ways are not ours, and remember our time in this world are short compared to eternity. I will continue prayers to God for your strength and peace <3

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  68. This is from a friend of mine....she wanted to make sure you had this information.


    Hi! I'm Debbie Heverly, M.D. and I've been following Ben's story on Facebook - I have some info that could help Ben- does he have a glioblastoma or some other type of tumor?
    I understand that allopathic treatment has failed and Ben is now in God's hands, but I would appreciate someone giving me the info if I were you and Ben was my son - you can email me at debbieheverly@gmail.com or call me 210 607-0126 or message me on facebook or respond to this message
    peace and blessings to Ben and all of you.







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  69. Mindy,
    We are storming the gates of heaven for Ben here in Ohio and want you to remember, The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you. We love you and are praying.
    Friends from Ohio

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  70. Mindy,
    I don't know you or Ben but my friend, Diane Bond, shared Ben's story with me on Monday and I was so moved that I have been praying for a miracle for Ben since. He's the first person I think of when I wake up each day. I know this may sound like some crazy homeopathic thing that some crazy person is sharing with you, but I really believe you shoud check this out since Ben seems to have nothing to lose. A friend, Ivelisse Page, shared her story with me recently about how mistloe injections saved her life when she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and given a 8% chance to live. She is now cancer-free and wants to help others. Here is her story:

    http://www.believebig.org/WhoWeAre.html

    I will continue to pray for a miracle for Ben.

    Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still. "

    Blessings to you and your precious family,
    ~Jan Yantz

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  71. Mindy,

    I just started following Ben's story this past week. I am the mother of identical twin girls and what you've expressed in this post hits the nail on the head. Right after I read about Ben for the first time I said to my husband, not only is this family dealing with the possibility of the loss of their beautiful child, but having to deal with their one identical twin losing his "other half". Exactly what you said - womb mates to room mates - the bond identical twins in particular share is like no other. I know I speak for myself and all your fellow of moms of twins that we feel your unique pain so clearly. Our hearts are with you……

    ~ Jori Cincotta

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  72. Mindy,
    My heart aches reading what you and your family are going through. I almost lost my son, who was 4 at the time, in 2007. By the grace of God, he's still here. I thank God everyday for that miracle. Your strong faith in God is so inspiring to those around you. I pray everyday for little Ben, and for his family for strength to get through it all. We might not understand God's plan for us for our loved ones, but Ben is the miracle! His life and story holds great importance. His story has brought thousands together with faith, hope, and love. Ben has brought thousands together to pray in a world with a forgotten God. That is a miracle! My mother has set up masses for Ben, and my family continues to pray for him.
    God bless
    Missie

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  73. Thought of you today as I was listening to Joseph Prince (http://josephprince.org/broadcast/web-broadcast/) teach on the healing benefits of daily Holy Communion. He spoke of how we are priests through Jesus Christ and can partake of His communion as often as we choose and healing comes as we take His body and His blood, in remembrance of Him. You can partake of this with your family--it doesn't have to be "given" to you by others in church. He also spoke of many testimonies of healing received through communion. Please keep your hearts filled with messages of God's grace and open your spirits to receive all the blessings He wants you to have. As you pray God-sized prayers, you can stand on the Truth of the Gospel and believe that you have ever-lasting righteousness through Christ. Lifting you all up today in prayer!

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  74. As a mom of twins, I understand what you're saying...it's a "package deal". You just can't imagine one without the other. I'm praying for your family - your posts make me weep for you. I haven't met you; I only know people that you know. You are in our prayers here in Ohio. (((hugs)))

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  75. I too have identical twins...10 year old girls. When I first read your story, the fact that Ben is a twin hit me to the core. I truly can not imagine what you are going through. I have always thought that, while losing a child would be horrible, losing an identical twin would be even worse. But something hit me tonight as I was reading...what a beautiful blessing that God has given us with identical twins...to be able to continually get to see glimpses of each child in the other. I hope this is of some comfort to you...I will keep praying for the Lord to work a miracle!

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