Tacoma recently lost one of its bravest little citizens, Baily Bennett. A few months ago, I wrote about how his parents struggled with insurance loopholes that threatened his care, and I wrote about his incredible courage facing down cancer. The insurance problems were finally resolved, but Baily, age 4, lost his fight with cancer last week.
Yesterday afternoon, Life Center Church filled with friends and family who came to celebrate Baily‘s life. Most were dressed in Baily’s favorite colors, red and black. Tacoma firefighters came in uniform. Baily would have liked that. He loved fire fighters and spent his fourth birthday with them. What Baily didn’t know was that as big and tough as these guys are, the loss of a 4-year-old boy could make them cry.
Friends and family described Baily as an irrepressible force, a child who braved illness and pain with uncommon courage. He must have gotten some of that courage from his young parents who hugged and reached out to each and every mourner at Life Center.
During the service, Baily’s parents, Mark and Heather, made it perfectly clear that the loss of their beautiful son was nothing short of agony, and yet they were able to laugh through their tears hearing the joy their boy was able to bring to so many.
Sitting at his bedside at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, Heather kept an online journal to inform family and friends of his condition. The day Baily died, Heather wrote the words no mother should ever have to write. After sharing the terrible news, Heather conveyed her gratitude for her son‘s life, writing, “He taught us what it means to love with your whole heart and to never give up. We will live our life for him, in all our actions and words we will make him proud of us.”
If ever there was a time to shout and throw things, Heather Bennett has the world’s permission, but instead, in the midst of overwhelming grief, her first and last prayer was thank you.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations may be made in Baily Bennett’s name to:
Mary Bridge Children’s Foundation
PO Box 5296
Tacoma, WA 98415-0296