#LIFESaver Families

#LIFESaver Families Profile: Benjahmin Khalil Lee


What is your loved one’s full name: 
Benjahmin Khalil Lee

What was their date of birth & their age at the time of their passing?
November 10, 2008; 12 years-old

Tell us about your loved one: What five adjectives best describe the positive they brought to this world, that now shines on in how they impacted you and all those they touched?
Kind, Athletic, Smart, Funny and Competitive.

Benjahmin (Khalil to some of his friends) was an amazing old soul that was filled with zest, compassion, love and light. Benjahmin loved to make people around him laugh, smile and be happy. It was truly a gift of his. Whether in basketball trainings/practices, hanging out with his friends, or simply going on family adventures, Benjamin would often times be the catalyst for fun. A deeply caring soul, Benjahmin would get emotional at the site of any suffering. It didn’t matter if it was a bunny hit by a car, or a homeless person asking for resources. Benjahmin’s caring heart would often times lead to a deep, emotional responses, revealing how much love he had for the world.

Incredibly smart, Benjahmin was fluent in French. He would often break into full conversations with us in French (neither his Mom, nor I, spoke French) just to flex on us a little bit. Benjahmin had a curiosity that would inspire pure joy. The light in his eyes when he discovered anything new was truly amazing. Didn’t matter if it was a dance move or a new dribble combination on his favorite game NBA2K.  Always inclusive with everyone he came in contact with, befriending anyone along his path was a true way of defining Benjahmin’s character. Duality exists in us all, and Benjahmin also had a fiery side of him in competition, and at times when he became frustrated. Even in these states, the fire would quickly burn out, and Benjahmin would seek ways to let love win.  All-in-all, passion was on full display always with Benjahmin.

To the extent that you feel comfortable, please tell us what you believe were the circumstances/contributing factors around your loved one’s passing.
We simply do not know. There are so many things as a grieving parent that you would like to point the finger at. We could say Covid, and the mental effects quarantine had on young minds…we could say it was an allergic reaction from a meningitis vaccine that he received a week prior…we could create so many scenarios – but nothing adds up.

Benjahmin was supported at home, well-loved in the community, and had his future laid out for himself. Furthermore, the police investigation didn’t turn up any bullying at school, online via gaming platforms or social media. We simply just don’t know why life was suddenly turned inside out, and the hardest fight a person would ever have to face would now be one we had to go toe to toe with.

What did you as a family wish you knew more about this topic in the year’s leading up to your loss?
This is hard to answer given the circumstances around our loss.

Why did your family decide to go public about your loss, and why are you choosing to be so selfless in putting their/your story out there for others?

We decided to tell our story in hopes of helping young children as well as anyone regarding improving their mental health and well-being. After confronting suicidal ideation personally, and understanding the complexities and impulsiveness that comes with these ideations, I feel called to share my experience. My hope is to facilitate healthy conversations, provide diverse healing modality options, and support anyone who may be struggling. There is nothing worse than losing a child. No matter how it happens. Putting the pieces back together becomes a daily, heavy lift for grieving parents. Even to accomplish mundane tasks as grocery shopping, interacting with community, and finding the joy in life again.

What are the perceptions about suicide you would like your loved one’s story to help change?

Sometimes, there is no answer to the many questions that arise from tragic events such as suicide. Young people will often suffer in silence out of fear of what would happen if they share their thoughts. I hope sharing our story gives courage to young individuals to be more open with what they are feeling, and for parents to facilitate tough conversations in a supportive and loving manner. Encouraging everyone to Chase Tomorrow with me! #BeHereTomorrow

Links and/or descriptions to any resources you would like to drive people to:

Instagram: @Chasingtomorrow8

Facebook: Chasing Tomorrow

Website: chasingtomorrow.org (under construction)

Email: Chasingtomorrow8@gmail.com

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