Ode to a Gentleman (RIP Ben)

If we can sit down and write down ONE WORD that summarises our life here on earth, what would it be?

The one word that EVERYONE mentions, when they talk about Ben Bester is… GENTLEMAN. And that he was. Always. To everyone. Without exception.

Then there were the blue check shirts. I can’t remember EVER seeing him in anything else. I stand corrected but, looking at the photo memories of him, the only time he did not wear blue check shirts, was at weddings. Then he wore white.

One of my fondest memories is Thursday local night at Butterflys. All the crazy locals would congregate for their cheap, njammie, build-it-yourself pizza and raucous laughter and banter (some more raucous than others). And in the middle of all this was this serene love bubble. Ben and Diana would quietly sit chatting amidst all the chaos, staring deep into each other’s eyes in the candlelight, enjoying a romantic date night as if though they were the only ones there.

This remains one of the biggest aspects that I take from Ben’s life, the deep love and respect he had for Diana. Even in the last days before his passing, watching them talk to one another and treat one another with “deernis” and respect, brought tears to my eyes.

I would imagine that God has a special place in heaven for people who really understand how to love and respect other people, not in an ostentatious way, not in a superficial way, but in a quiet, always-there, real quiet kind of way. Like Ben.

And Diana, you will never be alone. Ben will always be there with you. In the wind whispering through the trees. In the morning rays that gently touch the shrine. In the sweep of the eagle. In the smell of fresh rain on the grass. You will not be alone. We will always be there for you.

Let us celebrate Ben’s life, not with fanfare, but in a QUIET way, by being there for one another, RESPECTING one another and treating everyone around us in a GENTLE way.

You will be missed, Ben. I am sure you are watching all the other angels jiving in heaven, smiling down at us, wryly.

Rest in peace, we will look after Diana.

To leave messages, go to his Memorial wall here: www.benbester.co.za

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