Friday, August 21, 2015

My Cousin's son, Ben

Feature Image



Born: March 9, 1995
Death: August 19, 2015

Benjamin George Rivers

March 9, 1995 - August 19, 2015
Benjamin George Rivers, 20, of Lexington Park, MD died Wednesday, August 19, 2015 after a courageous battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, at his residence surrounded by his loving family and friends.

He was born on March 9, 1995, in Bahrain to Timothy Clifford Rivers of Lexington Park, MD and Joanne Louise Rivers of Lexington Park, MD.

Ben is a graduate of Great Mills High School. His hobbies included, listening to music, playing games, especially cards and watching movies, especially horror movies. He recently started enjoying Japanese anime. He was a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. He made three documentary films for Johns Hopkins University. He loved his pet cats, Penelope and Gary, and his dog, Jade. However, his greatest love was spending time with his friends and family. He was always a gentleman.

In addition to his loving mother and father, Ben is also survived by his sister, Megan Rivers of Lexington Park, MD; his grandfather, Stanley Rigg of Blackpool, England; his aunts, Stephanie Barlow of Blackpool, England and Pamela Irving-Dusting (Neil) of Australia; his uncle, Michael Rivers of Tonawanda, NY; close family friends, Skip and Helen Schneider of Leonardtown, MD; and many extended family and friends. He is preceded in death by his grandparents, Linda High, and George and Eunice Rivers.

The family will receive friends for Ben’s Life Celebration on Saturday, August 29, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., with a Memorial Service at 3:00 p.m., at the Brinsfield Funeral Home, 22955 Hollywood Rd., Leonardtown, MD 20650.
Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of St. Mary’s, P.O. Box 625, Leonardtown, MD 20650 and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept. 142, Memphis, TN 38148.

Condolences to the family may be made at

Arrangements by the Brinsfield Funeral Home, P.A.

Life Celebration Service

Saturday August 29, 2015, 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Brinsfield Funeral Home

Memorial Service

Saturday August 29, 2015, 3:00 p.m.

Brinsfield Funeral Home Chapel

Interment is private.

Sign the Guestbook

Share your thoughts and memories about Benjamin George Rivers in the guestbook.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Bridge

The Bridge
By Nancy Sherwood
August 2015
In August 1984, we moved to Tromsø, Norway, a small town of 35,000 at the time, north of the Arctic Circle.
As with any of our overseas postings, we looked forward to learning about a new culture and the exoticness of a new and different place. That sense of excitement was usually tempered by the “what am I doing here” feeling that creeps in once the happy tourist feeling begins to fade.

When we arrived in Tromsø, I was 8 months pregnant with our third child. My first two births had been cesareans, but my doctor in the States assured me that there was no reason for me to have another cesarean. I felt so optimistic. Norway has such a wonderful record of normal, low intervention births. Midwives deliver most babies in Norway. And so I would have a midwife-assisted birth.
It didn’t turn out that way. I had a cesarean forced on me and was left very angry, sad and depressed. And lonely for my friends at home. My husband was depressed as well. I think that he felt that he had let me down.

But, depressed or not, life goes on. I had three children who needed me. When we arrived, they were aged 6 and 3 years old. And soon after a new baby to care for too.

I made friends pretty quickly which was a godsend. I cannot imagine what I would have done without the support and companionship of other women who were also mothers.

We left Tromsø in 1986, when my baby was just shy of turning two.

This year I went back to visit. I was overjoyed to see the same beautiful mountains I remembered. The town has grown, and has traffic lights at every street corner just about. There were none when we lived there. So many of the old wooden buildings are still there and are completely recognizable. Ships still come in and out of the harbor at all hours.
There is a bridge that connects the island of Tromsø, where we lived, to the mainland area called Tromsdalen. When we lived there, I drove across that bridge quite often. I had friends across the other side of the fjord. And the Arctic Cathedral and the Fjellheisen (cable car) is on the mainland side of the bridge.
I don’t like driving on bridges. Not long, high bridges. But I did drive that one.
When we were in Tromsø recently, we went across the bridge in a taxi.
Going over that bridge brought back some of my darkest moments as a mother. So many times, as I drove over the bridge, I thought of just driving over the edge into the icy water, with my three precious, innocent babies.   I was that depressed and overwhelmed by my feelings of despair. 

As you know, I am here and alive, as are all of my children.   I stayed on the road and did not drive off the bridge.   It took real strength to keep my head right, and drive across instead of off of that bridge.

My son will be 31 on August 31 this year. He doesn’t know this story. I have not shared it with anyone. Having those memories come back so swiftly and so strong made me sad. Sad that I didn’t realize what gifts I had in my family and the wonderful and truly beautiful place I was living in.
I am so happy that I went back. I visited my old house. Met with old friends. Felt at home in my former, temporary hometown. I soaked in the beauty that I had not been able to appreciate as much before, when I was in such a dark place within.  I used to joke about looking forward to being nostalgic about Tromsø.

That is, to me, what postpartum depression is. A dark place. A place that it is almost impossible to leave sometimes. It is such a contradictory condition. The joyful falling in love with your delicious new baby tempered by thought of making the baby “go away” as if, irrationally, that will make everything better.
This summer, when I crossed that bridge, I remembered how I had felt. And I was happy that those feelings are not there any more. It’s just a bridge. A beautiful bridge, but nothing more. ©

This was taken around midnight, with the long days, it doesn't get fully dark in the summer
                  Tromsø Bridge

I did not take this picture. This is the view of Tromsø and the bridge from the Fjellheisen


There is help available if you are suffering from  postpartum depression:

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Another loss

Sue Berman died August 7, 2015.

This was a write up about her from earlier this year:

Feb. 9, 2015.
Sue Berman
Sue Berman
Sue Berman is the ultimate model of involvement in fellowship at UUCF. Her friends and acquaintances recall that for more than four decades Sue has stepped forward to lead or quietly work to support innumerable activities that have brought together members of UUCF in thoughtful, supportive and often joyful association with each other.
In recent years, Sue has been a mainstay in organizing and facilitating the annual fall Adult Retreat. At the same time she has reached out to others as a Pastoral Care Associate, raised scholarship funds for the Partner Church program, facilitated a women’s support group, was a Sunday coffee monitor and remained an active member of a growth group and an extended family that were both launched at UUCF years ago.
In earlier years friends recall Sue helping to put on the annual Holiday Ball. She was a cook and hula dancer at the annual Luau. In the past, both of these were major social events at UUCF. Sue also taught Religious Exploration, was a youth leader, hosted auction dinners, took part in a journaling group and helped to arrange New Year’s Eve gatherings at UUCF. Sue has organized twice-a-year beach retreats for UUCF members and friends. She has regularly joined small groups for a theater outing, a movie, games or a new adventure. And always she has reached out to friends in need, helping them to get through a difficult time, throw a special party at UUCF or hold a memorial service for a loved one.
In all these contributions and probably many more Sue has remained modest, often behind the scenes, and has not sought recognition. Says a friend, “Sue is sensitive to people’s needs and she’s always stepped up to help.” Another longtime friend adds: “Over the decades we and our ministers and lay leaders have emphasized ‘ministering to each other’ here at Fairfax. Sue has been one of the shining examples of this spiritual practice and we have all benefitted from it – in small and large ways.”
That’s why UUCF is honoring Sue Berman as a Congregational Treasure.
by Judy Gallimore, Dick Lucy, Pat Tinker and Ann Wood

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tromso 30 years later

This is the coastal steamer (hurtigruten) as seen from our hotel room.This is a part of a fleet that goes up and down the Norwegian coast every day.  I used to see it going north at around 3:00 PM every day when we lived in Tromso.  The southbound ship passes by at midnight.

We got to Tromso yesterday.  It is more beautiful than  I remembered it!  The weather has been on our side which helps.

Walking in town, there were many familiar sights and many changes.  More traffic.  Traffic lights!!!  There was only one traffic light when we lived here.  The population has grown and things have changed.  But, the shapes and familiarity of the mountains is the same. I did make friends here and have good times.  I was just somewhat in survival mode with three small children and a husband who traveled much of the time.   I know that there is a beauty and coziness to the mørktide

The view from our hotel room is amazing.

Now, I will try to put a picture or two here.

This is the coastal steamer, also known as the Hurtigruten.  This picture was taken from the balcony of our hotel room

A yarn-bombed bike in front of a yarn store

Some things have not changed at all