Home » Sarah Hudson Pierce: Jeff Benson Lives On Through Our Memories

Sarah Hudson Pierce: Jeff Benson Lives On Through Our Memories

by Minden Press-Herald

It’s not what happens to us but how we use that experience to our advantage.  Sometimes we just have to work around it, chisel out an attitude that helps us to see life through new lenses.

It hurts.  Jeff Benson died.  I cried when I read the news online last night.

Jeff Benson and I had a special bond that began on September 29, 2015 when I received a response from him by email while he was having cancer tests run at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas after I had sent him my story Lost and found in Houston.  It was a story that I had re-written from 1983 when I got lost in Houston while moving to Plain Dealing, Louisiana.

He was startled that I would send that story at that time.  He wrote “It’s odd that you write about this city and submit it as this moment…I am actually at this minute in Fulshear which is a suburb of  Houston while I see some doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center.”  Then he went on to say  “thought you might be interested in that coincidence.  I know how you are about  those types of things.” That really got my attention because  I didn’t know he was in Houston when I sent the story to him.   I  see this  as a “God Wink” experience when we see God stepping out of the woodwork making His presence known.

I began earnestly praying for Jeff morning, noon and night somehow believing that  he would live through this ordeal. 

I didn’t want to let him go.

He made a difference in my life and in the newsroom.

He lives on through the voices he left behind.

It’s still early to make a lot of sense out of the news I received last night but I know thaat there is a purpose in everything whether we understand it or not.

We have to chisel out an attitude to sustain us throughout life.

Sometimes it takes years for us to let go of our pain and use it to help other people.

Jeff did that.

He was “calm in the newsroom storm.”

Having never worked in a newsroom I can only imagine the tension of meeting deadlines, of having to churn out stories online to fill space, to make the most urgent stories heard first. 

It must be hard not being able to simply listen to your own muse in your quiet moments of inspiration.

I have always said that I really wouldn’t want to work in a newsroom.  It must be a nightmare to have to meet so many deadlines. 

I think it would jangle my nerves. 

I get on my own nerves with my hyper-activity.

I can only imagine what goes on there.

We can’t all be Erma Bombeck.  She covered the laundry room beat.  We can’t all cover the world news.  There’s enough other people who talk non-stop.  Peter Jennings and Dan Rather taught us how to do that but we can all find out our corner, our own place, carving out a niche that only we can fill.

We can be a voice for those who have no voice.  We can make a difference by being an advocate for those who live in fear — the children who are being abused behind closed doors — the homeless.

We can only do this if we have somehow been there — to be able to step into another’s shoes.

Contact Sarah at [email protected] 

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