Benjamin Shamis
Memorial website in the memory of your loved one


This site is created in loving memory of our child, Benjamin Shamis.  Our beautiful boy -  he was funny, sweet, smart and at times, goofy.  He left us too soon, at the age of 17 years, 9 months.

Ben was born in Walnut Creek, California, and was a very sunny baby.  He had sweet baby dimples in his knees and elbows, and lots of chins.  He smiled a lot, and was very inquisitive about everything.  His love of animals started at this very early age, and grew with him.  We liked to tell him that our Kerry Blue Terrier, Curly, was his older brother.  He talked at an early age, and there was no stopping him from then on.  To this day we use some of the funny sayings from Ben's babyhood.   One of the really cute things about Ben's childhood is that he laughed in his sleep.  He'd be sound asleep and we could hear him just giggling away. 

At the age of three, we moved to Columbus, Ohio.  Ben's Uncle Norm and his family lived nearby, and Ben enjoyed contact with his relatives.  He was particularly fond of his cousins Mat - who was ten years older,  and Mandy - who was five years older.  Ben began to play soccer there, and T-Ball.  He was so cute in his little uniforms.  He swam on the local country club swim team, and became a cub scout.

In 1995 we moved back to the West Coast, settling in what is now the city of Sammamish, WA.  Ben attended elementary school there, and again joined cub scouts.  This is where Ben became friends with John Peters, Kellen Maggard and Jeff Fisher.  Katie Peters was the Scout Leader, and provided the boys with much learning and fun.  John and Ben could be especially "squirrely" when they were together.

Katie and her family - husband Mike and son John, became close friends to us, and have been with us in the ensuing years in laughter and tears.  Ben was to share many vacations to the beach in Oregon, skiing in Idaho and just hanging around the dock at their house.  He loved their dog Cheddar and their pup Butters.

Just before Thanksgiving 1997 we moved to Mercer Island, Washington.  We felt that Ben would have great educational opportunities here, and it was closer to Seattle and the airport.  Ben started elementary school at Island Park Elementary in Mrs. Ritchie's fifth grade class, and she engaged him with her studies of space and the galaxies.

It was upon our move to Washington that we felt Ben should have spiritual education as well as academic.  We joined Temple De Hirsch Sinai in Seattle, and Ben became active in the religious school there.  He made friends with a wonderful group of young people there, and had a very memorable Bar Mitzvah party at Safeco Field (where the Seattle Mariners play).  Ben always wore a necklace with a Star of David medallion.  He was wearing it at the end of his life, and his father now wears it in honor of Ben.

Ben then moved to middle school at Islander Middle School.  It was here that he made friends with some of his closest female friends.  Molly Ravits and Dana Oster have been the greatest of friends to our boy since those middle school days. 

Ben played soccer, wrestled on the Islander team, and began playing football on the local MI team.  He learned to play the trumpet, and was a member of the IMS band.  Although he was highly intelligent, Ben's interest in school at that time seemed to be mainly for its social aspects.

Ben became tremendously interested in music, computer and video games, movies and the game Warhammer.

In high school, his interests continued to be more social than academic.  He wrestled and played football.  He increased his group of friends and his interest in music movies and Warhammer.  He and Patrick Fergusson played for hours, and discussed the game for further hours. 

Ben was a member of the Mercer Island High School band.  Once we had paid off his trumptet, he promptly switched to the tuba.  The band, with well over 200 members, is truly a marquee program.  The band directors during Ben's tenure at MI have always amazed us with their skill and creativity.  The marching band will be marching in the 2006 Rose Parade in Pasadena.

Ben's dad began his second childhood by taking up auto racing.  He has several vintage Fiats, and a Fiat Coupe which he races.  Ben became interested in auto mechanics and assisted his Dad as a "crew" member.

Ben loved movies.  Some favorites in his teenage years were Tommy Boy, Armageddon, Dead Poet's Society, Garden State, and others.  When he was little, we would play some of the Disney videos for him.  He would watch them over, and over, and over101 Dalmations got worn out because Ben watched it so many times.

We purchased 10 acres of lovely view property in Port Angeles, WA in 2003.  Our plan was to build a house and move there whenever Ben left to go off to college.  The house is now complete.

Sadly, unbeknown to us, Ben suffered from depression.  We first became aware of his depression in December 2004.  We immediately tried to get Ben the help he needed, and he began seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist. 

Ben took steps to end his life on April 6th, 2005.  Thanks to his very dear friend Chelsea, we found him while he was still alive, and we were able to spend precious time with him before he passed away on April 8th, 2005.

Ben's death has forever changed our lives.  The loss of a beloved child is impossible to describe.  We grieve deeply, question so many things, and know that many answers will never be forthcoming.  Our hearts break to think about the bright future that our boy will miss.

We know that Ben is at peace now, and we cling to our memories of the wonderful person that he was. 

Ben is survived by his parents, Sue and Barry Shamis.  By his grandmother, Frances Lipnick.  By Uncle Norm Shamis, his wife Donna and Ben's cousins Mat and Mandy.  By Aunt Jean Peters and her husband Mike and Ben's cousins Sean and Chris.  By Uncle Steve Lipnick and his wife Cheryl.  By Uncle Greg Lipnick, by Uncle Dave Lipnick, his wife Melinda and Ben's cousins Jason, Elisa, John and Lucinda.  By Aunt Marlene Colbert, her husband and family.  He is also survived by many more relatives throughout the U.S.  In heaven, he joins his grandparents Morris and Evelyn Shamis and Laurence Lipnick.

Still waiting for their Boy to come home are our dogs, Darby and Bitzie.  We're so sorry he isn't here to see the new pup, Princess Deuce.

Ben's friends meant so much to him, and we are so grateful for their support and we know that he will live forever in their memories.  There are so many we want to thank, and we know we will forget someone, so please forgive us.  Also, there are probably so many we don't even know about!  There are Chelsea, Molly, Dana, Ally, Kellie, Patrick, Billy, Aaron, Jason, Lizzie, Kalli, Lauren, Rahn, Luis, Callie, Kate, Katie Hall, Alex and Dani.

At MIHS, Ben was always supported by his counselor, Pete Becker.  She always had an upbeat message and creative suggestions.  The band directors, Peter Haberman, Parker Bixby, and David Bentley all had a positive influence on Ben at various times.  It was Chris Twombley, Ben's English teacher, who had the most effect on Ben.  Chris really "got" Ben, and in response, Ben worked hard to earn Chris' approval and respect.  We are so appreciative of Chris' efforts in remembrance of Ben.

Ben lives on in our hearts and memories.  He also lives in others because he was an organ donor.  He saved the life of his precious Uncle Norm through donation of a kidney, and others whose names we do not know. 



In our grief we are scarcely able to believe that it has been one year since we lost Ben. We've been dreading these days as we have gotten closer to them, and each minute seems more difficult than the last.
We want to thank all of you who have remembered our boy this past year, and encourage you to continue to remember him in any way that makes sense to you. For our part, we plan to light a yarzheit candle for Ben, and let it burn for 24 hours, as is Jewish tradition. We also will send off helium balloons into the skies over the Strait of Juan de Fuca with messages written to him in hope that these balloons will reach him in Heaven.


A memorial for Ben is now in place at Sunset Hills Memorial Park in Bellevue. So many of you have asked about a physical place to pay your respects to him, we hope that you will be able to visit whenever you feel the need. The address of Sunset Hills is 1575 145th Pl SE
Bellevue, WA 98007.



After two full years without our precious Ben, we still wait to hear his voice, to see his face, to hold him in our arms.  Time has not lessened our grief.  In the past year we have lost Ben's beloved maternal grandmother, Frances Lipnick, who never really recovered from the shock of  his loss.  We also said goodbye to our little dog Bitzie, who would howl whenever Ben made silly faces at her.  Our consolation over their loss is that we know that they are now with our boy.  We have adopted a silly kitten, who, we are sure, Ben would have loved.  Still, we are very comforted by the kind words left on this site by Ben's friends, relatives, POS members, our friends and passersby.  Our deepest thanks to you all for your words and remembrances of our child.



  The  passage of three years' time has not helped to heal the pain of our loss.   We have learned to get up every day, breathe in, breathe out.  We put one foot in front of the other.  We make more effort to go about a "normal" life, secretly knowing that "normal" is forever different for us.  We still cannot bring ourselves to sort through Ben's things.  They remain boxed and waiting. The silly kitten is now a silly cat, and Ben's dog Darby is 14 years old.  We remain deeply grateful to Ben's friends, relatives, our friends and POS members for their remembrances.  It comforts us that our precious child is not forgotten.


Our hearts still ache with loss.  Ben's Darby is another year older, and suffers now from arthritis.  We watch her closely every day and shower her with love for we fear she will be gone soon.  The boxes are still unopened.  Ben's letter jacket hangs in the closet, his pictures here and there - still painful reminders of what we have lost.  We speak to him, mostly at night when the stars shine, and still wait for his voice in return.


It was too painful to post here when we reached the 5-year mark of life without Ben.  It just did not compute.  We lost Ben's doggy girl Darby at 16 during that year, and it seemed like the last straw.  That goofy dog loved her boy, and could really make him laugh.  We do hope they are together.

Click here to see Benjamin Shamis's
Family Tree
Tributes and Condolences
Just wanted to say Hi!   / Stephen Garran
Thanks for your marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you're a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will come back at some point. I want to encourage that you continue your great work, have a nice weekend! Website: M...  Continue >>
I truly know your pain and loss   / Dianna Jacobs
To the family of Benjamin Shamis

I was searching for the lyrics to the song "Heaven Holds The Ones
I Love' when I came across your precious son's memorial website.
Oh, how I know the loss of a child.  I lost my 30 year ...  Continue >>
I miss you!!   / Dana B. (friend)
Shamis, I think about you lots these days. I'm in graduate school studying nursing, I'm going to be a nurse practitioner! We're studying all sorts of mental health stuff, and it has given me some clarity about what you must have been feeling, and has...  Continue >>
dear benface   / Molly
what's up face? how are the clouds? i miss you buddy... it's been 5 years. a lot has happened since we last spoke; i went to college and got a degree in geology i traveled around south america for 6 months and only just got back i got an awesome boy...  Continue >>
You Still Make A Difference   / Teri (POS Mom)
Oh Ben, you bright and beautiful boy. Please remind your mom to re-read the post by your "friend" whose life you have saved so many times. Then she will understand that you, my handsome friend, are getting promoted, time and again, in the new space...  Continue >>
Prayer / Dorothy V.O     Read >>
Gratitude / Jill, Mom Of Joey (POS)     Read >>
On Ben's Memorial Date  / Arline Stumpff Marla's Mom (POS)    Read >>
Ohhh Susan and Family  / Rhonda Mom Of Shannon     Read >>
thank you for being in my life  / You Know (friend)    Read >>
Big Ben  / Nick Vizzutti (Friend)    Read >>
Missing you  / Kellie Mills (friend)    Read >>
message to Barry & Sue  / Shirley, Katie's Mom POS     Read >>
the most amazing dream  / Kate Elston (friend)    Read >>
Friends / Sean Mulholland (Childhood Friend )    Read >>
More tributes and condolences...
Click here to pay tribute or offer your condolences
His legacy
Gentle Boy - By Mary Withers  
This one's for the gentle boy
Who wrestles with his pain,
His easy-bruising tender heart,
And ever-active brain.

He feels much more than others do,
But then he tries to hide,
With laughter or bravado,
The gentle boy inside.

With wit and style and artifice
His secret's kept so well.
Who dreams the brave facade you see
Conceals some private Hell?

Meanwhile, the brutes live on and on
Their unexamined lives.
The low, the stupid, and the cruel,
The sluggish idiot thrives.

To fill the world with empty talk
And greed and hate and noise,
To breed, carouse, and make life Hell
For all the gentle boys.

Some gentle boys grow heartsick
And tired of this charade.
They blow themselves right off the Earth,
Or fight, then fail, then fade.

If you should love a gentle boy
There's little you can do.
If he decides his time has come,
He'll leave the Earth and you.

He cannot see that if he goes
You'll never fill that space.
You'll spend your whole life searching
For that laugh, that kiss, that face.

How can the gentle boy not know
You love him beyond death,
You'd help him any way you could,
Unto your dying breath?

Someday when justice reigns on Earth
We all may greet with joy
A world where it won't hurt so much
To be a gentle boy.

In Loving Memory Of William Ellery Weiss
December 9th, 1970 - March 14th, 1996

In The Light - Author Unknown  
A shadow of joy flickered; it is me.
I told you I wouldn't leave..
My spirit is with you.
My memories, my thoughts are imbedded deep in your heart.
I still love you.
Do not for one moment think that you have been abandoned.
I am in the Light.
In the corner, in the hall, the car, the yard --
these are the places I stay with you.
My spirit rises every time you pray for me,
but my energy comes closer to you.
Love does not diminish, it grows stronger.
I am the feather that finds you in the yard,
the dimmed light that grows brighter in your mind,
I place our memories for you to see.
We lived in our special way,
a way that now has its focus changed.
I still crave your understanding and
long for the many words of prayer and good fortune for my soul.
I am in the Light.

As you struggle to adjust without me,
I watch silently.
Sometimes I summon up all the strength of my new world to make you notice me.
Impressed by your grief, I try to impress my love deeper into your
As you should, I call out to the Heavens for help.
You should know that the fountain of youth does exist.
My soul is now healthy.
Your love sends me new found energy.
I am adjusting to this new world.
I am with you and I am in the Light.

Please don't feel bad that you can't see me.
I am with you wherever you go.
I protect you, just as you protected me so many times.
Talk to me and somehow I will find a way to answer you.
Mother, father, son or daughter it makes no difference.
Brother, sister, lover, husband or wife, it makes no difference.
Whatever our connection-friend or even foe-I see you with my new eyes.
I am learning to help wherever you are, wherever I am needed.
This can be done because I am in the Light.

When you feel despair, reach out to me.
I will come.
Our love for you truly does transcend from Heaven to Earth.
Finish your life with the enthusiasm and zest
that you had when we were together in the physical sense.
You owe this to me, but more importantly, you owe it to yourself.
Life continues for both of us.
I am with you because I love you and I am in the Light.
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me - Author Unkonwn  
When tomorrow starts without me,
and I'm not there to see;
I wish so much you wouldn't cry
the way you did today,
while thinking of the many things
we didn't get to say.
I know how much you love me,
as much as I love you
and each time you think of me
I know you'll miss me too;   But when tomorrow starts without me,
please try to understand,
that an angel came and called my name
and took me by the hand,
and said my place was
in Heaven far above,
and that I'd have to leave behind
all those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
a tear fell from my eye,
for all my life, I'd always thought
I didn't want to die.   I had so much to live for
and so much yet to do,
it seemed almost impossible
that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
the good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love shared
and all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday,
I thought, just for a while,
I'd say goodbye and kiss you
and maybe you would smile.   But then I fully realized
that this could never be,
for emptiness and memories
would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things
that I'd miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
my heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through Heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
from his great golden throne,   He said, "This is eternity
and all I've promised you.
Today for life on Earth is past
but here it starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow,
but today will always last,
and since each day's the same day,
there's no longing for the past.
But you have been so faithful,
so trusting and true.
Though there were times you did some things
you knew you shouldn't do.
But you have been forgiven
and now at last you're free.
So won't you take my hand
and share my life with me."   So when tomorrow starts without me,
don't think we're far apart,
for every time you think of me,
I'm right here in your heart.
Please Forget Me Not  
Please Forget Me Not – A Likely Letter from Our Son to His Family
By Joan Watson

I’m sorry I had to leave so soon
I leave you with this thought
I loved you so despite my gloom.
Please forget me not.

I’m sorry I simply lost all hope
My mind was overwrought
I’m sorry I simply could not cope.
Please forget me not.

I would have preferred to stay
But my pain would not stop
I wish there had been another way.
Please forget me not.

I know it’s really hard to understand
The despair that finally brought
Me to end my life by my own hand.
Please forget me not.

I’m so thankful that I had all of you
For the loving ways I was taught
They had nothing to do with my being blue.
Please forget me not.

I lost my ability to change things
And had let myself get caught
By only the negative things life brings.
Please forget me not.

I’m sorry I didn’t stay to grow old
I really tried, I really fought
Hopelessness, pain and despair untold.
Please forget me not.

I went to sleep forever just as you awoke
Inflicting a grim onslaught
Of pain on you, that I cannot revoke.
Please forget me not.

So please hear my heartfelt loving plea
Accept my apology for sorrow fraught
From your disbelief and your missing me.
Please forget me not.

I wish you peace from all your grief
And I know you cry a lot
But I’m now at peace and have relief.
Please forget me not.

I love you so and ask that you forgive
My leaving, and please dread-naught
For your memories of me forever live.

Please forget me not Be happy; enjoy your remaining time
Take your sorrow and let it drop
Into the healing places of your mind.
Please forget me not.
More of his legacy...
Benjamin's Photo Album
Cheerleader Ben
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