Title: SNAPSHOTS In Memory of Ben
Author: Alan Busch
Publisher: Water Forest Press
The unthinkable tragic death of one’s child is a topic most of us find difficult to embrace. It’s just too frightening to think about, let alone delve deeply into it, especially if we have not, thank G-d, experienced this ourselves.
However, in Alan Busch’s newly released heartening memoir SNAPSHOTS In Memory of Ben, he does just that. An observant Jew as well as an independent writer in Skokie, Illinois, Mr. Busch delves deeply into his story, powerfully so, in a way that mesmerizes the reader from the very first lines causing this honest and well-written book to become hard to put down.
Busch bravely allows readers into this sacred world by sharing his reality in the aftermath of the tragic death of his 22-year-old son Ben, a”h.
A bike courier in downtown Chicago, Ben was fatally struck by a truck making an illegal turn into an alley, changing the lives of the Busch family forever. While Mr. Busch’s story does not fully follow a clear linear time-line path, his approach works seamlessly and brilliantly.
As the title explains, he offers his readers a journey into his unique collage of profound and touching memories he has of his son. Each chapter serves as a brief snapshot of their lives together – each one a diamond to cherish showing what an incredible soul his son was. The stories are woven together to paint an extraordinary picture of lives shared. Some are painful to read, others are deliciously endearing and charmingly sprinkled with relatable life-humor – and all are showcased with the infusion of faith in G-d.
To say the reader will laugh and cry is not a cliché – it is as real as this father coping with real loss in his own unique and personal way. The book offers us an intimate look in the window of that experience.
Before reading this book, I was hesitant to journey down the very difficult and frightening road of deep loss, perhaps because I felt this book sounded more appropriate for bereaved parents, much like the author. However, after reading it in one sitting simply because it was so mesmerizing that I could not put it down, I came away with the feeling of being enriched and honored.
I may not have known the author’s cherished son during his lifetime, but the book superbly introduced me to who he was, and for that I will forever feel fortunate to have gotten to know him.
The author said it best when he wrote, “As a Jew, my faith teaches me life is inherently miraculous and, therefore, holy. We serve as guardians of its sanctity. This belief sustains me when all that remains are a dress shirt and suit, a pair of old boots, a bicycle in need of repair and the discovery of his boyish signature while turning the page of a scrapbook. Though their bodies are gone, their physicality ended, we remain attached to our loved ones through remembrance, dedication and rededication, all of which remind us how fortunate we were to have enjoyed them for as long as we did.”
For anyone who has suffered a loss, especially the loss of a child, this book will certainly serve as a comfort to know that you are not alone and that the author shares and expresses the words for what you most certainly feel deeply in your hearts.
And for everyone else, this book is a must read for many reasons, but most assuredly, to share this very honest real-life experience and to know that out of tragedy does come a semblance of healing – one that Alan Busch has bravely and poignantly chosen to share with the world.
To find out more about SNAPSHOTS In Memory of Ben or to order a copy, go to