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Memorials help two mothers remember their children
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Max Beeners designed his own grave marker to include a seat so people could rest when they come to visit. He also selected a site close to the road so his friends could honk when they passed by. (MPR Photo/Cara Hetland)
It's never easy when a child dies. It's often difficult to find the right way to remember them. Two mothers, one in Sioux Falls and one in Moorhead, each lost a child in the past few years, and now have memorials in place to remember them. One began as an impromptu expression of grief. The other was a well-planned goodbye.

Undated — Max Beeners of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, died of leukemia five years ago -- one week after achieving his goal of graduating from high school. Max planned his funeral and his memorial.

His mother, Carla Beeners, sat on her son's grave on a recent day, as crews prepared the cemetery for Memorial Day. Max's headstone is made of black granite, with a silver bench attached. Her son's picture is permanently etched in the stone, along with etched pictures of his favorite things -- his car, tennis racket and snowboard.

Carla Beeners says her son chose a place in the cemetery near a busy street in Sioux Falls, so loved ones can see him and honk as they go by.

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Image Brittney Buckley's memorial

Wendy Ruscheinsky lost her 15-year-old daughter Brittney Buckley last September, when Brittney was hit by a train at railroad crossing in Moorhead.

Brittney's friends created a memorial at the the crossing. Now, with Wendy's help, the memorial has been moved to Gooseberry Park in south Moorhead along the Red River.

Wendy says having the memorial helps her cope with the loss of her daughter.

To listen to Carla Beeners and Wendy Ruscheinsky talk about their children, choose the audio links in the right column.

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