Family of children’s train crash victim write book on journey through grief

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A tragic story we first told you about in 2011 now has a new chapter, or should we say, 20 new chapters.

The Easler family lost their son, Benji, when a children’s train crashed at Cleveland Park in Spartanburg.

7News spoke to the Easlers about a book they’ve written detailing their journey through grief.

Dwight and Tabitha Easler and their three children know great loss. Now they’re sharing how they found strength in their new book “Squinting to See The Rainbow.”

“We wanted to share not only Benji’s life but we wanted to share that struggle, that struggle to see the promises of God even in the midst of the storm and how sometimes that comes years later,” said Dwight Easler, Benji’s Dad.

The rainbow cover is a drawing found in Benji’s backpack, shortly after the 6-year-old boy was killed in a children’s train crash on March 19, 2011.

“There were some very bad days for a long time and just looking to him continually looking to the word, finding that hope support and peace just as I needed it he was fateful to give it,” said Benji’s mother Tabitha Easler.

The book has been a family project. Some chapters were written by Dwight, a Gaffney minister, others by Tabitha and even their children.

“I don’t ever remember doubting God because it was so reinforced in my life,” said 20-year-old Seth Easler.

“There’s a lot of lost and hurting people out there. There’s a lot of people who need those promises,” said 17-year-old Matthew Easler.

“When I look in the book and I see my part, I’m like, ‘Wow, I did that,'” said 8-year-old Hannah Easler.

Gary Rogers, chaplain with the SC State Firefighters’ Association, is a long time friend of the Easlers. He wrote the book’s forward, and says if there were one word to describe the family’s journey with grief, it’s “Grace.”

“They have been able to turn misery into ministry,” said Rogers.

“Definitely we have the hole in our heart missing Benji every day, but there’s also the peace and the knowledge knowing that the Lord can sustain us. I think it’s changed us as a family in ways that maybe we don’t even recognize yet for the good how the Lord has strengthened us together as a family,” Dwight said.

The Easlers have already filled more than 300 orders and they hope, as word spreads, Benji’s story will live on and help others cope with loss.

The book “Squinting to See The Rainbow” is available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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