Grieving Mom Speaks at Toddler's Funeral

Boy killed at day care laid to rest

More than 100 mourners gathered at a Wheeling funeral home Wednesday, many of them wiping away tears as Amy Kingan spoke emotionally of her son Benjamin's life and his death.

Benjamin died last week when a teachers aid at his day care center threw him to the ground, causing fatal brain injuries.

At the 16-month-old's funeral, his mother recalled how the high-spirited toddler liked to throw balls -- as well as other toys and sometimes his snacks -- around the room. She said, too, that Benjamin often had a hard time sleeping at night.  Although difficult at the time, she said she is now grateful for those late nights she spent with him, as it allowed her more time with her baby.

"I will always cherish the 16 months we had," she tearfully told mourners gathered for her son's funeral.

Amy Kingan said her youngest son could always coax a smile from her just by looking at her.

"You warmed my heart every time I looked at you," she said, her voice breaking as she stood near his tiny white casket. Around the closed casket were flowers and photos of the boy in his mom's arms, playing with his sisters and brother, and romping with his father, Andrew.

She expressed bewilderment over his sudden death, at one point telling her son that she hoped to one day understand why he was taken at such a young age.

"I know that someday you will show me the meaning of this senseless act," she said, addressing her son directly.

Melissa M. Calusinski, 26, of Carpentersville is facing first-degree murder charges in the boy's death.

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