After I started writing this blog, I thought about the day when I would read all my entries to Stephanie, and I would take such joy in showing her the love I have for her. I know she felt loved immensely by me, and I certainly felt loved so much by her. But I was excited to tell her how I was showing the world. And then you all started commenting and expressing your love for me and so much for her and our kids. Many of you don’t know us and have never met us, and I was so excited to read all of that to her.

I won’t get the chance to hear her response. The results came back and she showed no response to any stimuli. She also has been having anoxic myoclonus, which are muscle spasms reminiscent of seizures, but they happen because the higher brain functions aren’t available to control the spasms our bodies naturally want to do. It basically means the abilities of the top of her brain aren’t available, and that’s detrimental.

I’m still going to read to her. I’m going to read every post and every comment, until we have to decide what happens next. If you have any special memories of her you would like to share, please comment here, and she’ll get to hear them (and so will I, which I will appreciate).

A miracle is still forthcoming. God can still heal her body. I have no doubt about that. But, if that’s not the miracle He has in store, than it’s going to be some other miracle like nothing anyone has ever seen before. I know it in my soul. Thank you all again for your prayers and encouragement. This is not the end of my posts, but I understand if you get off the bus here.

166 thoughts on “Reading”

  1. Dear Brad and Stephanie,
    This is not the first time you have heard from me, Stephanie you have been on my mind since the moment I have heard about you. I keep thinking about how you might be thinking or feeling…How strong your husband is to keep these updates for us and how much he loves you! Oh how much he loves you. I wish you could just wake up and give him a big hug! I am amazed at how many people love you and Brad. I am praying and crying daily for both of you. There is not one minute of my day that I dont think about you guys and start praying. God is doing amazing work through you and your husband. Please dont give up and stay stong even in this weak time. Brad you have shown each man and women on face book just what it is to be a married couple through Christ and through sickness and health! God Bless you both and you babies! I here for you and your family no matter what, whenever you need it!

    In Christ’s loving name,

  2. Brad,
    I worked part-time with Stephanie in the office of PHBC for 2 years. I took over the job of printing from her; she trained me in how to do the work. Stephanie was very patient with me especially because I was afraid of the cutting machine! Those long, sharp steel blades could cut thru a tall stack of cardstock in 2 seconds! I could also envision them cutting thru my flesh and bones. Stephanie empathized with me and calmly demonstrated the machine several times showing me its built-in safety features. I felt better! She helped me and answered all my questions until I became confident in all areas of the job.
    I remember Stephanie as a very hard worker, having a strong desire to express her creativity, and a goal to be a loving wife and mother.
    One Valentine’s Day the office workers exchanged small gifts. My gift from Steph had a pretty, pink, iridescent fabric ribbon on it and attached to the ribbon was a pink and white card she had made with my name on it in large, beautiful script. She signed it ‘Love, Stephanie’ on the back. I have kept that ribbon/card all these years. I had it on my bulletin board in the church office while working there, and in 2008 while working at Dillard’s I had it on my bulletin board there, too, where it marked my office space and was pretty to look at. It will always remind me of her. It’s amazing how something seemingly small can mean so much but it does because it was made by a friend, especially for me, in Christian love.

    Brad and Stephanie, I remember your wedding day and was so happy for both of you! Stephanie looked so beautiful! It was my privilege to play in the handbell choir at the beginning of your ceremony.
    For several years after your marriage I lost touch with Stephanie but was glad to get reacquainted with her thru Facebook over the last year. I just adored all of the beautiful photos she posted of Brady and Halle and your whole family.

    Brad, there is one more thing I want say: ever since becoming a Christian in 1996 God has taught me lessons in “letting go”. It’s not easy. First, he commanded me to let go of a relationship, then a house, then a job. Every time I obeyed, though, he blessed me immeasurably and reinforced in me the peace and knowledge that this world is not our home.

    Continuing my prayers for Stephanie, you, Brady, Halle, and your whole extended family.
    In Christ’s love,
    Marilyn Emsley

  3. Brad,
    Sarah and I have been praying for constantly since we first heard about Stephanie. As you know, I was there just after the devastating news was delivered. I was so moved by the amount of love I could feel in that room between you and your family. It is scene that I will never forget. We will continue to pray for Stephanie, for you, and for your family. We love you.

  4. I have so many memories of Stephanie that it is hard to pick just one. The one that sticks out the most to me right now as a testament to Stephanie’s giving spirit involves the necklace I am wearing right now as I sit in the hospital waiting for a miracle. When Srephanie and I both worked at Britton-Gallagher, we both got joyous news. Stephanie discovered she was pregnant with Brady and I was accepted to a graduate program at Ohio State. I had been placed on the waitlist and was very anxious about getting in. Stephanie always knew when good things were coming, though, and had a necklace made for me to give me on the day when I would find out I was getting in. As soon as I got the news that I’d been admitted, I emailed Stephanie and she ran upstairs to my “office” and gave me a beautiful handmade necklace that our friend Connie had created. I have always cherished that necklace because it reminded of the time when both of our dreams came true, as different as those dreams were. Stephanie, I thank you for everything you gave me, from this necklace to recipes to stamp sets to prayers and encouragement. I love you, friend, and I know that God will work things out for his purposes, even if I can’t understand them right now.

  5. I’ve been following your blog for days. Holding you up in prayer. I would love to share my story with you, but it really doesn’t matter right now. Know you’ve touched a life and I have my answer. Much love to you and your family. Praying, praying, praying….

  6. Steph, You always amazed me! You were the best Assistant I ever had as a Pastor and always made my work a delight. Thanks for who you are. You are truly a gifted person and I pray that Jesus Christ will hold you gently in His hands at this hour. You are blessed to be surrounded by a loving husband and family. I know God has a plan in all of this. I have no idea what it may be, but I trust Him and I know you do too. God bless you Stephanie!

    With Love, The Ambrose Family

  7. Stephanie,

    I have so many memories of so many conversations with you and Brad. I think those are my favorites–staying up late sitting on the couch while you tell some story about some shocking thing that happened to you or some experience you had during a job that no one even knew you had. You had a lifetime of jobs; that’s for sure. Inevitably, we’d tell a story, and you’d know exactly what we were going through because you worked in that profession for 3 years. I don’t know where you got all those years from (except that you had like 3 jobs at a time all the time). I’m so happy that you finally found the job you loved—being a mother to Brady and Halle.

    And I was always glad to share my stories with you and Brad. I remember telling you about the time Gina and I hitchhiked to be with you guys and you reacted with the appropriate amount of shock (complete). We weren’t even sure how we managed that, and it was such a great story to be able to tell you. It was also really meaningful the time we told you about a family tragedy and you knew exactly why it was troubling at every point of the story. You never missed a beat when it came to sharing life’s joys and tragedies with us. That was such a blessing to me on so many occasions and exponentially more so with Gina. I know God has this situation in his hands, somehow.

  8. I went to Malone with Scott, and ever since hearing about Stephanie I have been keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. As a mother myself, I can’t imagine this happening to a family where Mommy is needed so much. I know that God can work miracles and I am praying for one for your family.

  9. Hey Brad and Steph. Phew! God has sure thrown us for a loop, hasn’t He? Never could I have imagined what is happening right now. I still think of Brad as my little cousin who let me paint his toenails. And know I am overwhelmed that he must deal with the loss of you, his soulmate.

    You are such a beautiful woman Steph. I would tell you how much I love your big eyes, which Brady and Halle also have. Yeah! You are so sweet and calm and pleasant to be around always. When I describe you to others, I say what a perfect wife and mother you are. You know, the kind who can do the things that so many of us wish we could do and you actually do them! Like bake amazing cakes and make the most creative cards. I was certain American Greetings would hire you on to create cards for them. I am so not a pack-rat, but I have a file folder for every card you ever made and sent us! I keep your cards as an example for me to try and copy! I will now treasure your craft in a way I didn’t see coming.

    I always enjoyed seeing you and Brad together because your love was evident for each other and you seemed like forever newlyweds. Brad cared for you so well. You were such a great team as parents. Using both your gifts to nurture Brady and Halle.

    I was often amazed at how Stephanie handled what God brought her way. Whether it was having children or the seizures. She bathed the situation in prayer and her outlook remained positive. Just last week, she told me on facebook that the recurrence of the seizures was just a “season of life” and her and Brad will continue to pray.

    I have always been very proud of Brad and his relationship with God. You have not wandered from your faith. I always wonder if I could be the type of person who could handle a tragedy such as this and lean on God as we should. Brad, you are proving to be steady in your walk and a testimony to all.

    I don’t know why God. I don’t know all the ways you will be glorified in this. I don’t know if and when you will reveal your plan in allowing this to happen. I worry how Brad is going to cook dinner and grocery shop!

    God, you don’t owe us an explanation. You don’t have to prove anything to us. You are an awesome God, who reigns from Heaven with wisdom and power. WE WILL PRAISE YOU STILL. My prayer is for Brad to feel an overwhelming sense of Your peace and presence as he says goodbye to his soulmate, Your child.

    Before you go Stephanie, you must know that you were Grandma Betty’s favorite! You were immediately excepted when she realized you had some Czech in your background and then she tasted your baked treats and saw how you cared for her Brad. I love you Stephanie and I love you Brad. Thank you Stephanie for loving Brad so faithfully.

    Brad, we will do everything we can to care for you, Brady and Halle, in the next weeks, months and years. We will share with the kids how amazing Stephanie was and keep her memory alive. You just call if you need me and I will get in the car and start driving east.

    Love you my dear cousin and brother in Christ. May God’s will be done. Donna

  10. Hi Brad and Stephanie,
    I am friends with Mary Levy and actually have met Stephanie before at Calvary Chapel of Cleveland around the time Mary was planning her wedding/wedding shower I believe.
    I just wanted to say that I am sorry to hear (read) what you and your family are going through and I just read all of the blogs that were written yesterday and my heart goes out to you. My husband and I have been praying for you guys. It’s a blessing to see your faith in God and know that He ultimately knows what’s best and that’s what will happen.
    We know your pain Brad as we had to spend 5 days in the hospital with our first born son immediately after he was born. We would hear what we thought was good news then to turn around and hear disappointing news but through it all we felt God’s presence majorly and at times I felt as if I were floating due to the fact of knowing that God’s people were praying for us. We had found out that people we didn’t even know were praying for us. We also were clinging to the hope that God would heal our son, even up to the point when he passed away hoping that God would raise him, but God knows best. I like you wish I knew what God’s purpose was in taking him or want to see what miracle will come out of it but so far haven’t unless it was just to be a witness to our unsaved friends and family. But God has truly blessed us and we now have a beautiful daughter and another one(daughter)on the way.
    I hope I didn’t stir up any sad or disappointing feelings my intent was to let you know that I know exactly how you feel and will continue to keep you in our prayers and am keeping up with the blog to find out what happens. It is a blessing. Thank you for doing this. I only wish that I could have done something like this when going through our trial with our son but I was exhausted and didn’t even think of it. Either way whatever happens don’t forget that God is good! That has been the reappearing theme throughout mine and my husbands marriage and even courtship and engagement and we still cling to that no matter what to this day.
    God Bless!!!
    Alea Steapanic

  11. You do not know me, but a friend of mine posted this on his facebook and I could not help but read it. This blog is such an encouragement to me. Such and encouragement to know that God is doing great things in your lives even through something of such struggle and difficulty. God will continue to bless your lives. This whole blog is a testament to that fact. Know that even though you do not know who I am, I am praying for you.

  12. Brad,
    i’m praying like mad.
    remember when we sat at mary’s wedding and heleana and julie and i were writing the bamboo song that we sang to mary (much to her chagrin). poor steph thought we were crazy, which i’m not denying!
    getting my prayer team in the loop for you guys.
    i know i’m in new york, but let me know if you need anything.

  13. Brad,
    Like many others you do not know me but your story has touched my heart. I too kept a journal when my father was sick, I wrote in it everyday. The simple small things, that you think mean nothing. Looking back, reading those words makes me feel close to him still. I am praying for you and your wife.

  14. Its time to get on the bus!!!! Man I have faith god will restore what seems to be destroyed, but if not, what joy she is already experiencing. Our heart breaks that her family is suffering so, that all seems as if it is getting worse. I have no clue what to say so I pray, no clue what to do, so I pray, no words to soothe so I pray. Please god if there is a way…we pray

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