I have this daydream where I come home like I always do to find Stephanie working on dinner and the kids come running into my arms. She tells me when the food will be ready, we kiss and embrace, and I melt to feel her in my arms again. How many days that has been the story. It never lost its meaning to me, and now there’s a threat to that ever happening again.

I miss her.

I miss normalcy and being home.

I have bounced around so much between all the different emotions associated with something like this. Most often I find myself back at one emotion: anger.

I’m angry that this could happen so suddenly. How does this happen? How is it that a week ago, we were both at home, enjoying a wonderful relaxing day together, and yet 2 hours later, my world crashed. I’m really angry that it happened, and I hate how quickly it did. There is no ignoring the thousands of “what ifs” even though I know it does no good and is only making things worse for me.

I’m angry that we thought seizures couldn’t do her any harm. I’m aware that the seizure itself hasn’t done this, but we had no idea that she could stop breathing and have cardiac arrest because of a seizure. I’m mad I didn’t know that. And that’s a “what if” – I might have called 911 even sooner (not that I waited that long, but I’ve seen so many seizures, I didn’t call immediately). Of course, I would have spent the past year even more terrified, I suppose.

I’m angry for my kids. Don’t get me wrong – it’s going to be beyond miserable for me if God decides not to heal her. But my kids will not have their mother to raise them, and that’s just not fair.

I’m angry because it isn’t fair. That’s one thought I have constantly. She’s 33! That’s not fair. It’s not fair to her, or to me, or to my kids. It’s not fair that her own grandparents, let alone parents, will bury her.

I’m angry because of how good we had it. We loved our life together so much, and it’s not fair that it was cut so short. I’m glad we managed to cram 50 years into 5, it seems, but I wanted to cram 500 years into 50. I want my wife back and I want my marriage back and I want normalcy back.

I’ve managed to be careful about being angry at God. In general, I’m not angry at Him. I don’t blame Him for this. I know it’s only because of man’s sin that pain and death exist. And I’m angry at man and sin for that. I know “all” the answers for times like this. I know God knows what He’s doing. I guess what frustrates me is that I don’t know what He’s doing and I wish He would tell me. I’m angry to not know.

I’m so weary of waiting. I am so completely worn out. My heart is stretched and my eyes are heavy and my mind is exhausted and my emotions are spent. I have felt everything so powerfully over the past week, and now I am just at a stand still of sorts. I don’t want to be here anymore, but being at the hospital is not the problem. Being in this “place” is the problem.

I’m not just a little angry, either. I want to rage out, grab the chair I’m sitting in and start smashing it into things. Sadly, I’m a rational and non-destructive person and can’t get myself to do just that. (Maybe later, though.)

I hate to talk about a righteous anger because that just seems like a cop-out to me for being angry. I’m not trying to make excuses, or to make it sound like I have every right to be angry. But at the same time, I can’t find any reason not to be.

27 thoughts on “Emotions”

  1. Brad – I fully believe that God understands your anger and hurt! I pray that He wraps His arms of love around you and comforts you in the way only He can during this horrendously difficult time.
    Continually praying for you and Stephanie!

  2. Brad,
    I know we don’t know you, but my husband and I know Stephanie and your parents from PHBC. We have written you something that we hope will empower you to keep on. It’s a letter, not a poem or anything. I really want to get it to you ASAP. I have important scriptures to attach with it, but I don’t have it typed up yet. Do you have an e-mail I can send it to? I couldn’t find an e-mail link on your blog. Leave a comment with it or e-mail me at my link.

    Praying for you.

    Tony and Jennifer Johnson

  3. I keep thinking about the book of Job when I read your blog. He wanted to know why so badly but I don’t think God ever gave him his answer. God is in control and we have such a hard time accepting that sometimes. I don’t even like riding in the passenger seat of a car b/c I am not in control. You are in my prayers every day.

    1. yeah totally. the final chapters of job come to mind here, where god talks with him. god bless you brad and stephanie.

  4. Brad-

    I’m angry with you. I’m hopeful with you and I’m crying with you. I can’t understand exactly what you are going through, but I don’t doubt you did everything you could at every step for her.

    Remember those talks you and stephanie had, and know that many never get that far in their relationships.

    We all wish to make it better for you both.

    We remain full of prayer and hope that we will all understand the meaning of this, and my hope is that we can support you in whatever you need short and long term.

    We love u friend….


  5. Brad, please don’t feel bad about your anger that is ok to let it out and people understand. You have every right to be angry. Just waiting and not knowing how you world is going to change all of us can understand that. Keep venting we are all hear to listen and accept you anger please remember that. I

  6. Brad,
    I don’t know you or Stephanie. I do know some of Stephanie’s family through my church. I am praying that God continues to comfort you and the rest of Stephanie’s family through this time of uncertainty.

    As I read your blog, I have been reliving many of my own losses. I have learned that, sometimes when we ask God to heal our loved ones, he sometimes answers our prayers in ways that we do not expect. In time, however, the reasoning becomes clear and we may begin to understand.

    Anger is a perfectly acceptable response. And a completely normal one.

    I pray that you and your family will have God’s Peace and Love always.

  7. Brad,
    We don’t know each other – a friend of mine posted on facebook what had happened and a link to your blog and I have sat here and cried and wept and prayed over you and your precious family. I really don’t know what to say to you other than the fact that we are praying for you and my heart is heavy for you and yours. Your are deeply loved by many of your brothers and sisters in Christ and we are joining with you in your prayers to God.
    Much Love,
    The Elkes

  8. Brad,

    I remember meeting your wife a few times and seeing you guys in passing before my husband and I jumped on the bus to help out with Church Of The Hills. Please know that we are praying for God to work in this as he has planned. Know also that even though times are so hard and dark, you are not alone. I have been through some really dark valleys in life and you can have so many people around you who are praying for you and supporting you and it doesn’t help the anger. It is alright to be angry. Know that we have a God who wants us to be open with him and talk to him about our feelings. It doesn’t always feel like it but not only is he there with you, he is carrying you guys through the valley you are in. I can’t even imagine how non believers go through hard times in life. It sounds like you have been truly blessed with an amazing gift in your marriage. Hold onto the memories. Keep talking to her. My husband and I both have backgrounds in the medical field. I can tell you from experience that I have seen so many people who can still seem to hear when all hope is lost. As if God opens that sense for those in crisis. I know she feels your love. Keep talking to her. We are praying for you guys.

  9. Brad:
    Anger is not in and of itself sinful — if it was, God could not ever be angry and the Bible records times when he was terribly angry. Jesus was angry. And Job was angry. David was angry and Paul was angry. People have even been angry at God — he can take it. I’m not encouraging you to, just encouraging you to feel free to be real — to ask the hard questions — to rage if you must. If not now, when? What would it take?

    Now may not be the time, but there is an interesting book called “The Shack” — some might call it controversial, but taken within its’ context, it speaks to human anger, God’s response, and does so in a disarming way that is respectful of faith — it is written by a Christian albeit a wounded one, but which of us isn’t? Perhaps in the long hours at the hospital, it will help you to laugh, to cry, and to understand just a tiny bit more than you do now. Not that there is any understanding this side of heaven on something so random and pointless.

    Cousin, I continue to pray for you and until I know otherwise, I pray for the miracle that I want to see — exactly what you have written — being home, with dinner in hand, and embracing once again. If there is anything I can offer, you have only to ask. I am available to you 24/7.


  10. Brad , I have to tell you that I am trying to remain as positive as possible. But to tell you that I am not totally angry and asking why alot this past week would be a lie! This past week I keep asking Why Stephanie???!!! Why not someone like me!!! I don’t have a loving husband and I don’t have very young children! Why not me instead!??? Not that I would wish this on myself or anyone else! But why do this to such a loving mom and wife!!! I must tell you that I was able to announce your situation to the congregation at my church so all would know who you are and why they are praying for you! I am trying to get as many people to pray as possible! You guys are constantly in my thought and prayers! As I have said before, I regret not staying in contact with you guys ! I feel like I have lost my chance with my friendship with stephanie! But We can’t regret things we can no longer control! I pray that God will give you strength and peace and that he will take your anger away and replace it with calmness! Love you guys! Amy :)

  11. Thanks for your honesty Brad.

    While we do not feel it in the same way we agree with you in your anger. We continue to pray for Stephanie as well as for you and your whole family.

  12. Hey Brad… no words of mine will make much of a difference. Thank you for sharing your experiences so openly with us, even when you’re riding the emotional waves. Just know we are still praying for all of you and that God is orchestrating a continual concert of prayer for your family.


  13. Brad, What you are feeling is veryrealistic feelings and normal. When my son was in a coma because a drunk driver hit him, and I didn’t know the outcome for weeks and weeks, I felt the same emotions. The wheel turns and you go through the emotions over and over. It also is a process we need to go through to heal. No matter what, remember there are soooo many people that love you and your family. We are all praying for you guys. Mostly, remember in times like this God doesn’t leave us alone. He actually carries us. I’m praying that you get some comfort in knowing what you are feeling is very normal and needed to heal.

  14. Brad,
    Words are very strange. I have came to believe that one of the things that God honors is our words. The Bible offers support on that belief.

    I have found that many times God has healed me and taught me through words. Sometimes mine, sometimes someone else’s. That may be just the thing, or at least a portion of what God will use to heal you and Stephanie in this. I’m not talking word of faith, believe and you can achieve it kind of stuff. I’m talking about soul bearing words of pain, requests and groans that words can’t express.
    Keep talking, keep blogging, most of all keep praying but let me remind you of this…

    One of Satan’s favorite tools is distraction. If he can get our eyes off of truth and make us focus on only what is true he has gained a foothold in our lives.

    The truth is your wife is very sick. The truth is that any of us could be struck with the same type of situation in numerous forms. Our lives can change in a moment. That is true. But that is not TRUTH.

    Jesus is THE TRUTH, the light, the way. That is something that will never change no matter what things in our life are true at any given moment.

    I am not trying to say that the situation you are dealing with is easy, or will be easier with anything I may say. I am saying that the truth is what you should hold onto and remain focused on.

    Don’t be distracted, hold on the truth.

    Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me.
    Psalm 40:11

    My prayer for you tonight Brad is this:

    “Father, do not withhold your mercy from Brad, O LORD; may your love and Jesus always protect his heart.”

  15. Brad,

    Im going to share something with you that I have not had the courage to do with anyone else.

    in 2005-2006 time frame, I met my wife, at the time, I had no idea I was going to marry this woman, I was stoked, thought about all the things that I had dreamed about that came with marriage, you know, the whole “THE ONE” thing, and how no matter what, we can survive anything..

    During this time, I deployed to Iraq, came home on mid-tour leave to be with her and develop the relationship, and on weekends she would drive down from Ohio to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to be with me. everything was going great, she knew my job in the Army was going to tough on both of us, and at times, seem impossible..

    I married her in June 2007, I had just got home from Iraq several months prior and came down on orders while STILL in iraq, to be sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I got to Oklahoma and came down on orders to head back to Iraq right away, I got married in June and deployed in July 1 month later.. it was a very stressful time, but happy..

    Being 29 years old getting married, I thought I had done everything right, waited, dated, and financially I was secured, had 17k in savings, was just a few more deployments to Iraq before Id have saved up enough to buy a house with Cash!! I was set!

    So, I get to Iraq, this is my 3rd overseas tour, the other two seemed like a piece of cake, I only had to take care of myself.. This time, I was promoted into a position that took care of soldier, I was a junior leader, and with a unit that was increadably disorganized and broke. We deployed to Iraq NOT READY in my opinion. Adding all that stress up, then being a newly wed, things were a little different for me..

    I got word back my wife had cheated on me with an old friend, that compounded my stress. When it was confirmed she did, I broke..

    May 2008 I come home on my midtour, I had dumped my entire savings into paying off all her debt and moving her down to Oklahoma, and had to repair the marriage.
    I forgave her, things seemed to be back to good, and so I leave back to Iraq after my leave was finished..

    I get word she was sleeping with another guy, this one, being a guy I would pick up from the bar at 3am to prevent him from getting a DUI.. I dont drink, so I let my guys know to call me, better to have me upset at them for lost sleep, then do something stupid and drive home drunk and get pulled over, or worse, kill someone.. This dude was with me in Iraq with my last unit out of Campbell in Kentucky and got orders to Oklahoma as well, he was in a different unit then I, but that never stopped us from hanging out and playing madden football and playing pool on friday nights..
    I was in Iraq and he was back at Fort Sill banging my wife!!

    Needless to say, I had breakdowns, to the point I almost couldnt function in iraq, even took the firing pin out of weapon and gave it to my superior to avoid any hopeless actions.. I WAS NOT MYSELF that entire tour in iraq, I had went from a hard core Soldier, who loved his job, and did his job well, to a broken mess.
    I couldnt function.. I couldnt stop thinking about my wife and all that garbage rumors my unit heard and passed around.

    I got home from Iraq and made a decision to give her another try. I went to anger management, and marital counselling both single and together. Ground rules were made and we gave it a shot, but mistrust was there, so we ended up fighting a lot. I understand she was home alone and was needy, and lonely, so I chose to forgive her on those grounds. But my dreams of being with someone who loved me, that I would adore and love forever were gone. My dream of “THE ONE” was lost.

    One day, I get into a fight with her, of course im at fault for bringing up her faults and rubbing them in, I had grown ANGRY and BITTER! She threw her purse at me and out came everything, as I picked up the contents to shove it back inside, there was 2 tickets to the movie MALL COP.. I asked her and she told me, there was someone else.. She went outside to smoke and I remember feeling dizzy, and emotional, and just grabbed something to hang myself.. I went into the closet and did indeed noose myself up.. I WAS DONE!! FINISHED!!! I was not going to live my life anymore now that my wife was gone, now that she didnt love me anymore. My hope was lost.

    She, somehow, opened the door to the closet and found me, HOW? I will NEVER know.. she cut me down and the next door neighbor was a cop and he did whatever to bring me back. I know it was RASH and stupid. But I too, like you, felt hopeless and alone and ANGRY..

    But let me tell you something, I chose the wrong road after that, I chose a path that is full of self doubts, shame, and weight gain, depression, shut down, non functioning, hermit, unbelief, bitterness, anger, and much more.

    I had no clue why I have lived, I have had no idea why im alive these last 2 years, going through a divorce, dealing with her poor attitude, and not understanding why the Holy Spirit didnt warn me who she was.


    Let me tell you man, You might be angry, and feeling every emotion there is, but thats normal..

    You are feeling the 5 stages of Grief.

    Denial (this isn’t happening to me!)
    Anger (why is this happening to me?)
    Bargaining (I promise I’ll be a better person if…)
    Depression (I don’t care anymore)
    Acceptance (I’m ready for whatever comes)

    In my case, and reading this blog, I finally SURRENDERED everything to God, and not have moved into the acceptance stage, thanks to you!!

    I now hold my life as valuable as God meant it to be, I now want more for myself and will be living a much more fulfilling life.

    I also want to encourage you, to think about what I said, and pray you do chose a better path then I, one less painful. One absent the anger.

    I also want to say, that I am here for you whether or not Stephanie stays or goes home, that I offer my time and service to you. If its a hug or a chill night just sitting on the porch drinking a Mountain dew or Mocha Frappachino from Starbucks, I am here for you.

    You have a powerful story to tell, this is not over, and the more you blog, the more people read, the more who read, they see the genuine emotions and God is using and moving in you.

    I love you Brad, hang in there. I will work on coming to see you soon.

    Thank you for sharing your heart and being an inspiration to me.


  16. You’re angry, you’re human. That’s how God made us. We continue to pray for His peace and comfort for you and yours.

  17. Anger is one of many emotions that God has created in us to feel. I’ve heard people say it’s also one of the strongest emotions we have (or maybe just the easiest). What we have to be careful of is how it affects us. Anger can lead to bitterness or apathy or hard-hardness (like Pharaoh).

    However, anger has also led to some of the biggest changes in our world today: the elimination of slavery, racial injustices, and womens’ rights. Others have felt anger when diagnosed with cancer and have fought and won their battles and are now helping others do the same. Still others have been angered by the thousands of abortions that happen each year and are fighting to protect the lives of these unborn babies. These people have used their initial anger to change the world for the better.

    So anger is just an emotion that has the ability to hinder or help our relationship with God. My prayer is that you keep talking to God through this so that He can reveal to you another purpose for your life. God always has a purpose and I’m sure He can use this experience in your life someday, somehow, in ways that are far too great and awesome for anyone to imagine right now.

  18. Brad,
    It’s ok to be angry, to feel rage. It’s not only ok, it’s normal! Allow yourself to vent. Vent via your posts, vent via a workout, vent via screaming out loud. Don’t try to keep your anger all in check because it will find its way out somehow. I agree with everyone, that anger is not sinful and God understands our anger (even if it is directed at him).
    I continue to pray for Stephanie and for you daily. Continue to lean on us all…we are here for you.

  19. I’m angry! Although like you I have considered the greater plan. I keep thinking about Halloween and how we were suppose to take the kids out together. And how empty that would feel without Stephanie there. I have been through a lot of heart ache in my life, and I still can’t cope with this. We have the Christmas card you sent us last year up in our kitchen (as we always do). Stephanie has her arm around you and she is holding Brady’s hand. Ryan and I were talking about how precious it was and how we miss her so much. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings. Even if they are “right”. (maybe don’t throw chair directly at anyone though =)

  20. Brad,

    Your sharing of emotions is real; angry, confused, frustrated, weary and more. In reading the comments, God through you have touched many lives in stunning ways. I know you’ve impacted me.

    Your family is in the prayers of many.


  21. Dear Brad, I have been reading everyone’s messages to you especially the message from “Lev”. Makes me think about anger and my own experience crying out to God in my car one early morning, on my way to work. You see our son does crack cocaine and had come to our home the night before to pick up some “left-overs” we offered him. When he came to the door, he looked like this withered up old man. I was in shock and disbelief…how could this be happening? I had taught Sunday School for 17 years, read morning devotions with our boys and prayed before going to school..why was the Lord allowing this to happen, I did not understand! But that morning, when I cried out in anger to God, I felt like he wrapped his arms around me. When I cried and said “God, what do you want from me?” I felt this complete sense of Peace “The Peace that passes all understanding”. And then He answered me “My child, just give him to me”. That was over 5 years ago. I did give our son to God “so to speak” and he is still alive and still struggling with his addiction, but the Peace is with me (with us). I know God has a purpose for allowing my husband and I to experience this dreadful disease of “addiction”. I know there are thousands of other families experiencing what we have gone through with our son. But I think now the Lord is slowly revealing to my husband and myself the “why”. Possibly to help other families.
    Brad, I feel your anger and your sadness. I pray the Lord would bring to you and your family (extended family too) that “Peace” that he brought to us. I am not a very good writer and wish I could put into words how I feel for you and your wife, that tender relationship you feel can only happen “once in a lifetime”. How God shows up right when you think “I can’t take this any more!”. But He does show up. The old saying: He’s never early, but He’s never late..He’s just on time! We are praying for you, His will and most of all His Peace! Your friends, In Christ, Dan and Ardy

  22. Brad,

    This blog found my heart wrenching and tears flowing as I read it, you see it is very dear to my heart. Last year on my little brother was killed in a tractor accident on our family farm. My little brother was 28 years old. He left the most amazing wife, a loving son, a darlin baby girl, and an extended family. The cords of love in this family are knotted very very tightly. My brother and his wife had been married 6 years and they had a model marriage, God was/is the center of their life and is the center of our entire family. It is only by the grace of God and the healing that he has worked through us that we get up every morning and say ” God how do you want me to glorify you today?” Everything you have said about losing your helpmate, I have heard. His wife is so totally amazing and God has so totally blessed her beyond measure that we can not help but to Praise God. There is a reason things happen, do we like them?? NO!!!! But, we still must submit to God’s will and bless Him, because HE is our hope. I am praying for you. In one of the thoughts that passed thru my mind while thinkin of my brother the other day ‘ya know bub, I am 14 months closer to you than I was that day. Every day I wake up I am one day farther from you physically, but I am one day closer to spending all eternity with you HALLELUJAH!!!!’ Every day you wake up is one day closer to eternity with Stephanie. Our family’s focused has changed to here on earth to a heavenly focus. THis is not our home here on earth, heaven is our home and God has chosen Stephanie and my little brother to be our cheerleaders while we are still running this race, called life.
    Hebrews 12:1-2

    ” Therefore, since we are surrounded by a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith…..let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this byu keeping our eyes on Jesus,the champion who initiates and perfects our faith..”

    Phillipians 3:14

    “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive that heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

    I pray that God would give you a peace that passes all understanding, I pray that he will give you soundness of mind in the decisions that you must make, but understand you are not alone, God is helping you make those decisions.
    Hang on to God, HE is the only HOPE. He knows the end and his end is perfect. He knows we do not like the situation, but he wants our obedience and our submissiveness to his will that he will bless us through the situation.

    I pray for comfort for you and your children, I have seen my nephew and neice walk through this at a young age. It is difficult to see, but we are reminded everyday that God loves them more than we could possibly and he has them taken care of.

    God Bless You,
    Erin Wakefield

  23. Brad,
    I know this journey will bring you to an even closer walk with Jesus. Read Erin’s blog again, it says so much. Somehow, I never looked at the homegoing of a loved one in that perspective. “I am one day farther from you physically, but one day closer to spending eternity with you” How true for those of us who have that personal relationship with the Savior. Stephanie is home for good and yes, she will be one of the multitudes cheering us on as we finish our journey here on Earth, ready to greet us when our time and work for the Lord is complete. Keep holding on to Jesus Brad and family… He will carry you through, I promise… No, He promises. Praying for you with a feverency.

  24. Brad,

    My heart breaks for you. I cried for you from the moment I read about your wife’s condition all the way to yesterday’s very heart breaking news. Yes, you have touched so many people (myself and the way I live) to not take life for granted, love the simple things and most importantly to love the Lord. He knows why this has happenned that’s for sure and He loves you so much. The Lord has showed me through His Holy Spirit that His second coming is soon and the rapture is even sooner. With that being said you will be re-united with Stephanie even sooner. Maybe that’s what the Lord means when He is saying “wait” to you. Please know many are here to help you. I am and I have never even met you.


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