How could this have happened? I’m still reeling about it and will be for years to come, most likely. I know that full well. Nothing makes it easier, and I don’t expect anything to make it easier. Time might help, I’m sure. But there’s still this absolute hatred I have towards time because it takes me further away from the days I had Stephanie with me still. I don’t want to move on.
The doctor ran a test around 2am to confirm their suspicions, and she was officially pronounced as having passed at that time. For me, I think it actually probably happened Sunday night when her brain functions diminished and her breathing was no longer above the ventilator. That’s also when I stopped feeling to wait. But officially, it happened this early this morning.
I have these moments where I’m terrified that maybe I’m wrong about everything regarding God. I’ve never felt more forced to deal with what I really believe than now, when my wife’s eternity is just beginning. If what I believe is right, then I can have hope for her and desperation for that day that I will join her. For me, I’ve never really questioned things, and when I did, it was only for developing my own arguments for how sure I am in my faith. And, deep inside me, there’s no way I could ever question my faith to a point where I would turn from it. But it’s just critical now that what I believe is true, so I can’t help but find out where I stand. I hate it.
I just don’t know how this has happened. A year ago, she had never had a seizure that we knew about. Life was “normal” and we were just living our lives like any other couple. I know I’m not the only one with such circumstances and realizations. For some people, it’s a car crash or something even more sudden, and here I am saying how fast this happened. For any of us in this position, it just doesn’t seem possible. I can’t comprehend it.
190 thoughts on “How?”
I am so so sorry for the loss of your beautiful wife and the incredible mother to your lovely children. I am among the “strangers” on here that do not even know you. No words can take away your pain. But do know how you have changed people in sharing your story. There are many strangers on here that would do anything you need or help you in any way. God be with you and your family. This just breaks my heart and I have not been able to get it off my mind. Your wife has inspired me to be a better mother, wife and friend. You are an incredible man and she will always be in your heart helping you raise your children. I am “staying on the bus”. Get some rest, you are loved by many.
Dear Brad, Brady and Halle –
I absolutely have no words to offer – I cannot begin to imagine what all you might be going through right now. However, I do have a friend here in Rome whose husband passed away recently – she’s a believer, and God has really been so good and so faithful to her. She posted on her CaringBridge page recently, and I hope it can say much more meaningful things than I am able to at this point:
“Let me share this â€œsceneâ€ from the weekend with you. The church flowers were in place, the boutonnieres were on lapels, the reception was laid out exactly the way we had envisioned and we had just finished delivering the bouquets to the bride and bridesmaids. Our duties were officially over and we had just enough time to shower and return for the ceremony. My friends Kathy, Susan, Hannah and I were in the car, pulling away from the church and Kathy commented, â€œIt sort of seems like a waste. All those flowers, all the people helping, spending all that time and the flowers will only be used for a few hours.â€ Susan, Hannah and I agreed. But then this thought came to me and I said, â€œYes, but we created those arrangements for that exact purpose. To us it seems like a waste because they wonâ€™t be used tomorrow but the thing is, their purpose was for today. And after tonight, they will have served the purpose for which they were created. This was their â€˜moment in timeâ€™. â€ (This was obviously The Holy Spirit teaching me something â€˜cause Iâ€™m not usually all full of wisdom and stuff.) That sentence hung in the air and then Kathy said with teary eyes, â€œSometimes I get mad at God because He let Sweeney die. But Sweeney did live the life he was created to live, he served the exact purpose for which he was designed.â€ Susan added, â€œThatâ€™s not true of many people.â€
Sometimes I get sad at God and feel like I was cheated out of the future with Mike I dreamed of. There were so many chapters I wrote in our story that didnâ€™t get lived. Like what about kids and a 25th wedding anniversary and being the oldest married Young Life leaders around? What about those chapters? And then I sense God saying, â€œMy sweet girl, I am sad with you. But you are mourning the loss of chapters that were never written, at least not by Me. Sweeney lived for the exact number of days I wrote for him, with the purpose for which I created him to live and love. Remember I am The Author. You are sad at the loss of things with Sweeney that were never really yours to begin with. Sweeneyâ€™s â€œstoryâ€ is continuing in Eternity. Yours will too one day. Yet, I am still revealing your earthly story. You get to continue to live for the exact purpose for which I created you. For how many days? You donâ€™t know. Just keep looking to Me to tell you what todayâ€™s purpose for your life is. Just today, thatâ€™s about all you can handle for now. You can trust me. I am indeed faithful.â€
So thatâ€™s all I got. As far as I get to, I want to choose joy. To celebrate the chapters that were written for Sweeney and me to live together and not mourn the pages that are blank anyway. I want to focus on the fact that I have an exact purpose for which God created me. This is my â€œmoment in time.â€ I still have a lot of life to live. Iâ€™m still pretty sad, but I choose joy. The Holy Spirit in me makes that possible.”
Lawson and I are still praying with and for you guys and hope you will continue sharing your journey with us all – we are truly being strengthened in our faith through watching you live out yours.
I am also heart sick at your loss Brad. No words can ever make the pain go away, and only time can dull it, but know that you have touched so many with your love for your wife and our God, by sharing on this blog. What Bible verse will comfort you? What song will touch your heart? I don’t have the words, but I pray that Jesus wraps you in His loving arms tonight and holds and comforts you. Cry out to Jesus. He understands.
I’ve felt the ache of emptiness
This world could not relieve
My heart has lived in poverty
That no one else could see
Until I found the sweet restoring strength
That changed my life
He called to me
Come and drink
And my need was satisfied
My God will always be enough
For the longings of my soul
He alone can fill my cup
Till my spirit overflows
From a well of living water
He renews me with His love
My God, will always be enough
Tomorrow I could rise to find
That everything has changed
This way of faith could take me to
Some unexpected place
But through all the twists and turns of life
I’m sure of this one thing
Where the road seems so uncertain
My God will go with me.
My God will always be enough.
Brad, I don’t know you or your family or your pain. This song helped me through some very painful and difficult times in my life. The display of faith you are showing in this devastation is beacon to so many who feel hopeless, lost and alone. A reminder that we are never alone, because God is always right there, whether we want Him or not. My heart goes out to you and your family and I pray that each day will bring you healing, restoration and peace. God bless you and your family.
I want to thank you for being such an inspiration and reminding me what is truly important in life. I’m heart broken for you and am so sorry for the loss that you and your family are dealing with. I never had the opportunity to meet Stephanie, but I know she must be a very special woman to be a part of your family. Please feel free to reach out to me if there is anything I can do to help. In the meantime I will continue to pray for you and your family.
You don’t know me, but my friend’s brother knows you. She shared this with me and a couple of our other friends and we were all exceedingly blessed. Your strength, courage and open heart to share not only your love for your wife but the struggles you face is such an encouragement to read. God used her to touch many lives. I’m deeply sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing. May God bless you and your family and bring you through this trial.
Much love from PA.
I keep thinking back to your earlier posts regarding faith and god’s greater purpose. Stephanie’s passing is tragic and no one is suffering more than you and both your families. The Facebook prayer vigil has touched over 2000 peoples lives, mostly strangers. The fact that all of those people have been witness to your deep love and enduring faith, that in itself may be the gift to take from this tragedy. I feel every single one of us would trade that gift to have Stephanie back in everyone’s live, but we can not do that.
I pray for you to have strength in your turmoil.
Dear Brad, My husband and I are so very sorry for your loss. I am a complete stranger who wrote on your blog this morning, cried on my way to work praying for you and your family, and now I grieve deeply for you! There are no words one could say to bring comfort to you. However, this I must say in reference to “why”…my Grandfather lost his daughter at the sweet age of 18 (I was named after her) I was born the next year, one day after her birthday. Not only do I look like her, but I guess you could say I served as a ‘replacement’ in my grandfathers loss of his daughter. Because of her death, he came to know the Lord and I came to know the Lord and my husband came to know the Lord and the story continues…I can’t claim to know ‘why’, but someday, I pray you will look back at your life and say “I understand now”. I am a nanny and love children, if you need a nanny to return to work, I will work free for you. Ryan Edlin (pastor at
CVC) knows me and I have good references. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Praying the Lord lifts up you and your family and gives you strength for the journey. Thank you for sharing your heart and being who God created you to be. Your friend in Christ.
Stay stong, stay faithful, God has a plan!
My heart breaks when I think of what you’re going through right now. When I think of you and your beautiful family, I pray for you to have strength to find your way through this hard time. Please know that so many of us at work have marveled at your strength and your faith and that we are thinking of you.
I’m so sorry for your loss.
My heart is aching for you and your family during this time. please hold onto the children, and hug them often. You will go through many phases of emotions, and all will be normal..
My breath was taken away, and all I could do was sit and be still as I read your blog. it is evident how much you love Stephanie..tears are flowing, my heart is breaking, for even though I did not know your precious family, you will be in my prayers..
Be aware of the tears of Jesus for you during this time. He loves you so much, take that as a given.
“He loves us, oh how He loves us, oh how He loves us,
oh how He loves”
“Be still and know that He is God” Ps 46:10.
I know that you know this well.
In His hands, K
Although we have never met, my heart is breaking for you and your family. I am so sorry for your loss. I do not have words of wisdom or strength because I am at a loss for words. I have seen many things happen this past year that I do not understand, this being one of them. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family in this time of grief.
I am so sorry for your loss.
I am a friend of Scott’s and I think we worked one summer at Camp Carl together. I am so sorry for your loss and have been following the blog ever since I heard. Your strength is unbelievable and all glory to God for giving you the “peace that passes all understanding.” I have cried and prayed and every time I think about your situation I say a prayer. I will continue to do so. So when months have passed and it seems like everyone is “moving on,” know that there are people still praying for your strength and peace daily. I will pray specifically for your young children as well, that they will have vivid memories of Stephanie (even your 18 month old.)
God is still God- your blog is a witness to that.
Thank you for letting us journey this with you.
Brad, I do not know you, but am friends with a family from your Church. My heart is absolutely breaking for your family. My husband and I are around the same age as you and Stephanie and it is so easy to just go through your day and not reflect on any of those things that you have written that you and Stephanie discussed about your marriage and your faith. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the “business” of being a wife and mother without having an absolute awareness of the “substance” of what God has entrusted me with, and how quickly things can change. I didn’t realize how lost I was until I started reading your blog.
I pray that God continues to be your comfort during this time. And I hope that some day your children will be able to look back on this blog, not only for reflections about their Mother and your love for her, but as an example of the strength and wonder that Jesus Christ can work even in the darkest of times. My family’s thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.
You wife was an amazing woman – constantly supporting and encouraging me (and so many of her storkie sisters) even though she had never met me. She will never be forgotten. Praying for you and your beautiful little family during this difficult time.
I am one of the “strangers” who saw the post on a friend’s facebook page. I have been praying for you and your family everyday since I started reading. You have touched so many people through your blog. God will continue to have his arms around you and your family.
When everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart
YouÂ´re the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find you mighty and strong
You keep holding on
You keep holding on
I will continue to pray for you and your family. I pray that God will give you the strength to get through everyday.
Another Storkie popping in to give my condolences. I am so sorry for your loss. Your faith is truly amazing to me and I have no doubt that it will see you through this. Best wishes for you and your family!
Am so sorry for your loss Brad….at a loss for words. Will continue praying for you and the family. May you rest in his love.
Brad, I’m so sorry for this tragic loss of your wife. You are such an example of faith, strength and endurance. You have been an example of ‘Job’! Through everything you have maintained your faith and hope and stood firm on your beliefs. That has touched so many people. My heart still aches for you and words cannot express how sorry I am for you and your [and Stephanie’s’] family. I will continue to pray for you Brad. Just keep being the strong person that you are. Your Brother-in-Christ, Rick
We are so, so sorry about the loss of Stephanie.
Although Rica and I don’t know you (outside my brief visit in the hospital with you) and we didn’t get the chance to know Stephanie… what you are going through has touched our hearts and we feel pain for you and have prayed for you. May your heart, mind and soul feel God’s powerful presence and sustaining hand.
love in Christ,
We will continue to pray for your family in the days ahead. God is faithful and he will give you the strength to get through each & every new day. Your journey through this life has been changed but our God is unchangeable and he knows the plans He has for you.
I am not sure if you remember me but Halle modeled my monkey hat a while back. I am so so sorry for your loss. My heart aches deeply for you, Brady and Halle. Stephanie was such a wonderful person. You are in my prayers. My 4 year old even said a prayer for you all before bed tonight. I think God is really using you and Stephanie. I know people who usually don’t pray have started praying through all of this. Don’t stop blogging b/c I do believe people will still read. I know I check it multiple times a day!! So many people have come to care about you through your words. Again, I am so so sorry for your loss. :(
You don’t know me, but I saw the post on one of my friends FB Page and have been following ever since. Words cannot express how deeply sorry I am for you and your families tragic loss of Stephanie. I admire your openess and how strong you have stayed during all of this. I can’t tell you how many nights I would sit up and read your blogs praying that she would get better. Then finding out tonight that she passed away today truly broke my heart even though I didn’t know her. I’ll keep praying for you, your children and both families. God will help you through this.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Ps. 34:18
Our hearts and prayers are with you. So sorry for your loss, and so glad that you and Stephanie had the time and love together that is so evident throughout all your posts. May God be with you through these times and for always.
I have been following your story from a friend’s post on Facebook. I am truly sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you and your family.
There are no words. Nothing could possibly ease the pain you are going through. From the bottom of my heart I am so very sorry for your profound loss. I’m sure “how” and “why” will cross your mind way too often in the coming days…weeks…months…just know that you have touched SO many people with your open heart and loving words for your wife and God. So many people you never even met! In your heartfelt posts, it was obvious you had a love for Stephanie that I believe many couples never achieve even after 25 or 50 years of marriage. It is an amazing and inspiring love and something to truly cherish! Prayers will continue for you, your babies and yours and Stephanie’s families. God Bless!
Brad, my heart breaks for you. I am struggling to think of the world without Stephanie and how much more you must be feeling. I hadn’t posted a favorite memory of Stephanie when you asked for them. I kept trying to think of something that would make you laugh but my memories are of how sweet she was, how loving she was. She put so much time into the little things, the details. How thoughtful she was! I remember one year in bible study she had made these little easter baskets for all us girls. I still have the little bunny finger puppet she included. I am reminded of how much love she put into us and building us up. There were so many things that she did to make each time special when we were with her. I’m sure that she did the same for you and her children. I’m sure she showed you a thousand times more how much she loved you and Brady and Halle. Know that she will be deeply missed. My prayers are with you and your family.
Brad, I began praying for you and your family at the request of John Hnat, a friend I went to school with. I too lost a niece this summer to a short, but deadly, bout with cancer. She left a loving husband and two children, just a bit older than yours. All I can say is that with the help of God, family, and friends, I hope you keep putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, moving forward to honor your wife’s life and to continue to help the legacy she left in her children flourish. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. May God keep you all safe. God bless you all. . .
Dear Brad, Even though I’ve never met you and your beloved wife, I feel as if I know you. I’m so sorry for your loss. So many people prayed for a Miracle, sadly God needed her “IN HIS HOUSE” Whatever emotions you feel at any given moment are okay. Do not beat yourself up over how you’re feeling. It will take as much time as you need to deal with all of your emotions. Hold on to your children. They will bring you much comfort. You are blessed that God picked you to be Stephanie’s husband and for her to be the Mother of your children. In an earlier post, you said you aren’t strong, you are. The openness of your love for Stephanie and the love of God shines through. I know that Stephanie felt your love and you felt hers. I just wish she could have read all of your posts. Please keep posting so we all can see how you are doing. Love to you and your family
I foolishly admit that I wailed on the way home from work tonight. I have no other term for it to make it sound more delicate/beautiful. I wailed…and God wept with me…as the tears rolled down my face and I cried out…the rain fell as I drove along the highway…and I just knew by the Holy Spirit that God was mourning with me for you and your children. I KNOW you are struggling right now. I know there is anger and confusion and pain. I know that Stephanie is with Jesus and she is in no more pain. She is as perfect as God intended her and all man-kind to be before the fall. She is in no pain, she feels the best she’s ever felt…and more loved than she has ever known. But that is not where the battle lies… The battle lies with those of us left behind to deal with the emptiness of Stephanie’s presence. I strangely enough can say even I miss her presence having never met her. Brad, God has given me more than an empathetic heart for you and your family. It is as though He is allowing me and wants me to mourn with you. I know I can never understand your pain or what you are going through… but I am definitely mourning your loss…and I am mourning the loss for your children… But I do not mourn Stephanie. I know she, like you said, has begun her eternal life in her eternal good home. Let your brothers and sisters in Christ hold you up…let us pray for you/over you…and where you feel insufficient…we are uplifting you in prayer. We love you… and tonight (for me), crying with God, was the closest to Him I’ve felt in a long time. I know that is not comforting for you, and if it was Ken…I would probably be selfish myself and keep him with me instead of creating a blog that affected the lives of MANY. I can’t get this verse out of my mind…
“1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
I know you are by no means ready for this verse in it’s entirety, neither would I be… but I ask you to focus on this one part, “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our FAITH”.
May the Lord flood your heart with peace that surpasses all understanding…overwhelm you with His perfect Love…and send the Great Comforter to you…may He have His hand over you and your family…and protect you…especially from spiritual attack… May God be near you and may He hold you in His unconditional open loving arms, as He now holds Stephanie. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
With so much love and sorrow,
May the blessings from the result of such devastation and tragedy flow upon you and may grace and peace find you brother.
Peace be with you.
Brad, if I may say one more thing. I do believe strongly that God allows Stephanie to see down and to see what is going on here on earth…and I know she sees your pain and is also praying for you and both of your children.
Brad, I don’t know what to say to comfort you right now. I don’t think there is anything I could say – we just have to go through the grief one day at a time. Others have said that a faith unexamined is not worth having, and I believe this is true. God understands that this world and his mind are not easy for us to grasp, and he knows that difficult times are even harder. He doesn’t want us to pretend those times will never come, but he will give us strength to get through them. Benjamin and I are here for you when you need us.
Stay stong, stay faithful, God has a plan!
Brad, I didn’t know you or your wife but have been reading your blog and comments left on my friends Facebook pages. I am extremely sorry for you loss. I can not imagine what you are going through so I wont pretend that I do. Just know that I am praying for you and your two little ones. And you will see your beautiful wife everytime you look at your two gorgeous children.
Father, God, we lift up Brad, Brady and Halle to You. You alone know the depths of their pain. You alone have the ability to comfort with Your still, small voice. We pray comfort beyond measure right now and in the come minutes, hours, days and weeks. We pray wisdom in sharing with the children and in how to meet their needs. We pray hope when everything seems hopeless. We pray rest when sleep will not come, and a filling from You when everything feels empty. We pray that You will cover them in the shadow of Your wings, that You will give them an incredible, tangible sense of Your presence when He and they feel alone. We pray you meet the needs of Brady and Halle where they are at, in a way that they can comprehend. We pray that they will sense Your comfort, too, though they are too young to understand. We lift up Stephanie’s family, who has lost a child, a sister, a friend. We lift up Brad’s family, who has also lost a daughter and a soul mate for their son. We lift up the many people who have loved her and who grieve her loss, too. We ask that You bring many miracles from this. We ask that You be glorified in amazing ways. And we ask that you allow Brad especially to see that and that it would bring him bits of comfort in his immense pain. We thank You that You are good, though we cannot understand Your ways. We trust You. Help us when we doubt. Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen
I can only imagine what you are going through. Be strong, you and your children will be in our prayers.
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