Sadness

I’m sure that title goes without saying, but I don’t have a better one for this post. Eight o’clock tonight marked my final moment to say “goodbye” to Stephanie. That’s when the LifeBanc (organ donation) folks wheeled her away. There’s some consolation that lives are being saved, and neither of us would have it any other way. (Though, right now, that consolation is less than I know it will be in the future.) I know if I was on the other end, it would be a vastly different story.

My story is still a horrible nightmare to me. I can’t seem to believe this is happening, let alone to me. Nothing feels real right now. That’s probably a good thing, and probably God’s way of protecting me. It’s going to take some time to know what I’m doing, so a slow progression of realizing what’s actually happening is of great benefit to me, I’m sure.

It’s probably going to be a long night for me tonight, and the next few days likely won’t be better. I want to take the opportunity to thank you all again for your prayers and understanding and patience and kindness over the last days. I also have been encouraged to keep writing. I feel selfish again thinking about that, but I’m not sure what else to write about besides my journey through life. And like I said, I feel that we all do well to share our stories with others to learn from and experience God through them. I guess we’ll see where things lead, if people really want to stick around. Thanks, again, though. I’ll try not to be a downer or a whiner too much.

86 thoughts on “Sadness”

  1. Prayed with tears for you this morning. Thinking of the "someday" when you truly get to see the fullness of the waves of love and support that went up during this time over you, your precious little ones and family. Until then we will keep praying with all our hearts and carrying each of you. We love you. In Him. ♥

  2. Although it is horribly sad (such an understatement) that Stephanie is gone, but, how joyous to know that she is filling so many other people's lives with hope and happiness for their sick loved ones — whomever they may be. What joy. What a legacy she has left. What a legacy you must conitnue. No pressure here, Brad, but your daily words give so many people strength and courage and a new outlook on how to live their (my) lives!

  3. Brad, I dont even know what to say…I wish I could come up with some magical healing words to make life and this who thing 100% better for you…I cant find them…All I can say is that I am sorry and wish there was something I could do. I have prayed for you and your family and it wont stop! You have so many friends and supports God put them there for a reason so take advantage of them when its time. And please…be awhiner and a downer…no one here minds that…God Bless you Brad!

  4. I don't know how you can write under these circumstances and sound as rational as you do. Keep up the faith brother! You will see her again some day and there will be no more tears! He has conquered even death!

  5. I think your blog is amazingly touching, expressing your emotions in words is a true gift you have. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss my heart just broke for you with each entry. Your children are blessed to have you, peace be with you.

  6. Although it is horribly sad (such an understatement)​ that Stephanie is gone, but, how joyous to know that she is filling so many other people's lives with hope and happiness for their sick loved ones — whomever they may be. What joy. What a legacy she has left. What a legacy you must conitnue. No pressure here, Brad, but your daily words give so many people strength and courage and a new outlook on how to live their (my) lives!

  7. So sorry for your loss! I know it’s been said a million times, things don’t seem like they are. You are probably hoping this is one bad dream, or you are in someone else’s body watching all this. I’m sorry, truly am. Will still keep you in prayers, and my heart truly breaks for you and your children.

  8. My husband and I have, and will continue to pray for strength, wisdom, understanding and peace in these terrible and difficult days for you and your families.

  9. Dear Brad, No one will think you are a whiner. So many people love and care for you and now we all want to know how you are doing. Whether you are “down or whining” is not an issue. You have touched people in ways you will never know. Hearts are breaking right along with yours. As women, we want to be able to fix things, and we know we can’t BUT God is God and he will give you the strength to carry on. And when you don’t want to carry on, that’s okay also.God loves you so much. Be gentle with yourself. Love to you, your family and Stephanie’s family

  10. This shows how human we all truly are. Every emotion you’ve experienced/expressed, and have yet to experience is normal. Please don’t feel guilty. We are all here to pray for you and your family, and to help you through this time. As you write, your helping people all over the world. I am currently in Japan with my family for another year, so your receiving prayers around the clock. You sharing your feelings, memories, scriptures, has done nothing but give my friends and family strength and hope that one day we can be as strong of a christian as you are. Your in all of our thoughts and prayers, and will continue to be.

  11. Dear Brad,
    I’ve cried so many tears for you and Stephanie. I will continue to hold you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. With love, Jan

  12. I am so truly sorry for your loss. Your family has been on my mind constantly and I will be praying for you and your children. Your posts have forever touched me and I hope you continue to write and share with us. I will never look at my life the same and I am honored to have had a glimpse into the love of you and your wife.

  13. Hi Brad,

    We don’t know eachother. I was forwarded your blog from my girlfriend who ran across it from one of her friends. I’m sorry for your loss. I lost my mom 13 years ago and to this day, I can still hear in my head the sound my dad made when he lost her….when we all lost her. Your love for your wife is inspiring…so much so that I wanted to write and say “I’m sorry”. God works in mysterious ways. I can imagine how difficult this is for you but you have two kids who need you. Stay strong and know that you have friends (and complete strangers) praying for you and willing to do whatever to help. God bless!!!

  14. Brad,
    I think it is great that you feel okay to continue writing. I am sure that most would agree that we feel humbled to come along side your journey…even if it is just through reading your thoughts. Your transparency and openness are being used by God is such powerful ways. Thank you for not shutting down. We will keep reading along and praying for you everyday.
    I will pray that you find rest tonight.

  15. Brad,

    I seem to remember a whole bunch of us saying we weren’t getting off of this bus. It wasn’t, “We aren’t getting off this bus until this situation is resolved one way or another,” or “We aren’t getting off of this bus if you start to sound like you’re feeling down.” It was simply, “We aren’t getting off of this bus.” As long as you feel that you want to share your journey with us, then please rest assured that there will be many of us here to listen, to pray, and to support you.

    I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to glimpse a part of your journey. Through your thoughts and the comments left here, I’ve been reminded of many things, learned some new things, and had some of the things I already knew reinforced. I second what Ryan said in his post when he talked of feeling “humbled to come along side your journey…”

    Still praying,

    Denise

  16. There are many of us on this bus with you, and we’re not budging until the ride has come to a full and complete stop and there’s no time limit or restrictions on that. I’m a friend of a friend, but you have been on my mind and in my prayers all week so I think you’re kind of stuck with me for a bit.

    There is nothing whiny about anything you say. I have been humbled and awed by your ability to continue to praise Him even at the height of your suffering. I can say with certainty that if our situations were reversed, I would not be quite as clear in that regard. God obviously needed his daughter home with him and he must have some awesome plans for you, for Him to take the unfathomable step of taking Stephanie from you.

    She must be so very proud of you, watching you put one foot in front of the other and manage as well as you have.

    With love in Him,

    Kim

  17. Prayed with tears for you this morning. Thinking of the "someday" when you truly get to see the fullness of the waves of love and support that went up during this time over you, your precious little ones and family. Until then we will keep praying with all our hearts and carrying each of you. We love you. In Him. ♥

  18. Helping at PHCA a lot, I knew Stephanie only as that sweet young lady I would run into over in the church office. Her smile and laugh were unforgetable, so it’s easy to see how you adore her. Brad, I like so many others, want to thank you for openly sharing this journey laid out before you. As I read (and cried, and prayed for you) this week and a half, the vision in my mind’s eye was of Stephanie’s hospital room and the waiting room, the nurses’ station and all, being raised up out of the earth by the hands of the Holy Spirit and held out in front of the face of God. I know you feel God’s presence; He is seen in every word that you write, and I pray you’re feeling the warmth of His arms around you now and mostly in the days and months to come.

    I’m praying for you like Elisha did when the army came to kill him and his servant was so distraught that Elisha prayed “Lord, open his eyes” and he saw the hills full of angels on horses and chariots of fire. It must be His angels under each arm that are holding you up through this devastation. I praise Him for your transparent heart and for everyone whose faith has been strengthened or who came into the faith because of who you are in Christ. Your journey has affected so many of us who have been blinded by this world.

    Praying for His strength in you!
    Laura Anderson

  19. If it helps… think of everyone getting a phone call this second letting them knoow the heart, lungs, liver, eyes, kidneys etc. they have been desperately waiting and praying for is here. How many lives Stephaie just saved. I am incredibly sorry for your loss, but between this blog and Stephanie’s organs you saved many lives through all this. Most of the people who will be “saved” from this tragedy you will never know about

    1. Dearest Brad,

      I am another “you don’t know me” person and I am also still on the bus. Thank you for your transparency. Like so many who are following you I cried when I read the last few posts. And my prayer for you and your children is that you will continuously be touched by those people who you have impacted and those have now received your precious gifts of Stephanie’s organs.

      I encourage you to read the stories of organ donations and you will find that recipients find that they “know” the person who donated to them – some type of spiritual connection. And that their hearts can actually be changed by this. http://myangelfoundation.org/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCpB4jTJ7vU.

      And one day, one glorious day when you wake up in heaven greeted by Stephanie’s laughter, you will also meet all of us who have been changed by your experience.

      God promises He will NEVER leave us. He has raised up an army of souls to also walk with you as you travel the tunnel of grief.

      I believe that this army is Stephanie’s last and greatest gift to you because it is from her prayers over the years for you & your children, that God has brought all of us to this place.

      God bless you, my brother.

  20. Brad, I really like your blogs. Again, so unbelievably sorry for your loss. I hope u can continue to be strong and know that she is still with you, just not in the physical sense.

  21. Although it is horribly sad (such an understatement) that Stephanie is gone, but, how joyous to know that she is filling so many other people's lives with hope and happiness for their sick loved ones — whomever they may be. What joy. What a legacy she has left. What a legacy you must conitnue. No pressure here, Brad, but your daily words give so many people strength and courage and a new outlook on how to live their (my) lives!

  22. Brad, I dont even know what to say…I wish I could come up with some magical healing words to make life and this who thing 100% better for you…I cant find them…All I can say is that I am sorry and wish there was something I could do. I have prayed for you and your family and it wont stop! You have so many friends and supports God put them there for a reason so take advantage of them when its time. And please…be awhiner and a downer…no one here minds that…God Bless you Brad!

  23. Those that knew Stephanie cry with profound sadness. And yet, I can not think about Stephanie without also thinking about those that are going to receive that lifesaving phone call that a precious woman in Ohio gave of herself so that another could have a chance at life.

  24. Brad,
    I agree with everyone else. I am not going anywhere. I know that I don’t know you or Stephanie personally, but I feel like I do. I have been in tears for days, and will be for the coming days thinking about what you and everyone who knew and loved Stephanie is going through. I will be there in spirit, and my thoughts will continuously be with you, Brady and Halle.
    You do not come across as whiny or a downer. You are facing a reality that is really very hard. I agree with the comment above, that Stephanie is looking down upon you and is very proud of you right now! I truly believe she is watching you, Brady, and Halle and now you have an absolutely beautiful Guardian Angel!! My thoughts and prayers will be with you and everyone else who knew and loved Stephanie!

  25. Brad
    We don’t know each other, I am a complete stranger to you. I had the privilege of working with your brother-in-law, Bill. No words I can say will take away your pain. No words I can say will ever make this situation “make sense.” God truly has a plan as many have said before me. And in His time, He will reveal more and more to you; then the puzzle will start to fit together piece by piece. Always look to Him for your guidance and keep your faith strong. Let Stephanie’s memories keep you going. You have truly spoken to my heart with this blog and I believe spoken to many of us who read your journey. So I want to Thank You for showing me the importance of people in my life and cherishing them each and every moment. We never know how much time we have with them. And also let you know that people everywhere are lifting you up in prayer. God will take care of you and your children, keep Him close to your heart always. Also, reach out to your friends for help, I can see you have many of them. Friends are here to help us each day, especially in times of need. And keep writing, you are truly an inspiration. God Bless.

  26. Brad –

    What a wonderful thing you and Stephanie did to share life with others. You mention things that will come from this tragedy that are good, and this example will be just one instance of MANY.

    Do I think that it make this any better for you, or the kids, or your wonderful families right now – In the short term I can’t fathom it could, and wouldn’t expect it to.

    The news of Stephanie passing yesterday was a sadness to us all, and will continue to be. I had some good advise yesterday to leave work, feel the pain, and go to somewhere beautiful to absorb it all and see the beauty that is out there. For me, it helped – it helped to clear my mind and think of what Stephanie may have wanted all us us to take and learn from your loss. I have taken so much from your journey, so much I need more than a day to act on it – but we all have a wonderful opportunity to personally take something from this experience. To know God, or know him better, to talk to your spouse about those tough questions, to love more, stronger and with all our hearts, to not take for granted one single moment, to listen to others with an open heart and ears and understand what they may need or what they are going through.

    Please know that we are all continually inspired by your courage, by your faith. We also know that you are going through the most tremendous loss right now, and if you need to stop writing, that’s OK. We all have been inspired by your love your words, and this is an avenue where we can know you and Stephanie better, but we also only want what is best for you right now, so if you want to stop driving the proverbial bus for a bit – we would all understand.

    With heartfelt sorrow for all our loss, know we are here for you in whatever capacity you could use. I’m so very sorry Brad. We all loved her – even those who knew her just through your wonderful words.

  27. Again, not going anywhere. And you can whine all you want, whenever you want. You’ve earned that much. We love you, and we are hurting so very badly with you.
    Leslie

  28. Have been and will continue to pray for you, your children, and your extended family. He will bring beauty from ashes.

  29. I am so saddened to hear of Stephanie’s passing yesterday. I was so hopeing and praying for a miracle to save her and bring her back to you and your children. I truly believe that God put Stephanie on this earth for a reason. The most important reason was to be your wife and Brady’s and Halle’s mom. I know it was for such a short time in your life that you shared your journey with her, but look at all the joy and memories that she left behind for you to remember always with – your life together and all your laughter and dancing, and most of all you two beautiful children. Every time you look at Brady and Halle you will see Stephanie and remember a special time, a special something that happened that brought such joy and happiness to your live, and the sadness will turn to a smile just remembering.
    I know its going to be hard, but your faith in God is so important and you live it every moment. Always remember my favorite passage of “Foot Prints In The Sand”, God will carry you thru these hard time to come, he will never leave you, none of us will.
    I have known you for so many years now, and I am so proud to call you my friend. I have watched you grow from a teenager to a man, husband and father, and you have shown us so much love and faith in God all along and have actually helped us be stronger in our faith.
    We will all miss Stephanie, but i believe she is right by your side right now. I believe she is a beauiful guardian angel that God appointed to watch over you and your children (her children), and she will as God will, wrap her loving arms around you and your children and keep you safe. I am so proud of you Brad, and will continue to be. I hope you will keep writing. I have always felt so close to you, and reading your letters make me feel closer.
    My heart goes out to you, Brady, Halle and yours and Stephanie’s familes. My tears haven’t stopped yet, but in time we will all grow to accept this. In the meantime know that we are all hear for you and your family – all you need to do is just reach out, grab on and never let go, for we will never let go of you. We love you. Stay strong, your children need you, and always remember Stephanie is always right by your side, that will never change. Look to God for guidance and you will always find your way. I will always keep you in my heart, and of course if you decide to do so i will continue to read your letters. They have truly helped us all become stronger and closer to you. I am not going anywhere, I am hear if you ever need me.

  30. Brad

    We have been praying with you and your family and will continue to do so! Our heart breaks for you! Stephanie was such a JOY and we will always remember her bright smile. May the peace that surpasses all understanding continue to be with you in the days ahead. Love to you all!
    Sandie

  31. Brad

    LifeBanc is a wonderful organization. I still remember the date five years ago when a very good friend & co-worker received a phone call that he was going to be receiving a new lung. We all rejoiced with him but also realized that someone else was going thru a difficult loss. Praise God that Stephanie’s home going will provide someone else with the breath of new life. COntinue to pray for your family.

  32. my heart aches for you and your family. i am still here as well. lifting you up in prayer daily. i pray that you continue to feel the prayers of your family in Christ. taht the love you sense is udeniable.

  33. Brad, my heart sank when I read Scott’s post on FB this a.m. I’m so sorry that you and your family are going through this valley. Yes, do keep writing. It is cathargic and it does help others especially when it is with the attitude that you have presented. You have given others a realistic view of your struggle to understand what we often cannot understand–why God chooses to heal some in heaven rather than here with us. Our prayers are with you.

  34. I don't know how you can write under these circumstances and sound as rational as you do. Keep up the faith brother! You will see her again some day and there will be no more tears! He has conquered even death!

  35. Please keep writing and sharing. We’ll be here praying for you as you embark on this new journey. (I know that might have sounded bizarre, that sentence.) It’s hard to understand why you and your families must go through this valley time, but we know that our God who is faithful and loves with even greater intensity than we can, will bring you through to the other side and give you peace and comfort beyond all understanding.

  36. We are so very sorry for your tremendous loss, Brad. We will continue to pray for you here in Fort Mill as you begin this new, unplanned chapter in your young life. We pray that you feel the arms of our Lord wrapprd around you as you grieve and move forward. Your precious children will be lifted up in prayer as they adjust to their new normal. God bless you..we are lifting you up.

    Blessings-
    Suzanne and Chad Sheley

  37. Your faith and grace throughout your painful ordeal has been amazing. I’m sure you have made Stephanie proud. I did not know her well, only through my message board, but through your words, I can tell what an amazing wife, mother, and friend she was and what she meant to your family. Please know you have my continued prayers as you embark on a this new journey you are on.

  38. Dear Brad, Our hearts go out to you and your families
    at this time. Thank you for sharing-even some of us
    “older” folks have been inspired by your thoughts.
    We will continue to uphold you in our prayers as you
    travel on this next journey. May the God of all comfort
    place His loving arms around you and give you all a
    peace that passes all understanding. So many people
    across the nation and around the world have been praying and will, I am sure continue to pray for you
    all. God bless you as you have blessed ours.
    Love because of HIM-Bryan and Carol

  39. Brad,
    I’ve only just “met you” through this blog about a week ago, but you and your precious family are the main thing in my thoughts all day long. I cannot imagine what you’re going through. I laid in bed last night not able to sleep because I was thinking of you and your sweet babies and trying to imagine what your night must be like. I am absolutely amazed at your strength through all of this! I am ashamed to say that I don’t know that my faith and trust in God would be as strong if I were in the same situation. God is and will continue to use you because of your testimony! As strong as you are though, don’t hesitate to lean on what sounds to be an amazing support system! Thank you so much for sharing your incredibly tough journey! You are touching more lives than you even know!
    Love in Christ,
    Lisa Thomas

  40. Brad, Through all of this, I found nothing whiny about your posts. You have every right to question and if you want whine. I have been so uplifted by your faith and your love for God. Just because you whine or become angry does not mean that you love God any less. If just proves that you are human. God understands all of our emotions because he gave them to us. The Bible says that we can be Angry but sin not. So let everyone uplift you as you have uplifted us through this process. I want to thank you for allow me (someone you do not know)to take part in your life with Stephanie.
    Love In Christ.
    Lynnette

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