Times

I am just back after an afternoon of discussing the funeral service at church, and also discussing things at the funeral home. Most of the “big” details are sorted. I know some of you have been asking for times for everything, locations, etc. I now have those. They will be posted in the Plain Dealer on Saturday as well, but here they are for those who don’t go that route (which I bet is most of you).

First of all, I am really pleased with how the service is scheduled to go. It’s going to serve as a bookend to our marriage and reflect our wedding ceremony in ways that will really mean a lot to me. We will be celebrating Stephanie’s life, as well as praising God for Who He is and all He has done for us. The two pastors who married us will be involved in this service – something for which I am so thankful. I won’t detail everything here, but I think Stephanie would be so glad with how it’s going to go.

The viewing hours will be this weekend at Nosek Funeral Home in Brecksville, Ohio. On Saturday, October 16, the hours will be 5-7pm and on Sunday, October 17, they will be 2-6pm. We opted for as many hours as possible in anticipation of the number of people that we expect will come.

The funeral service will be held at Parma Heights Baptist Church in Parma Heights, Ohio (across from Parmatown Mall) on Monday, October 18 at 10am. I appreciate any of you that want to come, but I know many of you will be there in spirit if not in body, and I thank you for that, as well.

25 thoughts on “Times”

  1. I will certainly be keeping you and your family in prayer. However, I will not be able to be there in body. I'm so sorry for your loss, and pray for the Peace of Christ to touch your family deeply.

  2. Sorry we cannot be there. I am sending a package for you and your family – to your parents house. It sounds like the service will be a beautiful celebration.

  3. I just heard about your blog through friends from Malone, where I graduated as well. I read every post with beyond an aching heart. I have seen a lot of tragedy lately amongst wonderful people who LOVE the Lord! There is a young family in my church, the mother is 29 years old, and was just diagnosed with Liver cancer and is being given 2-4 weeks to live. I have NOT been able to stop thinking about this family and how it COULD be me….could be anyone. They have four young children and all the things you wrote about I have thought about on their behalf. I know it does not help to know you are not alone…because it’s NOT fair!!!! Here is a little story for you: I recently met (a week ago) with our associate pastor at our church because I am so disturbed by what is happening to this mother, named Julie. I asked him WHY God does not use him amazing power to perform more miracles and show others his glory!!! (much like what you were describing about miracles that would undeniably be from God). Pastor Todd told me that we can only think of life from a human perspective and that to God, it’s just delaying the inevitable. See to God whether we are here 30 years or 100 is still NOTHING! Again, hard to grasp in our basic human minds. He also said that it’s also b/c God wants us focused on the BIG picture….not that He promises life on this earth will be easy, but that we have HIS promise of eternal life when this crazy ride is done. I had this in depth talk about death with Pastor Todd last week…he tragically died on Monday, at age 48. I felt that it was in God’s plan for my life to meet with Todd and have that discussion before he died. Maybe for me, maybe to pass something onto you to ponder…I don’t know, but I have seen God working through these tragedies. Even though I do not know you, I will pray for you and your children. I can’t imagine what the months/years have in store for you. You are living what is close to my worst nightmare, and I am sorry for that. I pray that you will continue to feel God’s love in the coming years and that in time….he will show you the reason for this tragedy….and that in time….you will be able to find SOME peace that your precious baby…..is happier now than she could have ever been here on this ugly thing we call earth.

    Sending love and prayers….

    Nicole…..

  4. We are very sorry that you have lost Stephanie. I can’t imagine anything any sadder than what you are facing, but I do know you just have to take one day at a time. Don’t feel as though you have to “move on” right away. These days will be hectic, maybe even this week but you need to take time to grieve.

    This is the verse God showed me when my father died that helped me through the next few months and I’d like to share it with you: “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. (Nahum 1:7)

    You are in our prayers.

  5. I will certainly be keeping you and your family in prayer. However, I will not be able to be there in body. I'm so sorry for your loss, and pray for the Peace of Christ to touch your family deeply.

  6. Brad, Thank you for the e-mail. I sent you an e-mail back, but it was returned. Even though I don’t know you, does it matter? What matters is how we treat our fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ! I want to do something to help you. Words just don’t seem to be enough during this time. I will be at the funeral home on Sunday afternoon, but not sure I can make it on Monday. Love to you and your family.

  7. Brad,
    I am so sorry for what you had to experience today. I can’t imagine planning the details of my husband’s funeral. I am so heart broken for you and the children. I keep struggling with what happened to Stephanie…and I come back to “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” He loves you so much and will never forsake you, I know how much you love Steph. Your love for Stephanie will endure forever as well. I am so glad to have known her, the blessing far outweighs the hurt and I thank God for loving me enough to let me cross paths with Stephanie.

  8. I saw a prayer request from a friend on Facebook, and I’m sorry to say that my prayers for you didn’t start until yesterday – so the prayers are more for you and your little ones than for Stephanie, as she’d already passed when I read the request.

    Please know that you are a testament to what faith in God can do to a person’s strength. My heart broke as I read your blogs backwards, but it made me smile to see your strength. God is using you as an encouragement to the many people who will read your story.

    I also smiled about the fact that you described your last day with Stephanie as a relaxing one where you got to talk and be together. I’m sure that was part of God’s plan – to give you that precious time together.

    And, as a soon-to-be mom, I can only imagine how much comfort you will find in your children in the weeks to come. You have two little angels that are half Stephanie, and as they get older, you will see more and more of her in your children. Plus, you will get to share the story of how their mom saved many lives through her own gift.

    When reality returns, and everything hits home, I pray that you will reread what you have written, as well as what others have written to you, and see God’s marvelous plan. You truly are an inspiration. Thank you.

  9. Hi Brad

    I’ve been reading your posts for over a week now, and I wondered if I might be able to share a few thoughts with you.

    First, a lovely memory of Stephanie that I have:
    When I was a sophomore in high school, I had mono quite badly and was out of school for nearly 4 months. Because of this, I was able to do very little socially, and for a 15 year old, that’s heart breaking. I was at youth group one Sunday and Stephanie came up to me (after being informed by my mom, no doubt) and told me that she, too, once had mono and she sat and shared with me how horrible it was for her. Up until that point, I didn’t really feel like anyone cared about my being sick or how lonely I felt since I was stuck in my bedroom all day. She took the time to relate to me. But she didn’t stop there….she brought me movies to watch (she picked ones I’d never seen before!), brought cookies over, cooked with me, and spent TIME with me. I never shared with her how much that meant to me…how much it meant for a super cool 22 year old to spend time with a geeky 15 year old– to listen, encourage, and shower with kindness. She was a gentle soul with a spirit of generosity and love–plain, simple, basic love.

    Secondly, since I began reading your posts, my mind, heart, and stomach has been FILLED with thoughts, sorrow, fear, anger, sadness, and pain for you, the children, and your family. I’ve been overcome with emotions over your situation….and yet your posts still depict a steadfast faith in Christ. I don’t understand this. I guess you can say that my relationship with God is mediocre at best. “Lukewarm,” and we all know how God feels about lukewarm. The downward spiral began a little over two years ago when some very important relationships in my life were destroyed. I was angry…I hated God. Maybe I still do. But then I think about you and your family and the nightmare you are dealing with right now, and I think how much “worse” it is for you, yet at the end of the day, you’re still able to glorify God. This is foreign to me.

    The first time I prayed–TRULY prayed–in a very long time was this past Saturday morning during the prayer vigil you were having for Stephanie. I was driving to work, which only takes about 10 minutes, but I sat in my car once I arrived and continued to pray. That evening, I drove from Columbus to Cleveland for the weekend, and spent the entire hour and a half praying and crying and hoping for your family. I haven’t done that in a long time…I’m talking years. Those moments moved me. And it made me realize I miss prayer. I miss worship. I miss God.

    Finally, I wanted to share a song lyric with you. I know that many people have sent you songs, but I wanted to focus in on one part of a song. Musical worship was always something very personal for me, so as I drove to Cleveland on Saturday evening, I put on a Hillsong United album that I haven’t listened to in ages, and the song “You’ll Come” moved me deeply regarding your situation. The song lyric that stuck out to me was:

    “Mighty deliverer,
    Our triumph and truth,
    We wait upon You Lord!

    Surely as the sun will rise
    You’ll come to us;
    Certain as Your word endures!

    You’ll come,
    Let Your glory fall
    As You respond to us

    Spirit, rain!
    Flood into our thirsty hearts again”

    I haven’t been in the word much, lately, Brad. But I know that I know that I know that God’s word is truth, and we can call Him on His truth. I WILL continue to pray for you, Stephanie’s parents and siblings, your children, your parents and siblings, and all of your relatives who are shocked by this tragedy. This cannot be easy. I understand all too well the feeling of waking up every morning, thinking it was all a nightmare, thinking that life is “back to normal” now, only to be hit with the devastation that there is no more “normal.”

    And I will pray that that feeling won’t last forever for you. I will pray that one day, you’ll wake up and feel peace. I will pray that one day, you’ll wake up and you will feel okay.

  10. Brad,
    I wish I could be there for the services, because even though I do not “know” you or Stephanie, I feel like I do. I wish I could offer my condolences in person and tell you how sorry I am that this has happened to you and your family. I will be there in spirit and I will be praying for you, Brady, Halle, and for your families and friends. I know that these next few days are going to be very hard. You will be in my thoughts and prayers throughout all of the services and beyond…

  11. Hey Brad,
    I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and your family during this difficult time. I work in an ICU at the Cleveland Clinic and see so many sad stories. It breaks my heart to hear your story. I just got done listening to What Faith Can do by Kutless. One of the main phrases of the song is Miracles Can Happen. I just kept praying that one would happen. Even though it was not in God’s plan for Stephanie to live, God will use this story to reach out to many people. Brad, God will remain right by your side forever. Keep seeking Him in all you do.

    In Christ, Walt

  12. First of all, I want to say my heart is broken for you, your children, and your family. There are no words that one can say to ease your pain. You don’t know me, we have a mutual friend, Brooke Van Houtan, and she forwarded me your blog. I know all too well everything you are feeling. My husband, Luke, unexpectedly died from a heart attack on March 29th. He was only 35. I was 33. I have 2 children 15, and 9. There is nothing I can say that will make you feel better, I know that. For me, it has been 6 months and reality is just now sinking in. I was so busy with taking care of everything, I wasn’t really dealing with the reality of the situation. My advice to you, is take your time, and heal. Study God’s word daily. Be with your kids and be the best dad you know how to be. Sometimes that’s not easy, but they need you more than you realize. I took off 3+ months this summer, but it wasn’t enough, I still have unfinished business to attend to . I feel lost sometimes because my husband was the compass to our family, and I am still trying to figure out where to go from here. I am not going to tell you that it’s easy, because it’s the hardest thing you will ever go through. Thank God, for his faithfulness to us, I can’t imagine how people manage to cope with this without the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Just know I am praying for you and your family, and hoping you know, you are not alone. May God grant you peace in the surrounding chaos that will be this next week. May God continue to minister through your website and your blog. It’s a great tool that God is using to reach others. God Bless you and your family for the hard road ahead, that thank Goodness leads to Heaven with our loved ones, someday.

    Sonya Grayson

  13. A little over a year ago I lost my husband and I always thought losing him was the one thing that would kill me. He was 28. I was 26. We were at an amazing point in our marriage and the best was only getting better. We were both walking closer and closer to God every day and I remember the Sunday before he died thinking how awesome God was because of what he was doing in both of us. Our children were 3 and 1 at the time. But where I thought God was taking us wasn’t what God had in mind. God had something greater in mind. Seven people that we know of accepted Christ either at his funeral or because of converations sparked because of his life and death. God has held my children and I so close this past year, we miss him so deeply and I cannot say that it is easier now than it was a year ago. My heart physically hurts….my children both come to me and ask if it is time to go to heaven. But in the midst of all the pain and hurt; God has never left our side just as He will never leave you. I find that in the days that are the worst I am so focused on myself and not looking up to my God. When I stay focused on Him and trust in Him, every day seems a little easier. God will give you your daily bread, whether that is strength, or an extra measure of love, or His boundless grace in abundance. I have found that there is no gap left behind by my husband that God does not fill. He sends uncles to spend time with my children so they have positive father figures in their life. He sends people to meet our needs no matter what we encounter. Most of all He blesses us with a loving family that is even closer now. Walk each day out with Him, it will feel some days like it takes everything you have, but you will survive.
    Trust in Him. Submit to Him. Be broken before Him.

    One day all the pain will be gone and we will be in His presence….one day.
    1 Thess. 4:13-18

  14. Dear Brad,

    I love you’

    You and Stephanie are together forever this day, every day and for all eternity.
    praise God from Whom all blessings flow— and for the blessing that was your sweet wife that you shared with us. love always, Aunt Jackie— my body is not strong enough to be there but my spirit is. Please,hon, sit down during the calling hours–I learned the hard way. Jesuss holds us when we are still.

  15. Hi Brad!

    God Bless you and your children! My great friend Penny shared your blog with me. My heart goes out to you and your family in ways you could probably never fully imagine.

    As you know it is so incredibly painful when someone is taken from this world “before their time”. Stephanie sounds like a wonderful woman, wife, mother. I am sorry I never got to know her. There are plans that God has for them that we cannot even imagine, as I am sure you know. My father was taken fairly unexpectedly at a younger age as well.

    But even more closely to my heart is Stephanie and her daily battles. My son is 7. Deathly allergic to many foods. Had a seizure at age 5 suddenly in the middle of the night with very high fever. IT was unexpected and I was unprepared – especially as we live in China. There is no 911 and ambulances will only respond to a call once they’ve finished their card game, dinner or snack. Or woken from a nap maybe.

    Anyway. My son has had 3 siezures (to our knowledge) in 3 years. I live in fear. He sleeps in our room, I often sleep with him. He cannot always distinguish when an Aura happens, because he is so young. I constantly ask him how he feels, headache, stomach ache, stress.

    You are living my daily fear, and for that I am so sorry. I am sending you the biggest Cyber hug ever to you and your kids. I know it’s been a long and difficult road. Your beautiful spirit and faith will protect you and keep you on the road to recovery.

    Take care, and know there’s a world of people who love you and and your kids, even though you may not have ever met us. Know that Stephanie has made sure that people are in your lives to help all three of you in more ways than you can imagine.

    Warmly
    Pamela

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