It got to the point where I just had a feeling we were dealing with something different this time. On the night of July 24th I remember exactly where I was when I stopped to say a prayer for her. I prayed that God would relieve her of her suffering and I left it in His hands to decide what that meant. Of course, I wanted her to get better and be able to go home, but I eventually came to realize this was not God's plan for her. So, I stopped praying for what I wanted and I put all of my faith in God. I knew that in His hands she would be fine. Very early the next morning God took her home. In a selfish sort of way I'd like to believe He was waiting for me to show true faith and acceptance in knowing that's He's got this before He took her home.
The year that followed was incredibly difficult. Not only did I lose my best friend; I also retired on disability that same year. Suddenly my friend was gone and so was my job - two major parts of my life. I had a feeling that I would be retiring that year, so before Stephanie passed away I just knew we would be spending more time together. Well, I thought I knew anyway. That clearly was not God's plan. It was time for each of us to move into different phases of our lives, physically apart but spiritually together.
I don't think I ever stopped grieving, but eventually I stopped dwelling on the loss and started focusing on new possibilities. I stopped trying to be the person I was before Stephanie died and I embraced the person I was meant to become.
The following year I decided I was going to make it my annual goal to bring something to life in her memory on the date of her passing. In 2011 I launched StringtownBeads, my Etsy business. In 2012 I unveiled my new and improved blog.
This year I created a lyric video on YouTube. I struggled a lot with making this video, so I kept it simple. I think it turned out for the best. Simple is the way Stephanie lived her life. The song I chose is "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry. I heard this song for the first time on the radio about two weeks after Stephanie passed away. It's almost like she's singing it to me. It touches me deeply every time I hear it.
Stephanie will always be a part of my life and July 25th will always be a significant date to me. I can choose to let it get me down or I can choose to let her inspire me. I choose the latter. Bringing something to life in her memory helps me focus on something positive each year on what could be a difficult date. It is also a way for me to learn new things. The day she died I never imagined I would be able to carry on with my life, but spiritually Stephanie has inspired me to become so much more than I ever was before.