I was gone for a while one afternoon this week and when I returned, Steve told me he had sad news. Susan had called, and Stephanie was gone...passed away suddenly early Saturday morning. There was a sadness in his voice...for the years gone by, for the trip we didn't make to see her, and I'm sure for the flood of memories of happier times.
The Newlyweds....Stephanie & Steve
Steve was married to Stephanie for 10 years. You can't have someone like Steph walk into your life and be there for that long, without the threads of those years intertwining with those memories that will never be forgotten.
It was Christmas, 1976, just a few months after Steve & Stephanie were married, when she brought her three daughters home to Mom & Dad's, & we immediately fell in love with them & embraced them as part of our family. Jeff was only 3 weeks old and I remember Stehanie and the girls taking care of him for me...the girls holding him like he was a little doll baby.
My nieces--Lorinda, Karin Jean, & Susan
Steve & Stephanie lived in Colorado for several years & most holidays both of our families would head to Kansas to celebrate the occasions with Mom & Dad. I'm sure we were a tremendous amount of work for Mom, but she never complained & was always happy to have us there. Stephanie absolutely loved Mom's cooking. I remember her sneaking into the laundry room where Mom kept the stash of cookies,cakes & candy, and Stephanie would have herself a late night snack.
Their "official" wedding photograph....in Colorado
She could be so silly, so much fun...& then her mood would change. She would disappear into her bedroom, sometimes for hours or even the rest of the night, leaving us to wonder what had happened.
We didn't understand Stephanie's problems until much later. You see, she was a troubled woman, suffering from depression, later being diagnosed as "Bipolar". And at that time we didn't understand.
Susan, our Karen, Lorinda & Karin Jean
Steve & Stephanie made a move from Colorado to Ohio for a few months. We thought they would be near enough that we could visit more often. But shortly after Thanksgiving, they moved to California. And in a few years they were unable to continue together so went there separate ways. Steve loved Stephanie & her girls, but he could no longer live with her problems.
Life continued for Steph, her girls grew up, and somehow Susan ended up moving to Nashville, Tennessee, just 4 hours away from us! We always wanted the girls to be part of our family, and many times Susan would come home for Christmas. Eventually, both Karin & Lorinda moved to Nashville & continue to live there.
The time came when because of another physical problem, Stephanie could no longer live alone. Dear, sweet Susan took her in to her own home and devoted herself to taking care of her Mom the last several years. Just a little over 2 weeks ago it was necessary for Stephanie to go to a Nursing Home for around the clock care, the girls thinking they might have her for another 6 months.
But our Heavenly Father had another plan. Susan had planned on leaving this week for Italy for the Christmas holidays and now she won't have to worry about her Mom's care while she is gone. Steph is resting safely in Heaven, and her daughters can have the hope of seeing her again someday. Lorinda, Karin & Jeremiah, & Susan
just after Karen Lynn's wedding
I'm glad we kept in touch down through the years. Until just a few years ago, I would always get a Christmas card from Stephanie. We loved her for who she was, and we loved her daughters as our own nieces, and still do. There were many good times during those ten years, and now we choose to dwell on the happy memories.
Since Steve came here, we have been talking of making a trip to Nashville to see the girls & Stephanie. Now we have delayed the trip & hope to go for a little visit to get reacquainted after the first of the year.
In memory of Marguerite Stephanie...age 64...way too young to have to leave this old world.