She lives in you, she lives in me…

It’s been over 6 weeks now since I last heard Stephanie’s heartbeat, held her hand, gave her a kiss, or looked into her beautiful and loving eyes.  Those 6 weeks have been excruciating and challenging in more ways than I could ever describe, and so I won’t even try.  I was very hesitant to write another entry on Stephanie’s blog, with it being something she did and in a sense I feel was hers even though I added some entries for her when she couldn’t.  Even as I write this, I’m doubting whether I want to post it or not.  But there are a few things that have nudged me to at least share a few posts, although they won’t be weekly or probably even monthly as time goes by…

The first was something a now very close friend shared with me a little over a week before Stephanie passed.  She sent me a picture of the blog with the title circled.  She said that regardless of the outcome, that the words were perfect because “survival will always be. (…) survival exists no matter which way God calls your family.”  When Stephanie originally wrote those words on her title page, I know she meant it as a physical survival and beating cancer despite the terrible odds stacked against her.  But the fact that she’s gone doesn’t change the fact that she can survive, but only if we choose to help her survive.


The same idea was at the core of her funeral mass.  Our priest here at home challenged everyone when he said: “How are we being called to share our gifts with others? (…) If we want to give fitting testimony, fitting memory of Stephanie, (…) how can I better share what I have, this moment I have, this gift I have, with others?”

Our priest from our previous parish told a story about a musician who was writing a masterpiece and died before completing it, but had told his friends it was up to them to finish it if he wasn’t able.  Our priest said, “What are we going to do about Stephanie’s unfinished masterpiece? (…) What about in a month or several months from now?  Can we, will we all, build on her laughter, her radiating smile, her unrealized dreams? (…) Across the chasm of death, we can make Stephanie live. (…) To remember is to keep alive, to forget is to let die.  Keep remembering.  Keep telling your stories of Stephanie and her life. (…) By the way we live, let us remember to keep Stephanie alive in ourselves, let us all continue the great masterpiece that is Stephanie.”

So that’s my intent in continuing with the occasional blog post.  It isn’t going to be an update on how Sarah and I are getting through life or a way for me share with everyone my grieving or challenges, plentiful as those are. (On a side note, I would encourage anyone who’s been following this blog to follow Stephanie’s best friend since birth who started a blog about grief.  It can be found here: https://benotafraid7.blogspot.com).  Rather, my hope is that in writing occasional posts that I can achieve a few things.  First, I hope I can share with you how I continue to see Stephanie survive in my life.  Next, I hope that you all can use my posts as something to reflect upon to see Stephanie, someone you’ve lost, or God in your life.  Third, I hope that you can post or message the blog (I still get all of the e-mails and notifications for her blog) with any stories about Stephanie either from her life or from how she continues to affect your life.  Finally, my hope is that by getting the e-mail notification about a new blog (assuming you’ve subscribed for updates), it will help more people remember Stephanie for longer.  The effect she had on each of us through daily interaction or through the blog doesn’t have to end with her death, but we must choose to live our lives in a way to reflect how she lived hers, and in doing so, keep her alive and continue her masterpiece.

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23 thoughts on “She lives in you, she lives in me…

  1. We remember and pray for you, and we’ll remember and live encouraged by Stephanie’s life. Our first models of faith, such as Abraham, “Were silk living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised, the only saw the and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.” Hebrews 11:13
    “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
    Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.” Luke 13:19

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  2. She had a beautiful, unrelenting faith, that we can only aspire too. Her story came to me having found it on one of the Ubowskis facebook page. it has been a source of hope and a challenge to hold on to our faith as she did…..We do have a responsibility to continue our faith as she did taking from her the wonderful assurance that even in the worse of times God is always there. My favorite story was the one she wrote about the doctor writing YES on her forehead. It is rare that God speaks so clearly. He answered her because she asked and believed in faith that God would answer. Oh child, our prayers continue for you in your time of grief and loss…know without a doubt that she still walks beside you and your little girl. Oh, precious Lord please send your Holy Spirit to fall afresh on this child of yours in his deep sorry…Breath of Heaven, breath into his heart a flickering flame of hope that in time his heart will heal over. Scarred but whole again. place upon him your robe and mantle of peace to surround him and give him comfort. Breath of heaven breath on him your comfort and love. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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  3. I am Stephanie’s cousin on Vince’s side of the family. I knew her as a little girl, before they left Kentucky. I am 20+ years older and never knew her as an adult. I learned so much from her and about her through her blog. Her writing, and your contributions, are a gift. Her picture is my screensaver so I am frequently thinking of her and praying for all of you. I think of her now being with our Aunt Margaret and Grandma Pete in the presence of God, members of the great cloud of witnesses present during the consecration at every Mass. I can not comprehend the grief you and Sarah are experiencing. She will never be forgotten. Thank you for posting tonight. -Toni Henley

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  4. Thank you for your blog. I was praying you would let us know you were still there. I pray for you and Sarah daily. I don’t remember how I started with Stephanie’s blog. Maybe because I have a good friend diagnosed at the same time with a brain tumor. However I didn’t realize until I saw the notice in the paper that was you were from my previous home town and in fact live down the street from my previous home. Made a special connection in my heart. Please let us know from time to time how you and Sarah are doing. When stephanie passed I wanted to tell my friends that she was gone and how sad I was. Then I realized I didn’t actually know her but the pain of her passing hurt my heart. Continued prayers for you and Sarah!

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  5. Thank you for your post. I have been thinking a lot about Stephanie. I never met her in person, but we talked on FB.
    Remember, she is always with both of you, with all that loved her. She is a guardian angel!!! She will be the strength for someone going through cancer or any illness.
    We will keep her alive!!!!
    God bless you and your sweet baby girl.

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  6. Thank you for sharing your gift to all of us….it does mean more than you may know. Stephanie has work to do from heaven and she will need you to continue her work from heaven.
    Also, I wouldn’t begin to say “I know how you must feel.” since I can’t experience what you are going through especially when each person must make this journey one step at a time just as Mary continued her journey after Christ died, rose and then ascended to be with His Father. Through your continued postings, it brings a spiritual connection to all of us who look forward to reading them and hopefully ease the grief however the size it may be. May The Holy Spirit continue to shower all you and your little precious girl’s daily needs.
    Peace!

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  7. The warmth I get from every remembrance of Stephanie whether from a post from Penny or a song I hear or attending mass at St Mary’s and hearing of her passing. It’s the warmth’s that radiates through me each and every time. She spoke many words of inspiration and touched my heart but there are three words that I now think of every day and start by saying how’s my faith today and say a prayer for someone in need make a note to encourage and give hope where it’s needed and to show love every day! Three very powerful words to live by Faith Hope Love thank you Stephanie you live on and are remembered.

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  8. When I saw the notice of this Michael I felt connected to Stephanie through you and glad to see this. She touched me so much with her faith and hope and love for you and God and what may be. I miss her smile and her strength and beauty in all ways. Including her words. She is you as you are her and Sarah. I can’t imagine your grief because it is so unimaginable. So many hard times ahead also in the holidays. I’m so thankful that through this you have your little Sarah and a fantastic family. I still sometimes feel she isn’t gone and you know, she isn’t. She’s in all she touched in life and always will be. Hugs you and thank you for coming back here.

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  9. Michael, thank you for your post. I lost my husband who was 64 (and I was 59) about 3-1/2 years ago to gliobastoma. Our three daughters were all out on their own but it was of course very difficult for them to lose their father prematurely. I know it has to be an added difficulty for you in raising your daughter without her mother being physically with you. I found that during the first year or so after my loss of my husband, I had trouble talking about him, telling stories about him, saying much of anything about him, without tears, but I still did talk about him and let the tears fall. People understood and it helped me with my healing as well. Soon after he passed away I realized that, even though it made me feel old, and I now was a “widow,” that I now lived alone and did many things in my day-to-day life alone, and all the decisions were my OWN, without any help from him any more, and my life had changed so suddenly (only 5-1/2 weeks from when we found out that anything was wrong until he passed away of a brain bleed caused by the radiation to the tumors)…that life had to go on. I had to keep living. He would not want me to be paralyzed by my grief, by missing him. So I have continued to live. I’ve traveled,, sometimes alone and sometimes with family members; I’ve started a fledgling yarn shop business; I became first a mother-in-law, twice (once in 2015 and once in 2016, as two of our three daughters got married!), then I became a grandmother, twice (the two married daughters each had a baby boy this year, only 2-1/2 months apart!)…I missed him especially during the joyous/bittersweet weddings without him, and I miss him a lot now because he would SO have loved being the grandfather to these two little baby boys…but Life Goes On. That has been my motto since I came out of the fog that covered me for several weeks after his passing.

    I so appreciate your post and I look forward to reading more and will also check the blog on grieving written by Stephanie’s friend, as you suggested. Thank you!

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  10. I will never forget going way out of my comfort zone & leaving my name & number on your door. Our daughters were the same age & I was excited to meet new neighbors. It took a week for Stephanie to get in touch with me, she was traveling of course! Loved meeting Stephanie & Sarah for play dates but I was always in awe of her excitement to travel. Her passing made me realize how short life really is. My husband & I bought a motor home & will travel with our kids now & give them the memories. Every time we take a trip I think of Stephanie. We would have waited for the “right time.” She has truly inspired the way we live our lives!

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  11. Stephanie’s faith hope and love touched all my co workers and our house church. Both groups still recall her and her strength and positive attitude

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  12. We remembered Stephanie at ICCC- Teresa lit the candle of remembrance. Tears in almost everyone’s eyes- including mine. My heart goes out to you and Sarah. She will never be forgot here. Her voice forever remains with us- Her Ava Maria – touches all of our lives! Thank-you for letting us know how you are. Prayers always for you and for the Saints welcoming her home! Peace and Blessings!!!

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  13. Michael, Stephanie was truly an inspiration to so many – and so are you! Thank you for allowing us to continue to keep her alive by sharing our stories with each other! I never really had the opportunity to spend alot of time with both of you other than during choir practice which were always so busy! But each moment is a memorable one! Lately, I have thought of Stephanie in a different way, and I don’t know why or how it started, but I wanted to share this story with you.

    My God-Daughter Lauren suffers terribly from endometriosis. In fact, over a year ago, it did such horrible damage inside her body that she had to undergo a number of surgical procedures that included removing a huge portion of her colon because the endometriosis had eaten through almost all of it. She had to have a hysterectomy, but could not remove her ovaries because of so much scar tissue. Her dreams of becoming a mother were completely shattered – and she is only 30-years-old, just recently married! But that is not my prayer for her. She has to undergo another surgical procedure next week (Nov 15) to remove more endometriosis and hopefully, her ovaries in order to stop the growth. Even though it’s not called a cancer, endometriosis IS a cancer. And spreads like one. I have been praying to Saint Stephanie to intercede and help heal her from this terrible cancer that continues to wreak havoc in Lauren’s body. That has been my prayer. And I am comforted every time I call on Saint Stephanie for her healing.

    Anyway, I know it seems strange, but I felt the need to share this with you. Know that I think of you and Sarah every time I think of Stephanie. The picture I see is always of the three of you together!

    Be blessed and know that your guardian angel watches over you always!

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  14. This is the first time I’ve posted a response on this blog; however, I followed your family throughout this journey. I’m friends with your sister in law Heidi. Anyway, just before Stephanie’s birthday, I felt an urge to do something and decided that I would stop by my church and request a special intention Mass for Stephanie and then I sent the card to your parent’s house. I picked the next available Wednesday because my kids attend Catholic school and would be at Mass that day. That day was Wednesday, Nov. 8th, the day you posted your latest entry on Stephanie’s blog. You hesitated but decided to do it anyway. Perhaps this was her intention for the Mass offering. Praise God, Stephanie continues to live and will live forever. God bless you and all who loved your beautiful and courageous wife!

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  15. Hello,

    I live in Ohio and have followed Stephanie’s story from the beginning. I was shocked and grateful to see you post. Though I have never met either of you, my heart aches for you. I was so hopeful that Stephanie would survive and you would live together happily until you got old. Regardless, she did great things with the time she had. Her blog posts were so inspiring. I am a nurse, so I get to be the person on the sidelines when people are happy, sad, and going through hardship. If Stephanie would have been my patient I would have been in awe at her strength. You married a wonderful woman.

    Thank you for your encouragement. I pray for you and your family often. I pray that Stephanie’s soul rests peacefully in the hands of our Lord. I pray that your dear Sarah knows that she is loved and that her mother cared so deeply for her. I also pray for you as a single parent. I too, am a single parent and it’s not always easy. I pray the Lord gives you strength when you are weak, courage when you are fearful, and peace when you feel anxiety. Please know that you are never alone in the Body of Christ and I pray for you all as a sister in Christ.

    I will keep Stephanie alive by trusting fully in God’s plan for my life and seeing the positive in all situations.

    Sincerely,
    Marissa Gerdes

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  16. Michael, we have spoken, but we have never met. I feel inadiquet in my ability to express the many ways that your families journey has touched my life. It seems almost selfish of me to have received so much from both you and Stephanie in the short time that I knew her. However, I have felt moved to say something. I think of your sweet family and reflect on something Stephanie said at least once a day. I was so blessed to have heard her recount her experience in the waters of Lourdes and truly cherish water she shared. To have heard her testimony of Christ and faith of that water and her willingness to freely share- with me someone she hardly knew- brings me truly to tears. That was the kind of person I knew her to be. Her love of our Lord is seldom paralleled and I can honestly say that I reflect daily to try to have such an unwavering trust in Him. She once said that she couldn’t stop smiling and couldn’t feel sad because she knew how much God loves her. I cannot tell you how many times I have repeated that. I could go on and on, but I will save it for another time, perhaps. My prayers are with you, Sarah, your entire family as they have been.

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  17. I’ve been updating this blog a few times a week or so, anxiously awaiting an update. I never commented on this blog before, and I only found it through a friend of a friend sharing it on Facebook when Stephanie first started.
    I can’t begin to imagine the grief you and Sarah must be feeling. But surely Stephanie loved you because you were a match for her strength and positivity.
    This story, without an end, has touched me, and in so Stephanie lives on, though we never met and I am a stranger to your family.

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  18. Hi Michael. Stephanie brought water from Lourdes to share with all the moms at MOMS group. I gave some to my sister for her father-in-law who has ALS. Stephanie’s thoughtfulness and generosity live on in ways you can’t imagine.

    Have you been put in contact with another man, Brad, who lost his wife to cancer and they had a baby girl?

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  19. Thank you so much Michael! I have been following this blog since I saw the call for the Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes on the “Out of Darkness” Facebook page.

    I don’t know your family outside of the blog. However, in sharing your story, Stephanie invited us into your family’s journey. It was never just about her. Many of the pictures that she posted showed all three of you smiling. When you were married, two became one. So you are able to share Stephanie with us through your voice. I am so grateful that you are willing to be a vessel for her message. You did that for us so lovingly in the final weeks, when Stephanie could not. Then suddenly, it was silent. It felt like such a void. My heart was broken for your family. I felt the loss too. I am a stranger to you in this world. But I am a member of the Body of Christ. Through my baptism, I am also an adopted daughter of God. I felt the loss of my sister in Christ.

    I think of Stephanie often. I ask her to pray for special intentions. I thank her for sharing her faith, especially the message of Archangel Raphael. Now with you reaching out to share and asking us to share, we get to “hear” Stephanie’s “voice” again. We get to “see” how she lives on in and through the lives that she’s touched. We get to “feel” the love that lives on, defeating even death. We get to experience the survival of faith, hope, and love.

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