“No one’s really ever gone…”

As I was watching the new Star Wars movie last night, this quote stuck with me more than anything else in the movie. Three months ago, Stephanie left this world, and while at times it’s been difficult to feel her presence, there have been plenty of signs and reminders that while her body is gone, she’s still here with me in spirit. At times it’s been easier to feel than others, but I’ve also started to realize that times when I have a hard time feeling her are usually followed by someone else sharing with me how they’ve felt Stephanie. I know that Heaven and its concept are incomprehensible for us, but I’m human so I try to make it make sense anyway, and so I take comfort in thinking that when I feel furthest from Stephanie it’s because she’s helping someone else.

One of the ways I’ve tried to keep Stephanie alive is to think about what she would have done. Particularly when it comes to adventures, I was always someone who wanted to save up and postpone trips while if Stephanie wanted to do something, she’d make it happen. One of those things she wanted to do was take Sarah to see the “floating lights” just like Rapunzel. So in November Sarah and I flew to Missouri to attend a lantern festival with Stephanie’s best friend and her husband. It was a trip that honestly I wouldn’t have probably made a priority to make happen, but I know Stephanie would have, so we went. We’ve also booked some other vacations we’ll be taking early next year to go places we want to go and see people we want to see because as Stephanie put it, no ones guaranteed any amount of time.

Another way I’ve tried to keep her alive is through prayer. One tool I’ve used to help remind me to pray is to sign up for novenas. There’s a website, http://www.praymorenovenas.com/, where you can sign up and they send you an email each day when a novenas going on. The first one they sent after I subscribed was a novena to St Jude, the patron saint of the impossible, and it could not have been more perfect. Especially at that time and even sometimes still, enjoying life again seemed impossible. Each one of those nine prayers ended with the following:

“Pray that I may have the grace to accept God’s holy will even if it is painful and difficult for me.

St. Jude, you loved our Lord, help me to love Him more.

O St. Jude, pray for me that I may grow in faith, hope and love and in the grace of Jesus Christ. Pray for these intentions, but most of all pray that I may join you in heaven with God for all eternity”

I encourage each of you to subscribe to the novenas as well. Even if you don’t want to pray it to a saint, you can still use the words to pray to God, and it’s a great reminder to pray each day.

There was one more quote from Star Wars that stuck out to me last night. The quote is: “It wasn’t sadness or pain. It was peace and purpose.” Now that’s definitely not what I felt when Stephanie died. And it’s not anything I’ve felt in the three months since. But I hope someday that I can look back and that quote will describe how I view it all.

Today is Christmas Eve, and that brings with it a whole other dynamic. The usual joy of the season has been overshadowed with loneliness and tears, even though I know it’s not what Stephanie would want. But I did receive something in the mail, that while it was very difficult to read, helped remind me that while I’m missing Stephanie terribly, she’s celebrating the birth of Christ with Him this Christmas.

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11 thoughts on ““No one’s really ever gone…”

  1. I bought an angel for my tree and I think of her and you and Sarah and your family. The words are beautiful and true in this prayer even though your pain is beyond this, but you see her and know her will and wishes and are dis overnight and learning more. I cried reading this but was drawn to this post as I was drawn to her internal strength and faith on this journey. We take things for granted and then their blind importance help us learn. I did and am still humbled when I feel overwhelmed or feel down Hugs you from ohio. Her light is in Sarah and you forever and with the heavenly host.

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  2. Your thoughts and sharing make my Christmas this year. Keep up your novenas and always know you are doing the best you can, one day at a time. My mom always said, “Life is for the living” and we should rejoice our loved one’s memory by doing exactly as you are doing. God bless you both always. Prayers and loving thoughts.

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  3. “First Christmas in Heaven” is wonderful…and heartbreaking, all in one. No doubt in my mind that Stephanie is singing solos in Heaven’s choir.

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  4. Michael, We attend St. Mary’s in springboro and tonight at Christmas Eve Mass we dedicated our Prayer to you and Sarah. Our family often thinks of you and prays for you and knew this would be a diffuicult time.
    Thank you for writing to us and sharing Stephanie’s story and now your journey. Wishing you peace. The Rademacher Family

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  5. We are thinking of you, Sarah and Stephanie. At Mass we were reminded of hearing her angelic voice last Christmas. We pray for you regularly as many others we know also do. Thank you for the reminder to pray novenas… it’s something I’ve gotten away from doing. God bless you and Sarah!

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  6. Michael And Sarah, I feel so blessed to have known your beautiful angel. Stephanie continues to be a bright light in this world. “No one’s really ever gone” is so true. Jesus defeated death and though Stephanie’s earthly body is no more, she lives.
    Michael, you inspire me. When I see you with your sweet Sarah, it warms my heart. How blessed she is to have you. You are in the prayers of so many and you are loved. God bless you and thank you for the link. I will be signing up. Love and blessings.

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  7. Thank you- Michael for continuing to share your journey with us. We can not imagine the ache you feel. I’m please to know you’re going on little trips with Sarah. Hope your holiday season is filled with love, peace and joy that surpasses all understanding. God bless you and your little one!

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  8. *Hugs* I haven’t checked the blog in a while, so I’m just now seeing this. I’m so glad you guys are going on adventures and making the most of your time. Remember that you don’t have to broadcast your story over and over for anyone else, because it’s still being written; you’re still living it. Praying for y’all.

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