Table for seven

For 12 years, our family has been a family of 10.

No additions through marriages or babies born.

Through thick and thin for over a decade, it's just us. The lack of babies and marriages during such a long span has been a great cause of heartbreak, for all of us. Yet, I think it made for a divine relationship between us 10. Small, intimate leaving it as we are all we have had to rely on for those 12 years.

After leaving the hospital a month ago from today, we knew we needed to find some food for the boys before making the 1.5 hour drive home. Plus, none of us really wanted to go home without our Steven. 

I was the first to walk into the restaurant. I felt like I was just a body in a building, perhaps even an onlooker to my own existence, uncertain why I was there and a complete lack of feeling.

After a moment, the hostess asked how many in our party.

My mind raced. I knew what that number was. If our entire family was present, it was 10. If Brandon & Hillary weren't in town {or we weren't visiting them} it was eight. Eight and 10. Eight and 10. 

The tears began to stream uncontrollably as I somehow had to muster out the word seven


A number that used to be my "favorite", but now the harshest and cruelest number I know, that and nine. They will be numbers we have to say over and over again, as if the world wants to say we are one less. But we know that isn't true, we know that we are still 10 and will forever be 10, even if that one can't be seen or isn't here-here for now. And I am eternally grateful for that knowledge that we are 10 and one day, if restaurants in heaven exist, I will be able tell that angel hostess that we need a table for that 10. One day. :)


We left without him ...

Today it has been four weeks to the day since we lost Steven.

Once Tiffany had been reunited with her boys, I was able to enter the ICU to see Shtev. I saw nurses standing in the distance, their glances and stares said so much as they watched a heartbroken family make each step closer to a loved one lost.

I was led to a room of a wall of windows. But the curtains were all pulled so onlookers could not see in. The door was opened and the curtain pulled back for my entrance and that is when I saw Steven. 

This is the moment that has haunted me most over the last month as I saw him lying there and he was just ... gone

My mama held me as I felt I was about to drop to my knees, as I was overcome with the grief of our loss. 

The next four hours we would spend with Steven, some of the most sacred moments this life has ever offered. Due to that nature, I will keep most of what happened there to those who were there that night.

I do remember looking at him and in my mind pleading, "Just wake up, Steve. Please, please, just wake up!" over and over again. 

As the morning hours crept up, it was then we began making phone calls. We had already called my brother and sister-in-law in St. George, but were awaiting them to return our calls. My dad called their bishop. I called their family friends who were going to be visiting later that day. And I called Tiffany's best friend. I thought saying those words, "Steve passed away" would make it more real, but it didn't. My mind still hoped he would wake.

We said our temporary goodbyes to our Steven and somehow made our way outside. We walked out of the hospital in a daze and without Steve. In all the countless hospital trips our family has made, we never once walked out without all of our loved ones.

And somehow, somehow we were supposed to make it not only the hour and half car ride home without him, but the rest of our lives also ... 


Steven Murphy Memorial Fund

Several have asked and I figured others might be interested, so I thought I would share how to donate to the memorial fund that will go to Steve's young family. 

To donate, you can call any America First Credit Union and tell them the donation is going to the Steven Murphy Memorial Fund.  Again, it can be any branch, but the number to the Providence branch is 435-752-1355 and the toll free number is 1-800-999-3961. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. 

We appreciate everything that has been done for our family during this time; we have been touched profoundly. 


This mom.

This mama is my older sister. 

She is the mother of two boys, the wife of Shtev and just as cute as any human can come!

She is also as strong as any human can come.

She was right by Steve's side during the darkest day of our lives. My parents, my little sister, my nephews and I all found out about Steve's passing in the parking lot of the hospital.

Two nurses (I don't know how they knew who we were) found us in the parking lot and escorted us to the correct floor and location so we could be with Tiffany and Steve.

I think I saw Tiffany first. I ran to her and wrapped my arms around her as we cried and cried. "I'm so sorry" is all I could keep saying. And somehow, in the midst of losing her sweetheart she was comforting me, "It's okay. It's okay" she kept assuring me.

Moments later she was able to see her sons. I had wondered how this wonderful woman would approach her children in the most heart breaking moments of all of their lives. What would she say? What could she say?

I watched in awe, as her world had just been shattered, that she was still able to lead her sons to light and hope in those dark, tragic, gut wrenching, horrific moments. She wrapped them in her arms and said, "WE.WILL.SEE.HIM.AGAIN."

Over and over again, she told their sons that this was not the end.

And I had never been more impressed with her strength of character and her unwavering faith than I was in that moment (although it would not end there).

This mom? She has my deepest, utmost gratitude, awe and love. I am so blessed to call this mom my sister.


A harsh autumn ...

Autumn was always a favorite of mine.

It seemed to have a mischievous charm to it that alluded winter, spring and summer. 

Logan Cemetery, the ground my heart knows as most hallowed.

But that all changed 18 days ago. It feels that autumn, with all its magic and charisma betrayed me, as if it was autumn that took away our Steven. 

Yet, I still gaze in awe at this harsh autumn as the leaves are separated from the life they once knew and clung to so desperately, only to rustle in the wind, twirl in the air, falling to their eventual resting place on the ground and ... still recognize its beauty.

It is as if autumn is reflecting my soul to the entire world to see. The beauty of life being lost right through our fingertips, the brisk chill that fills my broken heart and soul, leaving so much barren and empty ... with darker, colder days looming known as winter.

And even with all that loss of life, still a beauty because of that life. And the knowledge that the life will return in springtime. If only our wait for seeing our Steven was as minuscule. So, with heavy hearts, we will wait because we will see that life again in the springtime of our lives.


Two Weeks

Two weeks ago today, we lost our Steven. My Shtev.

There are no words to describe what the past 14 days have been like. The only explanation that I can seem to muster up is, this is the most profound loss I have ever known.

I have contemplated for quite some time what I would write about Shtev, if anything at all. There is part of me that has wanted to keep every detail of the entire experience locked up in only my memory, as if sharing it was releasing it and losing it. But Steve and his life were too good to not share. The beauty he brought into this world was too glorious and even divine to be kept in the silent chambers of my own soul. And with that in mind ... I will share part of Steve's story with you.

Even if you knew our Steve, you probably didn't know he had suffered from pancreatitis for the past 11 years. You wouldn't know because he wouldn't complain and he was too busy serving everyone he knew and didn't know for anyone to hint towards the pain and suffering he experienced. 

On Monday, September 29, 2014, Steve and my sister, Tiffany, went to the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah (approximately 1.5 hours away from their home) for Steve to have part of his pancreas removed. There was high anticipation, due to a previous successful procedure only 10 days prior, that the surgery would be successful in finally alleviating the pain he has experienced for the past 11 years.

Although the surgery went 2.5 hours over the schedule three hours expected, it went remarkably well. They removed two thirds of his pancreas, his spleen (which was in poorer condition than expected) and had to do some work on his colon (all damaged from the pancreatitis). Not too long after returning from post-op, Steve was talking, laughing and thanking the medical staff attending to his needs. 

I went to bed that night, receiving a text from a friend a little after 10:00 PM asking how Steve was. I responded, "Well, the surgery went well."

Three hours later after 1:00 AM, I was awakened to my phone ringing. Terror immediately went through my entire body and continued as I saw the call was being made to me by my 12-year-old nephew, Steve's baby boy. He sounded strangely calm when he said, "Min, my dad stopped breathing. We are going down to the hospital now to see him." 

I immediately texted my sister for clarification. Maybe they had just put him on oxygen, after all, Steve is the most resilient man I have ever known. There always seemed to be a complication when surgeries or other medical procedures were done, but he always pulled through. My sister responded that it was not just oxygen and it was then I realized my Shtev had gone into full cardiac arrest.

I raced to my parents' house 10 minutes away from mine. With my parents, little sister, and Steve and Tiffany's boys, we all knelt as a family, pleading for Steven's life to be spared. After one of the most heartfelt prayers I have ever been part of, we separated into two vehicles to make the drive to Murray, Utah. My mini-me, Nephew Two, was in my car with me, with the rest of the family in the other vehicle. 

Every thought imaginable crossed my mind in those 90 minutes it took to get to the hospital from brain damage to death. But those quickly left because I knew how resilient our Steve was and I knew this was not the day my sister would become a widow.  I honestly thought we would arrive, he'd be intubated, and maybe by the day's end he would be awake for us to talk to him

When we pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, Steve's sister called Nephew Two. I could hear him saying, "I am in the car with my aunt ... here, I will put you on speaker." He did so and she said, "Mindy, are you there?"

When I confirmed she requested to be taken off speaker ... it was then I knew our lives would never be the same. She double checked with me to make sure she was off speaker and when I assured her she was she spoke, "He's gone."

I did everything in my power to hold it together my nephew sitting beside me. But he knew something was wrong. He pleaded with me, "What is it? Please tell me."

When I finally parked, I asked him to get out of the car and I said to his aunt on the phone, "Are.you.sure?" My mind refused to believe this world had lost one of the most beautiful souls I had ever known.

I got out of the car to meet the rest of my family members getting out of the other vehicle. I sent my two nephews towards the hospital. I then broke the news to my parents and sister. I will not go into the details of that experience, nor will I ever. Telling my two nephews they had lost their father was the worst experience of my life and one I will never wish to remember

When we were finally able to make it into the building and be reunited with Tiffany, we learned that around 1:20 AM, Tiffany recognized that Steve had stopped breathing. She alerted the nurses and after approximately 45 minutes of chest compressions and several blood transfusions, they took Steve back into the operating room where they found a blood vessel had come untied from surgery earlier on in the day. By the time they were able to stop the bleeding, they were unable to restart Steve's heart. Our beloved husband, father, son and brother was pronounced dead at 2:30 AM. 

14 days later and it still doesn't feel real. 14 days later and I still expect him to come walking in the door any minute. 14 days later and when I see a car like his on the street, for a moment I still think it could be him. 14 days later and I don't know how I am supposed to live 50 years more without him. But make no mistake about it, I know we will see him again, because families ARE forever. And our 17 years with him simply was not enough.


To read more about my Shtev, you can go here, here and here.


My Shtev

The greatest man I have ever known took his final breath on September 30, 2014.
Writing his obituary was one of the most honored things I have ever been asked to do.

Steven, 38, left his sweetheart and two sons on Sept. 30, 2014, due to a prolonged and valiant battle with pancreatitis. Steve was born April 23, 1976, in Roosevelt, Utah. He was the third of five children born to John Paul Murphy and Kathleen Gomez. 

Steve grew up in Hyde Park, Utah. He graduated from Sky View High School in 1994. Following graduation, he served an LDS mission to the Tacoma, Washington Mission. Upon his return, he met and married the love of his life, Tiffany, in the Logan LDS Temple on Dec. 13, 1997. They had two beautiful boys who were the center of Steve's world.

Steve graduated from Utah State University, where he was also employed for the last 14 years in the IT System Administration Department. Steve could often be found volunteering his time to help his family, friends and neighbors. Amongst all his service, his immediate and extended family were always his first priority. He provided them with endless Christlike service, love and care. Steve never let the need of a family member be overlooked. He taught us not only how to love more but to care for one another better.

Steve is survived by his wife and two sons; his parents, John Paul (Meda) and Kathleen (Darrell) , as well as Lyle and Kathryn Thornley; his siblings, Doug (Stephanie), Dianna (Jason),  Laura (Steven), Debra, Russell serving an LDS mission in Mexico City, as well as Brandon (Hillary) Thornley, Mindy Thornley, and Melissa Thornley; and many nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. 

A viewing will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Allen-Hall Mortuary, 34 E. Center St., Logan, Utah. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 3, at the Nibley Stake Center, 3701 S. 450 West, with a viewing that morning from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Burial will be in the Logan City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Steven Murphy Memorial Fund through America First Credit Union. Condolences and memories may be shared online at www.allenmortuaries.net.
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