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.


Makenzie Hardy said...

I am so sorry for your loss Mindy. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers.

Cheri @ Overactive Blogger said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Lisa said...

Having lived through the finality of losing someone close to you, I know there is nothing I can say or do to make it hurt less. But I do know that you and your sweet family will find a way to keep Steve's life and legacy living onward. I am profoundly sorry that this is the path you all must take...so sorry for Steve's loss.

Unknown said...

Oh Mindy. I'm so so so sorry. This is heart-wrenching. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I so hope everything will be OK for all of you. I'm so sorry.

abedabun dawn said...

So very sorry for your loss. I too have lost family members. All I can say is that God knows what he is doing. He makes no mistakes. God bless you and your/his family and friends.

Amy Fashion Blog said...

So sorry for your loss. You and your family our in my prayers. Hugs.

steve and jessica said...

I am so sorry for your loss. We are praying for you and your family.

HATUtexas said...

So grateful you were with nephew 2 at that time. I share your pain with an unimaginable void that I did not know could exist. They say that with time, this will get easier...I am not so sure. So proud to call him my brother and so grateful to get to see just what an influence, for good, he had with so many people. Love you Mindy! Thank you for all that you are to this family! - DM

Laura said...

Thank you for sharing this. I know this is such a tender time! Love you! Praying for you!

Allison and Josh said...

I have been thinking about you and your family so much lately. I am so sorry for your loss. Steve sounds like an amazing guy. Like some of the other comments state above, I'm sure you and your family will find special ways to keep his legacy alive. You're all in my prayers! xoxo

Laura said...

I haven't told you lately, but I am so thankful for you. Give our sister and nephews hugs for me? Love you

Burke and Emily Adams said...

Just wanted to echo what the others have said. I'm so sorry your lovely family is going through thus trial. Prayers and thoughts with you.

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