Sunday, January 22, 2012

The third of three journal entries. Stephen talks about his mortality.

If I were to die tomorrow,  people would say that I was a good and honest guy that cared  for other people. Some people would say those things and others would say bad things and mean things. The people that say good things about me are probably the people that I care for. The people that said bad things about me are probably people I do not care for. What I would want people to say about me is that I am cool, nice, and honest kid and that I care for other people. People would also say that I would never have wanted to die and that I would do anything to be alive.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stephens Cause of Death

As some of you may know we finally received Stephen's amended death certificate with his cause of death listed. Rand Middleton published the following article in his notebook in yesterday's West Central Tribune;

Stephen Reynolds’s death linked to virus
Here is news on the unexpected death on Nov. 29 of Stephen James Reynolds, 20, a three-sport athlete at Willmar High School who was attending Ridgewater College:
Mike Reynolds informed me that his son died of a viral heart infection. Dr. Robert Boyd II, at ACMC, “Determined that Stephen passed away from Viral Myocarditis.
“According to Dr. Boyd, he contracted a virus that the majority of us would just get over, but this one, for some reason, attacked his heart and disrupted the electrical function of the heart which causes sudden death” by cardiac arrest.
Knowing this does nothing to ease the profound hurt, Mike concedes, but at least there is closure to what caused the tragic loss and “We know he did not suffer or have pain. He died peacefully in his sleep.”

This explains it pretty well and like I stated it still does not bring Stephen back but it does give us some closure to the matter. Our family was troubled with the initial findings because they did not make sense. We visited with some medical professionals who also agreed that the original findings did not add up. However, the Medical Examiners did run one final test that did take 6 weeks to get the results back. We are grateful that they did as well as knowing Stephen did not suffer at all.
There is not a moment we don't think about him and his smile and we will continue to keep his memory alive.

Number 7 will live forever in our hearts!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2nd Journal Entry

This is the second of the 3 journals I am going to share with you. This one is actually the third but I am publishing it second. In this submission Stephen talks about what he wants to do in 10 years. 10 years from 9th grade so really only about 5 years from now. Again, I am copying it exactly the way he submitted it.
Thanks for reading!

Journal Entry #3 by Stephen Reynolds

In ten years I plan to be done with college. I plan on having a beautiful wife and a very nice house  to live in. As for what I want to do for a living, I would like to be a teacher for Physical Education or Geography. I would also want to be an assistant Varsity Soccer Coach and a head Varsity Hockey Coach. I would want to be teacher and coach in a nice town with cool and and respectful people. I want to teach and coach so they get smarter and better at learning and sports. I also plan to have kids in the future. I hope that my kids will play soccer and hockey and maybe I could coach them someday. The kind of town or city I would like to do my job in would hopefully be a town or city as big as Willmar or just a little smaller or a little bigger. I would also like to teach for one town not a whole bunch of towns, just one town.  A town that has a great community and place where my children can meet good and nice friends. I would like to do all of this for twenty or more years, and work with other teachers in a great school that gives you a lot  of respect. I would do this for whatever school district gives me the best offer and do my best at whatever the school district wants me to do. That is what I would like to do in ten years or more.

I have no doubt Stephen would have not only made a great teacher and coach but more importantly he would have been a fabulous dad. He loved playing with Alex and all of the neighbor kids. They would play whiffle ball and football all day. He was so patient and just liked getting out and play whatever sport just to be outside.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Past Journals

Darla found some of Stephens old journals that that he wrote in 9th grade. There will be 3 that I will share with all of you over the next few days. They will let you get to know him just a little better. I am publishing the exactly the way he wrote these.

This one is simply titled Journal 1.

I have a lot of friends, but if I had to choose one of my friends it would have to be Ben Lietch. He is my best friend because we have so much in common. He likes to do the same activities that I do. We both play hockey and so we practice together with each other. Whenever, I go to house or he comes to my house we never argue on what to do. He also likes to watch sports on T.V. So in the summertime we watch the Twins and in the winter we watch hockey. We also like to help each other do our homework. I f one of us does get something the we would help.
Whenever we are at one of our houses we just hang out or play video games, watch TV, go on the computer, talk about sports or other things, or invite some more people to hang out with.
That is why Ben Lietch is my best friend and that is the things we like to do.

That is the first of three.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I was in a meeting with my insurance agent this past week who also used to be my neighbor when Stephen was a little boy up until we moved when Stephen when was 6 years old. Of course we talked about the shock of his sudden death and how sorry he was for our loss since he is a father of 2 boys himself. As we were talking about this I made the comment, "you can never prepare yourself for something like this"! He agreed and reiterated just how sorry he was for our loss.
Well I got thinking about this conversation and my comment about not being able to prepare yourself for an incident like this and I started reflecting about my faith as well as Stephens faith. As Christians we believe that our time on earth is a precursor to an eternity in heaven, so aren't we always preparing to for that day? I thought about this awhile and realized Stephen was preparing himself to enter the kingdom of heaven by his actions and deeds here on earth. Although we never know when that day comes we are taught to always prepare ourselves and be ready for the time the our Father calls us home. The book of John tells us in chapter 14:

John 14:1-4 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

I believe that there must have been a room for Stephen as he was called home, his work here must have been done and he is on to a greater cause. Darla and I still go through the range of emotions from angry to sad and every emotion in between. The funny thing about the grieving process is that you cannot treat it like a check list. You cannot look at it and say; ok I am done being angry and I am on to denial or acceptance. This just does not work, just when you think you have met a milestone something takes you back to square one, just as you can go from square one to somewhere close to acceptance. I don't think Darla and I will ever fully excuse god from taking our Stephen away from us, robbing us of college graduation, career, wedding, grandchildren, and etc. However, since he is the only one that knows the "Whole Picture" I am sure he is ok with that. You cannot help but feel cheated, Stephen was cheated out of 60 or so years of living on this earth but as he prepared for eternity 60 years is a short time.
We will always be left wondering what could have been especially as we see classmates meeting these milestones in their lives. That is where anger and disbelief pop their heads back into your life. 
I know that I need to prepare myself for the day that I get reunited with Stephen by emulating the goodness that he did in his short time. I believe that God is holding him in the palm of his hand and that he is waiting there for all of us to rejoin him. 
Still there will not be a day while Darla and I are on this earth that we will stop thinking of Stephen, and yes the sting may lessen but I cannot believe that a tear won't be shed daily as well as smile thinking of number 7!
Missing you every day!


Friday, January 6, 2012

The power of one!

As I was driving home from New Prague yesterday I was looking at the picture of Stephen that I have on the dashboard and it got me thinking of the Power of One! I know many things have been written about the Power of One, but I was thinking more along the lines of how this applied to Stephen in his short life on earth.
My thoughts were taken back to all the school years and the acquaintances that pass through your lives and how some stick and some don't. Elementary friends sometimes do not equate to high school friends since many pursue what interests them and go their separate ways. However, there is always still a link that connects you throughout your life. We were reminded of this when Darla received a Facebook message from one of Stephens childhood friends describing a dream she had about Stephen. In her dream she stated that it was so real and she was talking to Stephen in her dream and towards the end as she said Stephen was walking away she called him back and asked if God was great and she said he smiled at her and said yes he was. To me this shows that we are surrounded by Stephens spirit each and every day!
Sorry, I got a bit off the subject of the Power of One. Not looking at Stephen as just one person but I look at how he touched others lives and how his relationship with others just kept multiplying. I think back to all the people we have met because of the activities Stephen was in. The sheer amount of people that have supported us and reached out to because of one young man is amazing.
Stephen truly epitomized the Power of One and how when treat others with respect and show that you care people will pay you back over and over again. So many are hurting over the loss of our son Stephen and we appreciate all the cards, letters, comments, and Facebook comments that everyone has shared with us, and even though we still shed tears of sadness we know that he is playing hockey in the Kingdom of Heaven and we will meet again.
I wonder what he would think of all of the things going on in the wide world of sports right now. His St. Louis Blues are playing well, the LSU Tigers are playing in the National Championship on Monday night so he would be excited. He would be speculating who the Minnesota Vikings should pick in the NFL draft. He may know things now that we don't.
Our family is committed to paying it forward in honor of Stephen, and we will always make sure his light shines brightly. Whether that is in the form of scholarships or other community projects that would reflect the true spirit that was Stephen Reynolds.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Getting you up to speed.

 This first blog is a little long but it takes you through the holiday's to last night. I will post on here often.

Well I finally got to writing a blog about our families journey without our precious son Stephen who passed away unexpectedly on November 29, 2011. We are devastated with his loss and left with many questions on why this happened. On a scientific note we still have not received and an official cause of death from the coroner which has caused some discomfort as we would like some closure to this. From a spiritual perspective we hold faith that God has called Stephen home because his work on earth is finished. As a family we struggle knowing that he had so much more here do on earth. Stephen was such a giving young man with a big heart and a kind soul. He had an infectious smile which was referred to many times throughout these past weeks. We miss seeing that smile at home because it always brightened our day.
These past weeks have opened our eyes to the goodness that surrounds us. Our friends, family, and community members have opened up their hearts to us. They have supported us with cards, kind words, and many visits just keeping an eye out for us. The hockey family has been so awesome to our family these past weeks and continue to amaze us with the outpouring of support. Our neighbors the Williams have been such special people. They have been over at our house with treats and support as well as beautiful shadowbox remembering Stephen. They designed the beautiful thank you cards for us and we know we can never repay them for all the love and kindness they have shown our family through this tough time. Their girls Sam, Sydney, and Reiley have also been great with Sam actually starting the Facebook Page "RIP Stephen Reynolds". It has been a nice place for people to put tributes and share memories.
We got through the holiday's, just ok. It wasn't great but it didn't suck either. On Christmas Eve we went to Darla's parents house like always and we did not deviate from that this year. The highlight was when Stephens little cousins opened the present that he bought them in September and had it in his closet. We wrapped it up and gave it to them. It was a floating disc that you pull behind a boat or watercraft. Stephen wanted to have another one at the lake so more kids could go at one time. There was not a dry eye in the house but it was a very special time for us all knowing that his spirit was with us. Christmas Day we had at our house as we normally do but there was a huge hole that will not ever be filled. At the gift opening it was not very festive but we got through it. I gave Darla a nice Emerald Pendent which represents Stephens birthstone for May. She wears it daily and it helps remind Darla of Stephen as she goes on with her day.
Everyone has been wonderful to us from bringing out food, visiting with us, helping with anything that we need and we are just so grateful. Thursday the 29th of December was a big night for our family. It was the 1 month anniversary of Stephens passing but it was also the night of the Stephen Reynolds Alumni Hockey Game at the Willmar Civic Center. Stephens game brought tears to our eyes. They figure the crowd to have been over 600 people. What a sight it was seeing the student section full also. There were many faces there that normally do not watch hockey games and what a night it was. I need to thank Tom and Travis Hanson for spearheading this, as well as Kevin Madsen for donating the ice time and having the staff on hand to take care the operational side, Jeff Melby owner of Play it Again Sports for providing the jersey's for the game. All which had the number 7 on the back honoring Stephen who wore number 7. 30 players who all played at one time with Stephen participated in the event and the 2 teams were coached by all of Stephens former coaches. Also, we would like to thank the Willmar Boys Hockey Coach Dan Tollefson for making this happen, plus all of his support from retiring his number this year to leaving his locker space empty. The Willmar Cardinals have been an awesome source of strength for us. Finally, we would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped make this a success. Last night we were presented a check for over $4000 that was raised that night.
Our plan is to start a foundation in Stephens name to provide scholarship opportunities and other support to the community for causes that Stephen would support. I will write more about this as we put this together.
We miss him every day and we will never forget him, and we are constantly reminded the we are surrounded by his presence. I will keep you all up to date on the progress of Stephens foundation which does not have an official name but look for exciting news coming up in the weeks and months to come.

God Bless,