Monday, March 19, 2012

What is Normal?

I got thinking today about what exactly is normal. Well Webster describes normal as: conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern. 
That is true for most of us everyday and we get accustomed to routine and we are patterned to think that our behaviors and patterns will continue forever. We make our future plans based on what we perceive to normal.
But what happens when that is suddenly changed? My  mind drifted back to November 29, 2011 it was a Tuesday like any other Tuesday. There was nothing that would make me believe otherwise. We all went on our day as normal. I did a talk show on KWLM that morning before going to our Litchfield store getting ready for the first hockey broadcast of the year. Darla went to work as normal. Anthony went to work as normal, and Alex went to school as NORMAL. The only indication up to this point that things were going to change and that what we thought is normal was not was my  mother calling me a couple of times saying she could not get a hold of Stephen. I thought nothing of it thinking that like normal Stephen was sleeping in and maybe he was at work so he would get back to her. As I drove up in the driveway everything looked normal! That would soon change, as I walked towards Stephens closed bedroom door I did not know when I turned the handle our lives would change FOREVER.!!!
Not just our families, but hundreds of others lives are forever changed! We have come in contact with many others with stories just as ours and I think what were their last moments of normal. As we proceed in our journey to find what our "New Normal" will look like we constantly find ourselves struggling and yearning for the old normal. We know that just is not possible and we continue to forge ahead. We know our new normal does not include Stephen being with us physically but spiritually. We know he will guide us and be with us right up to the point that we meet again. Since none of us are aware of the day that we leave this earth our family will continue to hold on to his memory and relish the days that we spent with him on this earth. We will think of Stephen fondly and we will remember him through a Foundation that we are working on to keep his memory alive and to tell his story to others that may not have had the chance to meet him. This we know will contiunue until we leave this earth and are reunited. 
In the mean time we will be sad, happy, and any one of a hundred different emotions. Even if you see us and we look ok that does not mean that we are over it by any means, we will never be over it, it just means we are having a good day! We will continue to get out in public and we do like talking about Stephen and if we cry don't worry that is a good thing. We can cry at a drop of a hat so don't worry we will be ok. If we seem hard to make plans with keep trying one never knows when we might need a shoulder to lean on so be patient with us as we travel on the road to a new normal. 


Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 11, 2012

It is funny how you are more connected with people on this earth than you really know.Today Darla and I had brunch with our friends Scott and Amanda with their daughter Reagan at the Green Mill. I first met Amanda when I went to pharmaceutical training in New Jersey as we were in the same class. After that we ended up working in the same region while at Johnson and Johnson. Well I moved on and Amanda moved on but we always still stayed in contact. 
Unfortunately we now have another thing in common, you see Scott and Amanda lost a child almost a year ago, Reagan's twin sister passed away waiting for a lung transplant in Houston. Amanda was one of the first people I reached out to when Stephen passed away and she knows first hand the hurt of losing a child. The one thing that we know is that each loss is personal and different. Even though we experience a lot of the same emotions we also experience different ones too. We experience highs and lows and at different times, but we keep pushing forward. Our hearts pour out to Scott and Amanda as they are coming to the first anniversary of the loss of Eden. They  have gone through their "Year of Firsts" as we are just beginning ours. However the loss of a twin especially so young will be difficult as they are starting swimming lessons, pre school, Kindergarten, etc. They will need strength to face these milestones knowing that Eden should be experiencing these too. Please pray for them as their journey continues. This was a tough weekend as the I mentioned in my Year of Firsts post with the MSHSL Hockey Tournament finishing up and that being so important to Stephen as well as the brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament coming out tonight. I can close my eyes and picture Stephen down in his room already starting to put his bracket together and remembering how wrinkled the paper would be by the time we got to the final four. He would have been excited that South Dakota State made the field for the first time. It is weekends like this that I miss him so much. Tuesday starts NFL free agency and he would have been speculating where Peyton Manning is going and who the Vikings will be looking at for free agents before the upcoming draft. We would spend hours talking back and forth about our theory's. 
We will continue to miss him but we are constantly reminded that his spirit surrounds us each and every day..  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Year of Firsts!

Wow it has almost been a month since I have written in this blog. Had a pretty tough day today that started when I listened to the Taylor Swift song Hey Stephen which was followed by his renewal card for his drivers license showed up in the mail reminding me of Stephens upcoming 21st birthday,  I had a very emotional phone conversation with Jeff Melby who was Stephens boss at Play it Again Sports and to top it off is day 2 of the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament so I got thinking a little more about our families upcoming "Year of Firsts!
Stephen passed away 4 days after Thanksgiving, since then we have gotten through our first Christmas, our first New Years Day, our first birthday party for Anthony without Stephen, our first Valentines Day, our first birthday party for Alex without Stephen, the first high school hockey season has been completed, both of his adult league seasons have been completed, the first Minnesota High School Hockey Tournament will wrap up this weekend. We know that we have more birthdays coming up as well as the first summer at the lake without Stephen. We will meet each of these firsts with sadness and many memories. I miss watching and talking sports with Stephen. I know he would be watching every minute of the State Tournament like he did every year. He so enjoyed going to St. Paul with his friend Ben Leitch to watch it live. I will never be able to watch the NCAA Basketball Tournament the same anymore without checking with Stephen to see how he was doing on his bracket. Even though the teams will not be announced until later he would already be getting ready, then after that he would be getting ready for the NFL draft, the Stanley Cup, and so on! Almost every sporting event had some significance to Stephen, he loved them all.
On the other hand we have had good firsts too. We witnessed the first Alumni Hockey game in Stephens memory  held on December 29th, on Valentines Day I delivered for the first time the new Stephen Reynolds Cup to the Litchfield Dragons as Willmar and Litchfield start that rivalry again. We would like to thank Terry Tone and Matt Schrupp for making this happen. This spring we will have the first Stephen Reynolds memorial scholarship given to a Willmar High School Student. We are continuing to work on starting a foundation so hopefully I will have more to share on that in the future. We will be planning a summer event in Stephens memory so stay tuned for more information. This Fall the boys soccer team will be sporting a #5 patch on their undershirts, just another reminder of his spirit.
We have the monument ordered and we are hoping it will be in place by Stephens birthday but more realistically it will be in place by Memorial Day. We ordered a bench for Stephen with a hockey rink etched on top. I think he would really like it. 
We miss him every day, and we know somehow he touches our lives he will be forever in our hearts and memories.