Burying anyone you LOVE is the hardest thing in the world. I've lost my share of friends over the years, but never more so than this year. There is just one difference between them and Stephanie-Mason-Brown. She was MURDERED! I would never minimize any person(s) death, but MURDER is MURDER. I find myself grieving differently for her than my other friends. There is NO reason. There is NO answer. There is NO peace in my heart. Letting go seems harder....
I met Stephanie 4 years ago. The first day I met her, I instantly liked her. I instantly loved her personality. The more time we spent together, the more I LOVED! We had so much in common, especially the fact that we were both "daddy's girls." And, our father's had the same name and even spelled it the same way (Jimmie). Not to mention the fact that we argued over who had the BEST mommie. I think we both were BLESSED to have parents who loved us so much.
Her and I had a LOVE of celebrities. Her and I were "johnny on it" when it came to celebrities and celebrity gossip! Shame on us, I know. We had to know everything, analyze it, criticize it, and then rehash it all over again. Our love for Luther Vandross was equally as passionate...
We also had sad things in common as well. Neither of us were blessed with a biological child. Yet, we both were blessed that God sent us two gifts from heaven, our daughters. She did became a mom after marrying a man with a daughter whom she raised as if she gave birth to her. She did get to know what it felt like to be a mom, and she loved Keyona. When I finally got my baby, my Destini, Steph was one of the first to arrive to meet her. She loved my child from day one. When Steph was here for dinner, or for fun, or whatever was going on, she focused her attention on Destini. As a mom, it warms your heart to see others interact so well with your child. In the end, we both learned the lesson that we didn't have to be biologically related to a child to be so in love with them.
Another thing Steph and I talked a lot about was our work. We were two women who loved their jobs. We were two women who were independent and career oriented.
Later, I learned (what a small world), that Steph grew up with a few of my husband's cousins on the South Side of Phoenix. They went to school together. Just one more thing that was a "WOW" factor for her and I. Again, small world!
When Steph walked in the room, there was never a frown. Her smile lit up a room! Her personality was one that left you wanting to know more about this woman who seems to be the happiest person on the planet. You wanted to be like her: Forgiving, loving, kind, generous.
Steph was adventurous! She wanted everything good out of life. She loved to travel. She knew with God by her side, and her doggie (Storm), she could conquer it all.
Steph made a decision about 7-8 months ago that she needed a "change." Her words! Phoenix was home, but something else was out there "calling" for her. When she announced to the all her family, friends and her job that she would be moving to Omaha, we ALL were crushed. We would miss her terribly. She had a great job offer (a few actually; which speaks volumes of her work ethics and credentials) and she felt it was time to grow and move on.
When she arrived in Omaha, she was so excited about the snow (we are from Phoenix and that's not something we get to see). With Facebook, she was never far away, though! I was so glad I sent along with her both pairs of MY Ugg boots and a matching purse. It was perfect for a winter wonderland, and I knew she would get better use out of them than I would (my impulse buying LOL).
She was soooooo EXCITED about her new home, AND she had a real live porch!! Something you don't get very much of here in Phoenix, Arizona.
Who knew at this time that our dear Stephanie (who was so happy) had made the WORST decision of her life; her family and friends lives; her daughter's life (who is now grown with a baby of her own); and most importantly, the tragedy that would ensue upon her in this home. In fact, it would change us ALL forever....
I picked this song for Stephanie and her family, who have encountered the worst grief imaginable; to bury their child, to bury their sister, a mom, a cousin, an aunt, and MY friend.
As I mentioned earlier, Steph LOVED her Storm (her puppy dog). Storm was shot twice by who or whomever is responsible for this act of violence put on her and Steph, and I believe in all of my heart that Stephanie ran to save her dog and they shot her too. I am happy to say (if any good could come of this) is that Storm fought for her life and is ALIVE and now back home in Phoenix with the ones that loved her the most....
I somehow see the pain in Storm's eyes, and I don't think it is the pain from her wounds as much as it's pain from not knowing where Steph is....
I don't have it in me to say "goodbye" to you, Steph. I know I will see you again in heaven my friend. So, I will say, "See you later Steph, I WILL MISS YOU HERE ON EARTH!"
My dedication to you:
I LOVE YOU, STEPH....R.I.P. ANGEL
We will wait, patiently, for justice to be served.