Early Monday AM my phone was ringing and I saw my (2nd) cousin’s name, Jennifer, on caller ID. I knew something horrible must be wrong as it was still dark. Shaking, all I could blurt out was, “WHATTTT Jennifer? WHAAATTT happened??”
Jennifer’s mom, Billie, is my cousin (our moms were sisters). Billie and I talk regularly, praying for each other and sharing life.
These are the cousins I was closest to growing up and who I post pictures of every now and then. When I was young I used to try to figure a way that I could go live with Billie, Okie and their 3 littles on the farm. Oh how I love them all so very much. Jennifer could hardly talk through the sobs but eventually I understood…
Late last night Jennifer’s brother Stephen, his wife & 2 young sons (9 & 12) were coming home from Rochester, NY where they had been at a swim meet that their oldest son had competed in. After the swim meet Stephen had called his mom, Billie, to tell her all about the meet. Then they had gone out to eat.
Eventually they headed towards home in the rural area outside Lockport, NY. His wife, Jamie was in the first car with their two sons and Stephen was following right behind. A drunk driver had crossed the center lane of this two lane highway. As the drunk driver’s car was careening head-on for Jamie & the boys, she managed to veer off into a person’s front yard and in her rear view mirror saw the drunk hit Stephen head-on. Stephen never saw it coming and was instantly with the Lord.
I was 11 when Stephen was born and I would carry him around everywhere. A little blondie, tenderhearted and so very kind to all. He grew up working hard on his parent’s farm, went to West Point after graduation and soon became a Black Hawk pilot. He had an incredible sense of humor, loved the Lord and served him daily.
Just two days ago I was recalling a conversation I had had with him recently…and the memory was making me smile and reminding me (again!) how much I miss all my family in Western New York.
And just like that – he’s gone. I’m devastated – how could this possibly be?
Stephen, you genuinely were a cut-above the rest: wonderful husband, dad, son, brother, cousin, and friend to all. The *only* comfort is that you are with Jesus. But Stephen, you leave a gaping hole in all our lives as you reflected Christ so well. Truly, Earth’s loss is Heaven’s gain.
Please pray for Jamie and the boys, Billie and Okie (his mom and dad), Jeff, Jennifer and all the family. To say we are all in a state of shock would be an understatement.
Pictured above: (my cousins – siblings) Jennifer, Me, Jeffrey, and Stephen is on the right in the green.