I really miss blogging about Stephen. Lucky for me there are some ongoing things I want to share.
Stephen has so many friends that love him that the joy just keeps coming. The Hilltop Aquatics Swim Team (HAST), held their Last Chance Qualifier meet in honor of Stephen. They had a big poster made about him that now hangs in the American Fork Fitness Center on the wall across from the track. Micheal King, a long time swimming friend of our family, had a T-shirt and swim caps designed in Stephen’s honor. These were also sold at the meet. The proceeds from this far exceeded what was expected due to great support and donations. Coach Janet Oles, (Stephen’s coach beginning at age 7) brought the funds to our house. Micheal King later presented us with the proceeds from the swim caps. Gratitude is not a big enough word for what we feel. It is far more than the money, it is the gesture of love, appreciate, and desire to never forget our son that is so moving to us. It is so wonderful to know that he won’t be forgotten.
One of the most difficult things going forward from his funeral, is the necessity of moving on with life. You can’t live forever in that moment, but you hate to leave it, because you feel in some ways that you are leaving him behind. It has helped to create new memories honoring him and having some pictures, t-shirts, swim caps and other things that help us know he is not forgotten. I love to go to swim practice and see so many kids wearing an SKG SwimStrong cap. I want to tell them “Awesome cap! That’s my boy!” I frequently see yellow or black SwimStrong shirts around town. I love it.
I especially want the members of the HAST team, many that I don’t even know, how much we appreciate their support. The funds raised have been used to purchase Stephen’s headstone. We were able to get a really beautiful granite headstone. We hope it will be put in by his birthday, June 9th. If not, it will for sure be in by July. We hope that it can be a physical reminder to us, and to you, of the difference you have made in our lives. One day I went to Costco to pick up a canvas wrap photo of Stephen that I had printed. When I picked up the box, it had a receipt taped to it with a note that said someone had already paid for it. It was a HAST parent. To whomever that was – thank you. It was such a sweet gesture I can’t help but smile every time I see that picture!
I have more to say, but I’ll save it for a couple of days so I can blog again. Love to you all!