My alarm was set for 8:45 because I was attending a funeral. I felt nervous & anguish as I heard my radio sound telling me it was time to get up. Today would be a long, difficult day since we were to say our goodbyes to Stephany Raywood.
It’s true, I didn’t know Steph as well others, but I spent time with her. I worked with her at the Early Learning Center at BCCC. She was a pleasant, sweet, & nice girl who was always willing to help anyone and everyone. She was so kind and good with the children. Who didn’t like Steph?! We had several conversations surrounding boys, school & the daycare. She was always willing to lend an ear with advice attached. She would assist me with washing the dishes as we had our girl talks.
Since I couldn’t go to Steph’s service alone because I am no good with funerals, I asked to go with Chelsea, one of Steph’s friends since elementary school.
As we drove to the church, I became even more apprehensive. There were a whole flock of cars that were parked in front of Hope Lutheran Church in Levittown. It was clear– she was loved.
Then, the hardest part came–walking into the church to say our final goodbyes. First, we said hello to Steph’s family. Watching her son walk around the church while Steph’s aunt followed after him really got me–he won’t be able to see his mother anymore. One of the worst things about this is knowing her son won’t have his mother while he grows up into a man. Along with that, her husband lost the love of his life, the rock in his world, the mother of his child.
Everyone seemed so lost, empty and misplaced. No one knew what to do or say. What can you say other than, “I’m sorry for your loss?” I was at a loss for words. All I could do was hug the family. I wish there was something I could have said or done to make the situation better. How could I replace their sadness with happiness?
I felt defeated. All I could do was just be there for them. Even though I’ve never met her mom, sister or husband, I still hugged them all because I wanted them to know that I care. I tried to make the situation better by comforting them.
Tears formed in my eyes as the service began. Stephany Raywood was such a good soul, had a good heart, was brilliant, beautiful, successful and funny. She was a splendid writer. She was a busy, busy gal, but she still set aside time for family and friends. She was going places and it’s a tragedy that it all had to end.
All day in work my thoughts were solely on Steph. She was there right beside me as I finished my day. She was telling me that she’s okay and to move on without her. She was telling me to continue on with my day instead of being sad.
I swear that tears formed in my eyes at work and I didn’t feel up to conversing. I faked it. I pretended like I was okay, like I was my happy go-lucky self, but really was devastated on the inside. I thought of her as I worked out at the gym, asking myself how she’s doing.
Then, I thought of her family– how much pain their going through with this loss. I wish I could help. I wish I could tell them things will be alright. I swear if I could fix this, I would do it in one second without hesitations.
I regret not staying in touch, I regret not speaking with her about how she was doing, I regret not getting together with her, I regret it all. I wish I could take it all back, but it’s done.
I loved Stephany. Even though I haven’t seen her and I only spoke with her a few times after our daycare days, I know she saw me today and knew that I care about her.
Stephany Raywood– This one is for you, love.
RIP STEPHANY RAYWOOD: I LOVE YOU.