Saturday, July 28, 2012

Finding Strength

I have been thinking of what to say to everyone as the next phase of my life starts without Marsi.  It is hard to know how to feel.  There are some things I need to say, though I don't know how to express them. I hope this blog entry is not a far cry from the emotions I shared as Marsi was dying and gives you all a glance into the soul of a husband suffering the loss of his wife.  I feel so numb right now and my path forward needs me to get this out.

I have lost Marsi to breast cancer. I did all I could to help her survive. I supported her, comforted her, loved her, and cried with her. I was her punching bag, errand boy, taxi driver, and nurse. I helped her pick doctors, hospitals, surgery’s, and drugs. I didn't leave her when the moments became unbearable. I didn't give up when medicine failed us. I couldn't give up when Hospice was called. I held her when the pain became intolerable. I had to watch my beautiful, strong, amazing wife deteriorate and die, with no way to stop it. I felt so scared. I felt so angry. I was so helpless. Yet people tell me how amazed they were at my strength.

I have thought about this for a few days now and I feel the 'strength' I put forth to survive this long, horrible ordeal, simply came from love.  The boundless love I have for Marsi, as well as her neverending love for me.  Love had given us strength.

I cry. I hurt. I now have a void in my life that I will never be able to fill. Marsi is gone, though I still wait for her to walk through the door, kiss me goodnight, or call my name. The bed feels foriegn without her next to me and the house is too quite without her laughter. She had a brightness about her that made me feel good about myself. I was the lucky one she called husband. So when she was diagnosed with cancer and everyday normalcy was shattered, it was our love for each other that gave us the strength to fight.

Love gave us strength and this strength became courage. We both decided that we must remain positive and live each moment we had left, as we fought this cancer together. Darkness and fear could have easily crept into our lives, but we helped each other through it. For the kids, for the family, for our friends, and for ourselves, we fought through it. Never giving into any negativity or fear that the cancer would win. Marsi still had a life to live and she lived it. She lived it all the way to the end.  She did what she had to do, what the doctors told her to do, and she moved forward.  She enjoyed life and grabed every moment, every second.  Even as her body started to slow down.  I comforted her and stood by her, making sure she wouldn't drown in the darkness and depression that circled her. But honestly, she also did the same for me.

Now, as my angel watches over us from heaven, I still have to be strong and find the strength to move on.  For myself, but more importantly for the children.  Harrison and Madison are fragile now, having lost their mother so young.  This loss will effect them, how could it not.  But with the foundation of love Marsi and I established for this family, our children will be fine.  How could they not be, they have their mothers strength.


  1. Steve, you and Marsi's love and attitude gave strength to those around you and is inspiring. I am praying for you all every day. I'm a phone call away if you ever need anything, please don't hesitate to ask.

  2. Steve- Marsi is so proud of you now and forever for your honesty and loyalty to her, the kids and yourself. You too are a great role model for people of how to live and how to be human through life's adversities and to find the triumphs in the midst of it all...we are with you on this difficult day and love you, Harrison and Madison! xoxo

  3. That was very moving and so well said Steve. I admire your strength in supporting each other and the love you shared. You and your family are in my prayers.


  4. "If ever there is tomororrow when we're not together...there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart...I'll always be with you." - Winnie the pooh
    Much love, Dawn and Shelley

  5. Steve -
    Last week, as I waited for my husband to maybe or maybe not make it through emergency surgery, I gained strength from you. I thought of you. I prayed for you. I felt you. As I faced the possibility of losing a spouse, I told myself "if Steve can do it, so can I". I can't wait to watch Marsi continue to make you strong. YOU are amazing and will do great things! Love, Rebecca Dierdorff

  6. Steve you are a amazing man. You and Marsi completed each other. Even tho she is not here physically anymore she is here in your heart and in all of ours. I know that you will be able to make it through this and be strong. We may not be able to live in San Diego but we are ALWAYS and FOREVER there for you, Harrison and Madison. We love you keep the faith


  7. Steve, watching your strength at the celebration on Saturday would have made Marsi so proud. You shared your emotions of sorrow and memories, making us all laugh and cry in remembrance of our beloved Marsi. You will always be family to us at Rady Children's and we are hear for you to wrap our arms around you, Harrison and Madison. Prayers with You_Mindy

  8. Steve, Masi was a cousin only a dream could bring. What a wonderful woman she is and always will be. WA is a long ways away but feel my love for you and the children over the miles. Time, they say, "you just need time" . I say BS!! She will always be in your heart and soul and one day you will begin to remember only the good and the hard times will fade slowly from memory. The Children need you now more than when Marsi was sick. Concentrate on them, grieve (cry, scream or whatever) in private. I am here for you and hurt myself as well. So take your time, grieving is a process and you must go through all the stages, it takes quite awhile. I am family to the three of you, so depend on me, come visit when you can. We will see you all in Feb. This will serve as my note on Marsi's Obit page, as I cannot think of what to say. Love to you all.
    Mary Ward

  9. Jodie SprayberryJuly 30, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    The love that you continue to share inspires me. Thank you for sharing your most precious moments.

  10. Hi Steve,

    Marsi's memorial service was amazing. I loved every moment of it. I felt her with us. Especially when we all turned to one another and shared our love for Marsi, telling stories of how she touched our lives. Brilliant. Your children impressed me so much. I love how Madison had Marsi's camera, documenting this day. Marsi and I had a lot in common. Photography and watching our kids play any sport (for example), especially soccer. When you upload the pictures that Madison, I'd love to see them. If you don't mind. I'll be in touch, soon.

    Love to you and your family.


  11. Steve,
    Thank you so much for writing these posts about Marsi. I'm so sorry to learn about her passing. I can't imagine how you and the kids are feeling, but I'm glad that you have such a strong and loving group of friends and family around you. Please consider Lisa, Riley and I as part of that group -- if there's anything we can do for you guys, I hope you'll let us.

    There's a lot more to say, but for now, all I can think of is this: You're a great, great guy. It's clear you're a loving husband, and a kind father. Madison and Harrison are in the best possible hands. With you as a Dad, they will grow up and be outstanding, accomplished adults who carry the best qualities of their amazing parents.

    Seth Taylor

  12. Steve, I know that I could never begin to understand what you and the kids are going through. I can only tell you that recalling that horrible day when I had to tell my son that his father passed away was by far the worst day, the worst moment in my entire life. Nothing could have ever prepared me for it. Things have a way of being very busy afterwards with a million well intentioned words to somehow make it better. Eventually as the frenzy slowed, it grew quiet again in our world, and while the world moved on around us, as life does, we were left in our grief. The best advice that comforted me while trying to figure out how we would 'move on' 'have time heal' 'how I could make it better' 'fix things' actually wasn't what I was expecting, but it was the only thing that made sense and gave me peace. I'll share it in case it may speak to you in some way. "Steve, it really never does get better. It is just something you learn to live with." It was the only thing that took the pressure off of me trying to figure out how I was going to make sense of something that doesn't, to make right what was unfair. I hurt just as much today as I did 5 years ago if I take myself back to the memories....and that is OK because he was a wonderful father, a wonderful man. We had so many signs from him and I'm sure you will too that made it really clear there is more than just life here on earth.

  13. Steve, You and Marsi have always radiated love. It was right out there for everyone to see and feel and beautiful to experience. I loved being around you both and always felt I came away a better person. Take care and gather strength from all of us who have been lucky enough to know you both and be touched by your deep and abiding love. Thank you.

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