Click here for Video played at Steven's Celebration Service
Steven Trapp Field
The Dragonfly Story
July 13, 2006 and until we're together again...
...Said Jesus, "But this
happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."
In the verse above Jesus is responding to his disciples questions about why a man was born blind. Jesus responds by saying that through suffering the work of God is displayed. Even back then people asked the big "why" questions. Here we are--two years later and our family still questions why all this happened. With the passing of time, however, I am grateful that the "why" isn't as gnawing as it used to be. Our family is trying very hard to lead a life that reflects God's glory and to trust in His unseen purpose.
It's been two years ago today that Steven died. We've learned so much, felt so much and experienced so much in this short period of time. Our family has had our share of wonderfully happy moments and some very deeply sad moments. A feeling that brings me a certain level of peace is--gratitude. I have found over the last year that having a grateful heart is the thing that helps me keep perspective and better appreciate all I do have. Being grateful also helps during the tougher moments. I am keenly aware that there have been many families that have suffered so much more than our family and people who have been through far greater challenges. I have been and continue to be so very grateful for the five and half wonderful years God gave us with our son.
In a discussion with a friend a few days ago, she asked me how our family was doing now with the second anniversary upon us. As I reflected on this past year I would definitely say things have become more normal and we are leading a happy and healthy life. Dave and I both still have our grieving moments and I would expect that to be the case for a long time. The girls' too grieve in their own ways. As they get older they will "re-process" it all again and again.
There are several things I've learned this past year when I think about Steven's life and how his journey has affected people. I do know that we all, regardless of the time spent on this Earth, make a difference in people's lives. Steven lived five short years and yet he changed our family's life forever and his journey influenced many more people in different ways. Knowing that Steven made a difference in other people definitely brings both Dave and me comfort. It's the work of God shown very clearly from one little boy's short life.
I have also learned some very valuable lessons about holding on too tightly. I've learned more clearly that we don't "own" anything or anybody. I now more than ever hold everything with an open palm. I'm happy to have what I have but I also know that no one is guaranteed tomorrow so we're better off being present in today. I find I don't worry nearly as much and I appreciate more fully. I know that just because of what we have endured we are still not immune to further major challenges. What I can say with confidence is--because of what our family has been through I know each of us has become stronger and we can face whatever this life brings.
As much as the strength is real, so are the moments of sadness. Sometimes it just boils down to the very real ache in Dave's, Meredith's, Emma's and my heart where we miss Steven so much. There were so many things about Steven that brought us such joy--Steven's ability to "find the fun" in everything, his laughter and silliness, his cuddly nature and love of cuddling feet, Steven's ability to create a game out of anything, his unusual sensitiveness, his unending questions and curiosity about everything, his cute freckles on his nose and "highlighted" hair, Steven's inherent childlike faith, Steven's only song he sang--God Our Father, and Steven's ability to look on the bright side like when he said "It's okay to be sick....I get extra presents and it's not even my birthday!"
We learned so much from our special little boy--but by far we learned the most about God's nature and the reality of Heaven--and that happened in the last thirty minutes of Steven's life. What Steven said before he died has immeasurably helped Dave and I and the girls. I have been told by countless other people in the last two years that they have been changed by what Steven said in the moments before he died. Hope is so very real for our family and hope is what keeps us going. Our hope truly is in God and His unseen plan.
God has lead our family in some nice directions. School is going well for the girls', Dave's job is going well and we are active in various activities. We find that we appreciate the simple things more--like watching sunsets and sitting in the backyard talking. Hecticness gets to me--I really try to take time to be still although like most people that can be a challenge. I went through the PAWS for service pet therapy training program with Sunny our labradoodle. She and I as a team go twice a month to Methodist hospital where we visit the adult oncology patients--Sunny does great and the patients really seem to enjoy her visits.
In the last year we have taken several wonderful vacations. The girls' have decided that skiing is their "thing" and have begged for it to be made an annual trip. Meredith is now 12 and going into 7th grade. Singing is still her passion. She auditioned for and was accepted into the San Antonio Children's' Choir so she is very excited about the upcoming year. Meredith is still a little more reserved talking about Steven but has written about him on several occasions for school. Steven's journey will continue to affect Meredith and Emma in ways they have yet to discover.
Emma is growing so fast. She just turned 10 and is going into 5th grade. Emma has a huge love of sports, especially basketball. She is quite fast. Emma too is quite the socialite and leans somewhat towards the dramatic--we see some of Steven's personality in Emma's funloving ways. The neat thing Emma is doing is she's growing her hair long for Locks of Love. When it grows at least ten inches she will have it cut and donated to the LOL foundation for it to be made into a wig for cancer patients. She has about three more inches to go--her hair will make a beautiful wig and we are so proud of her for wanting to donate.
Both Dave and I have been so blessed by our wonderful two daughters. They have weathered this storm and are well adjusted happy girls'. They too miss Steven a lot and talk about him almost every day. They have definitely had their moments and still ask tough questions. I'm grateful that we as a family can and do talk about Steven. As far as what the future holds--we don't know. For now, however, we are just trying to be present in the moment. The anniversary days are still very difficult but we do the best we can. I am grateful for even the tough days because to us it makes Steven real again. It forces us to think about all things regarding Steven's life--the good and the difficult. Truly they both had a part in shaping who we've become.
As far as remembering Steven--that won't be a problem because he will be with us forever. We will continue to participate annually in the Leukemia and Lymphoma's Light the Night walk with Steven's Team. One family tradition is for us to celebrate "Steven Trapp" day annually on his birthday November 2nd. We take the girls' out of school and Dave takes off work so we can have a special family "adventure". One very special memorial is the new soccer field being built at the girls' school--St. George Episcopal School. Through the help and donations of so many the field will be named "Steven Trapp Field." Steven loved soccer and loved the outdoors. This field will definitely be a place for kids to "find the fun."
As I look over what I've written today--it is very long! I think it's hard for me to end this update because I've decided this will be the last time I update this website. What started as a wonderful way to communicate with friends and family has turned into an incredible venue for Dave and me to share our feelings about so much. We have appreciated everyone who has supported us along the way--we couldn't have gone through and continue to go through this journey without the help of so many. This "Steven's Page" site will stay on the web even though I won't be doing any further updating. I am surprised at the frequency with which I receive an email from someone who has happened upon the site or has been directed there by someone else. My hope is that what we wrote about Steven's journey will help other families going through their own cancer journey. Even more, I hope our words help bring people closer to God. That would bring this site purpose.
The second year anniversary or the twentieth year--the feelings remain. What changes is how we lead our lives. Dave and I will continue to do our best to trust God and His plan. Recently I was pondering on when I die and enter Heaven--who would I run to first--God or Steven? As much as I love my son, I know I will run first to God. For me, it will be a meeting filled with an indescribable sense of gratitude that the hope and trust I placed in Him was real. After that--I will run to hug my son.
God Bless you,
Lisa, Dave, Meredith and Emma Trapp
ps--I updated Meredith and Emma's pages so you can see how they have grown!
To see August 2004 through July 2005 updates--click on "previous updates"
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Our loved little boy Steven died at 11:22am this morning. Although there is a pain I can't even begin to describe, Dave and I both feel a sense of peace--and we thank God and Steven for providing that peace.
Ever since starting the Dilaudid, Steven was pain free. He was more engaging and talked in a very calm voice. Everyone in our family has told Steven so many times not only how much we love him but also how we will be together always. We had really hoped he understood that concept. Late last night, Steven told me "Mommy, where I go is where you go". That alone told me he got it--he was calm, pain free and for the most part very relaxed.
Steven stayed up the rest of the night alternating asking for sips of milk, rootbeer and water. His fighting spirit was never more evident in the end as he was determined to hold his own cup, even saying "I'll do it myself" --it's almost like he wanted the cancer to know he wasn't going to give in without a fight. We are so proud of our little boy for the courage and bravery he has shown in his long fight against such a nasty disease.
After not sleeping at all for two straight nights, Dave and I both were pretty emotional this morning as Steven was restless and did start to experience some bleeding. After two pain free yet restless and emotional nights, we just didn't understand why God hadn't already taken him to Heaven. Fortunately the bleeding wasn't painful for Steven so we did what Dr. Kane said to do, which was to keep our focus on the goal of providing comfort. We just covered it up and continued to look into Steven's eyes and tell him we love him.
We knew Steven's time was nearing it's end around mid morning. The girls both had kissed Steven and said their "I love you's" and then we sent them to our neighbor's. It was just Dave, Steven and me. I want to share with you a few of the things Steven said in the thirty minutes before he died.
Steven mostly had only talked when he asked for milk, water, or a tissue. He became increasingly quiet and we noticed he started nodding his head "yes" and then mumbling something. He did this about five or six times as if he were talking to someone. Then as clear as day he said in an amazingly light tone "I'm not scared." Dave leaned in his ear and asked him to shake his head yes if he just said he wasn't scared and Steven immediately shook his head yes and said again "I'm not scared." A few moments later he said "I want to go home" and then in such a typical gesture for Steven he gave us a big thumbs up. Dave and I sat there in tears because we feel Steven was truly being guided to Heaven.
After another five or so minutes he said "Daddy, I'll watch you". We watched as Steven was trying to pry open his very swollen eye like he wanted to really see us one more time. He seemed very calm and very at peace. The beauty in this moment was indescribable. Finally, the last words he said that we could understand were "I'm ready" and "I'm going to hop on". We have no idea what he was hopping on to but we know the destination was Heaven. And then at 11:22am Steven took his last breath here on earth and we know his next breath was in his new perfect body up in Heaven.
Although we have and are experiencing an incredible loss and a depth of pain I never thought I could feel, both Dave and I know we saw God's mercy and grace at a time when we needed it most.
As far as funeral arrangements go, because Steven has so many little and big buddies we want to make the memorial a "celebration of life" service which would be comfortable to children if families choose to bring them. We will be having a private graveside burial on Friday, July 16, 2004 and then Steven's celebration memorial service will be on Sunday, July 18, 2004 at 3pm at our church home of University United Methodist Church at 5084 De Zavala road, San Antonio, Texas. Their will be a reception following the service.
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