Masthead header

Obituary for Steve Stern

 

photo-10Steve Stern was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 22, 1962, into a family of great faith and global reach. Before his first birthday, he was on a plane headed for Abraka, Nigeria, where he would spend the formative years of his childhood. Steve loved his life in Africa and would later relish telling his children stories of strange pets, swimming in rivers on hot days and living through the Biafran war. His family moved back to Detroit in 1970 and eventually on to Danville, Illinois, where Steve attended Danville High School graduating in 1980. In 1981 he packed up his Saab and moved to Portland, Oregon to attend Portland Bible College. There he met and married his wife, Bo. They honeymooned in Central Oregon and quickly began dreaming of the day they might make a life there. That day came in 1995 and Bend, Oregon has been home ever since.

 

unnamedSteve had many brilliant achievements in his life. He was a great golfer and businessman, a successful pastor – but he always believed that his best accomplishment was his family. He was unspeakably proud of Corey and Whitney Parnell, Victoria, Tess and Josiah Stern and he loved being Papa to his grandsons, Greyson and Phineas.

 

10598369_698938493527512_1406439057_nIn 2011, Steve was diagnosed with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis. That’s when he became a hero. He battled the treacherous disease with bravery, humor and determination. He stayed fiercely in love with God and committed to being a faithful and loyal friend, dad and husband, even in the midst of his suffering. He used all his minutes and muscles on the people he loved most and continued to develop new, important relationships up until his last breath on July 18, 2015.

 

imageSteve is survived by his wife and children, his mother, Eleanor Stern, one sister, Susan David and brothers Philip and Jonathan Stern. He was greatly anticipating the prospect of heaven – especially seeing his dad, Paul Stern, who preceded him in death.

 

photo-2The impact of Steve Stern’s life, faith and love cannot be contained by words on a page, but it is reflected in his family and the many who were blessed to call him friend. His19,445 days on this earth were a gift that he opened and lived out with joy.

 

A celebration of life will be held on July 24th at 1:00 at Westside Church.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to help with medical and funeral expenses.

 

 

 

July 24, 2015 - 8:36 am

Leilani Haywood - I’ve followed your journey through this valley for several years. I’ve wept with you, prayed with you and I’m weeping now. May God carry your family during this time.

July 24, 2015 - 8:40 am

Angie Tolpin - Bo,
I have followed a little of your families journey the past year through Facebook and stories from mutual friends and I wanted to thank you all for bringing our Father in heaven glory through all the circumstances, the trials, the struggles, and the pain you have experienced. I am sure there were hard, hard, hard days, but even in those Jesus was magnified and that is beautiful even in the midst of all the hard. Know that our family is praying for you and thankful for brothers and sisters in Christ like you that can shine so brightly.
May He Comfort You

July 24, 2015 - 9:15 am

Jess Lederman - Dear Bo,
I can feel my own heart break all over again; and yet, with your example, and Steve’s, and that of my late wife Teri, and above and beneath and beside us all, Jesus Christ, I have joy. Please let me know the address for donations.
Jess

July 24, 2015 - 9:22 am

Amber - Please let me know where we can send a donation to. Sending up prayers for comfort and peace to your family, and anyone who was touched by Steve’s greatness.

July 24, 2015 - 9:36 am

Kristin Motter - Beautiful man. Beautiful family. Love and prayers are with you all through this horrifically painful, glorious time.

July 24, 2015 - 9:56 am

Ben & Michelle Earwicker - We are celebrating Steve’s life and impact with you! So sorry for your loss and the difficult days of grief. Love from the Earwickers. – Ben, Michelle, Nyah, and Renn

July 24, 2015 - 10:18 am

Marilee Rodgerson - My heart aches for you and your family as you’ve had to say good- bye here on this earth. Your words, your witness and your faithfulness to God through this horrific journey is witnessed by those who know you from up close and afar. I’m praying for you and your dear family as you walk these days, weeks and beyond with forever changed lives. Knowing God is being ever present.

July 24, 2015 - 11:03 am

Loni Vander Stel - Dear Bo – I have read your book, Beautiful Battlefields, and wept, and agreed through it, as our lives have been mutually through valleys, but with the Great Shepherd. I pray for the continued peace that passes ALL understanding, that your blessed memories of your husband and thinking of him dancing in heaven, lift your spirits, when the years of missing him collide with your heart. May your new normal begin with peace and beauty and the anticipation that it will be a short new normal and in a blink of the eyes, there will be eternal reunions.

July 24, 2015 - 12:03 pm

Janet Beier - Bo I am very new to your battle. I feel i know you through your book – I actually went to Bible college with Steve and he was my drive to work and all I can remember was his smile and his crazy driving! My mom and dad are visiting and brought your book. I had read 2 chapters and then mom found out he went to be with the Lord. I want you to know that i have been in a 7 year battlefield with my love for Parkinsonism (long term complication of a car accident) like Steve a healthy strapping guy who could do anything. Let’s just say i was doubting my ability to endure! Now John and I are reading this book together and say we are on the road to recovery in our relationship. Prayers for peace.

July 24, 2015 - 6:55 pm

Arlene Cox - Please send an address for a donation.
Bo, you graciously GAVE me a copy of “Beautiful Battlefields” when you were the speaker at women’s night of worship at New Heights Church in Vancouver, WA., when you found out that a family member of mine was going through ALS.

Blessings as you go through the battlefield of grief, the celebration of life well lived, and joy of knowing that you will see him again.

In Jesus’s love,
Arlene

July 24, 2015 - 11:02 pm

Gretchen Wells - An absolutely Beautiful tribute to your husband today! Bless you friend! Many many prayers for you all!!

July 25, 2015 - 4:49 am

Dawn Pieper - Dear Bo and Family,

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved husband, father, son and brother. You are correct Bo when you say “the impact of Steve’s love, faith and life cannot be measured by words on a page”. The words on the page are a small tribute to the amazing impact his life has had. God be praised for your willingness to share Steve’s life and your journey. You have impacted thousands. You have impacted me. Thank you.

Unfortunately,I am intimately familiar with grief. Losing a brother and two cousins at the age of six. Then I faced my parents dying in a car accident when I was twenty five. Writing is a healing balm as you grieve.

I am praying for all of you to feel the arms of your Savior in each hug and letter you get. Heaven is a place each of you will long for! Steve is lavishing every moment. Those left behind are faced with the heartache and hope.

July 26, 2015 - 10:23 am

Jody Collins - What a party there must be in Heaven!

July 28, 2015 - 10:08 am

Lorie - I’m so sad to hear of your loss; your love for Steve was magnificent and precious. I’ve also been following your journey after hearing you on the radio sharing your story. Thank you for bearing your soul and not holding back on the raw emotion you went through in your blogs … I’ve been encouraged from your example and try to face my own trials with, hopefully, the same grace that’s so evident in you as you shared your experience so courageously. I’ll continue to pray for your and your family as you face the days ahead. I know the Presence of Jesus will be with you each day without fail just as He was during Steve’s illness—and probably more so. You are in my thoughts every day.

On The Day You Flew

 

Dearest Steve,

 

 

Our goodbye had been coming so long. In fact, it seemed we had already said it so many times and in so many ways. With tears and words and recently, as words became more and more difficult for you, with raised eyebrows and tiny hand movements. Our language was second nature to me and so much of our communication revolved around this impending goodbye – but I was still surprised when it really, finally came.

 

The week had been a constant struggle to keep your oxygen levels up. The caregivers and I would check your pulse ox a million times each day, exchanging high fives with any number in the 90’s and worried glances when it dipped to dangerous levels. The shrill start-up alarm on the O2 machine became a comfort to me, knowing it was doing its job, helping you breathe, keeping you here. We tried – Crystal, Holly and I – to keep the concern out of our voices, but I know you knew. You’ve always known everything before I knew it.

 

On Friday night, we pulled the couches and cushy chairs into the room so we could be with you. We watched Hitch, because we needed an easy laugh. During the movie, you were awake, asleep, awake, asleep, until finally you asked to be taken to bed. Joe helped me transfer your fragile, failing body out of your chair and into bed. You asked me to adjust your head once or twice and I waited for more instructions because, let’s be honest, there were always more instructions. You, sweet man, are wonderful and kind , but you are a very, very particular patient and we both know I never got out of the night-time routine with less than eight head adjustments. So I waited. But you said nothing. I asked, “Are you good now, hon?” Nothing. “Do you need anything?” Nothing. I stroked your cheek and rubbed your arm, “Do you want me to read you a psalm?” No response. So I asked Joe to bring me a chair and I sat by your bed and prayed and thought and read slept off and on. I don’t know what I thought might happen, but I knew I didn’t want to miss it, couldn’t miss it.

 

After a long time, I fell into my bed beside yours, so thankful we weren’t in a hospital. I was so glad to be near you and near our family, surrounded by the sights and sounds that have defined our life together.

 

On Saturday, you woke up early and Joe again helped with the transfer from bed to chair. You seemed awake and alert. You told me you loved me so many times and in so many ways as I moved around you to do the morning routine and I treasure each and every one of those, but I could also tell that you were miserable. Joe sat with you and visited (he’s a really great brother-in-law, isn’t he?) while I took a little time to read and write a blog post. Every time I checked on you, it seemed you were less aware. Less there. Holly was the caregiver for the day and she arrived at 10, but much of the morning work had already been done, so she said to you, “What do you need this morning, Steve?” Your eyes closed and opened, but no answer came out. I began asking you questions, but no response. You were there and breathing, but you were also somewhere else entirely. After a few minutes, you looked at me and I knew you were back. It was unsettling, but I still didn’t imagine you were two hours from heaven.

 

I had been struggling with a fierce headache all morning which I had begun to believe might be sinus-related, so I wanted to run to the store and grab something I could take for it. And I know, our house was filled with every possible medication, and yet…no sinus stuff. All week, you had wanted me to be near you and seemed panicky when I wasn’t, so I checked to make sure you were good with me going to the store. You nodded yes, eyes glassy and staring at the tv. “Who’s winning?” I asked, because you will always talk about golf and the British Open is one of your favorites (but choosing a favorite golf tournament for you is like choosing a favorite child). I asked again and you just shook your head and said, “I don’t know.” And it sounds crazy, but that’s when I knew we were closer than I had thought. Just like you knew you were really sick when your golf swing suffered, I knew you were really leaving me when golf no longer mattered.

 

I went to the store with my sister, but my heart was pounding the whole time. Heavy tension hung over us, so we moved fast and talked little. It wasn’t that I was afraid you would die while I was gone, mostly I was afraid you would need me.

 

We were home in a matter of minutes and I went straight to your chair to check on you. I put my hand on your hand and you looked up at me, trying to see through the cob webs of your impending transition and you mouthed your trademark line, “Hello, beautiful.” And by the way, thank you for that. Thank you for being so consistent with that for so long. You built something in me with that line. You built my belief system about who I am to you. Really, sir, so many thank yous.

 

Corey and Whitney had stopped by to visit and so I hugged the babies and sent Tori on a burger run. I was snuggling baby Finn when Holly yelled my name and her voice told me all I needed to know. I ran to you and knew. “How are you Steve?” I yelled at you and you just shook your head, gasping for air as the color drained from your skin. The pulse oximeter was attached to your finger and we watched as it dropped from 75 to 69 to 64 and down. And I could feel heaven arriving. It was pressing in on us as you struggled for breath and I struggled for breath and somewhere in my breaking heart I heard the words, “Help him home.” So I leaned in close and told you how proud we were of you. How you had fought so valiantly and well. I told you how brave and strong you were and how excited Jesus was to meet you and hold you and give you a good meal. I told you we would be fine, our kids would be strong and would stay soft. I didn’t tell you how desperately I would miss you because I didn’t want you to fight any harder or longer than you already had. I felt like a midwife. Soon, all the family surrounded me and began encouraging you, too. We prayed and stroked your hands and feet and sobbed and told you all we felt you needed to know about the life you had lived and the life that was waiting just beyond this moment. Your breathing was so shallow, but you were still with us so I relinquished my spot by your face so that our kids could step in close and say soft, secret words to you as you made your journey home. Your dearest friend, Riley, arrived with five minutes to spare and when I told you, “Riley is here,” I saw your eyebrows move. It always mattered to you when Riley came.

 

The whole thing felt both utterly chaotic and completely in order. There were moments when it would hit me that all a the details had come together to make this as beautiful as it could be. Our people were there. The sun was shining. We were as ready as we would ever be.

 

We turned off the British Open and turned on a worship playlist. As the sounds and songs of heaven filled the room, we said we’d see you so, so soon. At 12:52, with Beauty For Ashes playing in the background, you flew away home. And that’s when I fell at your feet and cried all my tears. So many tears. Pouring and gasping and pouring and gasping out an offering of gratitude to Jesus for the gift of you. I imagine I was pouring out my love at your feet at the exact moment you were pouring out your love at His. I heard things happening around me, others crying and praying, but I mostly heard the sound of my Good Shepherd. I saw His smile and heard His voice saying, “Thank you, Bo, I’ll take it from here.” And all the pieces of my life came together and apart all at once in one afternoon.

 

When the dust had settled and everyone had taken some time with you, I gathered us all together around you to pray. Corey said a brilliant, beautiful prayer, though I don’t remember any of the words, and then we began to sing

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll Worship His holy name

 

And you know how your family sings, so you know it was beyond beautiful. Evan had brought Josiah home from camp so there were like a half dozen amazing worship leaders in your home going choir. I hope heaven heard it, even though I know the choirs there are probably pretty great too.

 

So, here I am on day four. Still standing. Still have a headache. Wondering how I’ll do this without you. The past four years have been consuming, discouraging, exhausting, unnerving and beautiful. You became the very center of my life, my attention, my purpose, my to-do list and my heart. Now my time is free, but my heart is not. It’s odd, leaving the house whenever I want to. It’s strangely wonderful and at the same time dark and disorienting.

 

My facebook is slammed with messages of hope and strength. People love you, sir. I mean – they love you. Your life made such a mark on your world. And we miss you desperately. I’m not too proud to say I am unspeakably sad for me – but I can’t muster up even one minute of sadness for you. I watched your life. I watched you struggle to breathe and move. I watched you sacrifice all your dignity on the altar of ALS and I am so happy for your new life that sometimes I’m breathless with the thought of what you must be doing and feeling and tasting.

 
So, that is the story of the day you were born. Really, truly born into life. That I was a witness to the miracle is my dearest, sweetest treasure.

 
I will always, always love you.

 

Until we meet again,

 

Bonita

 

 

Dear friends:  This blog post breaks all the rules.  It’s too long. Too unedited.  Too personal.  But I needed to write it – to get it out, to get it on paper, as a part of the process.  I share it because I think Steve would want me to.  I think  – in fact, I know – that he would want you to know about this 19,445th day in his life. He would want you to know how God showed up to lead him home…and he would want you to know He loves you. 

July 21, 2015 - 8:49 am

Alisha Braatz - Love you Bo, and your whole family. This is beautiful.

July 21, 2015 - 8:52 am

Cindi Dunn - Sweet Bo…I remember the day in Macy’s…all the way last Christmas season, that when I asked what I could pray for you, you told me to ask Jesus that you would be there with Steve at that “birthing” moment…you couldn’t imagine it any other way, & I am sure Steve wouldn’t have had it any other way…Never the less, I have asked Jesus for that, many times, among other things, over the past months and now with tears streaming down my face…I know, once again, ever and always, He is faithful!!!!!…I love you so! Thank you for allowing us the privilege to journey with you over the years…Jesus has “stolen my heart”….you give it words…Thank you.

July 21, 2015 - 8:55 am

Dianna Salciccioli - Tears brimming. Joy and sadness all mixed together. Thinking again about legacy and the power of true faith. Thankful for you and your families honesty in this battle. We will miss Steve’s wit and humor–Heaven is a better place today.

Love you dearly and praying for your season ahead. Peace, healing, joy, and hope to you in this transition.

July 21, 2015 - 9:00 am

Pete Quortrup - Your words are perfect, Bo. You have a gift for communication. Thank you for sharing it here …about this. You and Steve are a light to the rest of us. Beautiful.

July 21, 2015 - 9:02 am

Kayrin - Dearest Bo and family – I have followed your ALS story from the beginning. Your grace through this awful ALS storm has been impressive. Thank you for sharing what I know to be very difficult moments in your lives. I’ve gone through this same journey with my Dad 17 years ago. God bless you Team Stern.

July 21, 2015 - 9:11 am

Debbie Hammagren - Dear Bo, thank you for sharing the beautiful exchange between heaven and earth.

July 21, 2015 - 9:13 am

Jane Lellman - Thank you dear Bo, for putting beautiful and real and difficult things into words. Two years plus later I still sometimes shake my head thinking that at the same time I cannot believe Jim is gone, I also cannot believe God let me have him for so long! I am grateful to you and to Steve for sharing your journey. I think for as long as I live I will remember what a privilege it was and is to be counted among the people I have met on this journey. Prayers for you and your family.

July 21, 2015 - 9:15 am

Gretchen Wells - Dear Bo, I really haven’t been on FB that much this summer and this morning I thought I’d check in…your post was the first thing I saw and I LOVE that about OUR GOD!! Thank You For Sharing “The Story” as hard as it is to read, the beauty of God is everywhere and it draws us so close to HIM! I know you and your family are covered in prayers of love, peace and comfort! We love you and again Thank YOU for sharing and lettings us All In!! Continued prayers for God’s Goodness!

July 21, 2015 - 9:16 am

Gwen Babbitt - Bo, I am Linda Johnson’s sister…you don’t know me but Linda kept me updated on your and Steve’s battles. She texted me Sunday morning when I was preparing for worship that Steve had passed. That morning we sang 10, 000 Reasons also. Not a coincidence I don’t think :-) I am sorry…just wanted to add my condolences and applaud your bravery and inspiration.

July 21, 2015 - 9:17 am

Nikki - Thank you for breaking all the rules. Thank you for sharing all of the personal. Thank you for being so real right in the middle of the messy and beautiful and difficult of it all. Thank you for sharing your life, so that we might gain some for ourselves. Tears and joy and sadness flow from my eyes and heart and soul for you and your family. Such bittersweet victory. XOXO

July 21, 2015 - 9:30 am

Kathy Field - Oh Bo, Lila let us know you had written this and I made the mistake of reading it now in my office at work. I have no makeup left but that’s okay, because I have a heart filled with love for you and your family and for a God who is always near. I have a hope of a loving compassionate God who promises us we will see our friends and family again, I have a joy that knows that as soon as Steve was whole again in his Heavenly Father’s arms, he heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!!! Shall we dance around the streets of gold?”, I have tears of heartache for what you are all experiencing this week and in the weeks to come. What a beautiful and powerful song to be playing when Jesus said hello and you all said goodbye. No words can truly express the thankfulness and blessing of knowing Steve, you and your family and how you have all impacted our hearts and lives. I can’t even begin to even imagine what this journey has been for you, but thank you for sharing it with all of us!!! God truly gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs hangs heavy o’er your head
Know that tomorrow brings wholeness and healing
God knows your need, just believe what He said

With much love, prayer and hugs,
Mike and Kathy Field

July 21, 2015 - 9:32 am

Dianne K Wood - Prayers, hugs, heart felt sympathy. Rest Bo.

July 21, 2015 - 9:33 am

Randy McBride - While we have been friends for many years now both you and Steve always seemed to amaze me. I am thankful that my last time seeing Steve on this earth that he gave me a huge, even though I could see the discomfort on his face.
Throughout the last four years you have shared, and with this I can also see the discomfort on your face as you open yourself up for the “hugs” we all want to give you.
On behalf of my entire clan we want you to know how much we love you Bo, and your clan.

July 21, 2015 - 9:33 am

Hattie Piske - Thank you, Bo for the gift of a glimpse in to such an intimate moment. I’m sitting here weeping at your words but also marveling at how God overshadowed a situation that should’ve felt hopeless. The way He’s provided for you all and the way you’ve responded points me straight to Jesus. Thank you. My prayers are with you.

July 21, 2015 - 9:34 am

David Chown - I’m glad you like to write Bo, because I love to read it. Precious in every way. God was right. Death is precious, and an enemy at the same time. It stalks all the time but when it finally shows up even death is covered by grace. Love always.

July 21, 2015 - 9:35 am

Katie Renault - Bo,
You don’t know me very well and I know your walk through blog posts and podcasts of west side. I was saved a west side and have never sat through one of your sermons without tears in my eyes. THANK YOU for sharing your life story. I am now a missionary in Mexico and I often read your posts of Steves amazing life. Even though I don’t know him or you personally, you both have impacted me through your walk. Your words are beautiful, his life was beautiful. Prayers for your family from Tijuana, Mexico.

July 21, 2015 - 9:42 am

Darleen - Bo, I have only met you and Steve once in my life…It was a message you preached 8 years ago from Hebrews and you were impressing so strongly how important it was for you to leave a legacy, running the race with endurance! I kept my kids in child care and stayed to listen to the message again and then afterward spent time talking with you and your husband about some questions of faith I had. When you preached that message, you never knew about the horrible monster of ALS lurking…Well, I must say 8 years later, well done my sister! so far you are not only impacting your family but now thousands!!! God has given you and your husband MUCH and you are doing amazing things with it even though it would never have been a chosen path….Thank you for sharing your life, your families life and HIS story….Please never stop blogging I look so forward to your posts just as I did the day I longed for you to preach that message for a second time :)

July 21, 2015 - 9:42 am

Shelley Kennell - Bo, thank you for sharing your private thoughts with us. Your courage is an inspiration. Blessings to you all along with my condolences.

July 21, 2015 - 9:51 am

Susan Hickox - Prayers for you and your family, Bo. You have shared your journey so generously and I am grateful. What a beautiful relationship you and Steve had.

July 21, 2015 - 10:02 am

Sharon Leskanic - Bo,
I have followed your blogs for we have so much in common, like so many families with ALS. I feel I know you well. My journey with my husband Jim with ALS was shorter, but so similar to Steve’s starting with the golf swing. My 2 teenage daughters & I lost Jim on Oct 2 2013. I empathasize will all you have written; truly it is what I have felt, experienced, & you express it so eloquently & I thank you. My daughter Sarah Caldwell (age 18) recently published her book “Just to Make You Smile”, a teenage daughter’s reflection on her Dad with ALS. It’s on Amazon.com, & maybe it someday will help. In the meantime, I wish you & your family Peace of the Holy Spirit. My heart is broken for you, for I know what it is. A huge hug from Maine, from myself & daughters. Peace & love.

July 21, 2015 - 10:03 am

Terry Scanlon - Dear Bo,
My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your husband. Your posts helped me greatly through the loss of my dear brother who passed from ALS. I was with him as he breathed his last breath encouraging him to let go. For us it was the hits of the 70s we were tuned to in those last days.It made us both smile. My most vivid memory of that day was of his hands, which had been so gnarled and in constant pain were now as limber as they were before he was sick. I knew he had beat ALS and was now home safe. My prayers are with you as you find your way forward. He is with you.

July 21, 2015 - 10:10 am

Yvonne Swarbrick - Dear Bo , thank you so much for sharing this , it’s beautiful and sad all at the same time. My hubby has MS and low -grade leakemia . He’s having chemo at the moment . He’s had MS for 30 yrs, the Lord has been with us all along the journey. Thanks for your encouraging beautiful words that you have always shared. You have ministered to me often when I have read them
Bless you xx

July 21, 2015 - 10:19 am

Gil Miller - Bo, absolutely profound! So deeply hard to read, but soooo full of life and Jesus! Thanks so much for giving us a picture into your heart and soul…..and for showing us Jesus. We love you!

July 21, 2015 - 10:20 am

Jolynda - I’m so sorry for your loss. ALS sucks. Your words were beautiful. This is the first time I’ve read your blog…..just beautiful.

July 21, 2015 - 10:22 am

Steve Merki - We’re so sorry to hear this news, Bo, but are rejoicing for Steve. Thanks for blazing the trail for us.

July 21, 2015 - 10:27 am

Nita Belles - Oh sweet friend. Thank you for sharing this deeply spiritual, and selfishly I say, deeply sad blog. As always, you brought us in to your life and even into Steve’s life evermore. Wow.

I love you and I’m here. 24/7

July 21, 2015 - 10:29 am

Kristin Motter - Oh,Bo. Tears dropped from my eyes for nearly every line. You and Steve are so loved. I truly felt like I knew him through you, and as I read I kept praying his passing would not be difficult. Steve left pure love on earth and was welcomed into the perfect arms of love in heaven. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. And remember one of my favorite things Christ said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Deepest love and heartfelt prayers to you and your family.

July 21, 2015 - 10:29 am

COLIN FITZPATRICK - I have no words…. except to say I love you guys — all of you — MAY GOD BLESS and KEEP YOU ALWAYS!!! :(

July 21, 2015 - 10:33 am

linda Johnson - Dear Bo, like everyone else, I wept through the reading of this. What I know is that there is no more sacred, difficult time than ushering your loved one to the gates of heaven. You and your family did it so well. Now rest dear one, in the arms of Jesus, just as Steve is.

July 21, 2015 - 10:36 am

Grace Bennett - Bo, Your story is precious and very articulate. When you are caretaker, friend, lover etc. for so long it is going to be hard but you can do it. I remember you and Steve from childhood days. You both are such a blessing. Prayers

July 21, 2015 - 10:46 am

Vangi Taron - Dear, dear Bo — so beautiful. So heart-breakingly beautiful. Thank-you for letting us in on these amazing moments. And I love you. You can go ahead and break the blog rules anytime as far as I’m concerned.

Love you my sweet cousin,
Vangi

July 21, 2015 - 11:03 am

Laurie - Oh Bo. No words to add to this. Not a rule broken. It was perfect because you needed to say it. Tears and all, thank you for sharing. You are loved more than you will ever know and have an amazing impact on the people reading this. I love you!

July 21, 2015 - 11:12 am

Ruth - Don’t remember how I came across your book but it touched my heart so deeply. The courage and strength God has given you and Steve to see Gods beauty in the midst of this struggle magnified our great God and was a beacon of hope and life. My son in law and family have moved in with me. He has Huntingtons Disease. May God be glorified in our lives as He was in yours. He is able to do exceedingly more than we can ask or think. The Living God has shown Himself strong at it is beautiful.
Thank you!

July 21, 2015 - 11:14 am

Judy Hinds - As part of Cheryl’s circle I have prayed and followed your story from the day you first got the terrible diagnosis and now with tears streaming as I read of Steve’s departure for a far better world. Much love to the Stern family.

July 21, 2015 - 11:14 am

Becky Jo - Dear Bo & Family,
Wow. Yes, it is beautiful that those who meant the most to Steve were privileged to be present when he moved from his temporary home to his Eternal home. I can’t imagine how you begin to process the transition without him. For awhile, maybe a long while, you will count the days and the new “normal” will feel anything but normal. Please be kind and patient with yourself (and kids) and allow yourself to feel your feelings and sit with them as long as and as often as they come. Please take time to grieve on your timetable in your way. Please know that you are an incredible inspiration and role model, even more so (in my opinion) when you are able to share the brutal truth of the impact of your loss and this disease. Sharing does not diminish who God is or the faith you have. Take care Bo (you know that’s what Steve would want for you). >3

July 21, 2015 - 11:15 am

Nancy Shaw - Dear Bo, thank you for being real and sharing, that’s Jesus with skin on and in my life I need that. How if remember so well when our whole family was sleeping on the floor of my husbands bedside waiting for him to breath his last and go to be with Jesus and I was blessed to see his spirit leave his body. My heart is rejoicing for Steve to be healed and whole in the presence of our Lord and King, what a home coming he had. And my heart grieves with you all as I remember how if feels to let go of your loved one. After my husband died, as he was in a nursing home, they dedicated the room his was as the Butterfly room and are using it now just for terminally ill patients. They told our family we had gone through out loss with dignity and we know it was only because of God mercies and grace that we were able to do that. Walking along side of you Bo and your family as you continue your walk through the valley of death and in to the light of Jesus at the mountain top.

July 21, 2015 - 11:27 am

Jeanie Thorpe - Tears for the loss of your beautiful soulmate.tears of rejoicing for Steves beautiful new life with Jesus.Deeply sorry for you & your family.

July 21, 2015 - 11:42 am

DaNette - Bo-Thank you for sharing your last hours with Steve,I experienced some of the same Heavenly encounters that you did when we had to take our 20 year old son off life support, and we release him to Jesus. A entirely different story, but relational. The Lord asked me to walk him home, the worship songs, the lifting up from the Lord were I thougt I was heading to heaven with my son. You see I am only sharing this because Heaven came to Earth that day, as I am sure you can relate to what I am talking about. Anyways I needed to hear your story because I often feel like my story was maybe a delusional,or I was under so much stress and greif it was an escape from the pain, or just plain crazy. 😉 In your grief you have shared your story,you have brought conformation to me from the Lord that it is okay to share my story and I was not crazy,delusional or trying to escape the pain.The Lord is truly bringing Heaven to Earth when we have to let go of our most precious loved treasures here on Earth that he lent to us for a period of time. Today I am Praising the Lord for you; your gifts,visions,knowledge,and mostly your God given ability to write and help a sister who has been stuck for 6 years. Thank you! May God grasp you daily in this season.

July 21, 2015 - 11:50 am

Amy Crombie - Bo… your love for the Lord and love for your husband and family has always been an inspiration to us all. I heard you speak probably 10 years ago at George Fox and became a Bo Follower ever since. Your heroic steadfast faith and love is one of the most beautiful things I have seen/read. I am blessed to have been able to read about Steve’s 19,445th day on this earth. One of my best childhood friends, 43 yrs old, is battling stage IV breast cancer and the past week has been the worst / most painful yet for her. She is a single mom of a 20mos old son and it just breaks my heart. Reading about Steve’s homecoming instilled a renewed sense of peace, joy, and hope. This isn’t the “end”….Steve entering Heaven is the beginning. Im not making any sense Im sure but THANK YOU. Thank you for sharing this painful beautiful journey. You are my hero. someone I look up to in awe of your strength, dignity, honesty, and undying faith in our Lord. God bless you and your beautiful family. I, too, look forward to meeting your beloved Steve someday. Thank you!

July 21, 2015 - 11:50 am

Linda Ratliff - Bo and family,
I am in complete tears and I am so sad for your loss. But, I am so happy Steve is with Jesus and whole again. I sure hope my passing with ALS is surrounded by my family and friends. A gift that you were there with Steve.
Bo, your writing is so beautiful, emotions raw, I was in the room with you as I read. My deepest sympathies, and my heart hurts for you.
Linda

July 21, 2015 - 12:10 pm

Nan Christensen - Sweet Bo… Thank you for allowing all of us to be privy and share in your remarkable journey these last four years. Your most recent post “The day you flew”, Is so appreciated. We wanted to and some way needed the details of your goodbyes Being members of the same body, we grieve with you. Steve was right Bo, you really are beautiful.. Nan

July 21, 2015 - 12:10 pm

Michelle Harvey - Dear Bo – you don’t know me. I am a friend of the Larry and Sue Spousta. I am so terribly sorry for the loss of you sweet, dear husband and friend. Your words were beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. What an honor and privilege to be present at that sweet and joyful but incredibly sad moment when he let go of your hand to take the hand of his loving Savior. I’m sure the heavens were alive with joy and singing at his entrance into his eternal home. I myself was able to share in that moment too when my husband “won” his battle with ALS last October. Your words touched my heart very deeply. Close to the bone but so very moving and true. Know that another out here is praying for you. It’s time to rest now.
Michelle Harvey

July 21, 2015 - 12:25 pm

Karma Gingrich - What a beautiful testimony of your love….for Steve, your family and most of all God! Thank you all for your obedience and witness to thousands around you! Praying for your family! Love to you…

July 21, 2015 - 12:36 pm

Janice Halteman - Bo, your journey with Steve has taken you both to the deepest valleys and highest vistas. The courage, fear, perseverance, trust and faith you have so candidly shared with your blog posts has been an incredible gift. I’ve held you in my prayers and thoughts throughout. You have my deepest respect and admiration. May friends and family and faith hold you close in these tender moments of missing your beloved. Much love to you and your children.

July 21, 2015 - 12:47 pm

Deanna Cranston - Dear Bo and Family,
Your lives have taken us right up to the very edges of heaven. Thank you for allowing us to share this struggle with you. We love you, we miss Steve immensely and we are here for you day or night.

July 21, 2015 - 12:56 pm

Karen Oiness - My good friend April sent this to me. It’s so beautiful and I can relate so well. I lost my husband from ALS on June 23, 2015. He wasn’t able to communicate. I endlessly adjusted his pillow. Sitting by him for hours and telling him I loved him. The sound of the bipap machine. His panicking when I was t there. Sleeping on the floor next to his hospital bed. The last day, hours, minutes, seconds. Like you I am so sad for myself. But to imagine the moment Jesus was there waiting for him. What peace that is. I know I will see my husband again but it still hurts so bad. ( I should not have read this on my lunch hour when I have to go back to work!). It’s beautifully written. Thank you.

July 21, 2015 - 12:58 pm

Kendall Brightwell - Bo,with tears running down my face, I see my future, my husband is now in his 4th yearof this horrible disease. In this past year the lonely truth of it has really become apparent, the promises of well meaning people who disapear, family that is too far away or busy. We have limited money so limited caregivers. So while things are pretty grim here ( he is angry,rude and I won’t go on) your words have touched me and not much does anymore. Bless you and your family. Kendall

July 21, 2015 - 1:03 pm

Carrie Kuba - Thank you, Bo and Steve, for sharing this journey with us.
Prayers continue for you, Bo, and for your family as the waves of grief hit.
XO

July 21, 2015 - 1:06 pm

Karen Oiness - I just wrote a comment but I meant to add that we watched the US Open together for four days straight. I’ve never really watched golf but we enjoyed those times just being together.

July 21, 2015 - 1:07 pm

Michelle C - Dearest, dearest Bo-thank you so much for letting us in to those precious moments. With so many prayers for you and your family.

July 21, 2015 - 1:09 pm

Amy Wiktor - Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful moment with us. Thoughts, love, & prayers to you & your family!

July 21, 2015 - 1:13 pm

carole. lux - Dear beautiful Bo,

You may never see this but like you I need to write this. What a remarkable pair you two were & will be again. You have encouraged & blessed people during some of your hardest times. I so admire you guys. when I heard the news of Steve my mind went to the dream I had of him standing at the door in such total good health & I know he passed thru that door & is more than likely playing golf. My thoughts are with you & your family. You are a beautiful lady. Thank you for sharing your heart.

July 21, 2015 - 1:27 pm

Trudi Burner - Bo – my heart aches and breaks for you right now….but reading Steve has won his battle against ALS, strengthens me and lets me know in this chaotic world, peace can still be ours with the simple whisper of His holy, perfect name….JESUS….can you feel his breath? Hear the rush of angels wings? He is near to you and your family now at this time.

I too lost my beloved mother to this horrific, demeaning, body consuming disease…..So I feel ya sister….Just know, I love you in thought and prayer and I know, because I know, because I know, because I know….Steve won and my mom won and anyone with this disease, who has the hope of Heaven and Jesus….God Bless you for sharing.

July 21, 2015 - 1:29 pm

Michael Wenham - Thank you for sharing this precious moment with us, Bo. May God bless you and your family.

July 21, 2015 - 1:34 pm

Tammy Anderson - I am so grateful that you wrote this, the final chapter to Steve’s earthly story, because I think many of us (maybe all of us?) would have felt privileged to be present in that room for Steve’s transition from earthly life to heavenly life. You write in such a way that we can actually feel present and it helps bring closure for me. It also is good to hear how you are doing, Bo. You are amazing. I love you.

July 21, 2015 - 2:04 pm

Tresa - Be free, Steve Stern! Keep being strong and courageous, Bo Stern! You took that one into the end zone like a true champion! ❤️

July 21, 2015 - 2:19 pm

Andrea Perkins - My heart is so heavy and sad for you. Peace be with you all.

July 21, 2015 - 2:23 pm

Michaela Evanow - Bo. Oh, Bo. Our lovelies..they are together, meeting face to face, at last. Free.

I know this time is so overwhelming. I will write you more later on, when the dust and comments and letters slow. Lots of love to you, all of you.
xo

July 21, 2015 - 2:40 pm

Ken & Judy Gregory - As I read this I cried and cried. Even though we know we are going to be with Jesus and his angels…well it is hard as humans to let those we love go. You are an amazing woman & Steve knew you would be ok, util you meet again. Pray and hold the Lord close and you will smile again.

July 21, 2015 - 2:49 pm

Debbie Clothier - Dearest Bo and Family – My heart was with you every step of the way as you shared the events. They will always remain fresh in my heart as I recall a similar road with my mother-in-law as she passed with ALS. We think we are ready yet we are so far from it when it actually happens. Bless you dear one as you move forward. Our prayers will continue towards heaven for you and your family. We are so blessed everyday by your journey and we will continue to watch as God unfolds His word in your lives and Romans 8:28’s you. Hugs, The Clothier family

July 21, 2015 - 2:52 pm

DyAnn Rybarczyk - Dear Bo,
I have followed the two of you through the arduous journey of Als. So many times, I finished reading your posts/blog with tears flooding my eyes and heart. You have touched me immensely with your ministry during this difficult time. The Jesus heart you exemplify is something I deeply admire.
Truly, your future is bright ~ your ministry will provide hope, purpose and direction for those traveling this same “unplanned” journey with the ultimate question of “why”….
I pray huge blessings and favor to surround you and your precious family as you celebrate the wonderful life of your husband!

July 21, 2015 - 3:33 pm

Helen Washington - Dearest Bo,
My heart and mind are consumed with thoughts and prayers for you all and also for a plane to defy the speed of light.
Thank you for the sacrifice of sharing so many deep and sacred glimpses into your family’s life. We are honored and we are changed. You have gathered a myriad of facets of the character and goodness of God with each post. You have never wavered in honoring God and Steve. I’m so proud of you Bo, Steve is free but well done Bo. All my love and prayers to you all.

July 21, 2015 - 3:42 pm

Sandra Ferrell - As I read this about your husband’s going home day, I have cried like a baby. It shouts the same emotions, and many of the same actions, that occurred June 26, 2015. That’s the day that my Dad took his heavenly flight. I know one day I will see him again, but I am so heart-broken. I miss hi so.
May God bless you richly the remaining days of your life before you take your Heavenly flight.

July 21, 2015 - 3:45 pm

Deborah Gentry - Thank-you dear friend Bo for sharing his last day here on earth and the glorious birthing of his passing into the arms of Jesus….I am happy for your beautiful Steve, but I am sad and have been shedding tears, since….working at a golf course I got to see him often, he would come out on the driving range, just to hit balls…he was an amazing golfer, who taught himself….he told me the story of how he first started( I love that story) and I tell others. I would come into the parking lot and see his blue Jag…loved cars and Golf.

I remember a particular day when he could no longer play, he and his good friend Steve Mickel came and sat on the deck(I think he gave Steve M. Some verbal lessons earlier)he was just sitting on the deck enjoying the sun…I came out and spoke with both of them…the day was was a perfect temperature and the air positive…I knew he longed to be out there, but I could tell he was happy where he was….This man in the midst of his battle, who on earth had to give up on of the things he loved physically( the man was an athlete)would still encourage others and make them feel important… He asked how I was and how my family was doing,” yes, my three boys loved him”.

Thank- you Bo for sharing with us your most personal moment with Steve and your family… I could not even imagine and , yet what a glorious passing from temporal life to eternal life.
Yes, Steve we will continue to pray for your family and support them however we can…and I expect when I see you again…game on…its,”Match Play”.

July 21, 2015 - 4:05 pm

Sharri - Bo, you don’t know me. I read Beautiful Battlefiled a few months ago, found your bog and have been praying for you off and on ever since. I knew it was God who put you & Steve on my heart so strongly last weekend, and now I know why. You have lots who know and love you, but I’m also sure that there are many like myself who you’ve never met, who love and pray for you…and will keep on. God bless you and your family!

July 21, 2015 - 4:09 pm

Adriel Booker - Thank you for this beautiful offering. Love you. Xo

July 21, 2015 - 4:16 pm

Lucie - Oh, my dear Bo, how I wept as I read this. We have never met and probably never will on this earth, but I have followed your story for months now and been so moved by everything you shared. I knew the time was near when I read your post of the 18th and am grateful for this “post that breaks all the rules” – none of which rules matter. How beautifully you and all your family ushered Steve home. How fortunate he was to be so surrounded by your love. Wishing the peace that passes human understanding for you, dear, dear lady. God bless you.

July 21, 2015 - 4:32 pm

Leigh Cagilaba - Praying and lifting you and your family up to The Most High.

July 21, 2015 - 4:35 pm

Dan Hummer - Thank you for your honesty, for your faith, for sharing the hope Jesus has given you . . . I am a brother to Bill, and know something of the depth of his and Carol’s love for your whole family. Your sharing of this journey certainly makes heaven sweeter, and reminds me of the words of an older hymn, ‘Til the Storm Passes By” THANK YOU!

July 21, 2015 - 4:45 pm

Steven Phillips - Bo – Thanks for allowing us to go with you and see beyond the front room of your life, your marriage and your heart. You allowed us into the most intimate of places and for that we are very, very grateful. We were allowed to glimpse the frailness of this life; we were allowed to see raw courage lived out everyday by you, by Steve and by your family; we were allowed to walk with you through the valley of the shadow of death; and finally, we were allowed to hear of Steve’s triumphant escape from the prison of this life into the limitless expanse of being forever free; truly free at last.

Thanks!

July 21, 2015 - 5:28 pm

Kim McRae - Although I don’t know you or your family personally, I have read your book, Beautiful Battlefields and it has so touched my heart as I am going through a battle. I thank you for being so real and transparent and allowing God to use your story to help so many. ” The saving of many lives”. God bless you all

July 21, 2015 - 6:56 pm

Marci Floski - Bo,
I know you have so many around you who know and love you well and deeply. I only know and love you from afar, but even so, I want to thank you. Thank you for always being real and raw and unshakably honest throughout this journey. I have wept my way through many of your posts. Your wisdom and courage has been a source of TRUE strength to me as I work through my own grief. I too, in my own way, will miss your precious husband.
I won’t go on and on. Just thank you.
My love

July 21, 2015 - 7:33 pm

Katie - Bo Stern, you are a hero among heroes. You are teaching us how to love like Jesus. Thank you, deeply, thank you, for faithfully letting us into your heart – the temple of the King, where you facilitate His greatness coming into the world. We love you tremendously.

July 21, 2015 - 8:19 pm

DeAnna Moore - Bo, Break all the blog rules you want. One of the things I have always loved about you is how transparent you are with all of us. I can’t think of a time listening to you speak in church or in reading your blogs that I have been successful at not crying for you, with you and wonder could I face such a thing with as much grace and faith as you have. I hope I could but hope I never have to. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. <3

July 21, 2015 - 11:50 pm

Annette Swor - Thank you

July 22, 2015 - 1:02 am

Kelly Hester - Bonita, what a beautiful midwife you are.
Thank you for sharing loving details from the birthing room.
Your precious Steve has been delivered and he is perfect.
Love and blessings.

July 22, 2015 - 1:21 am

Laurie Francis - After walking 3 family members home, one just last month, I have to say that was the most beautiful description of the most bittersweet moment in time. The birthing moment, the grace of our almighty God. Thank you for sharing your heart

July 22, 2015 - 6:03 am

Kate - Sending you and your family love and comfort and strength, Bo. Thank you for sharing Steve’s journey and his light and his life.

July 22, 2015 - 7:11 am

Sue Rollins - I don’t know you personally but I sure wish I did. I do know the face of ALS and wish I didn’t. Thank you for sharing this gift of Bo’s home going. Blessings to you and your family.
Sue

July 22, 2015 - 7:29 am

Nancie - Such beautiful and achingly honest words. What a man Steve was! Or I should say “is,” as he is more alive than ever. What a journey you have been on…and now another journey, dear friend. You all walked through the last one with so much grace! There will be “enough” grace for all the future moments, too.
But. We do sorrow. Yes, we do.

July 22, 2015 - 8:04 am

Brenda - I read this with tears in my eyes. My heart aches for you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, both in Beautiful Battlefields and your blog. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

July 22, 2015 - 9:07 am

Vivian Carpenter - Thank you for sharing your heart with us even though some of us never were in your home or that you may not even know us Steve had our heart and you sweet Bo and your children had our prayers and love from the start of his journey home…Thank you for your honesty in sharing the joy ,struggles, your faith in Jesus ,the power in Gods word, you will never know how the power or depth of your words have impacted on the world. In my mind I see Gods words of faith and hope out of your mouth like a ivy vine it spreads in all directions over the hills down in the valleys to the left to the right so far that only our Lord can see the hearts it penetrated…So sorry that a great man like Steve had to leave so soon but the dancing already began in heaven, love and prayers to you and the children and family.

July 22, 2015 - 9:12 am

Pat Whitson - Thank you, Bo, for that precious glimpse of heaven on earth. And thank you for giving me, my husband, and Ed and Donna and their family and loved ones the blessing of encouragement and hope regarding what awaits Ed at the end of his beginning journey with ALS himself. Our Lord is faithful with His strength, grace, and love.

July 22, 2015 - 9:13 am

Barbara Phillips - though I only know of you through mutual friends (Jameson’s, among others) I have peeked into your life as you have gone through this difficult time and have been truly moved by your words and ability to articulate your experience so completely that I am always deeply moved. Today, again, I was deeply moved and blessed by your willingness to be completely transparent and detailed in your telling of such a complex, painful and yet extremely personal and special day in your life. You have given me (all of us) a glimpse of Jesus through yours and also through Steve’s life. Thank you for honoring our Savior the way you share and the way you have lived out your lives. From glory to glory, he has been lifted up and we see him shine through you both!

July 22, 2015 - 9:34 am

Janet Mallory - Bo, I just read your blog via FB post by mutual friend Jeannie Hignell. Thank you for sharing your heartfelt, raw & pure emotions of such an intimate time. Although we’ve never met, I know your heart. Your blog has certainly put perspective into my day. You are a truly blessed woman to have been loved so richly! May God Bless you and your family with His touch of peace and emotional healing in your great loss~Your blog assures that He is doing just that.

July 22, 2015 - 10:28 am

Jandra Sue - Thanks for breaking all the blog rules for this! Like always, I so greatly appreciate your transparency.
Blessings to you Sterns!

July 22, 2015 - 10:41 am

Toni Harvey - Bo, I am so very sorry for the loss of your husband. I lost my brother last November after a short (14 months) but valiant struggle with ALS. My friend Suzanne who attends your church when in Bend gave me your book to read after his diagnosis but it was too painful at that time to finish. Thankfully my brother was a believer and I had the privilege of being with him when the Lord called him home. I cried at his bedside, at his funeral, and a few random nights as well but strangely even though it’s only been eight months I don’t cry for him any longer. I think knowing where they are now is a true blessing over the confinement in which they lived. Your family will surely grieve him but I know you know Steve has a new glorious body, and for that I thank the Lord!

July 22, 2015 - 11:19 am

Molly - No words, but thank you. You let us “be there” with you for that glorious moment. I hope, maybe one day when you can breathe again and are healed up a bit, that there will be one more book…..about how you had the grace to make it to the end….about how it got harder and darker, but somehow you found the strength to reach the finish line. Too many people give up right at these crucial crossroads of victory and glory……so proud of how you and the kids didn’t give in to the easy, comfortable route…..we are thankful for your example. We KNOW that many people will receive strength from your journey…..we KNOW that
God is getting the glory…..we are THANKFUL!
As you said, Steve is dancing, golfing, enjoying tastes and his Dad, and Moses and Abraham, and now we are all jealous and looking forward to joining the party!
I continue to pray for you…..for those “too quiet” moments, for those waves of grief that will come, for that sense of “what now?” I continue to lift up your kids for the same process…..oh my……a bit overwhelming to think about BUT GOD…….and that’s why I’m so glad we all belong to Him!!
I love you deeply and am missing you all terribly right now. Molly

July 22, 2015 - 4:39 pm

Jeannie - Bo you have touched so many people with you blog!! I know you will go through so many different emotions and feelings as the days go on but I know from your blog you will find your comfort, peace and strength in the Lord. I pray for you and your family to find all that in the Lord and to cherish all of the wonderful loving memories that you all have of the great father, husband and friend that Steve was to all of you. I have heard you speak at many retreats and at church I feel I know you, but at a distance. I will keep you and your family in my prayers as you grieve and celebrate this time in your life.

July 22, 2015 - 4:41 pm

Leslie Forbes-Mariani - Beautiful, heart wrenching, moving and so filled with love. This is do deep and personal thank you for allowing us in to be apart. Gods grace…

July 22, 2015 - 5:21 pm

Laura Black - Tears of sadness and joy are streaming down my face. I am so thankful that your sweet husband is no longer hurting and struggling. You are such a light to all of us who are walking in these big ALS shoes. Thank you Bo for your words of honesty. I am so thankful that Steve will be waiting for you in his new body on the other side. May God be with you and your precious friends and family.

Much love,
Laura from SC

July 22, 2015 - 6:20 pm

Karen Thomas - I would like to send you the lyrics to a song that I wrote for my husband when he was so ill. He couldn’t say the words himself, so he asked me to write and speak them for him. So as best as I could, I read his heart.

There’s a place I’d like to go, where the look on your face doesn’t hurt anymore.
If we could trade places you would in a minute, but I love you so much, that I don’t want you in it.
So please take my hand and we’ll go to that place, just hold me there in your gentle embrace. I’ve done all I can, and God knows I’ve tried. Now give me the courage to tell you goodbye.
You’ve been my rock, baby you’ve been strength when I couldn’t bend any more. You’ve been the reason I never gave up, but now it’s time to let me go.
Be strong Bo. You are loved.

July 22, 2015 - 8:08 pm

Pattie - So beautiful! Experienced my husband’s going home and agree about being happy for him but having a dark heart. But your will be lightened again as you focus on this life and the joys we still get to experience. Not as good as his joy but a small taste! Thank you for writing this all so perfectly.
God Bless
Pattie

July 22, 2015 - 9:56 pm

AnaMaria Bruce - Dearest Bo,
It has been so many years since I have seen you, but stayed in touch through your beautiful blogs. Especially in these last 4 years, which have ministered to me as you have walked through so many dark days. I cried with you through these last few years and prayed for peace. I cried the day Steve passed and I cried reading this last post. Thanks for sharing your heart. You will never know how many lives have been touched by your story, Steve’s story. Bless you! AnaMaria

July 22, 2015 - 9:57 pm

Dorothy Martin - Dear Bo and family. My heart goes out to all of you. Steve was such a precious,loving man. So are all of you. I love you all and you will be in my prayers for a long time to come. My our Lord wrap His arms around you and hold you close to His heart.

Dorothy

July 22, 2015 - 10:30 pm

Beth - Absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this. Bless you.

July 22, 2015 - 11:16 pm

Sharmin Crocker - Dearest Bo , thank you so very much for sharing this . We all have known for years but still I want to feel & understand what you all have been through so I could pray for you & family . Steve was so loved & respected . He is resting at peace now watching over his wonderful family . He is no longer in physical pain …..What an amazing story . My heart goes to you & all your amazing family . God bless you all ❤️

July 22, 2015 - 11:24 pm

Edie - Thank you dear Bo for sharing this beautiful story of love, life, sacrifice, devotion. So very personal, such a gift. Every one of your posts has been a gift to me. I love you all so dearly, what a precious family you are. Thank you for the impact you have had on me and my family. You are all in our prayers, and on our hearts.

July 23, 2015 - 9:01 am

Heather - Bo, I’ve never met you and Steve. I’ve only heard about your journey through Cheryl and Dave in our MC through Westside AJC.

Your story makes me heartbroken, full of tears, and yet so amazed all at the same time.

The journey with your husband is a light unto this world, and a beautiful example of how good God truly is.

May I have half the strength that you do, you are truly an amazing woman.

July 23, 2015 - 9:47 am

Marie Whittaker - Hello Bo, I am Joann Whittaker Boswell’s mom. I don’t know if you remember me. But I want you to know that when Joann told me your Dear husband had gone on Home, my heart went out to you. I’ve been praying for you that God would give you comfort and direction as you try to figure out how to go on with your life. All I can say is to be good to yourself and allow others to “do” for you and care for you. I know that your Heavenly Father is very near and will carry you. God bless you, dear sister!
With love and prayers, Marie

July 23, 2015 - 11:45 am

Jewl - Dear Stern Team. Our sympathies to you in your great, great loss of husband, father, grandfather, friend and pastor. Thank you, Bo, for making our Commander and Chief, our Lord, front and central in everyone of your communication lines back to your armed forces. He got so much glory from that! And it wouldn’t have been the same had Steve not joined your heart in that same desire, although you were the voice. You may put down this particular sword. It became bloodier than you ever could have thought possible, but the battle was so worth fighting, the process indeed beautiful despite the messiness of how life plays out, and the outcome for each one of you fighting on the frontline so very victorious! Look at each other and smile about that! : ) More battles will come,… indeed, are facing you now, but your faith is oh, so much greater for having faced and conquered this huge one! Rounds of victors’ crowns to you all! The loss is severe, but you’ve won!! (I hope you soon get some needed sleep and relief.)

July 23, 2015 - 5:01 pm

Joyce Hoffman - Thank you precious Bo for your gift of words that will help all of us move through Steve’s absence here as well as the joy of his homecoming with Christ. Know that all of you are loved and treasured.

July 23, 2015 - 9:56 pm

Angie - thank you for allowing so many to join in on this terrible, beautiful journey. How wonderful to know that for Steve, from here on out, there is only beauty! For you the journey continues and I pray that is full of more beauty than you could ever comprehend! Love you so much

July 23, 2015 - 10:59 pm

Barbara Krumwiede - Bo. Oh, dear Bo. How those beautiful words have come out of your fingertips over and over, day after day during this long, painful journey is a puzzlement to me. But how they have come from you on this day is an even more difficult thing to figure. God gave you a gift. Actually, several gifts. Writing is just one of them and then we go on to count your life with Steve into which you both gave more than I will ever begin to comprehend or know. But I watched you both. And it made me happy. For you. For your family. For those of us who knew it was a real thing. Thank you both – ALL your family – for showing us the way to do it. You’ve done it beautifully. And I know you will continue to, as He and Steve help you all move forward. Know that we love you. All.

July 24, 2015 - 9:58 am

Suzie Abbott - Hi Bo. The memory of Steve always brought a smile and warmed my heart. You both are such warm and loving souls. Memories of Steve will be cherished by many. My heart goes out to you all.

July 24, 2015 - 10:50 am

Allie, Sienna, Brie summers - Beautiful, thanks for sharing. We love you

July 27, 2015 - 5:26 pm

destroyed | No Longer Ashes - […] week I learned of Steve Stern’s passing into the arms of […]

July 29, 2015 - 9:42 am

Linda - Bo, As I read your last post, tears poured down my face. Especially at the moment of Steve’s passing. I remember it so well for myself as if it were yesterday. My Mom passed from ALS 14 months after first symptoms (Bulbar Onset). While it was different for her (she was basically in a coma from Monday-Thursday the day of her passing), I remember so vividly everything, her last breath and just breaking down in uncontrollable sobs. While I was happy for her to finally be at peace, I was so sad for losing her on this Earth and still am. You both were incredible as you went through your ALS journey. This beast they call ALS is so incredibly horrible to all it encompasses. My heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.

July 29, 2015 - 8:42 pm

jeff johnson - Dear Bo:

I became aware of your husband’s fight with ALS when I heard you on Focus on the Family a few months ago. I believe there were two programs, and I listened to both because I was deeply moved by your Godliness, strong faith, and love for your husband and children. I had tears in my eyes listening to you describe your experiences with Steve in the middle of the night when you had to help him do various things. When you said you didn’t always know what you were doing and telling Jesus something to the effect of, “Lord, are you sure you got the right person to do this kind of job?” made me cry and have the utmost respect for you. You are the epitome of a Godly wife. I’m very sorry for the loss of your husband. I will be praying for you and your family.

Life Underwater

 

You are here.

 

That’s the sign I’d like to see right now, on the big map of our lives. But there’s no red arrow to be found. All I know for sure is, we are where we are. Steve has taken a swift, significant downturn this week. I’ve only left our house in small, measured doses of time – to take Josiah to the church for camp, to pick up something our caregiver needed, to run a quick errand – and each time I walk out the door I feel like a deep sea diver, coming up for air.  I don’t realize how dark the deep sea is until I see the light of day and remember Oh, that’s right – sun!  But I also value my place underwater. In spite of all my misgivings and inadequacies as a caregiver, I can finally say: I know what I’m doing down here. I feel more at home than I’ve ever felt and for the first time I’m starting to wonder how I’ll adjust to life on land.

 

My sister and brother-in-law have moved into our guest room this week, to help me with a million things. Having them here has been so wonderful for both me and the kids that it makes me realize I probably waited too long to ask for help.  I probably always wait too long.

 

I have learned to take comfort in the craziest things: The glub-glub whirring of the oxygen machine, the color of the pink cocktail of meds that I put through Steve’s tube to help him feel better, the smell of coffee brewing after a long night spent mostly in a chair by his bed. Most of all, I take comfort in the faces of our kids when they walk through the door. Kids coming home. Life. Hope. Legacy. Living, breathing pieces of Steve.  They keep me both grounded and going.

 

I know you want to know how Steve is doing, how he is feeling. I don’t feel comfortable telling his story to the world right now. Maybe someday, but not now.  I will say this: His words are measured and sacred and, more often than not, they are about the goodness of God or his love for one of us. No joke, we are tired.  I mean – bone-weary, soul-deep exhausted. Him, me and our team.  Steve is weary from sickness, the rest of us from stress, sorrow and the physical requirements of caring for someone so fragile. This disease is merciless…but God. He is rich in mercy and abundant in grace that is stronger than the grave. Our home is full of it.  So full, in fact, that every time I lay down and close my eyes I get butterflies in my stomach because I can feel the Holy Spirit breathing so close to me. I’ve never been more convinced that He is near to the brokenhearted, pouring out new strength every. Single. Morning.  And I’ve never been more grateful.

 

You guys, this life?  Is short and hard.  But it is beautiful. I don’t have to say that as a condition of my faith, I have to say it because it’s my only certain reality right now. God is good. His love is the wonder of our world. His companionship has been flawless. We are held and we are His.

 

With hope,

 

Bo for Team Stern

 

P.S.  Thank you so much for your notes, prayers, gift cards, meals. We are beyond grateful and all the way to astounded.  Not having to worry about cooking and cleaning has been a great blessing these past few days. If you’d like to be included on the email updates Whitney sends out to let our army know when we need help, you can send your email address to whitneyparnell@gmail.com.  We love you.

July 18, 2015 - 8:18 am

Debbie - Praying for you, Bo, and thanking God that everything you’ve said about Him is true. He is there, in all of His beauty. Grace and peace to you all!

July 18, 2015 - 8:39 am

David Chown - “I’m starting to wonder how I’ll adjust to life on land.” So true. Judy was her mom’s only caregiver 24/7 for almost two years. When she passed a few weeks ago that is exactly how Judy felt. “What do I do now?” We are still figuring that out but we will get there. Not much to say but we love you, we are praying for you, and thank you for being so vulnerable, open and “out there”.

July 18, 2015 - 8:42 am

Vangi Taron - Oh, Bo. I love you. And I’ve said it before, but today I feel it fresh: Thank you so so much for sharing with us. I had the thought after I read this amazing post, “Wow, what can I say to be a friend and a blessing right now — I just don’t even know if I can come up with words at such a deep time of sorrow and struggle and beauty…” And then I realized: you did. In the depths and the face of all that you and yours are facing, you took the time to put it into a frame and give it to us. I know that writing is somewhat its own therapy, but I have to imagine that, at a time like this, it would still require a significant effort. But you chose to make the effort and bring us along. And in the process, bless and encourage and strengthen us. I’m so thankful for that — and for being, in a small way, in the mix of this together with you. No one should go it alone. I’m so glad for the help and the friends and the support that surrounds you — and mostly, for Holy Spirit’s presence that you so beautifully described. Praying, praying, praying, my dear, dear Bo.

July 18, 2015 - 8:45 am

Steven Phillips - Bo,

I don’t have much in the way of words. The two things I offer to you and your family right now are my prayers and some verses from the Bible that I hope will not come across as platitudes in the midst of your struggle.

Like you, I really believe, but I must sometimes pursue my refuge in Him and His words help me find my way there in the deep dark waters of our suffering.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him (Ps 34:8).

For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation (Ps 100:5).

The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him (Nahum 1:7).

July 18, 2015 - 9:05 am

kathy - All the words have been said, continued prayers we will say.
So cyber hugs I send. God bless dear Bo. And much love to your family. And Steve you are amazing. We love you.

July 18, 2015 - 9:38 am

Rachel - thankyou for your encouragement and honesty which speaks volumes to me.

July 18, 2015 - 12:48 pm

Ellen Robey - Your words breathe God’s promise into me. How constant and unfailing our Lord is. Praying with Hope

July 18, 2015 - 1:27 pm

Wendi Matlock - You are loved…praying for strength and peace

July 18, 2015 - 8:54 pm

Adriel Booker - Bo, I got Psalm 91 for you, especially verses 11-16: “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. ‘Because she holds fast to me in love, I will deliver her; I will protect her, because she knows my name. When she calls to me, I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble; I will rescue her and honor her. With long life I will satisfy her and show her my salvation.'”

And also Psalm 139:7-12: “Where shall I go from your spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If of I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night’, even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

Love you and your entire beautiful family. Xoxo

July 18, 2015 - 10:08 pm

Annette Swor - Bo, just heard about Steve’s passing. We’re so sorry, we love your family.
Ron & Annette

July 18, 2015 - 11:53 pm

Jewl - I love that you have found home in the valley of where you are. You are there. And He whispers, “I am here.” And that is enough. How very reassuring that He will always go with each of you, even to the depths of the sea.

July 19, 2015 - 1:33 pm

Lynn - Bo. Sweet Bo. Sweet Steve. That’s all I can say except God bless you.

July 19, 2015 - 7:05 pm

Marybeth LaRivee - I’m so sorry. I’m glad he’s in a better place, but my heart goes out to you.

July 20, 2015 - 11:26 am

Sue McAdam - Dear Bo and Family, Continuing in prayer for all of you. Your lives and testimony have been a blessing to all who you have come in contact through the years.

July 20, 2015 - 1:55 pm

Michelle - Dearest Bo & Steve,thank you so much for letting us share with you-will be remembering you in my prayers.

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

 

This week.  Wow.  It’s been a doozy.  My days have been full with the usual things, like caring for Steve, and some new things, like my neck seems to have called in sick for work. I woke up one morning unable to turn my head and that issue followed me throughout three days of frustration and discouragement.

 

My low point was Monday and it was L O W.  All day, I fought hard to keep a rising tide of tears behind a flimsy emotional barricade, knowing if I started I wouldn’t be able to start.  I sent a prayer SOS to two of my friends, who immediately texted:  “We want to come see you.” To which I responded, “No, you don’t.  I’m a mess. Trust me. I’ll just cry and I don’t want Steve to hear me cry.”  I felt it was the right response, but I sat down feeling more alone and lonely than I have in a long time…maybe ever. I tried everything on my stupid neck.  Ice. Heat. Icy hot. Tylenol. Advil. TylenolANDAdvil.  Nothing made a dent in the pain and nothing could touch my despair.

 

Just when I thought I would drown in the day, I got a text from Whitney saying she and some friends of  ours had booked a massage for me the next night – and it was someone willing to come to my house, so I wouldn’t have to find alternate care for Steve.  Right after that, my doorbell rang and I found my two friends – the friends I had expressly forbidden from coming over – standing on my porch, holding flowers and dinner and saying, “Don’t be mad!  Don’t be mad!  We won’t make you talk!”  The warning wasn’t necessary, I couldn’t have been less mad at that moment.  They stormed the gates, fed my poor, starving son, rubbed my neck, cleaned my kitchen and listened to my heart. They did it without demands or expectations and they did it even though I told them not to.  They are brave and I ended the night so glad they had come and SO sorry that my friends had to be brave in order to bless me.

 

My neck is feeling better – the PT tells me it’s a “repetitive motion injury”.  It’s my first official caregiving injury, which is remarkable because I don’t know a single ALS wife who hasn’t had them. All other negative physical manifestations from caregiving are – in my case – Twinkie related.  But, truly, things are looking up.

 

What I’ve learned this week is that I still want to do this myself.  I want to manage my pain, handle my grief and care for my husband without needing help.  I mean, I’m thankful the help is there, on the outskirts – but it’s still hard for me to actually NEED it and to welcome it right into the middle of my chaotic kitchen and the murky mess of my life.  I’m trying so hard to change.  To embrace these incredible relationships and to fall into the solace they provide, even when it hurts my pride and invades my silly barricades.

 

If I could offer one piece of advice to those in crisis,  it would be: Welcome the help of friends.  And for those not in crisis: you always have something to bring to the battle and you might be the only one who knows what that is. Keep trying.  For those of us who are in a fight for our peace and sanity, we simply do not know the answer to “How can I help?”  We need a little help with it.  I’m so sorry we make you afraid to give it, but try to give it anyway.

 

With hope and gratitude for friends who don’t quit,

 

Bo

June 24, 2015 - 10:37 am

Melisa Sween - Thanks Bo for the reminder of not accepting help. I am getting better but it has taken me 33 yrs and still I often refuse it. I think for me accepting the help I feel like I am not staying strong or in control and I might totally collapse and I can’t do that. I know I had a hard time accepting compliments too. I had a tendency to say “oh well it wasn’t really me or I had help etc” and my friend and supervisor said when I dismiss peoples compliments I was disregarding them and soon people would stop giving compliments. He said just say Thank you! Over the years it has gotten easier :-). Thanks for sharing your heart! My prayers will continue.

June 24, 2015 - 1:09 pm

Nat Gitnes - I feel ya’, sister! My family is in crisis and God is teaching me, not only to accept help from friends, but also to ask for it….so stinkin’ hard. I told a friend today that I felt like if I started crying my strength would ooze out with the tears. What if it did? Am I afraid that God’s strength couldn’t carry me? Hmmmm?

June 24, 2015 - 6:38 pm

Heather - Bo – you, right along with Steve, continue to be in my prayers daily and sometimes multi-daily. I was driving to the church office this morning at 7, thinking perhaps you guys still had another hour of rest before your West coast sun rose, praying it would be a peaceful day where you would find strength … You have been on my heart more than usual and i will continue to lift you guys up. Thank you for sharing so openly. We love you guys here in Nebraska!

June 24, 2015 - 8:45 pm

Tammy - Sweet Bo, look at the help that is offered as an answer to your prayers, because it will make life easier and less stressful for you and allow to enjoy the time with Steve rather than wrestle your way through it. Think how you want to look back at this time; is it “I was such a brave trooper” or “I remember when Steve and I had this special time together”? Let God’s Angels make your load lighter, lovely lady.

June 24, 2015 - 9:50 pm

Jewl - May my stopping into your site here tonight add just a bit more blessing to the major gift you received of good friends dropping onto your doorstep and a much appreciated massage. “Lord, ease the muscle strains in both your children there.”

June 25, 2015 - 9:32 am

Christine Duncan - Bo, over here in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada lifting you and your family up to the One who hears every cry. Following your journey has been such an inspiration to someone like me… I live with chronic depression {Dysthymic Disorder} (of the lifelong variety) and my disorder likes to try to make me a victim.
And then I read one of your brave posts.
And I shrug the victim mentality off.
And I wait out the misfiring wonky transmitters behaviour in my brain and body… and I cling to Him.
You don’t know me from a hole in the wall but know this.
Every post is another post where God uses you to touch the rest of us. Hang in there. The Life Preserver’s got you.

June 26, 2015 - 10:47 am

Rhonda - Bo, I don’t know you personally, but know people who do! Your posts inspire me every time I read them. I am currently struggling with a severe lupus flare. Your strength in the face of a seemingly impossible situation gives me strength and hope as well…..Thank you for continuing to share and inspire. All of God’s blessings to you and your family !

July 1, 2015 - 8:11 am

Ginny Mayo - I lost you for a while don’t know how. But God brought you to my mind & I found you! (I am Duane Cole’s favorite auntie).
You are one amazing lady.
Shalom
Auntie Ginny

Dear Grandbaby: About Charleston

 

Dear sweet, almost-here Grandbaby,

 

I can’t stop thinking about you this morning. Lots of times when I think about you, I imagine your tiny feet and hands and nose, but today I’m dreaming bigger than that.  I’m dreaming about your big name – Phineas Brave – and thinking how badly our world needs you.

 

We are reeling this week because a young white man went into a black church in Charleston and opened fire.  Nine beautiful lives were ended by his hatred. Countless family members are today planning funerals instead of summer vacations.  It’s tragic beyond words.

 

And yet…words.

 

Words are everywhere.

 

Everyone is talking about why and how and What In The World is Happening Here? and I want to scream: the very same thing that has always happened is happening here! 

 

I was born into the racial violence of the 60’s.  You are being born into the racial violence of the new millennium and the best thing you can do for your world is to refuse to rename it anything other than that. Refuse to get caught in the spin that this is isolated or that gunman was mentally ill or this was an attack against Christians and not an attack against black people.

 

Refuse to let the world tell you this can’t change or that we’ve come as far as we’ll ever come to bridging the racial divide, or that being born into a middle class white family in Bend is the very same thing as being born black in Baltimore. You don’t have a responsibility to defend all people because you’re white.  You have a responsibility because you’re human and because the God we serve demands it.  And, wow Finn, I hate framing any part of your future relationship with God in terms of demands, but there’s no softer way to say it and still stay true to the Biblical mandate  – God demands that we stand with the poor and oppressed.   But Christians have been treating it as optional for way too long.

 

Caring for our brothers and sisters of every skin color is a core value of God Himself and we should be willing to do, pay or say whatever it takes to make sure that every life is given the value and safety it deserves.  In order to do that, we’re going to have to stop looking away and start asking painful questions.  We’re going to need to be willing to leave the cheap seats and move right into the messy middle, where statistics tell the story of what it’s really like to be black in America.  We’re going to need to insist that we can do better than this.  We can fly better flags than those that keep old wounds festering. We can build better schools in at-risk neighborhoods. We can choose to admit that this is not an African-American problem, it’s an American problem and it’s our job to work towards healing and a whole new level of harmony.

 

Oh, darling Finn.  I’m hopeful today because of you. Because you will come with those incredible little fingers and toes, but you will come bearing the Imago Dei – the image of the God of Justice tattooed on your DNA.  You will come brave and ready to love your world into life. You must.  Because I’m increasingly convinced that the divides that have prevented my generation from meaningful forward motion, will keep us stuck in this spinning, re-labeling madness until we die.  The only hope for a future of reconciliation is the now-being-raised army of compassionate, courageous culture-makers with names like Greyson, Clara, Ivy, Hattie, Gracie, Laila, Whalen, Ole, Penny, Bear…and Phineas.

 

Be brave, little ones.  Our future needs you.

 

With hope,

 

Granbo

 

 

June 19, 2015 - 9:17 am

Stacey - Bo, I think you meant to put Charleston, not Charlotte! :)

June 19, 2015 - 9:44 am

bo - Stacey – YEP! I am cursing auto-correct as we speak. It’s funny how I proof the body of the post eleventy billion times and never proofed the title. 😉

June 19, 2015 - 12:42 pm

Teresa B - I had not heard about Charleston. Sad sad. Praying for those families of the lives lost. What a beautiful letter to your sweet grand baby. My mom wrote a letter to Jacob and every time I read it I get all misty eyed. Can’t wait to meet the newest little. This is the generation that can and will make a difference! :)