Briana Stephen

I had an epiphany today while sitting in the oncologist's office. There's so much talk and paraphernalia about finding cures for cancer. There's bitter talk about why Heavenly Father would allow such suffering. I sat there thinking to myself, No. My heart tells me it's not like that at all! ... Think of the communities and families that have come together to love, serve, and mourn with one another.

Our Father in heaven provides opportunities every day for us to keep his commandments, to follow His ultimate example of serving, loving, caring for His spirit children, our spirit brothers and sisters. I get to experience firsthand on a daily basis how beautiful the hearts of mankind really are.

Turn off the news of contentious politics, crime, and adultery for a bit. You'll find a world of compassion. PLEASE ACCEPT MY GRATITUDE to all those who uplift and show me what leading a Christ-like life is really all about. Loads and loads of LOVE!!!

-Bri, March 2010

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27th Update

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend! We appreciate all those who continue to follow the blog and inquire on Bri's current condition.

We have a decorative statement in our living room that says "Don't count the days but make the days count." Unfortunately we feel our days grow short in having Mom around the house with us and we fight to bring her comfort and peace each day. We have been successful in stabilizing her pain through the care of hospice and her Mom Teri, who has been a stalwart caretaker in even the most difficult days. There are many undesirable errands and preparations we have been working through and Teri has not hesitated to carry out many of these tasks for me and the family, along with many other responsibilities.

Last Sunday we decided to place Bri on a scale to monitor her weight loss. She tipped the scales at 76 lbs. She is now 100% bedridden, heavily sedated, and her favorite past time is dreaming. I just put her in bed from a bathroom break and she said, “Why are the cops after us?” We get a lot of good laughs at some of the things she says. However her speech and mental processing are heavily degraded at this point and conversations are something that have found their horizons. Her communications are limited to pain and bathroom breaks. She also has no appetite and is no longer eating any food, just water.

One trait that caught my eye when I met Bri is her unrivaled ‘resolve.’ Only Leyna can match it! With the stroke spasticity and muscle weakness she cannot get herself out of bed or ambulate, yet she refuses to accept this fact. For example, yesterday she tried to get out of bed on her own and took a tumble that resulted in a cut to the bridge of her nose. We try to explain that she cannot get up due to her weakness but her resolve and will are two character traits she has not given up … and in a weird way it makes me proud of her.

This journey has been equally long for our family and friends as it has been for the Stephen Family. Monday, November 3rd, 2008 is when this story began. Thank YOU for enduring this story of faith with us. If you stand against your measuring stick, Bri and I hope you find yourself a little taller after knowing her story.

The Stephens


  1. Thank you so much for continuing to update via the blog. We are praying for you!

  2. Bri's story has made all around her or following from the distance, like our family, so much stronger. Her faith, her strength, courage, and endurance has been a blessing and a testimony of a true disciple of Christ. We know her faith has not come alone it has been accompanied by the the true love a kind husband and children who are equally yoked to their parents. Her parents, siblings, extended family, and friends. What an amazing standard of truth. Thank you so much for giving us the desire to stand little taller,and have the desire to have but a particle of the faith she has had to endure with courage and determination, such difficult trial. We love you and you are in our prayers every day. May the Lord bring the peace, strength and comfort all of you need at this time to face what is still ahead. That is our sincere prayer and hope. May our loving Father in Heaven encircle all of you in the arms of His love.


    The Andersons

  3. We definitely stand taller after hearing Bri's story. We are so much the better for having known Bri, you - Eric, and Teri. Thank you for your ever-present examples of faith and courage. We continue our prayers for Bri and for all of your family. God bless you to do the things you need to do and to have a greater understanding of His purposes. Your family is eternal!

    Marlund & Shelly Hale

  4. Thanks for the update, sending prayers your way...

  5. I was asked the other day to make a list of the people who have had the greatest impact on my life. Your beautiful family was of course on that list. Everyone who knows your precious family is without a doubt better for having known you. We are eternally grateful for your unwavering example of faith and courage. You have endured so valiantly. It is a privilege to send prayers heavenward requesting peace and comfort on your behalf. We love you.

  6. Sending our continued prayers of peace and comfort.Your faith and endurance continues to be such a powerful example to us.We send our love to all of you !

    The Brinkman family

  7. We love you Bri! Eric, please give my cousin a big hug for me and tell her that I love her and can't wait to float down a river and sing karaoke with her again some day ;)
    -Jamie (Tilley) Holloway

  8. Eric you're doing a great job with the blog! Your loving words are comforting in so many ways. I pray for you every day that you will have continued strength until the end. I've never seen a love as pure and rich as the love you and Briana have always shared. She has been so incredibly blessed to have you in her life and as an eternal companion.

  9. I certainly love your family Eric, and if I ever face cancer myself, there is no better example I'd have to follow than Bri. No one knows why it is someone like Bri who has to go down this road, but it could be any one of us just as quickly.

    I cant tell you enough how blessed I think you are to be able to spend THESE moments with her. When God made you, he must have been thinking about her, and vice versa. Where ever the rest of your life takes you, please take us along. We all love your children. We want to be there for them, watching for Bri.

    Kiss her forehead for me and tell her I will see her again. I have a hunch that I knew her before we came here and I hope to find her somewhere afterwards. Anytime I hear any of these songs... I think I might cry a sweet tear.

  10. Thanks Eric for the updates. Words can't express my feelings. I am so amazed at Bri's strength, faith, courage and love, and yours too! I'll never forget her giving a gift to one of the men working at the clinic when I took her in March. Watching her struggle to write the thank you note touched my heart. Amidst her pain she was thinking of others. Bri is truly one of a kind and I love her so much. You two are soul mates and will enjoy an eternity together with your family. A day doesn't go by that I don't think about Bri and your family as I send my continuous prayers up to heaven on your behalf. You and Teri are incredibly selfless caretakers and have blessed Bri with your loving devotion. Heavenly Father is watching over and blessing you all. I'll never forget our tears as we last parted and I wish I could spend a few more moments in her angelic presence. Please give her a kiss and a big hug from me.
    Cheri Fogelberg

  11. Brother and Sister Stephen,

    We are so much better for knowing you all. I am so Thankful I was able to go up there with my Mom and help out a little bit. Thank you for letting me be a part of your family. No words can express how much we all love you, but know that you have a special place in our hearts.

    P.S. Tell Bri, Paul (the COP) is after her to tell her she will forever be our Angel.

    Sister Spease 2

  12. We're all thinking and praying for you and your family. Bri, we love you.