Grief & Loss, Healing, Quotes & Excerpts, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Thanksgiving

It’s been a while since I wrote something here. The tragedy that happened to our family had been taking it’s toll. At the end of the day, I was just exhausted so I’m trying to sleep more. At the same time, I didn’t want this website to be a pity party.

Thanksgiving Flowers For Steve
Thanksgiving Flowers For Steve

Continue reading “Thanksgiving”

Funeral, Thea's Thoughts

The Interment

This was the culmination of our family’s rushed less than a week preparation to honor my husband, Steve. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to him. As I walked along the aisle during the entrance procession, I steeled myself in looking straight ahead or else I might have broken down and cried.

Flowers for Steve
Flowers for Steve

Georgette Manio, Steve’s FBI colleague was generous with her time and voice to be the cantor for the Mass. Our dear friend, Jaime who worked w/ Steve when they were at the Southwest Division in LAPD made it possible to include the bagpipes and the Honor Guard Ceremony. I’m also grateful for Sgt. Dan Putz and Chief Charlie Beck in making that happen. It was fitting to the qualities I saw in Steve: simple, responsible, honest, honorable, loyal, humble, gracious, gentle and kind.

Honor Guard Ceremony
Honor Guard Ceremony

A lot of people came: Steve’s past and present colleagues from the LAPD and FBI. Some people from the BPD. Our family and friends from out of states, my past and present colleagues from work, my neighbors, my mommy-friends, the bereavement groups from St. Lorenzo & St. Francis Xavier, friends that I lost touch with and now we’d reconnected. Steve’s true friends that you can count in one hand. That was enough for him. That’s the kind of person he was. I’m grateful for their presence.

Rev. Frank Hicks and Rev. Benny George did a Concelebration Mass and Rev. Hicks went to the Mission Hills Catholic Mortuary for the burial rites.

Procession
A Walk to Say Goodbye

My cousin, Justine did the Eulogy:

Rest In Peace Stephen Ryan Ivens

“Have you ever met someone so good and so pure of heart that it makes you want to be a good person as well? That is exactly what Steve was for my entire family and me. When Steve was Continue reading “The Interment”

Funeral, Thea's Thoughts

Vigil Night

It was a full day and as usual, I had about 101 things to do. There was a little bit of confusion at the Mortuary because I thought anyone from the family could get in but they needed me to be there and I was running late. It was stressful and I haven’t even finished the Eulogy for Steve until I get to the Mortuary.

My Steve, Football Hunk
My Steve, Football Hunk

I didn’t realize that there’s a difference in funeral etiquette between the East Coast & the West Coast. I really had no clue. Here on the West Coast, we greet the guest after the vigil while on East Coast, the family members stand beside the casket to receive guests during the viewing. My aunt told me that here in the West Coast, we usually serve food and apparently in the East Coast, they don’t. My aunt Naomi who is a bereavement minister and her friends from St. Lorenzo Ruiz Parish Church helped me a lot during the service.

There were still a lot of people, family, friends, Steve’s colleagues and my peeps from work. It was really comforting to see that people cared.

I finally finished my Eulogy for Steve:

“If I tell you the most memorable times of my life with Steve, we’ll probably do a 10 year vigil but I only have five minutes. Instead, I would love to tell you what kind of a husband & father he was. My husband was generous, humble, gracious, honest & kind.

Our marriage, like any kind of marriage had some bumpy roads. We had our petty fights, difference in temperaments, difference in preference for movies & even political disagreements. No matter how hard our day was, we always talk before we go to bed. If we had any disagreements, we always kiss and make up.

Steve & I celebrate a monthsery. I insisted on it & he went along with it- gleefully, I think. I always show my love and affection verbally & by giving little gifts. But you know, Steve – he showed it by his actions. He did the dishes, he made our tea, he threw the thrash bags, and he gave me pedicures. I’ll truly miss those idyllic moments.

He embraced fatherhood with such enthusiasm. We were partners in raising Kyle, his little buddy. They had their own rituals. After work, Steve usually brought Kyle at the park while I prepared dinner. Every time at 6pm, once Kyle heard the keys jiggling by the doorway, he’ll be running off greeting him, “Daddy, Daddy!” Kyle never did that for me & sometimes, I envied it. Now, I would have given anything to have those moments back but I can’t.

I have to reflect on what to say to our little boy whenever he asks for his Dad. Honestly, I’m still working on it. There is only a small part of me that had been appeased because we have him back home. In spite of the loss and sorrow that I feel, I’m truly grateful to God for the ten years of knowing him, living with him and loving him.

For better or for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish. Until we meet again, my love.”

Funeral, Thea's Thoughts

Rosary Night

It wasn’t a good day. I had an emotional breakdown. With all the list of things to do, I just felt that I wanted to get away from all this “madness.” I felt like a bride who just wanted to elope with her groom. My mom held me for a long time and calmed me down. In all my years growing up, it was the sweetest thing that my mom had ever done for me.

Photo by Vanderlei Longo on Pexels.com
Steve on his Wedding Day
Steve on his Wedding Day

The later part of the day was better. A lot of the people that mattered to me and Steve were there. It’s a great comfort to me that a lot of people had prayed to bring Steve home safely. It wasn’t the answer that we all wanted but some part of me had been appeased. But in spite of the turbulence of emotions that I’m still feeling right now, I’m grateful.

Thea's Thoughts

79 Days

Family Time.

I’d never thought there’ll come a time that we’ll be having family dinner get- togethers  without Steve. He has always been there. These days, whenever we have get togethers, we talk about how Steve would have this and that, how Steve would have reacted, what Steve would say. He hasn’t been there physically, but it’s as if he’d never disappeared. He has been present in my family’s  hearts and minds.

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Whenever my family and extended family are around, I feel that I’m in a cocoon, a safe Continue reading “79 Days”

Thea's Thoughts

77 Days

In spite of our family crisis, I do have little moments of happiness. When I look at the pictures and videos of Steve, those little things makes me happy. When I wear the stuff my husband has given me as a gift during my birthday, anniversary or holidays, it makes me happy.

Thea and Steve
Thea and Steve

My mom has always told me that I don’t really need to shop anymore because I have everything. But those are things – just stuff. All I need is my family reunited again. I need my husband back.

My stuff. Actually, I’m just stifling this urge to just throw my stuff away. The most practical thing for Continue reading “77 Days”

Thea's Thoughts

74 Days

I just bought a roundtrip plane ticket going to Omaha, Nebraska since I finally decided to attend the “Keys to Healing Retreat IV.” It will start on the 10th of August and will end on the 12th. It’s the only retreat for families who have a missing loved one.

Swanson Retreat Center
Swanson Retreat Center

I remember when I was talking to my cousin the first two weeks that Steve had been missing. She suggested to have a time for myself away from it all and maybe a retreat will be a good idea. She Continue reading “74 Days”

Thea's Thoughts

73 Days

My little munchkin and I had taken it easy this Sunday afternoon. My mom and my aunt wanted to go window shopping and I went along just to get into a different environment. I went to the mall and after 30 minutes, I just lost interest in window shopping since I was already thinking about how it’s nice to lie down and take an afternoon nap. I just felt so exhausted lately.

Mommy & Daddy
Mommy & Daddy

When my little munchkin woke up late afternoon, we snuggled in bed and he watched Toy Story while I was writing down my “thoughts” from yesterday. I was browsing Continue reading “73 Days”

Thea's Thoughts

66 Days

After the mass, we pass by the statue of Mother Mary in the church’s garden and our little munchkin said, “Mama Mary, bring Daddy home.” I think it stuck with him when I told him that I’m praying to Mama Mary to help us bring Daddy home.

the little munchkin dance
the little munchkin dance

One of the things we love to do in the evening and weekends is to read books when I get home. I’m quite strict with limiting his television time but how can you resist it when he ask, “Elmo with milk, please?” I don’t go clubbing Continue reading “66 Days”

Thea's Thoughts

65 Days

One of the things I really miss is when the little munchkin slept in our bed with me and Steve. He usually stays in his crib but there were times on weekends we all slept together in one bed. Or during the week, Steve would bring the little one when he wakes up in the morning and he’ll have his morning milk lying down in our bed. I know he’s two years old already but we still let him drink his morning milk in a feeding bottle. It’s his comfort food and that’s all right with us. These days, it’s just the two of us in one big bed.

Daddy and Me
Daddy and Me

The little munchkin has been mentioning his Daddy in more frequency than before. A friend dropped by last Friday night and brought dinner for us and sat where Steve used to Continue reading “65 Days”