In memory of Stephanie Raypole

someone we've lost to ALS


She shined so bright.

My mother’s name was Stephanie. She was the most beautiful woman, inside and out… everyone loved her. She had a personality that just smacked you right in the face with happiness! She shined so bright.

She started to tell me and my sister that her speech was messing up, her tongue felt heavy. Soon after that, she began falling a lot, and the left side of her body was basically useless. Not able to do anything. We couldn’t understand, and the doctor kept saying she had fibromyalgia. Then, it got where she couldn’t talk at all…

One November day, I was sitting there feeding my little boy, and I got a call that my mother was in U of L and they had diagnosed her with Lou Gehrig’s disease. I had no idea what that was, and that she had less than a year to live. The next couple weeks were awful, in nursing homes watching her deteriorate so fast… it messed me up bad. ALS is like a nightmare, but you’re awake during all the awfulness.

By January, she couldn’t move… she only could move her eyes — she was in full paralysis… and they said it wouldn’t be long till she was gone. February 9, 2013 she passed away with me and my sister in the bed with her saying it was okay to go be in heaven and not hurt and suffer anymore.

I didn’t go to the showing, the funeral, or her burial. She was indigent. For those who don’t know what that is or how they do it, they bury you in a wooden box somewhere that the city can find places for the family. She is behind some school in Valley Station, and my uncle said it was so grown up now he has no idea where she is.

I blame myself for so many things. I never thought I would lose my mother before I got married, or before my child knew her… and so much more. Someone so sweet and kind to everyone she met in life was taken by one of the most vicious ways to be taken…. And I’ll never understand that fully. I miss her so much. I know she is with me, because I feel her presence and I got in so much trouble after she died. I became numb — committing crimes, being someone I wasn’t! Jail time (18 months) and I recently got myself together and in school again and moving forward… The only thing I am missing is being a part of the solution for her, in her honor. I want so badly to be on the committee, or whatever I can be. I attend every walk close to me and it’s always always on my birthday 🙂 that’s how I know she is talking to me telling me to find peace. She is okay. It hurts everyday, but it eventually gets easier as time goes on. She’s irreplaceable for sure, but I can’t help but think she got me on the right track in life & pushing me so hard to want to join the committee and be a part of.

Thank you for letting me share a part of my mother with you all.

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