Thursday, May 29, 2008

Re-opened Wounds

We suddenly lost my husband's beautiful cousin Lana Stempien almost three years ago in a boating accident. She and her boyfriend Chuck Rutherford were traveling from her parent's summer home in Canada on Lake St. Clair to Mackinac Island. Lana checked in with her parent's the first night as she promised to do each night. Spoke to them again the next morning as well as her Aunt Pat around noon. That was August 11, 2005; no one saw or heard from her after that.

Her boat "Sea's Life" was discovered by the coast guard the following morning idling in neutral with the radio on. Lana and her boyfriend Chuck were not on board. It wasn't until thirteen days later that her remains were discovered near the Shoreline of Lake Huron in the brutally cold water. To this day Chuck's remains have not been found.

This week a couple walking along the shoreline of Lake Huron discovered male human remains and there is a 1:4 chance the remains belong to Chuck. Lana's family with the exception of her parent's have had time to heal and accept the fate of her short life. We all miss her terribly but have had time to heal. My wounds have been re-opened today. Not because I'm suddenly even more sad she is gone but because I know what a terrible time Lana's parents are already having day to day just trying to cope with the elephant on their chest. The news casts and newspaper articles have caused them to relive the the days she was missing and her death all over again. My heart is broken for them, for their suffering.

The day of Lana's funeral was the most difficult time I've ever endured. I have never in my life witnessed so much gut wrenching pain. I have never seen my husband in the condition I found him in that day when he and his cousins read together at her funeral. I have never in my life seen so many people so broken. I am grateful that the sharp grief has passed for us. I pray that the same healing soon come to be know by her parent's as well.

Lana was an attorney for the city of Detroit and her boyfriend owned his own law practice. They each were only in their thirties and had what seemed like their entire lives ahead of them. Lana was a vibrant, gorgeous, young-woman who captured the attention of everyone when she entered a room. She was outgoing, friendly, loyal, vivacious, and loving. Words can't possibly embody all that Lana was to everyone who knew her. Our family must tortuously wait for news as to whom the remains belong to. Rest in peace Lana. Jesus, send comfort, peace, and love to Tom and Carol Stempien now with this news and the approaching anniversary and Lana's birthday. May your presence and love be felt.

For more of the story and details regarding the disappearance of Charles Rutherford and death of Lana Stempien, click on the following links:

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