Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Friday, May 04, 2007

Stevie's Big Adventure

It almost seemed like it was meant to be or something.

Not the death of Stevie, nothing much about losing a child ever seems right.

Stevie's brother Noah singing

But the fact that we ended up half an hour's drive away from Stevie's house and we were there the day that everyone showed up to bid her goodbye.

I never had the privilege of meeting her in person, but her mother belonged to the pediatric brain tumor list and I paid attention because she always wrote so eloquently of the deep love she had for her daughter.

When we were in Memphis and Steven's brain was being irradiated and I was trying to keep moving, moving constantly as a way to run far away from my own thoughts and to fight the almost debilitating homesickness, I remember reading about Stevie.

Stevie had one of the "good" tumors to have, low-grade, slow-growing, kids live a long time with these sorts of tumors.

They found her tumor when she was thirteen. They couldn't get it all out, but she had this chance for them to remove more of it, Stevie's surgery happened during the time Steven was getting radiation. Late at night after Steven went to bed and when I thought I could handle it, I read about other people's kids. Stevie was one of those.

For the most part, the last six years of Stevie's life have been good ones, and Stevie had made it past the five-year milestone. Some kids just seem like they'll be longterm survivors, Stevie seemed like one of those.

But last November her tumor came back. With a vengeance, and nothing after that seemed to go right. More surgery, it was a success, they got it all, it had morphed into a high-grade, malignant tumor, same sort as Steven's.

Radiation, then chemotherapy, but nothing made her better, she couldn't walk, her body betrayed her piece by piece by piece. I can't shake the feeling that this wasn't supposed to happen to Stevie, some mistake was made, Stevie was supposed to be a survivor.

Stevie's mother Gina

Stevie couldn't have been blessed with a better or more devoted mother, she and I have corresponded off and on for the last four years, Steven knows her story and prays for her at night.

Releasing butterflies.

When I realized we could make it, I asked Steven if he wanted to go and he said yes. I changed our plane reservations from afternoon to evening and we drove out to Dublin to meet Stevie's family and to bid her farewell.

The services were held in a small church built in the 1800's, only 14 pews, white clapboard. Stevie's 8-year old brother Noah sang beautifully.

Steven's butterfly didn't want to leave.

Stevie's earthly body was laid to rest in Lafayette, high on a hill with a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. In a double vault, one day her mother will lie next to her again.

Godspeed to Stevie on her new adventure...


As for us, we're back home with our new puppy, trying to take life as it comes. It's not always easy.

- Kathleen

Published in the Times-Herald on April 26, 2007.


"Off on an awfully big adventure..."

Stevie was born September 23rd 1987, to her parents Steven McMoyler and Gina Gabriell.

She spent her life being an amazing kid, and a beautiful person. She loved everything, but mostly things that appealed to the sense like great food, good lattes, fruit, rainy days, big fat novels, long showers, live music, pretty deserts, all things tiny, all things sweet.

She aspired to be a food scientist, a world Scrabble champion, and a traveler of far away places. She was intelligent, witty, and nerdy.

She is loved.

Stevie bravely battled cancer and left her body when it no longer fit her. Her spirit was big, so big.

She leaves behind her brother Noah, her big Sister Aly and her parents, who will miss her every day.

Services will be held Sunday, April 29th at 11:00 at
Old St. Raymond's Church
6600 Donlon Way, Dublin, CA.

Burial services will follow, at Oakmont Memorial Park in Lafayette.


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