These photos where taken almost 10 years ago at her surprise 40th birthday party.
So many things have happened since then good and not so good.
I am the eldest of four girls. We fought like all siblings growing up but over the years my sisters have become my best friends and when mum and dad died,we became even closer.
Steph is No 2 in the line up and is two years younger than me. I remember the day she was born ,I remember dad pointing though a window to my new sister-if I am honest ,I remember the window more than what was on the other side.
From the beginning Steph was different, she was much more daring than I. She always knows what she wants and does everything to make sure she gets it.
As a child, I was the clean,tidy one who did as she was told and Steph the mucky one who pushed the boundaries.
Steph was a tomboy who went fishing and played football. Later she took stuff to bits and put it back together. She rode my first bike better than I did and at 3 1/2 yrs , was brought home by the police for taking my bike on the main road !
Steph wanted to do woodwork at school but was told it was not open to girls. She spent two weeks in the library cupboard during break and lunch as a punishment for not going to cooking lessons. In the end (and because of the sex discrimination act of 1975) she was allowed to take the woodwork class. I believe she was the first female in this region to get an A*
When she left school, she did a Y.O.P.S. scheme making wooden toys for children with disabilities. She spent some time making fitted kitchens locally and also volunteered to help at a local campsite where disadvantaged children came for a break.
Steph moved to London and helped run Lambeth women's workshop ,where she taught women city and guild woodwork for 18 years and where she met her wife , Ericka.
When there was no more funding for the workshop,she put herself though a PC repair home study course. She has taught all of us how to use and sort out problems on our pc,s and has worked at Virgin and RBS.
Around two years ago she found out she had cancer in her neck and a year ago they found the primary cause, a tumour . She has had chemo and radio therapy and was also on a new trial but nothing has worked. She had painfully surgery and also a tracheotomy.
I have spent the last three weeks, along with my sisters, caring for her and spending time with her at her home. She has a wonderful team of nurses looking after her and is virtually pain free.
The nurses are astounded that she is still here, as am I.
Life will be much harder without her in it, my heart breaks a little more each day.
Darling , darling Steph I am so thankful for you. I love you.
love Soojay xxxxxxxxxxx