Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Because I'm not ready to go yet"

Those words were spoken so clearly and distinctly that for a moment I thought a miracle had happened and my sweetlove was somehow well again. But then reality set in and I realized that they were his last words . . . spoken to someone that only he could see. Someone who was trying to lead him into the next life. I did not go to him when I heard him speak. Perhaps because I didn't want to see him slip from my life into the next. A while later I heard a slight moan and then quiet, and I drifted off to sleep. When I woke I went to his side and held his hand. Where before his eyes were closed, his mouth wide open and his brow furrowed, now his mouth was closed and his eyes were wide open and his brow was unwrinkled . . . as though he was at peace at last and was looking toward whoever was there to help him cross over. He died on the 7th of September, just 4 days shy of his 61st birthday.

To say I will miss him is such an understatement. I cannot begin to convey the emptiness and loss that I am feeling now. I thought I would be relieved at his passing. I am anything but relieved. The sadness and loneliness are tenfold what I though they would be. This is it. It is permanent. There is no more "Steve and Kathryn". Now there is only Kathryn.

So how do I pay tribute to this man who was in my life everyday for the last 21 years? What do I say to let everyone know the kind of man he was?

He was a simple man. The quintesential hippie and wanderer who spent much of his life on the road hitchhiking back and forth across the United States and then out on the sea, fishing for grouper or swordfish or shrimp or squid. He was married twice. Once as a teenager and again to the woman who traveled with him on his hitchhiking adventures. He had a daughter whose picture he carried with him always but who he barely got to know before she died from an overdose at 25.

He knew many people, but held only a few close to him as friends.

His greatest joy was in making someone laugh, often making himself the cause of their laughter. Everyone I meet that knew him has a "Steve" story to tell.

He loved his grandchildren so much. Even though he was not tied to them by marriage or blood, he thanked me many, many times for bringing them into his life - for giving him a life. And he loved and had deep respect for my son, Tom, and my daughter-in-law Jennifer.

He loved his father, Robert, and was very proud of the relationship he had with his dad. He never failed to call him on Father's Day and his birthday.

And he loved his brothers, Bob and Tom. He always delighted in telling people about his older brother Tom the "DEA Agent".

And he loved me.

He never considered himself as anyone special, just a man who lived simply and enjoyed bringing a smile or a laugh to anyone he was with. And I have 21 years of memories to carry me through until we meet again in a better place.

I leave you all with the following:

Here is to calm seas and full lines wherever you are my sweetlove.

Catch 'em up!


Kate and Crew said...

Oh Kathryn. I am so sorry for your loss. I'm so glad that you have told his story on this blog - it is a very intimate part of your life that you've opened up to your readers and I think we all share in a small part of your grief now. I don't deal well with death - it always makes me profoundly sad and empty feeling. But I have learned that given enough time the sadness can be replaced with happy memories. A year or so ago I copied down a quote about grief from one of my favorite books, Memoirs of a Geisha. It really sums up my relationship with grief:

"Grief is a most peculiar thing; we're so helpless in the face of it. It's like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it."

You're in my thoughts Kathryn. Thanks again for sharing this amazing story with us.

Engineeredgarden said...

Kathryn - so sorry for your loss...from the words you have written about Steve, I feel as though I knew him. You are an excellent writer, and I thank you for sharing your story.


Anonymous said...

I give you my promise to listen when you need to talk and to endure with you until the sting of the emptiness fades to so many happy memories.
A few words from a favorite poem.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there I do not sleep

When you awake in mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush, of
quiet birds in circling flight,

I am the soft starshine at night

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.