Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Ride Home

Steve died Tuesday night.

I had a feeling it was coming. My last post talked about the guilt I felt for not calling Steve since February 9th. Yesterday morning I took to Google to search under his name. The purpose was to check the obituaries in the Madison newspaper. Instead, I found that Steve had created a blog to diary the goings-on at his hospice. The entries were pretty regular, every second or third day. The last posting was three weeks ago. Something wasn't right

Not more than 15 minutes after looking at the blog- and the obituaries- Steve's stepmom called to say that he had died on Tuesday night, surrounded by family. The passing was peaceful, the pain finally gone. I learned that during his final days, Steve achieved his two dreams. One was to have an art fair, showcasing his work. That was held at the hospice. The other was to record a cd of original music. Both events were hits, with both the artwork and the cd (25 copies) selling out. Steve finished life with the same passion that I had seen in him when we hung out in Madison. Mission accomplished. Time to catch the bus.

Steve's stepmom told me how much he had appreciated my calls to him, even though those calls stopped three months back. Ironically, the blog entries would allow me to write Steve and comment on what great things he was doing. Even if I couldn't talk with him anymore, I was going to re-establish that line of communication. I feel terrific that he was so active in the time that led up to his death, but there'll be no shaking the guilt I feel for not being there toward the end. Funny how death is the hardest on those who haven't yet died

One more thing: Steve had told me that during the presidential campaign Barack Obama gave him a phone call. Steve was a big supporter and organizer for Obama in Madison. Word of Steve's condition made its way to Obama and the phone call was placed. Steve said Obama asked him how he could work so hard with such a debilitating condition. Steve told him that it was because Obama inspired him. Obama's response: "No, Steve. You inspire me". I'm not a fan of his policies, but that was a pretty cool thing to do. I just wish I had Steve's passion and drive. His reward? A one-way ticket North

1 comment:

Michelle and Dan said...


I understand the guilt. I've been there before. I do think your behavior was normal though. Most people don't want to face mortality with friends and family. Don't you think? We don't want to offer cliche's and are often times at a loss for words.

Regardless, thank you for this blog. It made me stop and think...