During the first 38 years of his life, what he would call his charmed life, he was fearless. He was passionate. He was fully invested. He was creative. He was a marvelous friend. During the scariest challenge of his life – living with an inoperable, deadly brain tumor – he was even more fearless. He was even more passionate. He was even more invested. He was even more creative. His compassion and empathy as a friend reached new heights.
Steve wasn’t afraid to love, either. When we lived in Lubbock, we had awful luck with our first two Scottish terriers. Both died much too young. To be honest, after going through the heartache of losing two dogs, I really preferred to never own another.
He eased my fears, telling me, “You can’t live life worried about what you’ll lose. You have to be open to love, even knowing there will be pain.”
I’ve never known a father more passionate about his children.
One of their favorite shared experiences was Harry Potter. Cooper and Steve read the first five volumes together and almost finished book six. When Steve’s voice started to fail, he wasn’t ready to give up their special time. Some days he would stop talking for two hours before bedtime so that he’d have the strength and voice to read four pages of Harry Potter aloud to his Cooper D.
About a year ago, I recorded a short video of 3-year-old Katie dancing on our bench on the front porch. Her outfit includes a red tutu and brown boots, and she shakes, stomps and shimmies with enviable confidence.
When he was a health-care consultant, he spent every week out of town. For three years he commuted to and from Los Angeles or Saint Louis. We both wanted to start having children, but neither one of us wanted Steve to be an absent father. He worked with dads who left their families behind week after week, and he couldn’t fathom missing so many school plays and sports practices and bedtime routines.
For years Steve told me about his fraternity brother and roommate Cory. What he didn’t tell me was that he was instrumental in helping Cory through a life-changing experience.
Steve and Tyra, engagement photo, 1994