April 11, 1983-September 18, 2006
Stephen was my nephew. We came to really know each other only during his teen years which were turbulent and filled with crisis. I grew to love him instantly and, as all who knew him, learned to appreciate his incredible uniqueness.
A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You're free at last.
written en route to the funeral for his friend, Ronnie Van Zant of the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Stephen was sensitive and loving; totally non-judgmental - except of himself.
He loved to learn; had a wonderful sense of humor; was quick and ambitious. In the words of a colleague:
“In some ways he seemed like an old soul-so wise, how did he know so much in so little time? In other ways he seemed to look at life with such passion and awe... like through the eyes of a child. He was observant of all that was around him and wanted to pass that knowledge on to others. He was joy to have at staff meetings, always willing to share his thoughts. He wasn’t one to sit back and let life pass him by. His work, I will always use as examples of excellence. Although I knew him as a colleague and wished him the very best in his career....I could easily see that all that knew him would be touched by his smile, his kindness, his energy and enjoy his company- both friend and colleague.”
Stephen felt everything to his core……and couldn’t seem to ever feel enough. I do believe that he carried into this life all the pain of other lives and the intensity of feeling was just too much. His desire to escape it and yet his love if it was ultimately his undoing. He was, in reality, a frail and fragile human being who wanted so much to be a super hero. What he didn’t realize was that he was a super hero. Typically, after his passing, so many people testified to how he had changed their lives and how he had supported so many of them through their emotional lives. And yet, he always seemed to feel that he was not doing enough, giving enough, loving enough.
Stephen loved his family more than life. In his death, I am sure that he felt that he was doing something that was loving. He struggled so much to want to stay with us but was tired of coming up for one more breath only to begin to sink again. I know that he is in a better place now; filled with energy and love and, finally, peace. Well done, Stephen, you deserve it. You did well here and as much as you could. We just miss you.
I love you, Stephen, for your courage and your intensity of feeling. I am so grateful for having known you – even if it was for such a brief moment. Your life has touched me as it has so many, many people.
Your Aunt, your friend and your biggest fan,
Memorial Submitted by: Marion