November 14, 2003

// April 30th, 2010 // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

As I opened my eyes this morning the first thing to go through my mind was…today would have been Steve’s 32nd birthday. I just puttered around during the morning getting ready for the family coming to dinner. Around ten, Jane called. A few minutes into our conversation she said, “Are you feeling ok? You sound sick.”
“Just blue. Today is Steve’s birthday.”
“How did I know to call you today? I just had a feeling that I had to right away.”
Her call was the perfect distraction and by the time we hung up I was feeling so much better. Each time I count my blessings Jane is near the top of the list!
Tonight we made Steve’s most requested menu for his birthday dinner. Year after year I would ask him what he wanted for his special day, even though I knew the answer before he declared it. “Enchiladas!” was his reply for at least fifteen of his birthday dinners! Marisa and Amy came early to help make dinner. The three of us set up an assembly line to make the main dish. It made the afternoon easier on two levels. I didn’t have to do all of the work myself and we had each other to help keep our minds occupied. It’s always fun to get together with my girls! Left alone I know I would have been very mopey and blue.

Nick dug out some old videos of one of their desert trips and brought them with him tonight. After dinner we put away leftovers and let the dishes hang out in the sink while we hung out in the living room and watched. Everyday reality seems to be suspended for them out in the desert. No job to rush off to. Meals out of cans. Defying the laws of physics ~ as they thread a Jeep through a narrow canyon or launch a quad off a sand dune hoping to fly.
A few times we laughed so hard we cried. In the desert Steve was truly in his element and was with the people that made his life complete. The desert was his favorite place in the world, second only to the Haasienda.
Nick knew just what we needed tonight. This way we were able to keep Steve in the picture, watching him doing what he loved with people he loved. It was a perfect end to an evening that could have been full of tears and sorrow but instead was full of love and laughter. A fitting way to remember Steve on his birthday!

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