Thursday, July 24, 2:16 AM

// February 27th, 2010 // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Wednesday, July 23, 2003 at about 3:26 PM our son died. After a day and a half struggling to breathe, mostly unconscious, I turned off the movies we had been playing for him and put on an his favorite Enya CD. About twenty minutes after that I noticed a change in him and I knew that he had taken his last breath. It was so quiet. Unlike in the movies, there was no big, dramatic crescendo to inform me of his passing. But a strange sense of peace seeped into the room. Not my own peace. This was floating in the room around me, separate from me. Perhaps it was the end of Steve’s struggle, or could it have been the releasing of his spirit and the joy he may have felt at his new beginning? I can not know. I put my hand on his chest to confirm there was no movement. I then called Amy, Nick & Jeremy.

We stood together at his bedside and Amy slipped the blood pressure cuff onto Steve’s frail arm. I barely noticed her turn to walk away after she pressed the button that would give us our final answer. Nick, Jeremy, and I watched intently, holding our collective breath, as the numbers ticked smoothly down to zero.

He was still so warm, had had a high fever since the day before. Later as I sat watching over him, I thought I heard him breathing. But it was only my imagination. I could even see his chest gently rise and fall, but it was just the oscillating fan disturbing the sheet that was pulled over his chest. As the color slowly faded from his face I knew, without a doubt.

Jeremy had pulled the sheet over Steve’s face after we took his blood pressure, but I couldn’t bear to see his face covered. It felt so suffocating to me, so I pulled it down to cover only his mouth.

I continued to sit alone with him awhile, five minutes, thirty, I don’t know. Time seemed meaningless. This house that has known so much rambunctious joy ~ parties, two births, a wedding ~ is now utterly still.

Dave and Marisa had gone to the Irvine Airport to pick up Nett and Chris. They all arrived here about forty minutes after Steve passed. Nett rushed in to see him after I tried to tell her he was already gone. Her day long journey has exhausted her. She didn’t understand me when I told her he had died. I turned to leave her alone with him as she sat next to him and read him a letter she had written to him earlier in the day as she flew across the country. As she sat with him she believd he was comatose. Once she understood, she said she knows he heard her. We can all still feel his presence around us.

Nick told me tonight that as we were checking Steve for any signs of life, Enya was singing “Orinoco Flow”. Sail away, sail away. He did. And I found out that moments after Steve passed my best friend, Jane, had called. When I called her back later to tell her Steve had died about the time she called me, she said she didn’t know why, but she felt so strongly at that moment that she HAD to call me. Now she knows why.

About fifteen minutes after Steve passed, Robyn was looking for an away message for her instant messaging page and the first one to pop up said “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened”. Apropos for the moment!

I’m just too tired, too weary to go into greater detail here tonight.
I already miss my dear son terribly, though I know “he’s in a better place” and “no longer in pain”—-blah, blah, blah. I know all that but I miss him nonetheless.

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