Sunday, December 19, 2010

Steve, you will be missed.

Have you ever met a person who instantly puts you at ease, a person you feel like you’ve known your whole life even though you’ve just met?  Steve Dery was one of those people to me.  Steve was an amazing spirit ~ the type of person who was always thinking of ways to help improve things for others.  He tried with words (one afternoon a few months ago) to show that he was full of bravado by exchanging ‘glory’ day’s stories with another co-worker in the tech area, but he could not convince me that he was tough like that.  It’s like trying to put a rock over a light, the brilliant beams always find a way to squeeze around the heavy and the dark allowing for the shine to emerge.  When he spoke to you, he often looked up to the right or left just as he was about to deliver his point...and then like a pendulum that stops right in the middle, he would lower his eyes back to meet yours and deliver the ‘key’ idea or line. This style reminded me of how little boys talk to their teachers, never holding back or hiding any vulnerabilities because they just don’t know how to.  In my life, I have met very few people like Steve.  People who are so good and so honest that simply being next to them makes you feel safe and protected...a person that you know has no hidden agenda and then takes you at face value and proceeds to enjoy the moment.  A couple of times, I was lucky enough to sit with Steve to enjoy his company in the brief time I knew him  The first time was at a leadership event for work and the last time was at a holiday charity luncheon. Each time he would talk about Pat and her family and like Charlie Brown, listening to his teacher, I didn’t really hear his words.  What I heard was his heart.  Steve loved Pat, and Pat was his world end of story.  All of the other family concerns were rooted in his mind because of his need to feel worthy of being Pat’s husband; she was his everything and most of us long to have the kind of relationship that Steve & Pat had for more than 30 years.  At the charity luncheon, Steve could see that I was struggling because my hands were cold.  He quickly cupped his hands around mine and said, “I do this for everyone.”  I chuckled because I knew that was right, and for a few seconds I dropped all awareness of what others would think and just allowed him to help me.  At that same luncheon I told him that I loved the wreathes that were up for auction but could not afford to buy one.  He asked, “Can you make one?” and I said, “Yes, but I will never be able to remember what they had on them.”  A few days later I heard that Steve was in the hospital with chest pains, but it seemed that he was out as quickly as he went in. On Friday he tapped me on the shoulder after the company meeting and asked, “Did you get the email I sent?”  I looked at him and noticed he was wearing a new purple silk shirt and said, “I’m so glad you’re back.”  He then insisted that I open my email to look at the pictures he had sent from the charity luncheon.  As the pictures began to load, I could see that he had carefully and lovingly took a picture of each wreathe from the auction so that I may choose one to reproduce.  Steve was an amazingly thoughtful man.  Yesterday I bought a plaque to hang next to my bathroom mirror.  It reads: “LOVE LIFE HERE & NOW”, when I got home I received the sad call that Steve had passed....I glanced down at the words and couldn’t help but think that this is how Steve lived and this is what he would say to me.

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