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Saturday, February 08, 2014

In loving memory of my friend Stephen.

Stephen was the grand dramatic passion of my life, the blood on fire, heart slashed open, operatic aria of a relationship. It was brief, passionate, young, tender and its ending was devastating to an inexperienced and open hearted twenty year old. We went our separate ways and in time I found my deep and gentle love, the man I knew almost instantly would be my forever love. Twenty five years on and we are still together.

I often thought of Stephen, occasionally hearing from mutual friends what his latest life and love adventures were. Eventually I heard he had married and moved to Australia. We both had a son and there our paths diverged. My marriage stayed steady in the storms of life but his ended with his wife's chronic alcoholism and neglect of their child. He was given full custody and raised the boy on his own.

It is a strange synchronicity but some thirty years later literally days after I took part in a Huna based ritual of cutting residual connections to people from my past, which included Stephen, I received an email from him. He had been thinking about me and suddenly had the impulse to look for me on the web. This was the start of a deep and loving friendship, a joyful meeting of minds which was my great privilege to experience. Stephen was not a conventional man. In many ways he was a hedonist but he was also a warm, loving, highly intelligent man. I treasure our correspondence and the memory of his birthday flowers and his calls to sing me Happy Birthday. We could talk about anything and I will always be grateful to whatever fate brought us together.

When I was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, he was steadfast in his support and encouragement.  We talked of the deep and meaningful things in life. We avoided nothing. We had planned a visit because he wanted to meet my family. Then out of the blue the message from him was that he had cancer too and was about to undertake a gruelling and risky chemotherapy assault as the cancer was advanced. He would not be back in touch but his new wife would let me know if he did not make it. She did not have to tell me. I simply knew. Our paths had crossed for the last time and he was gone leaving me a richness of memories of a dear and loving friend.

I wrote the following just after I confirmed that what I sensed had been reality.

Suddenly there is a huge full stop in my life. Stephen is dead and I cannot cry. It is as though all connection with him was terminated by his passing. Perhaps I am simply too numb. I can no longer reach in and feel sorrow or pain.

Perhaps, it is simply that in the face of so much death and dying, I have moved from resistance to acceptance.

"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds" ( Shakespeare)

He is dead. I cannot hear him, see him, touch him. There will be no more calls from Australia. There will be no more serenades. I will not record the next chapter of Wind in the Willows for him.

Stephen is gone and part of my heart has gone with him.

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