When A Great Man Dies
Disbelief and denial, that’s where grief begins. When we heard the news, the doctor in me had to know what happened. What could so suddenly fell this man, the rock of our church? Over the past five years, we’ve seen him as tall and strong, calm and smiling, never stressed, always present… but most of all, as a constant in our lives, a model of being.
Fingers shaky, I dialed the rectory. Sketches of details, thirdhand: driving home with his teenage daughter, said he felt sick, pulled over, passed out. She called 911 on her cell, EMTs came. CPR at the roadside, continued to the hospital, over an hour of trying. They couldn’t get him back.
We can’t get him back.
What a loss. Our church held an impromptu prayer service Friday evening. This was really a chance for us to hug, cry, and talk about it, to talk about Steve and what he meant to each of us. The theme of loss came up again and again… we were not the only ones who counted Steve as a positive role model. His warmth, strength, and ready guidance made him a friend and father figure to many.
But, there was also thankfulness, thankfulness that we had had the opportunity to know him, to have had his leadership and example. He met challenges with an easy smile and steady demeanor. He eased tensions, smoothed ruffled feathers, averted drama. These are special qualities.
Hubby and I spoke of this yesterday. We’ve both been working on our tempers. There’s times that we flare at the kids, and at each other. Late workdays plus overtired children equal temper tantrums from everybody. We know we both need to learn to step back, breathe, and think.
We were in the car, driving home from dinner with friends, quiet. I thought of this and said, out of the blue: “You know those bracelets that people wear that say WWJD, like, What Would Jesus Do?”
Right away, Hubby smiled, nodded, and said, “What Would Steve Do. I know. I thought of that too.”
“Yeah,” I said. “It would help, when the kids are driving us nuts. To think about Steve, how he would react… We’ll all be the better for it.”
“I know, I know,” Hubby agreed, and we drove on.
When a great man dies, for years afterwards, the light he leaves behind him illuminates the paths of others. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Steve, we will always look up to you. Obituary: http://www.dolanfuneral.com/2015/02/steven-taber/