15 Years Ago

I was just reminded that today marks the 15th anniversary of Stephanie’s passing. Given the distance of my family, geographically and emotionally, I did not know Stephanie very well, but I knew her well enough to appreciate her vitality, music, passion, artistry, love, and perhaps most importantly, her profound and positive impact on Patrick.

No, I didn’t know her well, yet many slivers of memories fleet across my brain whenever I think of her, to wit:

• The time she came to California to attend our wedding, despite her recent battles with cancer, and the joy of her dancing in celebration of our vows, with Patrick working up a sweat trying to keep up with her.

• Hearing her sing, in concert and in gardens, on formal stage or while whipping up something in the kitchen, with that incredible and well-trained voice.

• Our first meeting in 1986, a decade after she brought light to Patrick’s life, there in Deia in that house “beneath the rock” that her money and his energy together made into a home, a home founded on music, hard work, and, most importantly, love.

• The joy in Patrick’s voice when he shared his many memories of her, and the grief he described and displayed after she was gone. As Donna and I were preparing to fly to Spain for her memorial concert, he said “The choir will sing, and I will cry.”

• Her final words, expressing her to desire to return in her next life as the oldest tree in the forest, adding, “If I can’t be the oldest tree, then the next-oldest, and if not the next-oldest, then the one before that, and if not that one….”

• The way her legacy lives on in her family, in the sweet face and rapturous voice of her niece, the pursuit of music by her nephew, and the protective nature of her brother.

• Her sadness at being forced to give up her son upon his birth, never to know him, and the bittersweet timing of him discovering her history just six months after she died.

• And always, always, the way Patrick, imperfect, sometimes stubborn, and often contrary for the simple pleasure of it, felt completed by her presence, and lost by her absence. As he wrote elsewhere, “The purpose of my life was to meet Stephanie.”

Today, 15 years after her passing, before even realizing the significance of the date, I spent a lot of time working on this web site, listening to Patrick’s voice from old recordings. I don’t believe in fate, or guiding hands, or destiny, but I appreciate the coincidence of this moment, just as Patrick would have done.

To all who knew and loved Stephanie, I wish you peace and healing, and more love.