~ notes from an uncommon journey ~

In Loving Memory: Stephen "Steve" Kersten: May 24, 1965–July 5, 2014

Dear Steve,

I wrote the above and then have stared at the blank rest of the page many times, because I hardly know where to begin.

It was my good fortune to work with you for seven years. And when I think of all the colleagues I've had over the years, you are definitely in the favorites category. Early in my time at the company, we were in different departments, and our interaction was relatively limited. But I remember even from that time that you were unfailingly helpful and of good humor. During your "unscheduled break" from the company, you gave of your time and knowledge to help me understand tasks that then fell to me, which was certainly above and beyond the call of duty. I remember how excited I was when I learned you were returning and would be joining our department. And I even got to sit across the aisle from you for quite a while after that. We shared many good conversations and much laughter, not to mention a shared love of Celine. You added so much enthusiasm, passion, knowledge, and fun into our days.

And when my Ron died, you were an understanding presence in the workplace, something that is rarer than I even understood at first. While I wouldn't wish firsthand knowledge of real grief on anyone, I was grateful to have someone nearby who got it.

I regret that I didn't keep in touch after I myself left the company, and that therefore, I didn't get to tell you about the changes in me that have happened since then. But I believe that you know about them now, as I believe that spirits who pass to the other side of the veil can hear when we speak to them (which is why I speak to you now and of you in the present tense). I hope that you are proud of and grateful for the ways in which my mind and heart have changed.

And now I'd like to say a few words to those who love you most—your partner, your family, and your dearest friends: The thing is: there are no words. There are no words adequate to encapsulate this experience. There are no words that make this better. Words may be powerful, but they are not that powerful. All I can say that I hope can serve as a tiny candle lit in the darkest of dark rooms is this: Love never dies. It is my hope that the love you had and have for him and he for you will sustain you in the days to come. Long live love.

Steve, you enriched my life and the lives of everyone who knew you. I will always be grateful for that, and I will never, ever forget you.

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