Slipped Away 


 "This is the sad, heartwarming/heartwrenching tragic story of Steve Tarpinian, a true icon/legend in our sport. Steve took his life in March, 2015, after a long battle with demons, depression, and mental illness. Author Jean Mellano was Steve's lover and partner in every respect for over 30 years. She weaves her thoughts, writings by Steve, and writings by others - including many Slowtwitchers - to help us know who Steve was, and just how special he was to so many of us in the triathlon world. A brilliant life cut short tragically."  -- Barry Siff, President, USAT Board of Directors, October 2016


"Although I knew Steve for many years in the triathlon world, either Ironman or Xterra, I was as shocked like all of us to learn of his suicide. What an extraordinary loss of a beautiful spirit. I was challenged to understand how this caring, joyful, talented soul had lost his life in depression and mental illness. Ironically, for six years I have been involved with a mental health organization that raises funds through my marathon event. They were organized to support families with depression and/or bi-polar, but I still did not comprehend the horrible pain and suffering until I read Slipped Away. Jean's compassionate, openly sensitive , personal story of Steve's battle and struggle to overcome the demons he lived with was the first time I could grasp the horror he faced. It not only opened my eyes, Slipped Away inspired me to reach out and create a new Walk-A-Thon within my marathon event to support and fund raise for a variety of mental health organizations. Thank you Jean for sharing your heart and soul with us to have a better understanding of mental illness."-- Dori Ingalls, September, 2016

"I just finished reading this book and I was very taken by it. It really hit home in a lot of ways and it just made me realize how much we need to appreciate each other and our time here on earth.  It was absolutely beautiful and I too suffer from PTSD which is a form of mental illness and no one knows it for the most part it's hard to keep inside so your book really helped me greatly appreciate it and will treasure it thank you. I can only imagine the loss you must feel"  -- Pat Huffman, Facebook comment, September 2016

"Thank you for creating Slipped Away. My hope is for individuals struggling with depression can realize they’re not alone and for loved ones to gain knowledge of those slipping around them." -- Tim McLeod, June, 2016 

"You did an AWESOME job capturing the qualities and accomplishments in Steve's life that made him admired and respected by so many. Although I did meet Steve a few times, I didn't really know him. But I was able to see what a kind, compassionate and gentle soul he was after reading "Slipped Away." I'm sure Steve would have been extremely proud of the way you honored him and his memory with this memoir. Bravo, a job well done." --
Robin Connell​​, June, 2016

"Read your lovely book. What courage. What grace. Thank you for sharing it with me."  - Allison Gilbert, April, 2016; Author, Speaker and Journalist

"Not only is it a great love story, but also, sadly, an American tragedy.Bruce Ornstein April, 2016; Writer, Director, Actor, Acting teacher  

"The book looks great. You did a marvelous job of putting it together. Steve would have been proud of you." Joe Friel, April 2016; Writer, endurance athlete coach


​​"With a little more detail, and an emphasis on the positives in Steve's life, I think your story could be the basis of a Full Feature Movie. This is exactly the type of story that ends up winning Academy Awards."- Gerard Schiraldi, February, 2016

 "Allow me to congratulate you on this very moving and beautiful tribute to Steve. There were many points in the book at which I had tears in my eyes. ...

I certainly had no idea of the demon of depression with which he dealt for so long; but I know from other cases what a terribly difficult affliction it is, both for the sufferers themselves as well as for those who love them. So I certainly understand what a difficult road it must have been for you as well as for him. The difference that I find between Steve's case and those of any of the others whom I have known, is the way in which he so successfully hid it from most of those with whom he worked and competed. " -
Brother Richard Hartz, February, 2016

"I have read Slipped Away, but simply reading a book often means it ends up huddled in a book shelf someplace and that's not what I want. Keeping it by my bedside, I read it as a reference book and reminder, keeping Steve's memory alive so I can remain inspired by him. You did a great job with this work Jean, it reads from the heart, and just as I think about Steve when I re-read certain passages, I also think of you, your deep love and devotion which shows in all aspects of your personality through your writing." - John Howard, February, 2016 

This is a quote from an incredibly accomplished athlete and former Olympic cyclist, who, cycled the 2015 620 mile Million Dollar Challenge from San Francisco to San Diego, helping to raise $1.5 million for the Challenged Athlete's Foundation.  John then won the 2015 El Tour de Tucson, a 75 mile cycling race he has been trying to win for 17 years in a time of 3:07:28!    At 68, he is the oldest winner in the event's 33 year history. 

"Steve Tarpinian was a triathlon competitor and coach, beloved by all within his reach. Why? Because this man was filled with a unique sense of compassion. A compassion he did not extend to himself. Can't count how many times I've heard that suicides are selfish actions. Oh hell to the NO! There is no way anyone of us can put ourselves in their they feel aren't worth filling. This is by no means a depressing book- it's rather uplifting actually! Filled with photos and love." - Linda Marie Marsh, January, 2016

"I just finished your book and I am impressed with how brave you are for such a genuine memoir of Steve (and your lives together). My 7-year-old niece just participated in a kids triathlon event, and I would not be surprised if Steve or his Youth in Sport mission were not somehow indirectly related to that. I helped her train for it! I am passionate about mind-body health.

I feel this memoir was about Steve's mental "wellness" for the most part- the side of him that publicly was an accomplished and creative athlete-coach, and privately your soul mate and travel companion on this earth. Although it was also clear he masked a dark side, and mental illness took his life, I did not read this as a story about his battle with mental illness or battle to recover. It was more about his life, versus his life and death with mental illness and suicide. I find this book inspirational as a clinician to help others like him live a longer life. This book was a true gift to me. My overall impression is that he led a beautiful life that impacted many (despite his 'demons').

I thank you so much for sharing the book with me, and making his life known. It's clear to me that you are special for accepting him perfectly as he was- and this is really half of the story."
- Megan Wilson, January 2016

"It is written beautifully and produced wonderfully. All who knew him have probably struggled to understand how he could have been so troubled. I thank you for this book to provide solace and a glimpse into a Steve that perhaps, many of us never knew. Your life partner was a very special man and you and all of us were very lucky to have him in our lives and be influenced by him." - Donna DeSousa, January, 2016 

​"When the box came in the mail, I really felt apprehensive about opening it. So far I have read the first two chapters and scanned through the pictures throughout the book. It is cathartic to read. I give you so much credit for your willingness to share such personal moments and raw emotion. But honestly, it's so important for us ( Steve's long time friends, teammates, and fans) to get a glimpse into what he was struggling with. Everyone who knew him on the outside saw a happy go lucky guy. Quick with a joke and a smile. He never failed to ask me how my family was and josh around with our own little jokes. It's hard for us on the outside to even fathom how depressed he was. We knew that he was absent from all the events and practices, but not seeing him does not translate to understanding. It's so hard to understand. I think about Robin Williams when I think about Steve to try to see that all the money and fame can't bring happiness. Both are two men that brought joy to so many people. But not themselves. I'm still sad every day."  - Gilda Schultz, December, 2015

​"I read your book . It is an incredible book of never ending love and inspiration . May you always feel Steve's presence and bask in a very special love that does not end with death . He really lived !! Your tribute to him is heartfelt." - Gina Califano, December 2015

"The writing is clear and vivid and captures the unique personality. It reads very well and is uplifting and memorable. It's also - of course - honest in an appropriate way. Very touching." - Vincent Amelio,  September, 2015

"Very well written and quite educational.  It is a great tribute to the essence of who Steve was and how he lived his life.  
It's inspirational in the fact that it makes the reader want to engage more in life, in soaking up every moment. He packed more into his ~50 years than most would have in five lifetimes.  It brings to mind the fact that Steve's life, although seems to have been cut short, had an abundance of adventure, friendship, accomplishment, success ... and certainly,  love".
  - Chris Hughes,  September, 2015

"I really liked it. I have to admit when you gave it to me, I thought 'hoo boy, how do I get through this'. But once I started reading it, I found it interesting and was really impressed by how many people wrote comments about Steve. And someone actually wrote a thesis? Given all that was said, I wish I had met him." - Bob Eliot, September, 2015