2014, our last Christmas together

2016, the "Sign"

2016 Christmas

Slipped Away

Through the Lens #32

Hans Neumayr, Luxembourg

This is the second Christmas Steve and I are not together since he passed away and it is just as difficult for me this year as it was last year to be without him.

Today my mind went back to a sweet memory of past Christmases with Steve.

For as long as I can remember, both of us would separately go to CVS drug store the week before Christmas to buy stocking stuffers for each other. Usually, we each bought some of the same things; toothpaste, razors, hair ties, Q-tips and other various toiletries. My stocking stuffers for Steve were chosen because he would always run out of these items and I didn't want him to raid my stash. He bought my stocking stuffers knowing that he would eventually have to pilfer them from me. LOL But, Steve always included something extra special for me, perhaps some small item I had admired while we were on a trip or something he thought I might like from a place he travelled to on business without me. Going through our stockings on Christmas morning was always the highlight of our gift giving to each other.

On Steve's birthday this week, I received one of the best stocking stuffers I could ever ask for, a "sign" . It was a small package from Lori, a friend I had not seen or spoken to in months since she moved to New Jersey. It was a small cardinal figurine on a jingle bell. (see photo)

While she was putting up her Christmas decorations, the little cardinal fell off a garland and hit Lori on the head, bounced off onto the bell, and caused a lovely little jingle. She could not explain it, but she said Steve's handsome face suddenly came to her mind. Lori shared that she felt a very warm and strong feeling enfold her and believes it was Steve, almost whispering to her to remind me that even though we are not physically together, Steve is still with me in my heart, life, thoughts and memories.

Lori concluded in her note to me that she never had a feeling so strong as this before and that I was so lucky to have known such a great love in my life, a love that also transcends death .

Merry Christmas Steve.

2016 Birthday Laps

Wolfgang Dave Wiesemann, NY

Early 2000s

1981, our first Christmas

Peter Hursty, Hawaii

Tarp's Total Training, NY

Happy Birthday Steve.

There were many people thinking about you this week and they swam in your memory. Thank you all for continuing Steve's tradition of birthday laps.

George Fasanelli - Patchogue, NY
"Did my 57 yesterday afternoon at St. Joe's. Thank you: a wonderful way to honor a great coach"
Annette Gaspar - Langen, Germany
"I did the 56 lanes in a 50m pool today for Steve. It was fantastic. I had one hour and 15 min. Just the water, Steve and me. While I am not in shape it was hard but I would not give up. And I did it not for training just for the joy of swimming"
Tarp's Total Training - East Meadow, NY
"Birthday Laps for Steve (TARP) this morning. Donations collected, laps swam, memory and motivation continued!"
Michael Lovato - Boulder Colorado
"We did a birthday set for Steve - had to go short: 560m - 10 meter per year! 11x50 and a 10m cool down. (Added this to our full set.) and I said some words to my group about Steve and they were all supportive!"
Deb Savarese - Lakeland, FL
Oscar Urquiola - East Meadow, NY

 John Howard - Encinitas, CA:

" Happy Birthday Steve, Got an early start and rode a 56 mile ride yesterday--in the rain--and dedicated it to you. Raining again today which seems appropriate since it always seemed to be raining when you were here in Encinitas in the winter. All is well my friend!" 

Charles Wittman - East Meadow, NY:

"We did our 56 x 50m plus 8 more for good measure. Thought about Steve all the way. On our final 50m sprint we tried to go as Steve used to exhort us to: "Swim so hard you think you are going to Puke!" Thanks, Steve!"

Hans Neumayr - Piscine Olympique, Luxembourg

"Thank you for the inspiration!"

Wolfgang Dave Wiesemann - NY

"Couldn't get down there yesterday morning, but I went straight to the pool after work."

Kate Williamson - Charlottesville, VA "One day late but a mile of laps for Steve done in Charlottesville VA this morning."

Peter Hursty - Honolulu, HI

" Just finished 10*56 strokes on the original Ironman course at Kaimana beach!! Steve was with me pushing me along!"