We have had the heart-breaking news today that Stuart’s big brother, and Lynne’s little brother, Stephen Ford, passed this morning in the UK.
I did not know Steve as well as I would have liked, but I immediately liked him very, very much. When I met him the first time, I was on a mission. I was bound and determined to have a kumbaya moment with my new brother-in-law. I felt there was much to discuss – some heavy stuff – and I had an instinctive feeling that we would get each other. The poor man! Didn’t see me coming, at all! This brash American, the new wife of his little brother, turning on the L.A. mumbo jumbo about karma and choices and reconnection. But I think he was secretly amused by me, and recognized that my intentions were sincere.
Sometimes relationships are complicated. Particularly between siblings. Stuart and Steve are in many ways, very different people. Like the little brother, Stuart bristled at Steve’s clear-cut paternal role (and deep love of all things American, most-especially the Civil War (a confederate!!). Given Stuart’s clear dislike of all things American, I used to say that I married the wrong brother), yet I also know the love and adoration that Stuart felt for Steve is irreplaceable. Steve was very much the father figure to Stuart. Which makes the loss doubly painful.
Steve and I were facebook buddies, as he was with all of his family – all the kids, who routinely communicated with him, the patriarch again, in this medium. It was on facebook that I had my last “conversation” with Steve. I had been planning a surprise bday for Stuart in Sydney, which Steve was in on. I needed a decoy during the surprise period, someone to spin the surprise in a different direction and keep Stuart guessing. Steve immediately rose to the occasion, firing off an email to Stuart (supposedly by accident) confirming he would pick us up at Heathrow. He got such a kick out of being in on the joke, and when it was a fait accompli, he wrote me the last message he ever sent me. It said, “I always knew I liked you.” And that makes me very happy.
And so – having lost one of my brothers in recent years, I totally get the pain and the process. It sucks. Sucks, sucks, sucks. Everyone has to find their own grace to help them get through. I have learned that the pain of the loss never goes away, just seems to come with less frequency as time goes by. And as the pain of the news hit us this morning – this first warm, beautiful Spring morning in ages, I began to grieve. For Stuart, for Steve’s wife Elaine, for Lynne, for the kids, for Alva. And for the loss of my own brother David. And then the learning kicked in, and I called my brother Daniel, and I told him I loved him.
With all of my love to the volumes of friends and family that loved Steve Ford. He will be sorely missed.