Because writing is one of my healing practices, I keep trying to articulate how it is possible that we have lost my stepdad Steve Strickler.
Here is some of how Papa Steve lived (through my lens)
He drove to Dairy Queen for blizzards for teenage grandsons, creating a late night ritual.
He drove all the plans for adventures, hiking, concerts, festivals, and historic excursions.
He drove across country to basic training graduations and to deliver four wheeled gifts to grandchildren
He drove in-laws to doctors, pharmacies, Sunday brunches, dinners, and everywhere they needed to go in between.
He drove to the airport
Upon our arrivals, he parked the car because curbside wasn't good enough. He walked the extra distance to be there as close as he could to receive, to grab our load, to escort us to baggage claim, to carry grandchildren while lifting their moods and the energy of their exhausted parents.
When we got home, he parked himself on the floor with the littlest kids, wrestling, giggling, teasing, the lower he got, the higher the giggles and squeals.
For our departures, he delivered us safely to the curb, unloading each bag, hugging each of us and double checking that we knew where we were headed.
He liked running in the heat. He ran long distances. He worked out on stationary equipment at the gym so that he could run longer, farther.
He was closing in on running the 20th Flying Pig marathon, he had never missed completing one.
When he ran, he drove himself farther and harder than we felt comfortable. Maybe it was the way he balanced all the ways he walked the extra miles for us, or all the ways he parked and played.
exuberantly, playfully, tenderly, in sprints and long distances.
I don't know how to say where we all are now without him. He was a verb that is now past tense. He worked so hard and packed in so many memories but none of them are good enough right now.
All we want is one more step with him.
Maybe the verb he used the most is the only one that can be sustained after this loss.
Maybe his love remains in every step we take right now....one at a time.