03 November 2013
I first met Steve and his partner Mikey at Gay Days 2004. Steve was this tall, big, gregarious ginger bear, Mikey a furry dark-haired pocket bear. Steve was talkative, Mikey a bit shyer, but both very attractive and fun men. I consider them acquaintances because I only saw them once a year, at Gay Days. For the past couple of years I've been Facebook friends with Steve.
From the first moment I met them - introduced to me by my ex - I could tell these men were in love. I didn't realize how much that was true until one year - and I honestly do not remember in what year - Steve and Mikey didn't show up for Gay Days. Rumor was that Steve was ill. As with all gay men, we all automatically thought the worst. But it wasn't...it was skin cancer.
Steve lost an incredible amount of weight, becoming half the man he was. He had so many skin grafts on his face that he no longer looked like himself and it affected his speech. Steve underwent several operations over the years and always kept his sense of humor and sharp wit. The amazing and admirable part of the story is that Mikey never left Steve's side throughout the entire ordeal. And you could see the love between them.
I called them the Poster Boys of Love.
About a week or so again, there was a post for prayers and good thoughts for Steve and Mike. Steve was in the hospital. As the days went by we got posts about friends visiting, that Steve was moved to ICU, that his mother and sister had arrived.
Steve passed away this past Thursday, Mikey by his side, his mother and sister present. Mike and Steve were together for 18 years.
I'm going to miss Steve. Sure, we weren't friend friends but I always looked forward to seeing him and talking to him. His strength and spirit are a lesson to us all to persevere. Mikey's love is a lesson to us all to look to the spirit and character of those we love when the physical body fails. And for those of us who knew Steve - he will always be with us in spirit.