“A Steelhead knows where it is going, but a man seldom does.” – Steve Raymond   8 comments

Well, my friend Stephen Rose is back. Last Monday his heart stopped for at least twenty minutes. He was in a coma for a few days. When he woke he was not responsive. And then, suddenly, he was.

It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever endured, but the day I saw him give a faint smile, my heart hoped for more. A day later a few words. And yesterday, unmistakable, unequivocal, unambiguous Stephen.

Mid-morning I went to Stephen’s bedside before going back to work, and told him that I would see him again later. I had no idea what his response would be. I didn’t even know if he’d recognized me.

Me: “Stephen, buddy, I’ll see you later. Okay?”

Stephen: “Well… Will there be beer later?”

(Holy Shit!)

Me: “Oh yeah man. There’ll be beer later. Good malty, hoppy beer. And maybe some bourbon too!”

At the suggestion of bourbon Stephen’s eyes got wide as saucers, and my heart soared.

Walking upstream

Walking upstream

As of last night Stephen had squeezed both of his hands and moved one leg. Wonderful signs for a man whose body has been so fully utilized and applied toward action and creation.

Stephen’s friend and mine, Chris R, retold a discussion he and Stephen’s younger son Joe had had yesterday evening. Chris said to Joe, “Well Joe, it looks like you’ve had a pretty good day.” To which Joe responded, “Yeah, I guess so.” [pause] “And my dad’s getting better too!”

Make no mistake, I’m elated and euphoric that my friend is alive. I had started imagining a life without him and it was a very tough pill to swallow. But I see the road ahead for Stephen and his family and it may not be a smooth one. To use a metaphor, it may look a lot more like the rough trails that line the Brule River than a road.

And I have to imagine Stephen is not at all excited to wake up after his workout last Monday to find himself in a hospital bed. While we’re all standing around cheering for his reawakening, he’s saying to himself, “What the fuck…?”

Stephen, I love you buddy, along with many many others. I, we, are ready to help. Whatever the future brings you’ve taught us all to cherish what’s really important, to not take it for granted. I pray (yes, I said pray) that the rest of your life will be seasoned with the realization that for a moment, you were not of this earth, and that we really, truly get one shot at life.

But for now, one day at a time. Okay?

“The water you touch in a river is the last of that which has passed, and the first of that which is coming; thus it is with time.” Leonardo DaVinci

Posted August 9, 2012 by troutseeker in Bourbon Whiskey, Friends, Kids, Wisconsin

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8 responses to ““A Steelhead knows where it is going, but a man seldom does.” – Steve Raymond

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  1. Amazing news yet again. Thanks for the stories, as it gives us all a little glimpse. I would like to be there for the beers and bourbon. I knew we are kindred souls. Thanks God for hearing our prayers, and performing miracles.

  2. great news!!

  3. I am an old, childhood friend of Stephen’s from Brookfield and have recently learned about your blog. Beautiful photos and entries about Stephen…thank you for sharing.

  4. Stephen– Hang in there and come back strong! As one who holds most dear the friendships I’ve formed streamside, my earnest well-wishes go out to you and your family, and to your pal Tom. Tom– If there is anything the local TU community can do for Stephen and his family, please be in touch.

  5. Thank you so much for this blog post Tom! Amazing. That Stephen Rose is truly amazing. Even though I’m not as close to Stephen as you, I couldn’t imagine a life without seeing Stephen at neighborhood functions and little league. A long road sure, but we still have HIM!

    • Becky,

      Yes indeed, we still have Stephen. I’m not sure what the future holds. Stephen has mountains upon mountains to climb before he’s better. And as for what that word “better” will mean for him, no one knows at the moment.

      Like all of you, I envision a recovery meaning a significant recovery, but at the moment there are so many unknowns about what this all means for Stephen. He is certainly not out of the woods yet. I wish I could pull him up out of that bed, put an arm around his waist and get him back on his feet. Rip all that crap off his face and go for a walk in the woods. I want that more than anything, for myself, for his family and friends, and for him.

      Tom

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