Monday, June 27, 2011

Love You, Forever. In Memory of Stephen Light.

Swimming with Lisabeth

I recently received the gut-wrenching news that my dear friend, Stephen Light had passed away. I was devastated. Stephen was someone I could always count on... He was always there.

I can remember back to when Stephen and I were in Summer EDP together at Edgewood. We were 8 year old little kids, boyfriend and girlfriend. I remember going on my first date with him to see Indian in the Cupboard. I don't remember much from the movie, but I do remember that my mom picked him up from his house. I met his cute little sister, Elizabeth; she was wearing a bat man shirt (if I remember, correctly). I was wearing my cut-off jorts and my turquoise Ben & Jerry's t-shirt. Stephen was wearing a nice tucked in shirt, had his hair gelled, and glasses on. We made a funny pair. A few months ago, Stephen told me he was still hanging onto the ticket stub from that special day. It made me smile.

Summer EDP was a blast for us... I can remember sitting across from Stephen at the lunchroom table listening to about a hundred impersonations of Jim Carey. I also remember asking Stephen if he could be silent for 60 seconds; he couldn't. One summer, we put on a play; we preformed a Save By the Bell spin-off. Stephen was Zach (can't you see the similarities?!) and I was Summer (my middle name), the girl that stole him from Kelly.

In Eight and Ninth grade, we dated on and off. My mom and dad had an Antique Store on Greensprings, and I would hang out at Stephen's and in the neighborhood with Lauren, while she worked. We would jump on the trampoline or sneak around smoking cigarettes (Sorry, mom. Sorry, Tracy). Ninth grade year, I threw Stephen a birthday party at my sister's; one of the first guy/girl semi-unsupervised parties ever. We had a blast! Later that year, we went to Six Flags for my 15th birthday. It was too crowded to ride the rides, yet we still managed to have a wonderful time.

Then, we became best friends. I went through some hard times in high school. When there was no one, there was Stephen. We spent weekends sitting on the trunk of his car at the bottom of an apartment complex, drinking Alchy-pops, talking.

When my grandmother passed away, Stephen and I drove down to Mobile in his little blue Toyota that smelled like grits. He hung out with me while my parents cleaned out my grandmother's home and beach condo. We drove down to what we thought was Florida and had lunch at Ruby Tuesdays. My mom let us skip most of that following school day, since it was the last half day before exams. We were thrilled to have more beach time.

Stephen would call me and ask if I would make him green bean casserole for dinner. He would come over, hang out, and sleep on our couch. My parents loved him. I also grew close to his family, spending a good amount of time at his home. I'd watch movies in his room. I was there Sundays for his mom's amazing pot roast, cooked in her clay bake wear. I went to cake decorating class with his cousin, Lissa. Stephen would drive us back and forth to class, and sometimes we would hang out at his grandparents and swim in their pool.

The next year, I moved into an extra bedroom at his parents' house. My brother-in-law hired him to work at Jim N' Nicks BBQ in Homewood. He introduced me to his friends and we hung out daily. Our lives were completely intertwined. Shortly after that, I went to boarding school.

A magnet I made for Stephen's locker - 2002

After coming home, he called to tell me he was getting married.  I congratulated him.We hung out occasionally, after that... a dinner here or there. A few years later, I moved to Gulf Shores. One day he phoned to tell me that he, Amanda and his family were in the area. We met for lunch at Lulu's.

Some time went by. Stephen and I spoke periodically online and on the phone. He was one of the first people I told that I was expecting Roman. He asked if he could be his fairy godfather, and I told him that he could be, of course. He was asked if he could come to my baby shower, and was the reason it was co-ed. He and Adam bought Roman his ted (which sat waiting  in Roman's bed for his arrival), and the book: Love You, Forever.

Stephen invited us to eat spaghetti at his house while we were in town. When we got there he had practically ruined his microwave. Stephen had tried to make sweet tea in the microwave, sugar and all! He was planning to leave the mess for Adam, but of course I couldn't let him...I cleaned up the mess and taught him how to make tea, properly. That night, I also briefed him on cooking pasta. We had a good evening chatting and I even made him touch my belly. We hugged goodbye. Little did I know, that would be my last "Stephen hug."

We spoke often after that. March 5th, I called him to let him know that we expected Roman that day. I turned Eva Cassidy on Pandora and we talked for a bit. I felt a little loopy from the herbs I had taken to promote labor, water broke while we were on the phone, and I let him go until a little later...

 We touched base here and there, but stopped talking around September (after I wished him a Happy Birthday).

It's difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that he is gone. He was such a huge part of my memories.

When, I started the C25K running program a few months back, I would occasionally think of him and how I wish that I could run like Stephen. He was such a great runner. He asked me to go for a jog with him once; I took a few steps and he was gone. With those frog legs, that guy was out of there. I sat by the car and talked on the phone, until Stephen got finished with "our" jog.

Whenever, I hear DMB, I think of him (but will never actually enjoy listening to them). When I hear Strawberry Fields or Keller Williams, I think of him pulling me into his mom's room to listen to "this great song that I had to hear (Freaker)."

When I see beautifully colored leaves, I think of Stephen and his love for the outdoors and for landscaping.

When I see a weeping willow, I think back to my childhood and the willow in front of his home.

 Though Stephen and I had temporarily been out of contact, I could never say that we lost touch. He is so much of who I am and I am so thankful for the time that I had with him. He was one of the most passionate people I have ever known, if not the most. He was beautiful. He was a philanthropist at it's finest and I aspire to love like Stephen loved.

RIP Weeber. love you, forever. Lindsey Lou Who

Please donate to the Stephen Light Memorial Fund. You will find the link in the column on the right. Thank you!

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