Upon writing this, it’s almost been one year. One year since high school graduation, one year since tearful goodbyes and yearbook signings, and one year since Steven Daskam was taken from us all, at far too young of age.
I will be the first to admit that my personal relationship with Steve was a strange one, at best. He served as one of my closest friends, my biggest rival. He was one of my most trusted peers, a thorn in my side, my hero, my villain, and probably the closest thing I’ve ever had—or ever will have—to a brother. We would argue like cats and dogs in class, but mere hours later, he would be the first person I turned to when I had a problem. He was one of those people that was impossible to explain, and even more impossible to forget. We all had different impressions, different relationships, different stories with the man, and we will all remember him in different ways, weaving our stories and memories together, creating almost a security blanket of memories. And, knowing the guy as well as I do (to this day, I find it incredibly difficult to write about Steve in past-tense because—as long as we’re not afraid to talk about it—his spirit doesn’t have to end.), he’s the type of man who would want that.
To be honest, there’s little left to say about Steve that hasn’t already been said a hundred and one times. Yes, he was a genius. He was driven. He was funny, he cared about every single one of us, and he was always, always ready and willing to lend a helping hand. But it’s the little things that seem to stick with me most—the way his entire face crinkled up when he laughed, his weird habit of referring to authority figures by their first names…but only behind their back. It was the way he could figure out exactly how to push someone’s buttons and do that until they were just about to completely blow up at him, and then laugh, pat them on the back, and all would be forgiven. It was the way he would hop from foot to foot whenever he got nervous, which made me even MORE nervous. It was the way he flipped through cook-books, noting recipes he HAD to try (even though, to this day, I doubt he’s ever set foot in a kitchen.) He was brilliant, he was bossy, he was hilarious, he was stubborn, and he was truly one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever met. And, through it all, he was loved. By every single one of us.
Even a year later, the events of Steve’s death are still incredibly vivid. Every late-night phone call serves as a reminder of the call that brought the news, changing my life forever. Occasionally, I can still feel the burn in my eyes, reminding me of that horrible feeling when you’ve literally cried out all you have, and you still need to cry more. And, more often than I’d like, I still get that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach when I realize that, however awful as it is, there are still some problems that literally nobody can fix. My emotions associated with Steve aren’t unusual—they’re something I’m sure every single member of the tiny FCHS student body deals with on a regular basis. And please don’t think I’m writing this for a second to belittle you, to elevate my feelings above the rest. I’m writing it so that we can remember, so that we can reflect on truly what a blessing it was to know this man. We’ve all lost at least one thing in the process of grieving—it’s important that the one thing we don’t lose is the memory of Steve.
There are so many clichés that we were all told, again and again, after Steve’s passing. The one that sticks out most now is “time heals all wounds”. It’s not true. Wounds don’t heal. They scab, they scar, and they stay on you, serving as painful reminders of the past. Sometimes, the scar is all you can focus on, and no matter what you do it won’t go away. But other times, the scar is nothing but a memory, a story, a part of you. And this is what we must strive for Steve to be.
With love, with respect, with fondness to my classmates, to my schoolmates, and to everyone who ever got to encounter Steve. You are all truly blessed, and filled his life with so much love. Each and every one of you contributed to his happiness, and the wonderful, brief life he lived.
And Steve, if you’re reading this, I love you. No more words are needed.