Good Mourning, Everyone!
Often I hear from widows, widowers, and anyone experiencing the loss of a loved one. I even get mail from children who miss their dearly beloved lost pet. I am so very fortunate to get to spend time with these individuals. They touch my heart in ways too numerous to mention.
The following is a letter I recently received from a member of the club nobody wants to join, Deborah Woods.
"My name is Deborah Woods, and I was widowed on August 12, 2008. Your home page made me cry. Thank you for that. I feel I need to cry more so it was good. Sometimes words on a page or on a computer screen speak to me, and I respond in kind. I'm curious about your interviews -- who do you interview and why? You asked on your website if I needed an interview....I guess I'm confused because I don't know why. Do you interview regular people such as myself?"
Here is my interview with Deborah Woods. I hope you like it.
Deborah and Morgan
Linda: How did you and Steven meet?
Deborah: Steven and I met through a girlfriend at a Chargers' tailgate party back in October of 1997 That was a Sunday...10/26/07 to be precise. Steven was at this same tailgate party. Steven met Denise through (their) mutual friend Kim. Steven asked Denise if she had any single girlfriends, and she immediately thought of yours truly.
Denise called me on her cell phone and gave the phone to Steven. He and I spoke by phone that day and every day thereafter until we met in person the following Thursday which was October 30, 1997.
He had the most glorious (telephone) voice. I was hooked at the very first. We met at my favorite honky-tonk In Cahoots in San Diego. I walked in, stood in a usual spot for about 2 minutes before I noticed a striking guy across the way from me. I cocked my head, he smiled and proceeded to come over to me. Lord have mercy--when he approached me, the first thing that I thought of was, Holy cow! This guy's tall! Steven was 6'3", and I was so not used to or into guys that tall. He was also very handsome. He said to me, I hope your name is Deborah...? I said something clever (or so I like to remember) like, It's your lucky day, or just plain Yes. LOL I can't remember exactly. Anyway, we spent some time in each other's company, and had fun.
The next night was Halloween, and I was already attending a huge Halloween party with my brother and his wife so I asked Steven to meet us there. He did, we had more fun together, he got to meet my brother and his wife, and I got even more hooked on this guy. By night's end, he had managed to remember to give me a kiss goodnight as we were driving away. Good thing, too, because I commented to Gaby (sister-in-law) about that very thing. Steven apparently went to his truck and thought better of leaving me without at least a kiss. Gaby was driving, backing out of our parking spot when Steven ran over, tapped on my window which I lowered, and gave me the sweetest kiss good night.
Thank God, I thought! That very weekend Steven came over to my house with his then 3-year-old little girl and proceeded to completely unravel my life and heart. He was unlike any man I'd met up to that point and into today. He gave me three cards telling me all this stuff I was longing to hear and feel. He also said to me that I would probably fall in love with his daughter Samantha. I smiled and said, What about the dad? He laughed and said, We'll see about that. Within about a month of meeting Steven, I was telling my girlfriends at school that I'd met the man I was going to marry which I'd never done before EVER. We were engaged 6 months to the day we met, and we married one year to the day we met--October 30, 1998 was an amazing day indeed for me and Steve. I've got the photographs to prove it.
Linda: How long were you married?
Deborah: Steven and I would've been married 10 years this October 30th, and we would've been together for almost 11 total.
Linda: If it's not too painful, can you share how Steven died?
Deborah: Steven died because of AEA, auto erotic asphyxiation...also known as hypoxyphilia. He was also using meth again, unbeknownst to me and many more. He was doing two extremely dangerous things, either of which can easily kill by themselves. He was combining the two, and one of them took his life that August 12th. His death was ruled accidental by the coroner's office. It was not a drug overdose, and it was most assuredly not a suicide. He accidentally killed himself. He had no intention of not coming home that fateful day.
Linda: Deborah, what was your relationship with Steven like?
Deborah: Steven and I started off as friends who had incredible passion for each other. We couldn't keep our hands off of one another in those early years. We laughed a lot, made a lot of love, and created a life together. Steven adored me, and I loved him very, very much to the very end. We had our moments of strife and fuss and anger and all of that but we always managed to come back together because we were a TEAM. Challenge was everywhere around us, and we persevered as a couple. We hid the skids more than once but neither one of us wanted to bail. In fact, Steven blew our lives completely up in 2002 when it was discovered that he'd been successfully hiding a 15+ year meth addiction. He was the most functioning addict around, or so we thought. He went into treatment, came out, and I was waiting for him. People thought I was crazy to take him back but I saw past the addiction to the MAN who was Steven Allen Woods. He was worth it to me, and I gave him a chance. God, he was SO worth it. If he hadn't died on 8/12/08, I probably would've helped him again to the best of my ability. He was a very good man.
Linda: Did Steven have hobbies?
Deborah: Steven's hobbies--his family, sports, creating stuff, spending quality time with us. He didn't play tennis and he adored sports of all kinds. He went to Cooperstown last summer for Tony Gwynn's induction, and that man was walking on air because of that. Thank God he was able to go. I saw to it that he did because I knew how much it meant to him.
Lida: What were Steven's last words to you?
Deborah: Something like See you later. Our parting that fateful day will forever haunt me because we were a bit pissy with one another that morning, and he gave Morgan a kiss goodbye but not me. I sat on the couch watching him leave for work, wondering if I was going to receive a kiss. I didn't, and I watched my husband go out the door not knowing that was going to be the very last time I saw him alive. Regret burns hot, like a poker.
Linda: Did you have a last kiss?
Deborah: No, we did not, and I will regret that for the rest of my life.
Linda: What about your children? Tell me about them.
Deborah: Steven has a daughter from his first marriage, Samantha. She will be 15 years old this December 22. I met her for the first time when she wasn't even 4 yet. She has grown into this amazing, gorgeous, tall, blonde, blue-eyed young woman that I am beyond proud of. She is talented, sweet, kind, loving, generous and so much more. She and her dad adored one another, and it showed. She sings like an angel and looks like one. God help the young men with that one. Steven and I have a son together named Morgan Alexander. Morgan will be 5 this December 26. I had him right before I turned 40, baby! I wanted to do it before I turned 40, and I did it--MY way. Morgan is blue-eyed, blonde, gorgeous, too smart for his own good ( !!! ), sweet, loving, confident, and so much more. He is my light, and I am so thankful that I was chosen to be his mother. Steven was an amazing father to both of his kids, and they miss him terribly. He was one of the funniest guys EVER, and he cracked us all up regularly.
Linda: What are their names? How old are they?
Deborah: Samantha Elizabeth, 14; Morgan Alexander, 4.
Linda: What do you tell them now that Daddy is not here to tuck them in any more?
Deborah: Both kids know that Steven is dead. Sam understands more of the details but she still doesn't know everything and probably won't until she's older. Morgan still thinks that Daddy is at the place where he was lying in his casket, where we left him that day. Steven was cremated, and I have his ashes in my living room right now as a matter of fact. They have yet to be scattered on the ocean. I tell Morgan that his daddy adored him and lives in his heart and mind forever more. Just saying words like dead, ashes, and more break my heart every time I utter them. Morgan still asks why daddy is dead. I say because his body stopped working. He will know the whole truth one day.
Linda: Now that Steven is gone, what are your plans? Do you have any?
Deborah: My plans are to get through my days, one at a time. I need to get my financial house in order and then Morgan and I have travel plans. We are going to Bermuda to be with family there. We might visit friends in Georgia or Arizona or Amsterdam. I don't plan to look for work this year. I may or may not place Morgan in preschool this year, depends on my financial situation. If not this year, then next year before he begins K in Fall of '09.
Linda: Thank you, Deborah. Thank you for sharing your story. Griefcase wishes you and Morgan and all members of your family sincerest condolences and much mourning joy all the days of your life.