Into the Mist by Julie Marks

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This photograph is dedicated to the courage
and spirit of my dear friend, Gail Steger.
Please view this in the large format.

I took this photograph of my dear friend and colleague,
Gail near her mountain paradise in the San Bernardino
Mountains of California, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.
Since my son Kevin was two
years old (twenty-six years ago), we shared
many family holidays in her beautiful mountain
retreat. We all felt fortunate to have a “White
Christmas” and enjoyed skiing in our wonderful
local mountains. Kevin loved trips to his
magical forest accompanied by Gail’s
menagerie of three dogs, two cats
and two parrots, Michael and Noah.

I could not help but smile
watching them pull out of our driveway to begin
another new and enriching adventure. Kevin
shared many holidays and other
occasions in Arrowhead enjoying the company
of his human and animal friends. Gail helped
foster his love of nature and reverence for the
mountain animals and creatures that visited them
in their special forest.

Gail was not able to conceive a child and after
sorting through many of my family photographs,
it is evident how much she loved our son.
Gail was Kevin’s “Auntie Mame”, a brilliant psychoanalyst
and teacher with a wonderful sense of humor and
adventure. She lived life with great style and spirit.
Gail and her mountain friends provided
Kevin with years of unbridled joy and cherished memories.

Gail’s mountain retreat was a magical place for all of us.
Although Gail practiced as a gifted therapist in her house in
Los Angeles, her warm and cozy mountain retreat was home
to be shared with friends who appreciated the amazing
beauty and wonder of nature far away from the rapid pace
and stress of city life.

I was heartbroken when I learned that my wonderful friend
was diagnosed with a metastatic
form of lung cancer. Despite the aggressive
treatment she received at UCLA medical center,
she passed away eight months after she was
diagnosed with cancer.

Since she was unaware of
the early signs of this devastating disease, she
passed away at sixty six and for all of us who
loved her, she “was gone too soon.” I was asked
to choose a poem to engrave on her ebony tombstone.

Rumi, the eminent spiritual poet wrote, Autumn
Rose Elegy, a perfect fit for a deeply spiritual
soul. You can read the poem also dedicated
to the tragic death of Michael Jackson.
The piece is titled, “Autumn Rose Elegy.”

I have this photo in my office and am comforted
watching her walk into the beautiful light and
mist of this symbolic image. Our mutual friend
Dave whose wife Chris is battling cancer wrote
the book, “Cancer For Two,” an inspirational true
story and guide for cancer patients and their
partners. Chris’ courageous “healing journey”
leads the reader through that
cancer door to find hope. Dave told
me that supporting Chris’ recovery and
remissions has had a profound effect on
his attitudes about love and life. Dave’s
book is a message of hope for anyone
facing a major struggle. On the first page
he writes, “For Christine:
You have earned a Purple heart for bravery
And my heart for life.”

You can read more about the poignant
story of Dave and Chris on the
Website, www. The StayAtHomeCeo.com.

I also have posted this photo and narrative
in the writing section that includes
more text and recommended reading.

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