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 an
aggressive 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 in my photograph on this page, titled Strange Autumn Rose
that I dedicated to the tragic death of
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.