Dear Steve, I can’t believe it’s been a year. I would say “already” but boy, has it been a long one!
The last 24 hours have been the longest of all, remembering each painful hour what we were doing only a year ago. Wondering if I could have done anything differently? Wondering if I could have somehow saved you? If only I could have stopped you going out for that walk… If only you had come back to my house instead of staying at your flat…. If only, if only….
The pressure eased emotionally as soon as we got past 4.47 am on the 12th March, when I’m convinced you died, as I woke up suddenly from my jet-lagged stupor and for no reason at all before falling back into a deep, dark sleep myself. This time was about right according to the ambulance men who came so quickly and kindly when I called. After I found you, asleep for ever, curled up peacefully in your flat.
As I’m going to try and move on now, after a year of thinking of you all the time, I thought it would be fitting to share the words I spoke in the church, with Phoebe and Nelson standing like dark clad stormtroopers either side. I was so proud of them and so would you have been.
I love you. I’ll love you forever.
“Steve Watson was a strong man with a big heart, especially kind & welcoming when it came to children, teens and random heart-broken friends.
Nothing was too much trouble for Phoebe, Nelson, Chloe and Spencer or their friends. Food, lifts, homework, you name it.
He was a reluctant DIY’er but he especially loved making the exploding volcano for Nelson and we all recall the hardboard skate-ramp with fondness too! Well, perhaps not the neighbours….
In their school years, he’d prop the kids on cushions in front of the Simpsons and spend hours straightening Phoebe’s hair or de-nitting them with the ear-buzzing electronic gadget – we used to call him “Teasy Weasy Watson” he enjoyed it so much.
And who can forget the “summer of knitting” in 2006?
Phoebe in particular loves fine dining and cooking now and that’s Steve’s influence for sure, but he could also always be relied on for a sneaky trip to McDonalds drive-in too. Not to mention the too-scary horror movies he’d let them watch when I was working away from home.
As so many have mentioned on Facebook, he was the embodiment of a old school ‘gent’, never leaving the house without being smartly turned out, some money in his wallet, and smelling great.
I loved it that he liked nice quiet sports, golf, horse-racing and, of course, poker, which he taught me to play too. He had a brilliant sense of humour, he was the life and soul of any party even though he was actually very shy. You DID often find him in the kitchen at parties but that was his favourite place, where he felt totally at home.
He was so brave, he genuinely wasn’t scared of anything, as was proved the night the burglar alarm went off and he ran down the stairs in his Calvin’s brandishing his golf club and shouting swear words at the top of his voice!
We had so much in common, music, books, tv crime drama, films, software, business building….
Although he used to hate the sci fi / fantasy genre, loathing the “Harry Potter” & “Lord Of The Rings” series with a passion, only really putting up with them for the kids sakes. Star Trek was our only common ground.
Steve was a real shock to my system, he constantly surprised me and there was never any shortage of things to talk about.
Steve challenged me on just about everything and I’ll never forget when he announced – in front of the kids – that there was no Father Christmas and how did I feel about lying to my children!
But sharing our lives with him made me more empathetic, a much better mother. He always reminded me that they were separate little people not just “the kids” and that my behaviour with them now, would set the tone for our future together.
He used to ask me, “Did I want to be right or did I want to have them in my life when they are adults?”
I first met Steve in 2003 when he ran my favourite restaurant and he was the love of my life for the last 11 years – although they were stormy and tempestuous years for sure.
He was spontaneous and exciting and he brought out a more adventurous side in me as I was known in my family for being a bit of a “Victorian Mum”.
One hot summer day when he came with me, as he sometimes reluctantly had to do, we got off the train from London and he just walked straight into the sea in his suit. I have never laughed so hard in my life.
With Steve, it was always “my way or the highway” and as a dyed in the wool feminist up to that point, I kicked back against that – but somehow his way was the way I always chose (in the end).
I used to go to London to work and speak but when I got home, flushed with adrenaline, I’d be given a glass of wine and instructed in no uncertain terms to “now, leave your jackboots by the door, love!”
Now I’ve got to make my own way and that way will be so much dimmer without him. Who am I going to drink “tankinis” with in the late summer sunshine and who will I dance to Disclosure with, at Wild Life Festival?
He will also be missed at our family birthdays (where no cake request was too much of a challenge) and at our Christmas Night parties which became legendary not least because of Steve’s own brand of demon dancing.
Well, Steve, where are you now? You are either nowhere (as you believed) or zooming off round the Universe having the time of your life.
I really hope it’s the latter, because it will annoy you so much that you were wrong!
When it gets tough without you, I will just keep hearing you say “Nicola, just grow a pair and stare the “effer” down!”. I will do my very best to do just that, Steve.
Your funny little family that you always called “The Clampits” all love you very much and we WILL miss you terribly.