Eulogy by Kathy Sneller

Eulogy for Dan Steven, December 9, 2002 Kathy Sneller, Dan’s Aunt Daniel Christopher Steven was my nephew. I didn’t know him when he wore that bright green, furry, plush snowsuit – his cousin David wore it many years later. I did not get to smell his baby neck or watch him toddle around – those good aunt things. Dan entered our lives a bit later. It was a time when he and his mother were desperately needed. And there he was, climbing out of his mother’s car ready to meet a new set of grandparents. Grandma gasped at his cuteness. And we all fell in love with this dark-eyed, talkative child. Dan came into our lives just when we needed him. Jan and Dan made a family with Rick and Joel and Jono, and later Jesse; their joy spilled over into our lives too. Dan impressed his cousins with his coolness -- girlfriends, guitars, hair, song lyrics that made them giggle- If I didn’t wear clothes, I’d be NUDE ! Play it again, you guys, his cousins would whisper. Dan awed his aunts with his kindness – - to preschool cousins when he happily wore macaroni necklaces - to friends of the family who happen to be visiting, - to younger cousins with his sincere interest and questions about their lives Dan delighted his uncles with his fierce independence and his sense of social justice. He and Uncle Dan talked and played and planned trips -- much to the delight of their mothers. Dan confused his orderly relatives with his lack of interest in what we expected of him and his ability to sleep and sleep and sleep at Camp Roger or Bass Lake (some of us understand that better now). We thought he should be reasonable, do some type of work we could understand. But he was just himself -- generous, clever, exasperating, brave, faith-filled. Dan amazed us with his music. We listened and laughed and cried with his first CD. His cousin Rachel came across a quote last week about art and its purpose. It spoke to her of Dan and his music. Art is an effort -- wrote Isabel Allende -- to take the evil of this world and transform it into its opposite: hope, love, friendship, solidarity, generosity, all those things that wouldn’t exist without the pain and the evil. Dan did that for us in his music and left us with a gift we will hold on to forever. And now we are left -- his aunts and uncles, grandparents, and cousins -- just when we need him- - left to ponder how he could be so grounded in reality when we can not accept or understand. - left to ponder in this season of Advent, his poetry and music - left with the ones he so dearly loved and who love him enormously-especially that fierce mother of his - left to ponder how he could manage to be himself till the day he died. So we will listen to his songs look at the stars and make more cookies….

1 comment