The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, 269. The Statue of Liberty, 354. The Empire State Building, 1,576. The Eiffel Tower, 1,710. When it was standing, The World Trade Center One, 2,226. The Burj Knalifa in Dubai, 2,909. In case you where wondering, this is how many steps are in each of these buildings. This is how many steps it takes to reach the top. I am sure there has been several people that have climbed each and everyone of those steps and have reach the tops of these buildings. There are so many different uses for the word “steps.” There is “Baby Steps”, where a person takes their time while learning or progressing in a project to reach their goal. The “Twelve Step Program” for people with addictions to reach sobriety. “Steps to follow” in policy and procedure to make sure every one and everything reaches compliancy. “One small step for man, one small step for mankind” when man first reached the moon on July 20, 1969. The various steps taken in a scientific experiment that reach a conclusion started from an idea. There is also “strides” or “leaps and bounds” in which a person can move forward or improve while trying to reach perfection.
What about grief? How many steps does it take to reach the top. How many steps does it take to reach the end of the journey, how many steps does it take to come or reach a final conclusion or destination. I can tell you right now the number is inconclusive, infinite, countless, incalculable, incomputable, inestimable, innumerable and exhaustless. In every building, in every program, in every accomplishment some one can tell you how many steps it takes to complete, to reach the end. In grief, that number does not exist, the amount of steps are undetermined, and to reach “grief sobriety” takes a “lifetime step” program. (If you have been through a “Twelve Step Program” for addiction, please understand I am not making light of the daily battle you have with the addiction, I am only using it as an example. I commend you for your sobriety.) There are some days when you feel you have to climb all 9,044 steps of every building listed above just to get out of bed, not to mention function throughout the day. On the other hand there are some days you take one step, think of that loved ones smile and you have reach the top. Everyday is a step, every year is a step, every birthday, and every anniversary is a step. Every holiday is a step, every wedding you go to, every picture of a new born is a step. Everyday when I leave my neighborhood is a step. Every day when I drive past where Lindsay’s car was sitting is a step. Life, is a step. Everyday we climb the staircase of grief never knowing how many steps we will have to take that day. It seems that the steps we are taking are always going down.
There are days I think of all the other steps that have taken me and my family on this journey. The steps that have been taken to make the entrance of our neighborhood safer. The steps taken to try and save Lindsay’s life at the accident and at the hospital. The steps that total strangers took to be by her side after the accident. The steps that were taken to allow Lindsay to fulfill her dream of saving lives. The steps we, as her family, have taken to start a foundation in her name. The steps that so many family members, friends and strangers have taken to be by our sides. The steps that have been taken to bring awareness to organ donation and registration. The steps that were taken to mend broken hearts and lives. The steps we took, together, on the beach. There have been many positive and uplifting steps taken from this tragedy. These are the steps I try to climb everyday.
Most of the steps I have referred to above are hypothetical, or metaphoric, but in my home there are thirteen real steps, thirteen steps that lead up to Lindsay’s room. These were the hardest steps I have every climbed after Lindsay passed away. It took me weeks before I could walk up those stairs and could not do it alone. I have gone up those thirteen steps twice in the past 762 days. Once with my wife and once with Lindsay’s mom, I knew in my heart there was a third person walking with me, Lindsay. You see, you don’t walk up or take all these steps of grief alone, your loved one is right by your side taking every step with you. They give you the strength to carry on, the strength to put one foot in front of the other. I know this, I believe this and I know one day, to see Lindsay again, I will only have to take one more step.