Journal

Journal entry by Jodie Gates

Friends and family,

Steve died peacefully last night, with us all by his side and showering him with love. He passed with the same grace with which he lived, no doubt on his way to a perfect wave waiting for him.

While it's hard to imagine a world where we don't wish for more time with our wonderful Steve, our hearts are full in knowing that we will be honoring his life in so many ways and we feel grateful that he was let in on some of those plans over the past couple of months.

We'd like to invite you to join us for an open house to celebrate Steve this Sunday, from 1-4pm at Ginny and Steve's house. We'll raise a glass to toast to the exceptional spirit that Steve shared with all of us and that we have the privilege of carrying forward. We have also established a Steve Gates Memorial Scholarship Fund with the Hood River County Education Foundation, where donations in lieu of flowers will be welcomed. If you would like to contribute, details are below.

We'll leave you today with this photo of Steve, courtesy of his good friend Rountree. Smiling that big Steve smile and radiating his limitless warmth and joy.

With love,
Ginny, Erin and Jodie

In the spirit of Steve's giving nature and values of education and community service, we have established a scholarship fund to assist deserving Hood River Valley High School students with college expenses. If you wish to contribute to the Steve Gates Memorial Scholarship Fund, checks can be made out and sent to the HRCEF, 1011 Eugene St, Hood River, OR 97031. Please include Steve's name in the check memo to make sure it gets to the right place.


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Journal entry by Jodie Gates

Good morning!

We hope you are enjoying this Sunday morning. We are cozied up by the fire and taking in the view.

These last few days have brought changes that are normal in this process and also signal that the end is drawing nearer. Steve is spending most of his days sleeping, and our focus has narrowed to simply keeping him as comfortable and supported as possible. Rob's handiwork for a wheelchair ramp allowed us to wheel Steve around the neighborhood yesterday, which was great! Avery is having fun wheeling around as well, and she's also tasked herself with raising and lowering her granddad's electric bed. 😍 

We feel for the many of you who have been in these shoes previously, as this experience has presented us with a steep learning curve and new perspectives. Steve was often quick to say some form of 'it could be worse' when friends or family offered him sympathy during his cancer journey, and he has continued to relay that sentiment a number of times during this latest stage. We'd like to reiterate how impressed we are with this community. Neighbors showing up to rake leaves unannounced, colleagues bringing dinner twice a week, former employees writing letters, ski buddies, surf buddies.... an all-star cast, as Steve would say! You have chosen to take the time and energy to offer your support, and that support has made all the difference during these past couple of months.

We are still finding time to read your messages, letters and texts to Steve. While it may seem superficial in the face of something grave, a quick text to his phone or hello here on CaringBridge brings an element of normalcy to the day and lights him up.

Thanks to you all, love to you all!

Jodie

Journal entry by Jodie Gates

Hi friends and family,

It has been awhile since we provided an update here, though we continue to supremely enjoy the stories and well wishes that you have been sending. And the food! You are all excellent chefs, and we are so grateful. One of our daily staples is farm fresh eggs from Mike Kitts, who has delivered to our dad's doorstep every week since the beginning of his treatment. We cannot thank this community enough for its support, near and far.

While this has been a difficult time in most respects, we are feeling fortunate for the opportunity to voice appreciation for each other and for our shared experiences - an opportunity that can be all too elusive in daily life. Our dad's deterioration continues and that cannot be ignored, and yet amidst the realities of the disease progressing we are holding on tight to any good moments. 

Some of the most recent good moments were found in a drive up the valley to Cooper Spur. As many of you have mentioned who were there in the Mitey Mite days, we flashed back to the countless memories and friendships for which we have that awesome little ski hill to thank. Erin remembered that when we started with CSRT, we were still small enough to get randomly picked up off the ground by the old T-Bar - quite the thrill. 😎 

As we head into winter and reread your cards and stories, we are reminded how our parents' love of the mountains has been a common thread for shared joy with so many of you - from the early days in Girdwood, to Cooper Spur, to saving lives (that's you, Sally!) and all the way to carving turns with the boys at Meadows last year during chemo. 

On our way down from Cooper Spur, Erin let our dad in on her plan to celebrate him every February 13th (his birthday) with a Ski with Steve day. Considering his famous 'it's a great day for skiing' exclamation regardless of conditions, we'll be out there in rain, ice, powder or corduroy. We'll hope for a powder day, though, and we'll also hope to be joined by any and all of you.

Love,
Jodie

Journal entry by Jodie Gates

Wow! It's been so meaningful to read your well wishes and stories. Thank you all so much, and keep them coming! We had been talking about CaringBridge for awhile and procrastinated, and we're glad to have gotten things rolling. It has been a wonderful fireside activity to connect with you all here.
 
We continue to 'hang in there' and take each day as it is. On Tuesday, we met with hospice for my dad's enrollment. There were a few reasons it felt like the time was right, one of which was the energy and time that was being spent going to and from the hospital for various appointments and procedures. We are finding that one of the beauties of hospice is that they come to you!

Please do continue to reach out to me at 541-880-4988 if you're wondering about a good time for a quick visit. Texts work the best and make coordinating easy. Love, Jodie.
 
And now, an update from Steve. 😍 
 
Hi friends and family!
 
I've so enjoyed seeing some of you recently and also reading the words you've written here and in cards, emails, and texts. It goes a long way and I'm so appreciative.
 
My biggest wish right now is that I had more energy. To be at a tiny fraction of my typical energy level is quite frustrating, as I'm sure you can imagine. We continue to feel totally confident in those who are providing care, the most recent being our hospice team. The transition has brought some reflection around the great care and support Ginny and I have received since I was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer in July of 2015. I was very lucky to have the talented team at OHSU oversee my treatment for the first two and a half years, and when Providence Hood River hired Dr. Bernstein as a full-time oncologist, the timing was right to shift my treatment closer to home. The level of care I have received from Dr. Bernstein and the entire oncology team here in Hood River has been nothing short of outstanding, and Ginny and I, along with Jodie and Erin, are so grateful.

As many of you have said, we will continue to ride this wave with as much joy and love as possible. With love, Steve.



Journal entry by Jodie Gates

Hello, friends and family! I write this as I get the Seahawks game teed up for my dad, as you probably know he's a sucker for a good game. :) We are overwhelmed with gratitude as meals, cards, stories and lots of love has been pouring our way from so many of you. My dad continues to enjoy getting outside for some neighborhood walks, playing with his granddaughter Avery and spending lots of time by the cozy fireplace with family. He looks forward to seeing you, friends, for hugs and laughs and cries, and I invite you to reach out to me at 541-880-4988 if you're wondering about a good time for a quick visit. Love, Jodie
Steve’s Story

Site created on October 20, 2019

Steve's community, we love you!

We all so appreciate your support and thoughts during this time. With Steve's help, we will be providing updates for you here and we welcome hearing from you as well - whether you'd like to share one of your favorite stories about Steve or simply say hello. We know there are many in Steve's circle and we may not have everyone's email address, so please feel free to pass this along.

With love,
Steve, Ginny, Erin, Jodie, Rob, Dave and Avery

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