Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 2 pm
in The Commons, Dignity Village.


“Steve O”
(Stephen L. Jarvis)
Born: 28 Nov. 1956
Portland, Oregon

Died: 3 Feb. 2012
Dignity Village,
Portland, Oregon

“Family isn’t always blood.
It’s the people in your life
who want you in theirs;
the ones who accept you for who you are.
The ones who would do anything to see you smile
and who love you,
no matter what.”

It was a gathering together
of blood family and Villagers.
creating years of shared memories from a quiet life
tragically ending in alcoholic self-destruction.

Two friends who had known Steve from his birth
recounted heart kindness, fairness and strong work ethics.
The mother of Steve’s children spoke, siblings spoke. in-laws spoke,
children, grand children, grade school buddies, high school mates,
each offered a shared and joyful ‘Steve moment’…and honesty:
“Lost touch…no word…and we lived just across the river,
not twenty miles away.”

“I would give anything for the moment to tell him,
‘Dad, I love you.’

“We hadn’t seen him for years...time just passed.”
“…for more than a decade, hadn’t heard, didn’t know.”
Twenty of so Villagers
whose friendships with Steve O
were shy a couple weeks of two years
contributed their painful, tearful reflections.

For Dave S this death reignites his own past.
unites his death with Steve O’s.
“I told Steve O several times,
‘you’re losing Life to alcohol.’

“Steve O’s death is motivating me.
I don’t want to go down like that.
Unsupported, unloved. I couldn’t blame Life.

“That people can feel that lonely, that isolated,
says something that is difficult to hear.
Alcohol’s couple hours of comfort,
its shallow mask of relief…
…even a “functional alcoholic”
energy zapped, love and trust betrayed.
The difficulties. But I can succeed.

“It is the sense that I have a lot to offer the world.
The ‘end-program-button’ is not an option.
Steve O reminds me,
keeps me from committing to that awful end.
Pain that just swallows you,
makes you wonder, when will sparks get you?
I get really, really low

“People have discipline,
People that don’t feel the need to do more
than a glass of wine with dinner.
I’m amazed at that.

“For me there’s only the present.
I suffer from the past and can’t face the future
but to see Steve O go down – loss of family,
loss of self, no part of anything, nothing.

“Yet it is sometimes hard to keep positivity in sight,
hard not to want to block the boredom,
being stuck with myself for a whole day,
facing the whole day with nothing inside me.

“When I’m busy I never think about drinking.
I feel life’s shortness and how impressive life can be.
No! how impressive life IS.
When there is no challenge,
the reality around me fails me.
Anything more than just survival is not easy in the Village.
I know something is happening in Life
but sometimes Life is just too far away.
I don’t have family that is functional
and I can’t live in this little material dream world.
Too superficial.
The need is for personal courage
to overcome the reality of my trivialities.
My mind is active while my heart is broken.
If I’m scared and worried,
what must other people fear and feel?

“In the Village we have physical protection,
our perimeter fence gives a basic degree of security.
You won’t get mugged, raped, murdered,
but the Village has to go deeper than that.

“Communicating with others
and helping them find themselves
is the best way to help yourself.
I will always remember Steve O.”



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