I wrote this 7 Sept 2006 a couple days after his death. Thought I would post it here as a tribute to a true life practitioner.
Don’t know why the passing of someone I’ve never met could affect me this way, – last time I felt like this was the passing of Princess Diana – but I am really saddened by the sudden passing of Steve Irwin.
What is it that could cause me to feel this way, and I know it’s not just me. The emotion felt by thousands of people the world over is being expressed in newspapers, TV, the internet in homes and bars. For me I think it was the joy he felt and projected in doing what he loved. Steve projected a child like wonder and excitement in what he did, a joy and wonder that most of us lost as a child, but that we remember when we see it in kids. The fact that Steve was an adult may have triggered a bit of awe or jealousy in some. For me I look back on him and I think I may have been kind of envious of, not him, but what he had.
I feel sad at his passing, like someone I knew, a really good friend who, whenever he stopped by would bring joy laughter and amazement to my home. He was the one guy you always wanted at your party. Always entertaining, full of stories, and – I have no way of knowing this – completely accepting of you no matter who you were, what you looked like or what you did for a living.
Khalil Gibran said that sorrow is merely the other side of the cup – not exactly, but close enough. You miss what was there when it was filled and now we look at the empty cup.
Steve’s passing is particularly curious. For a guy that did the crazy stuff he did, we would not have been surprised if he was killed by a croc, or trampled while facing down a bull African elephant. But he was killed by a stingray. A dangerous creature no doubt, but one unlikely to kill someone so experienced as Steve. The stinging barb right to the chest/heart is about as improbable as being hit by lightning while sitting in your living room. Seems to me that Steve’s number was up. His work was done.
There will be no more Crocodile Hunter and crazy stunts, but Steve … thanks for showing us how to live your life with passion and enthusiasm. You did what you loved, the way you wanted, fully self-expressed, with wonder and purpose. You used your life as a creative expression of who you really are. I wish your family strength and courage through this time. I expect that Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” will be apropos at your funeral. I play it now in honor of you.
Click here for a tribute to Steve