Stephen’s gone



“The fear of death, follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die anytime.” ~M Twain.

And so it is.

Stephen Connella died of cancer on Monday. My heart broke open. I felt death and it consumed me, my energy, and my imagination, and I cried and cried. Our sweet Scottish friend, our surfer and snowboarder and mountain biker adventurer, precious father, lifelong meditator and vegetarian, singer and songwriter of best love songs ever…Stephen’s gone.


“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”   ~Steve Jobs

In some ways I appreciate that quote, that everything changes, and nothing stays the same, and that we each just get one LIFE and then we must go. But in other ways, none of us ever accept that bright stars like Stephen die early.  On his last day, he ate his favorite french toast, said his peace, and let go.



The rest of us get to keep living.  So I have been trying to paint, and to provide attention and love for my clients, and walk the dog in the rain, and listen to poetry. Like a rung out rag, I’ve cried an agonized, and little by little feel lighter. I even had a really good belly laugh with–who else?–my son.






Kahlil Gibran

“You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one….”


27 thoughts on “Stephen’s gone

  1. What a moving post.
    Everything from the Gibran, the photographs of your dear friend and your awesome paintings. Emotion and sorrow pours forth. and yet it is so true what Gibran writes.
    a virtual, hug – Debi

      1. you are welcome! always my pleasure. Art…. I call it therapy, even if, I’m not “in a Program” – it, is basically, a helpful form of expression and relaxation. for me.
        wishing you a warm and relaxing rest of the week. 🙂 cheers, Debi

  2. I feel deeply moved by your post. I’m sorry for your loss, for everybody’s loss… I lost my mother to cancer in October, and it was the closest encounter with death I had so far, as we took care of her in her home. There is something about death that is so difficult to grasp. Your words, the quotes and your paintings help a bit along the way. I wish you peace.

    1. I’m so touched by your words and so sorry I’m only now seeing them. Thanku for sharing some of your own experience, I think we all gather strength seeing others lift up, grab hold again, and embrace our goid lives while we can🌿❗️

  3. Oh Laurel I am so sorry for your loss. I am sending you prayers of love and healing for your heart. Your art of grief is very moving.

  4. I’m so very sorry for your loss – the grief and pain you are experiencing has been written and painted about so eloquently here. I can’t express adequately, just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Laurel.

    1. Thanku so much Mary. I’m just seeing this, as I went out into the ether for a while and then to Kauai for a while. I’m back. I’m charged to paint. Life is good and must be lived🌿❗️

  5. what a warm, heartfelt tribute to Steven. Singer songwriter, so true “only the good die young,” and how about one of David Bowie’s final lyrics, “Look up here, I’m in heaven.” Thank you for sharing your friend with us.

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