Remembering my friend Steve Crawford
October 23, 2012
In March 2003, the first edition of 2012 Sarah and Alexander was published followed by my completion of the screenplay. Through the years many people tried to help me get the screenplay produced, the most memorial, a man who became a close friend in the end, Steve Crawford who worked in Hollywood in the CBS newsroom. Steve never missed one of my blogs and totally understood the nature of reality and where it is all going. He had a heart of gold and laughed when I told him he reminded me of a lion. Sadly we never had the opportunity to meet.
Steve was never into substance abuse or any of the other things people do to reach higher states of consciousness - not necessary once you understand the holographic nature of our reality. Once you get it, you just live out your programming, until the end, knowing it's all an illusion.
Candy and Steve May 2012
Steve and I lost touch from 2007-2012. This spring I received payment for a reading from a woman out in Hollywood named Candy, mentioning Steve Crawford. I immediately called to set up an appointment and discovered that Steve had Stage 4 esophageal cancer. Candy and Steve met through Match.com, discovering that they both worked at CBS in different buildings. They were coming to retirement age, had married that month and were so happy. How could this happen at such a special time in their lives when their hearts were so filled with love?
For months after we reconnected, the three of us talked every Monday at 2pm Eastern, until Steve became too weak to talk, often listening to Candy and I as we discussed life. Steve chose to tell no one about his condition except Candy and I, our weekly conversations meaning everything to him.
We talked about Ralph my ex-husband who died from Stage 4 esophageal cancer in November 2005 - laughing about Ralph's visits with the family and the continuity of life after physical death. Like Ralph, Steve knew that Stage 4 esophageal cancer is a death sentence, choosing not to have treatment, just to embrace what time remained. He was not afraid to die, but hated to leave Candy. We found another parallel with Ralph in that he too had met someone special, 4 years before he died.
As with the passing of my best friend Louise, 12 years ago, we all embraced the truth about reality, making the transition so much easier. It has nothing to do with gods, aliens, karma, or any other myths we are lead to believe, just the program saying "Your time is up, but before you go, you will find love ... then light." That is all there is.
In recent months, Steve and I experienced shared dreams about the closure of the program, which we both knew is imminent, though we knew he would leave this reality before the programmed closed. On the matter of metaphysics, Steve shared the journey, much like you and I did, on the road to final awareness.
Today Steve is beside me, much like Z when I blog. His smile suggests we are at the end of ACT III. I am sure Steve and I will share a few more adventures before it's over and I welcome him guiding my journey with Z until the end.
Steve Crawford Passed Away
By Candy Crawford, wife
Steve Crawford, News Assignment Editor at KCBS-TV, passed away at 8:15pm Sunday night on Oct. 7. He was 64 year old. Together, we decided he finally needed hospice care because his condition had deteriorated. On Sunday, I had friends help me move furniture around to accommodate the hospital bed. As I was juggling all the equipment deliveries, Steve started having respiratory problems. The hospice company sent nurses to the house twice, but his breathing became more labored. Finally, he had some relief and we were alone at last after a hectic day.
I left his side for just 5 minutes to go empty the trash. When I came back, I was relieved to hear he was no longer gasping for air. I thought to myself how wonderful the meds were in alleviating his symptoms. But when I felt his forehead, I could tell something was seriously wrong. He was so very still and he had already started to grow cold.
The nurse later told me he was probably just waiting for me to leave the room so he could slip away quietly by himself. We all know how fiercely independent and private he was. He spared me the anguish of seeing him die in my arms.
Now I can tell all his friends and co-workers that on May 2 he was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer that had metastasized throughout the lymph system. He chose not to undergo chemo because it would have been a tortuous yet unproductive procedure. It may have let him live a few weeks longer, but he would have sacrificed the quality of his last few months of life.
We chose to celebrate every day we had with each other and treasure the precious gift of being alive. On May 30, we were married after being together for three years. We met on Match.com. I was a post-production video editor at CBS TV City for twenty years before retiring last year.
After 35 years with KCBS, Steve chose to continue working for three more weeks after his diagnosis. The doctor told him he had only three to six more months to live. His last day of work was May 23. Steve tried to sneak out of the building without saying goodbye to anyone. He was adamant that no one should know what was wrong with him, that no one knew he had cancer. He simply didn't want anyone to have pity or feel sorry for him. He was hard-nosed and stoic until the end.
But Rod Foster must have known something was up because he ran out to the parking garage to express some last-minute kind wishes to him. Steve still had tears in his eyes when he arrived at our home in Los Feliz. He was so touched by Rod's caring thoughtfulness. That was also his very last trip on his beloved Harley.
Because the primary tumor had grown so large, Steve had a stint put in to allow an open passageway from his esophagus to his stomach. Soon, all he could ingest was Ensure, water and pills. He went from 165 to 122 pounds.
Steve was deeply spiritual, but not religious in a traditional way. So I envision a joyous celebration of Steve's life in an informal setting with food and drink and newsroom war stories.
I enclosed a photo of Billy the feral cat who chose to come live with us. Steve and I both fell in love with him. We started feeding him at the end of July. Slowly but surely, he would let us pet him. Then he would come into the house to eat. Finally the Thursday before Steve died, I was able to get him into a cat carrier and take him to the vet to get him fixed. That evening when he came home, Steve could finally hold and pet Billy.
We agreed that Steve would come visit me once he passed away through Billy. When I get lonely for Steve, I just pick Billy up and hug him. Steve said our little black cat would keep me company when he was gone.
That last day, Steve was having a really hard time breathing. The hospice nurses kept telling me to give Steve more morphine because that would help the breathing problems.
Finally he seemed to be breathing better and was more relaxed. I went to the kitchen to get a drink of water and decided I needed to take out some garbage. It was the first break I had all day. I opened the back door and ran half way down the stairs when Billy went darting past me! Oh no, I forgot to close the door to keep him inside.
But Billy stopped at the bottom of the stairs and began looking at the sky, perfectly still. He was just gazing at the universe. I was able to scoop him up into my arms. I ran upstairs to tell Steve that I left the door open and Billy didn't run away. I was telling Steve the whole story when I noticed how quiet he was. Maybe the morphine had helped his breathing.
Then I noticed his eyes were open. I felt him, and he was so incredibly still. The Life Force had left his body and he was cool to the touch. I was only gone for less than three minutes. He died while I was gone!
I flashed on what they always do in the movies. So I started shaking him and telling him to wake up, to stay with me. But I realized that what had happened was the best thing. This was the whole reason we wanted hospice, in order to ease the transition to the end of life.
I sat on the bed holding Billy and stroking Steve's forehead. Finally he was out of pain. We no longer had to wage our battle against the cancer. It was so incredibly peaceful and calm.
But why did he go when I left the room, I just couldn't understand. The hospice nurse told me Steve probably wanted to spare me the pain of watching him die in my arms. You know how fiercely private he was.
And as for Billy, when I thought about it, that magical moment when he gazed up at the heavens, the cat must have been watching Steve's soul soaring in to the skies. He'll come visit you soon, if he hasn't already.
P.S. Can't wait to meet at your class in Newport Beach on December 2. I know Steve will be there.
CRAWFORD WAS A PISSER
Les Rose here...well, actually not here but sure as heck wish I was. I am in the wilds of Nebraska preaching Murrow and Journalism with a capital J to high school kids.
Which brings us to this roast...er...remembrance of that dude Steve.
Sit back, get comfy. Memory lane? More like a Memory Highway...powered by way of one very noisy Harley.
Well, let's get to the point. One word summarizes our friend Steve Crawford. Pisser. Pure Pisser.
OK, I lied...more words. Steve was a Harley Riding Leather Wearing Scraggly Beard Growin' gravel voiced anti-pretty boy finger flipping MOTHERF***ER hardest working Journalist with a capital J human GPS that had a thing for Werther's Original candies and chocolate cake donuts with little rainbow sprinkles GET YOUR BUTT TO LA COURTHOUSE FOR THE OJ WALK bestest dude you ever knew.
He didn't tolerate the brainless, but during the writer's strike he would laugh his beard off at the sight of a secretary from the second floor on her knees looking for some connection when the AP WIRE went down! The writer's strike also brought great moments with the infamous "Flying V" and crews that suddenly did the speed limit so the striking writers could be right there. He saw a lot romances come and go. From anchors smooching and fighting to a virtual Peyton Place of inner office dating. In one case, when I was dating a desk assistant (remember folks this is LES saying this) he made sure that the morning after we broke up, we were stuck together in the field for days on in. He had a VERY perverse sense of humor...
He and Rod were my original advocates to shoot features with a young reporter named Steve. He cracked up at those stories and whatever Dorothy Lucey and I could put together, with "information breaks" in the middle. This from the hardest news guy ever...but he still respected a well crafted feature.
But he surely bemoaned the Paris Hiltonization of local news.The North Hollywood Bank shootout, the Menendez Brothers, and the Michael Jackson death were stories that were pure Steve at his rocking best.
In '89 San Francisco had the Loma Prieta quake, known as the "World Series Quake". Every photographer is lining up in the News Director's office to go. Except me. Steve saw me and knew something was up and wondered why I wasn't hustling to go. He looks at me and says, "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaait a minute...the Stones and Guns N' Roses are playing all weekend at the Rosebowl, aren't they?" They were, and my fellow rocker friend kept me working locally...great shows, by the way!
Speaking of quakes, one of the best moments was when, on January 17 1994, the Northridge quake nailed us all with a 6.7 at 4:30 in the morning. Working nonstop for days after, we were all on vapors and my eyes were so tired I started seeing double. I had to go to the Doctor's, but Steve thought I should buy a Playboy as long as I was seeing double.
Absolutely a big part of a team effort...and he was riding the news wave making sure those of us in the field had a solid, steady source of where to go and what was needed. You never realized how great he was at it until you had to rely on a newbie know-it-all intern. Heaven help us.
Steve, through it all, was the Great and Powerful Oz. He was the man behind the curtain, pulling strings and making things happen. He was my Thomas Brothers navigator at all times...I could get lost in a walk in closet and he never made fun of me...and was always there for me.
When I lost both of my folks three months apart he and Rod were among the first to welcome me back. My mom died of breast cancer, so he made sure I had weeks of cancer stories after that so I would know that folks are fighting the fight.
Steve and I were never sports fans of the normal guy variety. But he and Eloy Sedillo were always my rock and roll soul mates. We would talk for hours/days/months about music that really was NO bs and just rocked the house. Steve knew Courtney Love was not a paparazzi joke but a serious rocker. We chatted about the rise of No Doubt in one moment and favorite Hendrix tunes in the next. We talked about Steppenwolf and Ozzy and the Stones, oh my.
Did you guys ever try talking to him when he was on that Harley in the Columbia Square parking lot? I mean, he slaved all day at the desk...juggling the day's news...and finally he was free on that bike. You would try to chat with him and he would just rev the pipes to deafening volumes and say "WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?" as he drove off. Then you could see his lips move and nothing would come out, just to piss ya off a bit...he was off on his chrome horse and in heaven.
OK, so he looked at times like Charles Manson's better looking brother but always had the heart of Jimmy Stewart. You could say he had a heart of gold, and he did, but I always imagined it more of shiny well-chromed ticker. With a leather tassel trim.
In an era where we know way too much about the Kardashians, we simply didn't know enough about Steve. He was born in Indiana...a Hoosier on a Harley...who knew? He came to LA in '68 and did odd jobs like making frames for Aaron Brothers. I am still trying to get my head around that! He had a 40 year marriage but would joke that it was the best 6 months of his life. Then he met sweet Candy on match.com. After being together for three years, Steve and Candy married May 30...4 weeks to the day after being diagnosed with cancer. We never knew, and that pissed us off.
Although he was under the care of an oncologist at Cedar Sinai, it was such a typical Steve decision to not undergo chemotherapy treatments. The cancer had just spread throughout his entire lymph system. But he wasn't alone, Candy was with him. And THAT gives us all comfort that if we couldn't be there for him, Candy could.
And he is now in heaven...looking down on us on a giant leather cloud with tassels. And he is shooting a big giant MIDDLE FINGER. Those late summer lightening bolts are gonna have more punch. And the thunder may sound like Harley pipes.
So here's the deal...when someone flips you the bird in your next traffic jam on the 405, laugh and give them a thumbs up and think of Steve. It will freak them out. When you hear Hendrix at max volume through your apartment walls, it's just Steve keeping it real. And when a Harley flies past you on a stuck freeway, enjoy the moment. Bet he is really a nice guy, with a heart of chrome.
A Tribute to Steve Crawford By Jennifer Pierce, Executive Producer, KCBS/KCAL News
Steve Crawford was one of the most unlikely and unforgettable Newsmen you could ever meet. He rode the assignment desk like he did his Harley--with gravel rumbling in his voice and a GPS of Southern California tattooed to his brain. Underneath that gruff, biker exterior was a man who would not rest until the story was right. His loss Sunday to esophageal cancer has hit hard for his friends, family, and the KCBS/KCAL newsroom.
Steve was born in Frankfort, Indiana May 24, 1949. After spending time at Ball State, he hopped on his Harley for LA where he would begin his nearly 35-year career on the KCBS Assignment Desk in 1978. He steered crews and reporters through some of the biggest stories to hit the area, such as the O.J. Simpson Trial, North Hollywood Bank Shootout, the Northridge Earthquake, and the Michael Jackson Funeral.
If it happened in LA in the last 35 years, Steve Crawford was more than likely on the desk, scanners cranked up, feeding reporters his vast knowledge of Southern California. He was passionate about the work done by members of our local police and fire departments, making sure they got the credit they deserved.
He took care of his own crews and reporters with that same passion. Reporter Dave Lopez says, "Crawford was one of the finest Deskmen I have ever worked with. He was a no-nonsense individual who took his work seriously and was very aware of how he treated people."
Connie Chung said she had the fortune to work with Steve when she anchored for channel 2. "He'd work the late night shift and when I was done doing the 11pm, we'd talk and talk. He had a deep, deep voice and a cynical laugh. I'd try to make him smile and chuckle-thrilled when he did-because he could be quite stoic. He was calm and deliberate-never silly, never catching a catnap, despite the grueling hours. I loved spending the wee hours with him, not want- ing to go home! I will dearly miss him but am delighted to know he had a loving wife."
Judd McIlvain wrote about the gesture that Crawford was famous for in the newsroom, "I got one of those fingers when I would have to ask for a Crew for a half-day stake out that might not come up with anything. He came across as the strongest Assignment Editor I have ever worked with, but you knew he was a real nice guy and he had your back."
Steve Crawford and his wife Candy lived in Los Feliz where he turned their backyard into a gardener's paradise. He died at home 5 months after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. He led a fiercely independent and private life and left this world the same way, keeping his cancer struggle to himself, leaning only on his wife, not wanting to upset his friends and co-workers.
As Photographer Les Rose said Steve was, "Going it alone... But he wasn't alone, Candy was with him. And THAT gives us all comfort."
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