Finding grace in living and dying

The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on December 28, 2015

Felicia Friesema is teaching me to live.

Felicia is the wife of my friend Steve Julian.

Steve and I met a number of years ago—when his former high school principal was exposed as a predator priest. Although Steve was not a victim, the priest and Steve had tangled over an editorial then-student Steve had written for the Damien High School (LaVerne, CA) student paper.

Finding out the priest was a predator only confirmed Steve’s less-than-amicable feelings for the guy. The story of the priest was the inspiration for Steve’s play ALTARCATIONS/What Kind of God?

I loved having lunch with Steve. We’d talk about the play (a little) and then we’d talk about life. Stuff. Each other.

Because we weren’t in each other’s social circles, we had a bit of freedom to bounce problems off each other. We could talk about our fears (his was health, ironically) with candor—without causing the other to worry.

He taught me to be patient. To embrace silence in a conversation. I love his friendship and I love him. And when Steve talked about Felicia, he glowed.

This year was going to be their second Christmas as a married couple. Steve told me how he envisioned a long and happy life together (and his continual Facebook updates were testament to that).

But things have changed.

Very recently, Steve was diagnosed with a stage four Glioblastoma Multiforme. It’s a tumor in his brain that is robbing him of his memory, his motor skills, and his words. (For those of you who know Steve as the morning host of KPCC’s Morning Edition, you know how tragic this is).

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