Nan Mustard's Recovery

This blog is a record of Erin (Nan) Mustard's recovery.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saying goodbye to Steve, a guy who knew how to live

Dear Family and Friends,
This afternoon I joined hundreds of Steve's friends, nurses, doctors, church friends, airline friends, class mates as we said goodbye to Dr. Steve Ahn and celebrated his life.
The church was overflowing 30 minutes before the service even began. Whole sections of the church were filled with nurses and medical people from Steve's many years as a local OBGYN. One lady had a nearly new baby in her lap as she spoke of his dedication to her and the baby. The most moving moments came when son Michael rose to speak. His words were a revelation of what it was like to live with this always active, brilliant, dedicated, fun loving, person who loved to take pictures, to travel, the book showed over 5 million miles flown, to get to know people, to always learn something new. Steve was a genuine lover of people and the many many people who came to pay respects demonstrated that it was a two way street.
Art and Connie had a place next to them in the mothers room so Jo was able to sit holding Timothy. Jason and I chose to stand on the side of the church to observe and participate. It is a rare opportunity to know someone like Steve, a person that never would be described as ordinary in any way. His love of humor, sports and travel were mentioned repeatedly. Glen and his brother did a great job of letting us know about other parts of his life that we did not know about. Photos of his childhood through manhood, marriage, medical practice helped us all to understand him more. Many shared amusing moments of what it was like to live with Steve. People had flown in from all over the world to attend the service and many spoke.
To tonight I know some of what the Ahn family is feeling, the high service is over, now back to the business of reordering ones life, a time of adjustment to a missing member. Its absolutely no fun but as the days pass it become first believable and then begins to become normal and then becomes challenging, suddenly your decisions are yours alone to make and with freedom comes times of great loneliness.

I was glad to see several friends that I had not gotten chance to speak with for a very long time. Peggy Seyfang was there, she was a terrific secretary for part of the time I was a pastor in Tracy. Her humor and ability to learn are what I remember most. She was a great help and had not heard about Nan's passing, that came as quite a shock to her. I also got to see Tom Bennett, a long time friend that has been a great help to me. The fact that he was now over 100 lbs lighter was a shock. I learned about his heart struggles and it was so good to see him and Donna after all these years. I got to see Dolly from a distance but never caught up with her, I wanted to talk to her but with so many people, hundreds, I lost sight of her.

After the service Jason, Jo and Timothy met me at Olive Garden to exchange Christmas gifts, to eat soup and salad. Art and Connie were with us and thanks Art for picking up the tab. Such a good guy! How I love seeing my family and friends, after a week where I was in the car for hours alone each day it was good to not be alone for awhile.

I started work at 7 this morning expecting to drive to Vallejo to do a field review. But when I entered the order into the computer I discovered it was for an appraisal. I called the owners at 8:30 and they were up and very willing for me to come. So I did research and drove to Vacaville which is about 1 hour 20 minutes, then drove to Tracy to do a ranchette property worth a fortune located south of town and then to the church for the memorial service. Its been a long day with ups and downs.

At the service I wanted to speak but so many also wanted to as well. I was just going to mention a different side of Steve, the recent experience of him coming to our home 2 days before we lost nan, of him holding her hand, speaking directly to her and praying for her, of his arranging my trip to Hawaii with his miles gained from flying on American Airlines. Of his and Sylvia's great kindness and involvement in our lives. Because of Steve and Sylvia Nan had a better last few weeks. That is a fact. I thank them both for that and so does our family. We will never forget what you did for us that night Steve, never.

So we close a page in the book of our living and open a new clean page. What will be write on the page? How will we live our lives differently tomorrow, next week, next year? Since we have lost two very brave and talented warriors who we loved and admired are there things that they did well that we can now assume, are there people who need our involvement, our time, our talents, what will we write on the page that God has allowed us to have for now. What drives us? money , power, attention, security, love, fear, principles, interest? How then shall we live?

With the loss of these two vital people in my life I am first off rather scared that I will blow it, without Nan's judgement and good sense I feel handicapped, weakened, tenuous. Can I make it on my own? Can I live my life so Keanna and Timothy will be proud of me, of our family?

Tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 my plane leaves for LA and then on to Kona to arrive at 10:30 that evening. Until the 29Th I will be with Nikki, Steve and Keanna, then as they fly home I fly to Kauai to be with Jason, Jo and Timothy until the 2ND when they leave in the morning and I leave that night for a nice quiet red eye to LA and arrival back in SF in the morning. Frankly I can't wait to go on this trip. I have no reservations other than money issues that are looming. Yet I look forward to being in the air again and in Hawaii again. Nan would have loved this trip and did enjoy every trip we made to Hawaii. She taught me to enjoy the place and in her memory I intend to enjoy this trip.

So my friends and family, as you move into this Christmas week I have only the best to wish you. Love the one God has given you, love them with your whole heart while you have them. Treat them like this is your last Christmas, it could be but of course we hope not. Take chances with your emotions, open the flood gates, take a chance and let those around you know, just how strong you feel about them, do it, don't think about it, do it, do it now and keep doing it. People caring about people is the real essence of life. Steve did it so well and you can too if you try. Take a chance, don't play it safe with emotions. Share them!

I'm not sure about blogging tomorrow night, I'll have to see how it goes. I love you all and appreciate you very much.




  • At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    What a great message. It is a great way to start the day.

    What will I do on this new blank page of my life today. The one were I have all the freedom to make the decisions. Can I met the standards the Steve and Nan left behind?

    I am not sure but I have a thought that I would like to share.

    If we do not all have the same skills or gifts. If we do not all have the same personality or charm. How then can we write on this page of life well enough to have it celebrated one day?

    First you do what Tim has suggested. You think to yourself. What can I do today. On purpose you decide that you want to make a difference. There is one thing which makes a big difference if you would like to try it. Think how today you might treat those you come in contact with the way that you wish to be treated.

    How silly is that! You might think. But soon your thoughts become actions and others are benefited in some small way. Can you not remember some kind word that someone has shared with you that encouraged you along your way? Can you not remember the thoughtful act of someone that lifted you up when you were down. Yes we can all remember. This is what you want on our page, to have written on it today, not the things that we did for ourself but each small thing that we did for others. It will be remembered well by those fortuate enough to recieve these acts of love. We have no need of great skills or gifts or personality or charm to give love to others.

    Eat a good breakfast and go out into the world to work but remember along the way to help others.


    ps This is a lot easier if before you go out the door you tell God that you love him with all your heart and ask for his help in writing well on today's page of your life.

  • At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Conners said…

    Hi Tim,
    Aloha, as you leave for Hawaii. What a lovely service yesterday--Steve would have approved! It was so nice to see people we haven't seen for years, and it brought back the good memories we have of life there with our young famiilies when you were our pastor. You did such a wonderful job bonding the church. All of us enjoyed people from every age group, and those memories will be with us for life. Have a wonderful, relaxing time in Hawaii. You deserve a break (today) and in the weeks to come.


    Joyce & Glen

  • At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Debby Skau said…

    Hello Tim,

    I just found out about Nan, and I'm so very sorry for your loss. I was equally sad for the loss of Steve. This has been a difficult year, and I absolutely LOVE your message. I'll keep you in my prayers.

    Debby Skau


Post a Comment

<< Home