STEVE HASSAN—January 11, 1991

Aureet was one of the most vivacious, bright, creative, intense people to ever come into my life. I came to love her more deeply than I have ever loved anyone. I miss her dearly. Our relationship spanned some ten years, and we were lovers and partners for over eight years. Some day I would like to write a book that goes into great detail about this truly special human being. I feel so fortunate that she came into my life. She and I learned so much from one another and shared so many different experiences. For the majority of our relationship we were so in love that we were completely enmeshed. Life with her was never boring. It was, at times, an incredible roller coaster ride with highs and lows of great intensity. We had a unique capacity of pushing each other's "buttons" and driving each other crazy. We also shared for many years a deep friendship with incredible tenderness and intimacy. Her death came as a complete shock and personal blow and has led me to realize how much I regret that we ever split up.

Aureet and Steve at their Wedding, 1981

Aureet was very complex and filled with seeming contradictions. She was sexy and flirtatious. She was also self-conscious and shy. She was brilliant academically and was capable of profound intellectual analysis. She was also an avid reader of junk romance novels and could watch mindless t.v. shows for hours. She loved to "dress to kill" but often felt most comfortable with no makeup and ratty tee shirt and cut-off jeans. She loved to dance provocatively, to flirt, to nude sunbathe, but she was also very introspective and usually avoided being in the spotlight. She was compulsive about doing many things but also could be quite spontaneous and even downright impulsive. Although Aureet came across as self-assured, she was often plagued with self-doubt. Like so many women of our generation, she struggled to find a balance between the role of the feminist professional and the role of wife and homemaker. She fiercely wanted her independence and yet was needy and often wanted someone to make decisions and take care of her.

We talked about many things the afternoon before her death. We had one of the best times since our separation. We walked Flame together, had lunch, went shopping and talked for hours. She told me that she was frustrated that she hadn't found another man to have a child with. She smiled as she told me that she had worked so hard on me "to make me so good" that she resented the fact that "some other woman" would reap all of the benefits.

She was more at peace with herself and her issues than I had ever seen before. She had become more spiritually open and developed. She told me that she would pray regularly at night before going to bed. She told me about a visualization she had of life's essence as a beautiful sea "anemone". This became her symbol for God.

She loved to be of help to people but she was disillusioned about the "business/money" side of psychology. She was frustrated that she spent so many years getting her doctorate and her license to earn so little. She was also convinced that things would work out somehow and that she was growing and living more healthily. In her essence, I believe, Aureet was really and artist and poet. In retrospect, I think she would have been happiest becoming a professional artist rather than a psychologist.

"The soul does not know time. It only records growth." I do not know when I first heard these words but it has somehow etched itself in my consciousness. I do feel like the connection Aureet and I shared was primarily a spiritual one. Although Aureet lived only 33 years in physical form, she was deep beyond her years. She has touched so many people, in so many profound ways, and continues to do so.

I have come to have so many spiritual experiences with her since her death, that I am forced to believe that her essence continues to exist and that there is some kind of life after death. She would want her family and friends to go on with their lives joyfully. She would want them to know that there is much more after death and to go forward growing, developing, enjoying the miracle of "reality". She would want her family and friends to think of her and have happy thoughts and feelings. She would want everyone to be fulfilled.


Never has there been
one so beautiful to me
a woman so vibrantly intense
driving me to
share myself so perfectly
loving me so powerfully.

I want no one else.
I have all time
to put my fears aside
and grow with her,
nurture her,
care for her,
build a future with her…

my capacity to dream;
my ability to love;
my courage to fight evil;
my desire to change the world.


My lover lost her life tonight
trying to set our dog free.
He ventured out beyond the ice
to play and romp and swim
but could not get up again.
She went to rescue him.

He must have pulled her in
trying to climb up.
She had her coat on, pants and boots.
The water was icy cold.
She tried to get out herself
before calling for help.

But it was not meant to be that day.
My lover could not be saved.
An older woman, bold and daring, crawled out
to try to help.
But my lover was too cold by then.
She could not help her out.

She said she went out bravely,
surrendered to the great beyond.
When she went under there was
not even a ripple or a wave.
She went down silently into the great darkness.

There was no rescue made
once she went down.
She was never given the chance.

My lover lost her life tonight.
My lover lost her life tonight.
My lover lost her life tonight,
a piece of me has died.


And even now she teaches me
the fragility of life
the value of family and real friendship
the permanence of death.




The Hardest Day - 3/11/91

Think of the hardest day in your life.
Yes. The hardest      day      in      your      life.
Can you remember it fully?
I can.

For me,
it was January 6th 1991.
I was awake for 42 hours straight.
It started with a phone call.
The other voice
a policeman
“terrible accident”
“critical condition”
my friend, my lover of eight years
helicoptered to U Mass Worcester
went out on the ice
to rescue our golden retriever, Flame,
and fell in
drown for 90 minutes.
I jumped in my car and flew.
All night vigil, Emergency room,
Tears, endless heart-wrenching tears.
The family assembles.
My stomach is in pain
I am crying so much. so hard.

Aureet, my friend, always tried
hard to make me feel my feelings.
I cried more since she died
than I've ever cried all together
in my entire life.

She was only 33, a psychologist, poet, dancer, healer, lover of life.
I kept telling myself
“She's not allowed to die”
“She doesn't have permission to die”
(As if I had any say in the matter)

It was the hardest experience
I've ever lived through.
And I've lived through a near fatal
auto accident fully conscious.
It was the hardest experience.
She died at 6 a.m.

New Year's Poem '92

This year has been the absolute pits-
I am glad it is ending…
But somehow
      I don't believe it really is going to end.

They say that time heals
or is it experience heals in time
or is it that you have to find a way to cope
      so you do
play games with yourself to recode reality
try to meet new people/ none of them are her -
      stop comparing
travel to different places
      all the old ones trigger memories
try to keep busy -
      distract yourself so you don't have
to feel the pain -
      so you don't have to miss her so much.

What I need is to have some type of understanding
that isn't merely convenient metaphysics.
Why did she die?
Did I make a mistake to divorce her?
Should I have prayed more fervently
      in the hospital?
Should I have promised her a child
      if she recovered?
Surely it was the one thing
      that could have motivated her
to want to return.

One year since we buried her
and in this year, I have had to change.
Funny, she was always encouraging me
      to express my emotions.
Now, I can cry as easily as I laugh.
Funny, she was always encouraging me
      to write more poetry.
This year I've written more
      than I have in ten years.
Funny, she was always encouraging me
      to lose weight
Now I've lost twenty pounds
      without trying.
Funny, she was always putting down
      my belief in spirituality.
They told me her last words were
      “My God. My God”
before peacefully surrendering to the icy water.