Stephen M. Burd: 1948 – 2008

Stephen Burd playing guitar in Utah, 1977

On August 10th, 2008 my father, Stephen Burd, died in Salt Lake City, Utah from a massive upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage. He was 59 years old.

This has been the hardest post I’ve ever written. It’s been very difficult determining exactly what I wanted to say about my dad, and our relationship.

My parents were divorced when I was very young… I think I was about 3 years old. Throughout my life my relationship with my dad was less than ideal, to say the least. And as an adult, we didn’t see eye-to-eye on a great many things, to the point where we didn’t speak to each other for more than 10 years. We only reconnected again a little over a year ago.

This is the point in the story where I’ve been getting stuck. I’ve written and rewritten this post several times trying to find the right words. Everything I wrote seemed to be saying too much, or not enough, and I kept getting hung up on details from the past that I finally realized just don’t matter anymore. The unfortunate reality is the things that were left unsaid, can now never be said. That’s something I’ll have to live with.

For my own well being, I need to drop the baggage I’ve been carrying around for a long time. Holding on to it won’t do anyone any good. I need to concentrate on the good times we had together… and there were some very good times. It’s unfortunate that it took his death to make me truly realize this.

The only thing that really needs to be said now is, my dad is gone… I love him, and I miss him. I hope he’s in a better place.

The image above was taken in 1977. I think it’s how he would have liked to be remembered.

8 thoughts on “Stephen M. Burd: 1948 – 2008”

  1. I had a strained relationship with my father (as did my other two brothers) and I was the favourite. I had a conversation with my bandmate about our fathers. His had passed before he could reconcile any differences they had had. His message to me was to take the opportunity and connect with my father while I had the chance for my friend could now only imagine that he could. I took that advice and made an actual effort to become closer to my father as an adult. One year after this conversation my father had died of cancer. I wish I had more time to foster the relationship that I wanted but I felt lucky that at least I had the made a concerted effort and had on some level healed my relationship with him. It’s been three years and I still think of him every day.

    There are things there were left unsaid but perhaps in that last year they really weren’t needed. What made the biggest difference was that I stopped requiring my father to have the relationship that I wanted and finally just had the relationship with the man just as he was…my father.

    My condolences to you.

  2. We’ve never talked, but I’ve been a longtime reader and drop a comment every once in a blue moon. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. It’s unfortunate that it sometimes takes such great lengths to stir our hearts toward healing. I’ve experienced a taste of that myself. I don’t know what you believe, but I maintain that there is a loving God who we can come to with our needs. I’ll remember you and your family in my prayers.

  3. I’m sorry for your loss, too. I lost my dad to cancer nearly two years ago and, while we were fairly close, there were still some things I’d wished I said to him that I never did. I think no matter how your relationship is with anyone, family or otherwise, there are always things you probably wish you could’ve said after they’re gone.

  4. My deepest condolences, Paul. I lost my own father five years ago this year. That’s a great picture of your dad. I know you’ll miss him, regardless of any difficulties between you in the past. Strength to you and yours. You’re in my thoughts.

  5. I’ve never posted here but always read your blog, for quite some time now. My deepest condolences. I haven’t the best relationship with my father either either and things came to a head at the start of 2008 when I could have lost him, but he was lucky. Be strong and you will pull through.

    That is a beautiful photo by the way. He looks so relaxed and at peace there.


  6. I think of myself as fortunate to have had the opportunity to establish a relationship with your dad, my Uncle Steve, a man that I barely knew until about eight years ago. For five years, I made an annual trip to Salt Lake to go skiing/snowboarding with Uncle Steve, but unfortunately with my move to San Francisco for school, I was unable to make it out there for the last two seasons. Now that I am done with school, I was greatly looking forward to renewing that tradition. I am glad that Uncle Steve was able to make it out for my wedding and that the two of you were able to use that, in part, as an opportunity to reconnect. I will miss the many philosophical conversations that your dad and I had. Uncle Steve meant a lot to me and I am truly sorry for your loss.

    Your cousin Ryan.

  7. i always loved this picture of your Dad, It has been very hard for me to look at any pictures (of him) for quiet some time now. Tonight (actyally this that i look at the clock) when I saw this..this is what I think he is doing right now..playing the love of his life (that guitar) and just getting soo caught up with it,,he doesn’t even know you are there. I spent a great deal with him the last 5yrs..and it has been a very BIG (“BURD”) pleasure to get to know you and the family. I am soo very sory for the loss of this great man. I know that he is very proud of you and the work you do. I miss him soo much. He taught me anawful lot of things, that even now I catch myself laughing a road trip to MT ” what came first..the pinto bean or the horse??”” that’s Stephen for ya. please stay in touch all my love M-Ann :)

  8. We have never met but I was a friend and neighbor of your dad’s . I was looking at a pic of him this morning so I thought I would see if I could find him. I was very saddened to see he has went to that big Mountain in the sky. I will miss him he was one of the best people I have ever met.we used to go driving in the mountains all the time with the top down.wind in are hair .I’m very sorry for your loss

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