Last night I finished reading Steve and Me for the second time. I was always a huge admirer of the Irwins and their message of conservation. Reading the book was bittersweet. I loved reading stories shared by Terri about their life together. They packed more into their short time together than most will experience in a lifetime. The love for each other and their family shines brightly through the book. Steve had a deep love for Terri and the kids that could only be matched by his love for wildlife.
I was deeply touched by her words about how animal cruelty broke Steve"a heart. He literally felt it soul deep. The passion for conservation that he shared on camera was real. It wasn't hype for a camera. He was truly driven to bring his message home to those who watched the documentaries and the shows filmed for Animal Planet.
Steve was compassionate and took his role as a Wildlife Warrior seriously. He was driven to have an impact on making the world a better place. He knew that the way to touch the heart's of others was to present the wildlife in a way that made it personal. He often said that if you can give others the experience to know more about the so-called unlovable animals, such as his beloved crocodiles, the people would start caring about the animal's plight.
In the final chapters, I read about his heartbreak over the death of his Mom, Lyn Irwin, and the change it made in him. Through the pain of his grief, he found a deepened determination to do more to bring the conservation message to the forefront. Terri shared the story of how she learned of his untimely death and how she had to tell their kids. Her inner strength in the midst of her very world being turned upside down was humbling to read in those pages. Steve had always been her rock and now she would have to step into that role for their children.
Throughout the book, I laughed and I cried. As she described those painful days days following Steve's death, I felt the grief again that I had experienced when I first heard the news.
Seeing Terri, Bindi, and Robert today, you see a strong, living family unit that would have made Steve proud. As they continue the work Steve had started, along with Terri, his legacy lives strong.
Terri has my utmost respect for what she has accomplished as a single Mom. Though she openly admits that she still grieves for her beloved husband, she has not allowed the grief to overshadow her life. The love and devotion of her and the kids towards each other and for furthering the conservation message is a testament not only to Terri's strength but Steve's legacy.