Now alone  

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Uploaded: 04/15/11 6:57 PM GMT
Now alone
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This was at the memorial of two Carson High students who lost their lives in California while scuba diving (Keegan and Stephen). There were 19 divers in all and only 17 came out of the water this last weekend. They were only 16 and 17 years old. This student (name not released) holds a ribbon he had not the heart to tie on to the memorial, instead he gazes out to a dismal sunset.


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04/15/11 7:24 PM GMT
This is the story of the two boys who passed away...
Reporter/Writer: Kellcy Bell

“He was such an amazing person, words can’t even describe how awesome he was. I swear he could make anything fun,” said Sara Anderson, sister of Stephen Anderson who died in a scuba diving accident April 9 in Monterey, California.

“I just want everyone to remember his smile and how happy he always was.”

Juniors Keegan Aiazzi and Stephen Anderson went on a Monterey diving trip the weekend of Aprill 8. On Saturday, during a second dive, the best friends were separated from the larger group and didn’t come up from their dive, according to officials who were at the site.

“He was so happy. You couldn’t talk to him without him bringing up the trip. He was so excited about his new diving watch and his new diving knife. I remember him saying to me, ‘It tells time under water, Sara, and I just remember laughing and asking him ‘What are you going to use the knife for to slay in Tahoe and Monterey? Nothing is going to attack you.’”

The news of her baby brother passing didn’t come easy. She came home from college before Stephen’s trip to surprise her boyfriend, Adam Whitt, a CHS senior. She said she just ‘knew’ that she needed to be home. Her parents didn’t think it was a good idea, but she said she just had a feeling. Little did she know she would be getting a call that would forever change her life.

“I was waiting for Adam after one of his baseball games, and my mom called me and told me to call 411 to find out what Keegan’s parents’ (telephone) numbers were. I remember asking, ‘Why?’ and my mom just told me that ‘Stephen and Keegan didn’t come up from the dive and they got separated from the group and there was nothing to worry about.’ I just said ‘Oh, OK’ and called 411. Even though I was worried, I pretended I wasn’t. Adam came out from his game and we were talking about the game and then I just said ‘Keegan and Stephen didn’t come up from the dive.’ I just lost it. I remember Adam telling me everything was going to be OK, and they probably just found something cool under there, and they were going to be mad that they were in trouble because of it. So I went to Adam’s house and my mom called me about 30-45 minutes later and told me that they were taking the boys to the hospital and doing CPR on them. I just remember saying to myself, ‘They’ll come back. They’re strong, young football players. They will make it. They’ll come back. CPR means they’re still alive.’”

Minutes passed and Sara said she didn’t know what to think or do. She stayed strong until she got the final phone call from her mother.

“I went into Adam’s room with his parents and said a prayer. I wasn’t scared, I knew he was going to be OK. It was about a 5-second call when my mom told me they were going to the hospital. My mom called, and I answered so excited, ‘What’s the news?’ thinking there would be nothing wrong. Then, she just told me that they were gone. I was so upset, I just couldn’t believe it. I just kept denying it. I just remember yelling at her, telling her it couldn’t be ‘my baby brother.’ She had to be lying, there was no way. I couldn’t believe I lost my baby brother, how could that happen? It never set in, it didn’t seem real. I just kept saying that ‘It wasn’t my baby brother or Keegan. There must have been a mistake. They were good divers, they knew what they were doing. They had done it so many times. They were so excited.’”

After the news got out, the CHS baseball team called Whitt and said they were coming over whether she liked it or not.

“It was so weird. Everyone came over. The baseball team came and just sat and watched TV with me to try and get things off my mind. It was nice to have Adam there to just hold me and tell me it was going to be OK. I stayed with the Whitts that night, and I still just couldn’t believe that my brother wasn’t coming home with my parents the next day.”

Sara Anderson attends to the University of Utah and is studying biology with career plans of becoming a pharmacist.

“I went home that night because I had to let the dog out. It was so hard seeing both of their cars in front of my house. I went into Stevo’s bedroom, and I just cried knowing he was never gonna be in there again. I cleaned up before everyone got home. I organized all of Keegan’s and Stephen’s ‘crap’ on the floor because I would have been gone before they got home the next day. I set out his backpack even though I knew he wouldn’t want to do work. I had to set out Keegan’s keys and his radio to put back in his car. It was just so hard knowing they weren’t coming home and that I wasn’t going to walk into the house to the the smell of ‘shells and cheese’ because that’s all they ate. I swear by it.

“I’m just so thankful they were such good friends. I just remember Stevo and I beating up on each other and how he finally got bigger than me, even though I swore he never would. He would text me every once in a while, and we would just sit there and talk. I always called home every night to say good night, and I remember I’d be so sad because he always went to sleep so early, and I would always miss him. I would text him, ‘I love you, Bud. Text me tomorrow.’ We would always play Call Of Duty live. He made sure I took an xbox when I left so we could xbox chat, and play xbox together. He taught me how to skype and stuff. It was just funny how long we could stay up skyping. Just sitting there. We would talk about nothing. He’d point me to the TV, and we’d just sit there and watch TV together.

“I just realize now that I shouldn’t have stressed over school, it was nothing to even stress about. I just want people to take it easy. I remember all summer we would fight, and he’d always tell me he couldn’t wait for me to go to college and than a few minutes later he’d say, ‘I don’t want you to go to college.’ I never wanted to leave.”

Sara said she loves all the support from her friends and family. She loves what CHS is doing to remember her baby brother and his best friend.

“People sit here and tell me like, ‘Your brother was so awesome.’ But really they have no idea how awesome he was to me. I feel bad that people didn’t get to know him as well as I did. It’s just so crazy how much we all miss him. My family loved him, everyone loved Stevo. I just wish I could touch half as many lives as he did. I wish I could be half the person he was. I just want people to be strong and carry on. They’re happy up there. It’s just hard to know they’re not coming back. It’s so hard to see their memorial out there because it doesn’t feel like it’s for them. I feel like we should have been standing there today to surprise them, not because they’re gone. It’s just bizarre stuff.”

Students of CHS have made a memorial in Keegan and Stephens parking spots which are next to each other. Monday night at 8 p.m., CHS put on a candlelight ceremony for the two boys and people have hiked up to C-Hill, constructing a heart and the boys’ initials, showing the city how much of an impact the boys had on the community.

“I love the ideas. I just think it’s awesome that everyone has something they can give them. I just know they’re looking down and appreciating everything. I know they’re happy, and they are here with us. So it’s pretty cool. I just want him to have the good memory in everyone’s heart.”

Sara said she has so many memories with her baby brother that she could never forget. But there was one that popped into her mind as soon as she was asked.

“One thing I know I will never forget is that I had my spring break earlier than all you guys did, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to come home for Easter. It was just something my brother and I always did, we would always have an Easter egg hunt. It would be like ‘battle to the death.’ It is the most intense thing anyone has ever seen. I remember we had it this year over my spring break in March, so we had it early. It was the first year my brother and I got equal eggs, and we did it fairly. So it wasn’t like he was stealing my eggs or me stealing his eggs. It was like we both got equal eggs, and it was just funny to think that we had a nice hunt where we weren’t pushing each other too hard. We were just having fun. I remember my dad telling us, ‘There was one more egg’ and we were both running around searching for it, and Stevo ended up finding it first. I’m just so happy we had that early this year.”

Even though Sara wasn’t home all the time because she was going to school, she remembers the first time she met Keegan Aizzai.

“Keegan was like my little brother. I wish I could have got to know him better. I wish I kinda would have been home more. Once I left for college, that was when him and Keegan got really close. Every time I would come home, there was always this green car outside of my house. I walked in, and Stevo said ‘This is Keegan, he’s my bud.’ Every time I came over, he was always there. It was always Stephen and Keegan. Every time he wasn’t home, I knew he was with Keegan, and they picked me up from the airport before my spring break. It was funny. We all went to IN-N-OUT, and they both gave me crap about my parking job. It’s just so funny to think we were joking around, and it was just so easy to get along with Keegan. It was easy to get along with Stevo. It was like Keegan was a part of my family, he was always over, always around, so nice, he was never mean to me. Good times.

“I remember we went lazer tagging with Stevo, Keegan and Adam. I was wearing under armor, and I took off my sweatshirt because it was so hot, and I remember walking in and Keegan saying, ‘Look how legit Sara looks with her under armor ready to go for lazer tag.’ It’s so funny to think how much fun I had with them. They’re just so fun.

“When I got into the car when they picked me up I remember Stevo was so happy he got new shirts, and he got this new Dodgers’ hat, and I remember saying, ‘Stephen, it looks exactly like the old one you had.’ He was just so happy because it looked ‘newer.’ He said he got me something, and he couldn’t tell me what it was. He just wanted to know if I had my big graphing calculater. I was just like, ‘OK, Bud.’ When I got home he had bought me a pink cover for my calculater. It’s just so funny. It’s the little thoughtful things that I always remember. Him saying, ‘It was just a $1. But I saw it when I was with Keegan, and I thought of you.’ The other day I walked into Wal-Mart, and the first thing I saw was the box of covers, and they were just one $1. I just sat there looking at it, knowing they were here, they walked right here, they were thinking about me. It’s just crazy to think that I saw him not too long ago.”

Most people think about what they could say to someone they lost, if they ever felt like they left something out, or they wanted them to know something. Sara said she had some things she wanted to say to her baby brother, if she had the chance.

“Just that I love him, and that he was the best brother to me. And I couldn’t have asked for anything more. And probably that I was sorry for picking on him so much when we were little. And, tell him to have fun. I mean he always did. I remember before I left for Adams game up in Reno before they left on Thursday I just remember him sitting there ‘So what do you want me to get you from Monterey.’ I just remember laughing and saying ‘Something fuzzy. Like a fuzzy sealion, animal, or a whale.’ He just said ‘Okay, I’ll find you something fuzzy.’ He gave me the biggest hug before I left. I remember sitting there telling him ‘Come home safe, I can’t wait to see you.’”

Sara has been trying to stay as strong as she can for her family.

“I’m trying to stay strong for them. I know it’s so hard for them. I mean it’s so hard for me, and he was just my brother. That’s their child, and he was Stevo! You couldn’t have asked for a better kid in anybody. I feel so bad. I’m trying to do everything I can.”

Sara just couldn’t stop talking about Stephen and how much she missed him.

“I just miss his hugs. He gave the best hugs because he was just so big. He would always give me a good hug first and then squeeze me and try and make me suffocate, and I would always try to get out of it. It’s just like nothing can ever replace those memories, and I’ll never forget just how awesome he was. He was the most loving person you could ever imagine. It just doesn’t get much better than him.”

Being two years older than Stephen, Sara doesn’t remember the day he was born, but she does have cute childhood memories.

“I remember always sitting with him on the couch as we would grow up. He was such a genuine person. I would break something or do something wrong, and I would always blame it on Stephen. He was just so genuine. All he could do was smile, and my parents would be like ‘Stephen.’

“But now that I look back, I work at a day care, and it’s funny because I know when kids do something. I sit there, and I know my parents knew he didn’t do it. I’m glad they knew it was me. I was the terror child. Stephen was always just who I put the blame on. He was always just so much fun. I would always push him in the snow. Just amazing.”

People have been sending messages to Sara, she said, in any way possible, and she loves it.

“People tell me stories, and I can imagine exactly how he was acting, talking, standing, what he was doing with his hands. It’s just so weird they’re gone.”

Sara was supposed to head back to Utah on Sunday, but she said she will be here if anyone needs to talk to her or wants to speak to her.

“I wanna be here for him and everybody. If anyone wants to hear stories or wants me to listen. I just like talking to people, and the people who knew him. I was gone all year for college, and I didn’t get to hear all the cool stories from everybody. But I’ll definitely be here through the end of the week. I think I’m going home for finals, and my professors are more than lenient about what’s going on. I’m not worried about school right now. It’s the least of my worries. I’m just so glad I was home and got to say goodbye to him. I’m so glad I gave him a hug. Just so glad I got to talk to him about how much fun he was going to have. I couldn’t have asked for a better brother.”

A memorial is planned today, 7-10 p.m., at the CHS football field.

Stephen Anderson’s funeral will be Saturday, April 16 at 10 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saliman Road.
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Thinking is hard when you don't know how to do it.
04/15/11 9:13 PM GMT
A very poignant and sad photograph!
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..thanking you in advance for your comments. Please know that all your comments are appreciated....." Live well, love much, laugh often!" .... mygallery
04/15/11 11:38 PM GMT
That's really sad. To be deprived of life at such a young age. Your picture captures alot of emotion.
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I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God. - Abraham Lincoln

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