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Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 16:50:32 -0400
From: Tyler Moon <tylermoon@mi*.co*>
Subject: A Letter from Ed Dady
Here is a letter that Ed Dady has asked me to forward to the list.

“For the Bermister”
Ed Dady

“Steve’s Gone.”
Those two words I spoke when I surfaced at Little Devil’s after
scootering up from my deco in Devil’s Ear.  In my life of forty-six
years those were some of the most difficult words I’ve ever spoken.  It
was around 2 A.M.  on May 8th, 2001.
 How can this be?  How can Steve Berman have died in a cave?  How can
Steve Berman have died in Devil’s Ear Cave?  My heart is so sad.  My
friend is gone from our immediate presence.  Steve is one of the finest
human beings I’ve ever known.  He’s certainly the best diver I’ve ever
been in the water with.   He had invited me to be with him on that dive.
I can’t really know if the outcome would have been any different if I
had been able to go with him.  We have so many questions about what
could have happened, but it’s all speculation.  The only person that
really knows what really happened is Steve.  What can we learn from the
life of this man that we knew as Steve?  I’m reminded of the Boy Scout
Law; Steve was trustworthy, he was loyal, he was helpful, he was
friendly, he was courteous, he was kind, he was obedient… obedient to
his own heart, he was cheerful, he was thrifty, he was brave, he was
clean, and he was irreverent.  One of the reasons that Steve was held in
such high regard by the diving community was that he didn’t play the
politics game.  I remember that he used to say, “I don’t need that
crap.  I just want to go diving”.
 I think there is one thing that we can learn from this, and that is how
to be better human beings.  What kind of world do we want to create?
For me Cave diving started with my Cavern & Intro Class that Steve
taught back in March of 1990.  Steve turned me on to the joy of cave
diving.  Back in those days you would go to a dive site and anywhere
that you’d go, you’d see people you knew.  Cave diving was much more
friendly then.  Sure, we’d rag on each other but it was good-natured.
In the years since I’ve watched our passion become nasty.  About five
years ago I quit diving. It had stopped being fun!  Fortunately, I
returned to the caves about a year and a half ago when I was informed by
Skip and Tom that I was going to be diving with Tom every weekend,
whether I agreed or not.  My love with cave diving renewed.  It saddens
me now to see what has happened to cave diving over the last eleven
years.  I’ve never cared for the politics nor the political correctness.
In fact, I’m so politically incorrect that I’ve never joined the NACD or
the CDS although I hold cave cards from both organizations. I see people
out there who are poorly trained, well trained,  with poorly configured
gear, and with well configured gear.  One of the things that I see
missing is the mentoring process that was much more prevalent years
ago.  I also see a lot of people who think that just because they are
using this piece of gear or that piece of gear, that it means that they
know how to dive well.  What Steve fully understood, as do I, is that
the most important piece of dive equipment sat squarely on our shoulders
and that this piece of equipment can’t be purchased from any dive shop.
I think all of us need to take a good hard look at our motivations for
diving.  While I’ve never been a dive instructor I have been a flight
instructor.  One of the first things that I want to find out from a
student is; why do they want to learn to fly?  In this instance the best
answer that I can ever hear is, “I’ve always wanted to learn to fly,
ever since I was a little kid”.  I can remember one student who clearly
was not cut out for flying.  When I asked the student’s motivations for
learning to fly I was told that the student had a friend who was an
airline pilot and another friend who was an air traffic controller.  As
diplomatically as possible I was duty bound to express to this student
that they weren’t meant to be piloting an airplane.  This student was
quite upset about this and I suggested that the student receive some
flight instruction from the chief instructor who also happened to have
taught me to fly and then to instruct.  So the student spent some time
with the chief instructor, and I guess finally realized that flying
wasn’t in the cards.  There are some Cave Instructors out there who are
some of the nicest people, but won’t ever “flunk” a student.  It seems
that the Cave Diving Community has, in the process of becoming more of a
business, lost touch with it’s roots and it’s motivations.  For some
divers cave diving might be the “cool thing” to be doing now.  I can
tell you one thing, going back into the cave that night and finding my
friend Steve was definitely not a cool thing to be doing.
 I knew Steve, not just as a diver, but as a friend.  I’ve had the
pleasure of watching him be a son to his father, be a brother to his
sister, a father to his stepchildren, and a husband to his loving wife.
Steve never strayed from his boyish excitement and love for cave
diving.  He refused to let the new games within the Cave Community
distract him from being true to himself or to the caves in which he
spent so much time.  Steve wanted to live life to it’s fullest, whether
that be in his love for family and friends, or cave diving, or inventing
a new “manly” contraption in the backyard, or simply relaxing around a
campfire.  Steve lived his life richly as he found happiness in these
things and especially in the people that he included in his life.  Many
of us who visited Steve’s house saw how much gear he had stashed in the
sheds and the booty in the china cabinet.  Steve only saw these things
as memories of the times that he shared with others.  Steve knew that
the richness in life was measured by the love and memories that we share
with others.  I have many wonderful memories of Steve and I am richer
because of them.
I suggest that I, you, all of us learn from his life and this tragedy.
Let us honor Steve by emulating his finest qualities.
Let us come together to create the kind of world that we really want.
What kind of mark do we want to leave behind?  The choice is ours so
lets make it count.

See you later Steve.  I’ll miss you.


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