In Memoriam: Dr. Steven Jarecki, Vice-Chair, Eternea

Dear Friends of Eternea,
This note recognizes a special soul whose contributions to the world, and to Eternea, will be greatly missed. As humans, we grieve his loss. As souls, we are grateful to be connected forever through love.


A personal tribute by John R. Audette, CEO, Eternea

Dr. Steven Jarecki left this world for the next on July 3, 2022. His death at age 74 was unexpected. None of his friends and family, including me, could accept let alone believe that he was ripped away from us so suddenly. Even now at this writing, most have great difficulty comprehending the very sad fact that Steve is gone; that we will no longer see his smiling face or hear his comedic voice, which is now silenced forever.


Dr. Steve Jarecki

Dr. Jarecki was truly one of a kind. There will never be another one like him. He was the curious exception to every rule and social norm. He suffered from an acute case of Peter Pan Syndrome, a rambunctious perpetual child trapped inside of a grown man’s body. It was never in his nature to grow old despite advancing years, and so he remained young at heart, keeping his inner child alive and well oblivious to the arrival of older age.

No matter what life threw at him, Steve would always press forward without so much as missing a beat, still keeping the spunk in his step and always able to manage an engaging smile, as well as a contagious laugh. He often met adversity with the spontaneous performance of a song, acapella of course, and a strident triumphant gait, as though he had just won a big nine-digit Powerball jackpot.

Steve had a warm soft heart, one as big as this world, which was the wellspring of his unbridled generosity. He wanted to help people. It came naturally to him and so too did a genuine caring for others. He always did what he could to help people feel better, as though it was his sole purpose and calling in life. What’s more, his was a rare form of giving, totally without strings, expectations or notions of reciprocity. He gave what he could as often as he could because it was his nature to do so, not because he assumed his kindness would be repaid on par or come back to him ten-fold. It seldom did.

Unlike most doctors, Steve would characteristically treat patients without charge if they had no insurance and no ability to pay from their own resources, especially military veterans and law enforcement officers. He was always giving away things from his practice, things he was supposed to sell like nutritional supplements, back braces, exercise devices, vitamins, creams and lotions, and even CBD pain relievers. His favorite expression in doing so was, “No charge! I hope it helps you feel better.”

Some patients viewed Steve to be a genuine healer. At his funeral, one of his patients, a Florida licensed mental health counselor, claimed he healed her of an almost fatal blood clot. During the poignant eulogy she gave for him, she described how he dissolved it energetically during a sustained farewell hug. She said she felt him melting it away. But hers was only one of many such stories from his patients over the years. Truly, he had a gift for healing, and he was extremely humble about it, guarding it like one of his best-kept secrets. What’s more, he never made any claims about his gift as a healer, nor did he ever take any credit for the many miracle healings he facilitated.

The classic book by Shel Silverstein fits Steve Jarecki perfectly. Indeed, he was “The Giving Tree” in human form, not only to his three children, his extended family and his multitude of friends and patients, but also to perfect strangers who he would never refuse any kindness. He could not help himself. It was just his true nature.

What he may have lacked in financial assets due to his “devil may care” generosity, was offset by enormous wealth in the love people felt for him. That love was never more evident than at his funeral in the sweltering south Florida summer heat and humidity. More than 100 family and friends showed up to pay respects to a man like no other and to find solace among those who shared a deep sense of loss.

Many were crestfallen, some sobbing uncontrollably and inconsolably. All of them were in a collective state of severe shock over the sudden and tragic loss of this beautiful human being, who died leaving little or no opportunity to say farewell, to finish unfinished business or to simply express love and gratitude.

I had seen Steve just three weeks before. He was in good health and spirits, looking forward to a cruise he and his wife were planning to take during the July 4th holiday. There was no hint that this wonderful person would be dead and gone in the very near future; no clue that the last interaction we had on that occasion would be the last one in this lifetime. The official cause of death was “double COVID pneumonia,” which seemed quite odd since he had been double-vaccinated and double-boosted.

Kahlil Gibran said it well in his classic work, The Prophet: “That which you love most in a person becomes clearer in their absence.” In coming to terms with Steve’s absence, those who knew him are now reflecting deeply on the many things they most loved and appreciated about him. They are grateful for the privilege of having known him. They feel enormous gratitude about the many ways in which he enriched their lives. They are left extremely bewildered by his untimely death, which hit them all like a swift forceful punch in the gut, one that takes the breath away; one that takes you on a long involuntary journey into the Twilight Zone where everything seems suddenly strange and surreal, irreversibly.

Steve was a deeply spiritual man, although not outwardly. It was often revealed in the authentic concern he had for others, in his genuinely caring demeanor, in his relentlessly giving nature and also in his trademark sense of humor, which was the mainstay of his affable personality. Truly, he was a lovable goofball and very proud of it. He did not take disaster or triumph seriously. Rather, he met adversity with the same even-keel equanimity and composure he would extend to life’s most joyful moments. It was all part of his irresistible charm, his disarming “je ne sais quoi,” which he had in great abundance.

Dr. Jarecki served as Vice-Chairman of Eternea for many years. He was deeply committed to its mission and vision. Based on his own personal history, he firmly believed in the enormous power of spiritually transformative experiences (STEs), so much so he kindly donated office space in his practice to Eternea for over three years. As a young boy growing up in the Bronx, he had a premonition of his father’s death, which happened a short while later due to an automobile accident which was the subject of his foreboding premonition. This was the start of Steve’s fascination with STEs.

Dr. Jarecki was convinced that the soul lives on after death not based on faith but on examination of the available evidence which Eternea provided. He was also a firm believer in reincarnation. He knew death would not be the end of his existence, but only the end of his physical body. He also knew that other lifetimes await him throughout the unfolding dance of eternity. This knowledge, no doubt, helped him to leave his body in this lifetime even though he struggled mightily to stay alive.

Steve was not afraid of death, but still, not ready to die either, not when he did or how he did. Nevertheless, in true characteristic form, I am certain he made the best of what life dealt him. Like everything else that came his way, all of his past struggles and adversities, he took lemons and made lemonade.

To be sure, Steve did indeed leave on a journey. It was not the cruise he had planned to take with his lovely bride, but a voyage nonetheless to another port of call, to the next world, where God is now restoring his wonderful soul beside the peaceful still waters. Eternea extends deepest condolences to Miri, his devoted wife, now his widow all of a sudden. She was the love of his life, his soulmate, his truest partner. Their time together was too short, but their love for each other is eternal. It will endure across lifetimes.

Steve and I loved each other very much in the spiritual sense. We admired and respected each other in the fullness of empathy. We completely understood and appreciated each other without judgment, supporting each other as best we could wherever life’s journey took us. We each wanted the other’s health, happiness and prosperity in the spirit of true comradeship. It was a unique bond among two heterosexual men, one rarely achieved in this world.

Steve will be sorely missed and mourned by all who knew him. But the living must go on living and so we will all bravely carry on, albeit with a newly carved hole in our hearts and canyon in our psyches. His cruel death serves as a stark reminder that tomorrow is promised to no one. So, strive we must to live each day as though it may be our last, never to leave business unfinished and never to waste an opportunity to express both love and gratitude.

In closing, part of me half expects that ever the court jester, Steve will show up soon in a lucid dream or in a full-blown apparition, looking better than ever. I won’t be shocked or surprised when that happens, but rather pleased and amused. I say when, not if, deliberately. We never had the chance to say good-bye, and that must be redressed somehow, someway, someday.

Bon Voyage my dear friend, until we meet again...and surely we will meet again.

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