The church bell rang as we walked away. It's been five years since I last heard him say, "I Love You.". If you've ever lost someone, then you know the feeling. Time doesn't heal the heart. It doesn't take away the agony of loss. Loss simply becomes a part of you. You learn to live with it just as you do with anything else. Eventually, after enough time, it's impact is realized, and just like a puzzle, the big picture of your life comes together to reveal a certain truth. Strength is infinite. Survival is inevitable. Growth is real. Happiness is attainable again and again. Love is forever. How lucky each and every one of is to be alive. That is THE gift.
Eric's passing revealed to me that standing on my own two feet takes courage, but with it, comes immense reward. I'm capable of more. I found a confidence I never knew existed. I'm a wonderful, loving mother raising a beautiful son who is growing up fast and looking more like dad every day. I manage a sizable home and am able to keep it semi-clean, just enough to keep insanity at bay. Laugh. I juggle a fantastic, ideal job which falls into the categories of "rare" and crafty. I push hours around in libraries, managing piles of homework at the age of 35. How I ended up in school again, I've not a clue, but it's pretty darn unreal to have the opportunity so late in life. I maintain a pool of supportive, loving friends. Some have stayed. Some have gone. I'm ok with that. And finding love wasn't easy, but I did it. None of this would of happened had I not suffered the loss of a soul mate. The inevitability of pain brought growth, and in it's embrace, I reached for the stars. I think I did ok.
Today, I want to celebrate the man that made me into who I am at this very moment. The three words he lived by were: Love, Patience & Respect. Eric loved, unconditionally, the people close to his heart, but what stood out to me more was that he gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. Unless someone proved themselves incapable of being a good person, Eric believed in them. He was wholeheartedly a loving individual. He always put others first, no matter what. He was also patient to the point at which he'd not say a word in regards to life's greatest challenges. He stood up to them, accepted them for what they were, and waited patiently. Every moment was an opportunity to exist "now". Awareness to Eric was as vital as breathing is to the rest of us. Patience was akin to awareness. Eric respected not just people, but even the world's Minute parts. He highly regarded life, mother nature, and all her beauty. Growing up a prolific camper, a wanderer of the woods, and a photographer, he sought to preserve and respect everything the world had to offer, including the people within it. I still recall his numerous stops to look at sunsets and storm clouds. He saw beauty every where he went. At the time, I hadn't wholly understood his personal philosophy, but now I get it. Love, Patience, and Respect is about living to the fullest, and that Eric did. He's an honorable, intelligent man with a BIG heart!! He gave me thirteen "AMAZING" years and forever, I'll be thankful.
We love & cherish you, Eric. You passed January 5th, 2008 at 3:00pm after battling brain cancer a little over a year. You showed so much courage, was determined to beat the odds, and held strong until your last breath. Now, you're our guardian angel, with wings spanned above and around us always, protecting and guiding your small family as the journey continues. Thank-you, Eric. Miss you everyday.