He was such an amazing person. An energetic and charming boy who just made you want to please him in any way you could or at least cook him some dinner (or take him to Jack-in-the-Box). Even when you wanted to wring his charming neck! I remember one Friday many years ago he called me from Mesquite to tell me that he and a few friends were on their way to Vegas and could they please stay the night at our house. This put me in somewhat of an awkward position because Eric's brother and his family were planning to spend the night at our house on their way to California. Somehow I let Erik convince me that they would be no trouble at all. And as there were only a few of them, we would hardly know they were there. Well, let me tell you that in Erik terminology a "few" friends equals eight. Nine total people! And two of them were girls! We had to do quite a bit of shuffling people around at our cozy little house to accommodate everyone. I believe my two children slept with us, the two girls slept in Natalie's room (she was living with us at the time), my brother-in-law Chris and his two children slept on Sage and Savannah's bunk beds, and Erik and his six other friends slept on the hide-a-bed, the family room couch and chair, and the floor. And you know, I don't think I did anything more that look at Erik with a shake of my head and a sigh. No harsh words. No mean looks. It was as if you couldn't look into those pleading blue eyes and tell him "no." It was a huge inconvenience but I believe all I did was haul out the pillows and blankets and ask them what they wanted for breakfast!
It is difficult, now, after all that has passed and all that Erik (and the rest of us too) suffered the last few years leading up to his death, to remember that other Erik. That Erik who make us laugh and made us crave his company. That Erik who loved his family, his friends, and the gospel. That Erik who was such a good example to all of us. I can hardly remember him. I want to so badly! So badly that it is physically and emotionally painful! I pray that as time passes the cloud that hovers over the life he lived before drugs will lift. That I will be able to remember more than just wisps of what he was and see clearly that sweet, funny and endearing boy. That the "real" Erik is who I will picture when I think of him.
It has been a struggle writing this. What can I say that will bring peace to my mom, my dad, my siblings, my children, our family, or me? What can I say that will be profound enough to mark this anniversary and the person we remember? I know that there is nothing. Not really. But still something has to be said. We think of him every day and are filled with "if onlys" and "what ifs." But in my heart I know that even if we cannot reconcile our loss every moment of every day, we can know that he is at peace and happy. Even if we continue to struggle with his absence we can know that for him the struggles of this life are over. I do know this and it brings some relief. This and the sure knowledge that we will see him again.
We still miss you, Erik. We miss all your quirky habits, your guitar playing, the way your hair color would change, your music blasting, your hats, your sense of humor, the way you loved to play, and so so much more.