Sunday, March 2, 2008

Still Missing You

It is hard to believe that it has been one year. One year since that hauntingly horrifying phone call. One year since this family's collective lives changed forever. One year since one of our worst fears came true. One year since Erik has gone home to the peaceful and comforting arms of Heavenly Father.

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.














15 comments:

Hacking it up said...

Jen- I am so sorry! How did I not know about this? I have failed you as a friend, for not being there to help and comfort you through such a difficult time. I know more than I ever wanted to about this kind of situation and how it can rip everyone involved to pieces. Seeing this definitely brings up feelings I've tried to bury from past experience with Mark and Lori, and my heart aches for you and your family. You are definitely in my prayers. My you and your family find peace in the love of the Savior, and His amazing ability to heal broken hearts. Love you.

Linda said...

Jenn, thank you for your kind words and love. I love and miss Erik so very much, but am so thankful for my family here with me now.

Love you,

Mom

Eliza said...

Jenn, that was a really beautiful blog. I am sitting here crying as I write this because I have seen how painful this has been for you and your family. I don't know what to say other than I love you guys a lot. I think you are all amazing and I am so profoundly sorry that this is one of your trials. I am glad you were able to be together today.

Brooke said...

Jen, I am so sorry for you, Nat, and your whole family. What a nice tribute to your brother. You all are such amazing people, and I am certainly glad I am getting to know you better. My heart aches for you, and I am so glad you can take comfort in knowing he is in the arms of the Lord. My prayers are with you all at this difficult time.

Sage said...

I miss him so much and wish that he was still here.
You were an awesome uncle, Erik!!

pete christensen said...

Wow. Before I even started typing I realized how hard this was going to be... Thank you for writing this Jenn. Not a day goes by that I don't think about my best friend and all the good times we had together. I miss him more than I can handle sometimes. I am so glad I met Erik and your amazing family. You have always been so kind and loving to me and I thank you for that. Erik was an amazing person and I honestly couldn't have asked for a better friend to grow up with. He will always be remembered. I can't wait to see him again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jenn for this nice tribute to a great guy. I know I don't deserve it, but I have found a lot of comfort thinking about Erik these last few months (and I hope we all will find more and more as time passes). When I think of him I can't help but remember the good stuff. Nobody will ever be able to teach me more about charity than Erik did. I will always be greatful to him for that. His mission homecoming talk on charity was one of the most sincere yet powerful I have ever experienced. Jenn, maybe someday we could transcribe it so more people could benefit from it. And the last part of his life was like a laboratory for us all to test our charity skills. Maybe we partially failed, like I did or maybe we got straight A's like your mom, but I think we all learned possibly the most valuable of life's lessons, which is, and Jesus said it best, love one another.

Big Eric

Jamie Cormani said...

Jenn, your words made me cry. Your story about Erik crashing at your house with a "Few" friends brings back so many memories... Erik could talk you into anything!
I miss your brother; his smile, his smirk, his jokes, his music... He was a really good friend. I am really grateful for the time and friendship Erik & I had - and for the friendships I have developed with his sisters & mom! :) We all miss you, Erik! ~ Jamie

Mel said...

Jenn, your comments are so touching and I am amazed at the strength you guys have shown. We were thinking about you all day on Sunday and I am glad that you were able to be together in Utah this weekend. Just like you hubby, I was so touched by Erik's homecoming talk and his personal story where he learned about charity. I have never forgotten it or the humility Erik showed. It is probably one of the only church talks that I still remember so vividly. Thanks for sharing this tribute with all of us.

Jaime Stephens said...

Jenn that was beauitiful thanks for the tears at work :-). I can't believe it has been a year. Your comment on my blog was so nice thanks that reminded me of the year mark and when I came to look at your blog I was able to ready this. Eric is a great man. Your family is wonderful and I am blessed to know all of you. I am sorry you have to go through all this but what a comfort to know that families are forever and that we will all see ERic again. My thoughts are with your family at this time! Your family is so cute by the way!! And I loved the flaskback pictures how fun thats my Natalie :-)

Aivaz Family said...

Jenn,
I love you. You are always in my thoughts and prayers. You and Natalie have handled this with amazing courage and I look up to you both.

Anonymous said...

I saw your blog on a friends, just casually looking at backgrounds to have for mine, and noticed this post. I have a brother severly addicted to drugs, meth to be specific. Not a day goes by when my phone rings, that I get the feeling that it's "the call" I dread that day, he has been homeless in SLC for a few years, and looks like a completley differnt person, I dont even know my brother anymore. I see who he used to be and love him for that, but I can no longer call him my friend. It has torn my family apart. Please know that your blog here has made an effect on me to remember the good, and move forward, THANK YOU for your example, I bet you didnt even think this would have an effect on some random person you dont even know. All I can say is thank you for this, and being open about it, so many people hide that is was from drug abuse and I really appreciate you remembering his life and the positive things he did. Thank you is all I can say. I wish you and your family the comfort you need at this time and all of the years to come on that day. May the lord comfort you. I hope I never have to feel this and I am SORRY you have.. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy..

Barry said...

Thank you for this very touching tribute to Erik, Jen. It is so difficult to express those feelings we all share but you managed to write them in such a warm and sincere way. So much space could be filled with thoughts of Erik's memories: his sense of humor, his many talents, and on and on. Most of all, I'll always be grateful for having been given the opportunity to be his dad and to have shared in the life of such a unique and caring son. I miss him every day. Thank you all for being here last week. I love you all.

Dad

Maren said...

Thanks, Jen. Really. I don't think I could've said all that, but you described almost exactly what our family is feeling. I miss him a lot too. Thank you.

laura said...

hey jen! this is laura, your mom gave me the link to your blog and i just had to say hello. it has been so good to see pictures of your family, i miss you all so much! when your mom told me what happened to erik, my heart broke. erik was a very special person in my life. so many things ran through my mind when i found out, i wondered if i could have done something if i had kept in touch, i wished i could have told him how much i loved and cared about him. i had a dream about him about 2 years ago, in my dream i kept trying to remember his number, and then out of nowhere, i remembered:787-7290 and the thought woke me up. i hadnt called erik in over a year, and out of nowhere i remembered his number, it was so wierd. i jumped out of bed and called the number, but it was disconnected. i wish i had been able to reach him. there are so many "could-have, should have's", and those seem to hurt the most. thank you for your tribute to erik. i am so lucky to have known him, he will always be special to me. there are still things that i remember about him that make me laugh out loud. i really loved all of you guys, i always felt like a part of the family. i hope we can keep in touch!
laura