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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

My 30th birthday was my most memorable birthday.  I shared a birthday with a dear friend named Eric.  Eric was one of my husband’s best friends.  He would stay with us many weekends, he paid me to clean his apartment every week, he exposed us to so many different kinds of foods.  He would go buy elaborate ingredients and cook for us most every weekend.  Through him we discovered sushi, among other things.

Anyway, for my 30th birthday, he gave me a copy of “The Celestine Prophecy” and told me it would change my life.  It did, but not as much as knowing him did.  Eric, though a bit older than me (by a year or two), was like a pesky kid brother lots of times.  He would take over the couch and the remote and grate on my nerves.   We bickered, yes… but it so often ended with me being angry and him saying “is that your face……(long pause)… or WHAT??” and we would crack up.

He was part of our family.  He wrote a song called “Impressive Words” when our oldest son was being bullied.  He was starting to teach our middle son how to play guitar.  He excelled in being wildly inappropriate and we all loved him.  So, he was there for my 30th birthday, which was also his birthday.  December 30.  And he was with us for New Years, I remember because I had about a bajillion resolutions that year and his only one was to be happy.

February 15, a month and a half after that shared birthday, Eric was killed by a drunk driver.  I received the call at 2am.  He had left work and was on his way home.  At home, he had a note waiting for him saying that we wanted him to come over for the weekend.  My husband went and got their friend A.  My husband, A, and Eric were the 3 musketeers.  We stayed up all the rest of the night crying, in total disbelief.  Morning came too soon and the boys woke up.  We had to figure out how to tell them that Eric was gone.  We hadn’t yet grasped it for ourselves, but we had to tell them.

My husband wanted to tell them, and he did, and we tried to make everything ok.  The next week, A and I spent many hours cleaning out Eric’s apartment and readying it for a memorial evening for all of his friends and co-workers.  We served Milano cookies and red kool-aid in mason jars, which is just how it should have been.  And we played his music.  During that week, when I took Eric’s laundry to my home to launder it, I walked in with the basket of laundry and my husband said “don’t wash it.  let me see it.”  He picked up one of his shirts and smelled it.  We must’ve sat there for over an hour smelling that shirt.  That may seem weird… but it was what kept us close to Eric for the moment.

Now, my ex has a sushi dinner every year in February to honor Eric.  We play his music.  We drink koolaid out of mason jars.  We laugh, we talk about our dear friend that we lost.   Our boys know Eric’s music well, and he will never be forgotten.

The drunk driver was a 68 year old man, who had never been in trouble with the law before in his life.  Why he chose to drink and drive that night, I will never know.  What I do know is there were 3 men in that car.  Eric was in the passenger seat and killed instantly.  The one in the back seat (passenger side) died 2 days later on his son’s 2nd birthday, and the driver suffered some brain damage.  The drunk driver will most likely die in prison and he will never understand the impact his actions had on my family.  I feel for him, having to live with 2 deaths on his conscience.  I must say, though, that his actions that night, while amazingly painful for so many, probably taught my children to never drink and drive.  For that, I am thankful.

Eric was one of a kind, and we are so blessed to have had him in our lives.  His death changed us forever.

My next post will be about the Grief of Divorce.

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