Conversations ~now ~ with Eric

Saturday` March 1, 1997

One month, Eric - you had one more month to live, this time last year! I don't know why I'm living this terrible "Countdown"...... thinking of you and of how unsuspectingly, but OH, thank God, how WELL we spent those last days! I feel certain that somehow - you were in communion with the Holy Spirit or some other means <your Angels?> of motivation which could only have been of God - for only He knows the number of our days!) who prepared the way to be softened and lined with love - for our last days together.... for me most especially, as I came to your absence and had to continue here without you! God knew how hard that would be, my son!

How hauntingly my own words come to echo over and over again from when we had that conversation about suicide - and we made that agreement, vowing to tell each other if we ever came close to it..... and I cried and said to you - "Oh, Eric - please don't ever leave me in this world without you!"......... And I know... that no matter how terrible the world seemed to you - my plea would have been honored by you......... (if you had been given a choice)It was your way to honor your mother .........and to be concerned that I not be troubled or in pain.You were a wonderful son.....

Pain.... now there's another thing! It has come to my mind so very often - when I count the ~blessings~ side of your transcendence...... how good it is that you do not have to see this disease continue to attack my body even while I struggle and do what I can to slow down or stop its' relentless progression..... I remember how terrible it was for you to see me hurt - and for the most part - I did my best to hide or mask it from your awareness. Also - I believe that the same hereditary factors which contributed toward the destruction of my connective tissue were at work in yours at a much greater power/force - than in me..... That is most likely the curious thing (this haunts me) that I couldn't get doctors to answer or see - about why your eyes and your skin stretched abnormally and caused the tissue damage which I still believe caused the Kerataconis which made the cornea-transplants necessary.... the meniscus which tore completely off from your knee and/or those stretch marks which none could explain!   Living with my own circumstances.... I can feel gratitude that you never have to! Were I mathematically <or whatever it takes to be a scientist> inclined - I believe that this dysfunction in us would have prompted me into most valuable research which could have produced answers not just for us - but for the millions of others who suffer and will suffer until someone forges the key to unlock the mysterious path by which it takes place......
But .....it seems that God has other mysterious paths of destruction far more important - (namely....spiritual destruction) for me to wage war against!!!!!!! I know - for - He is clearing the way , and drawing me along the path, ever more each day.... Powerfully. Supernaturally..... His hand is mighty and ever more visible!!!!! I will follow Him, and take courage from His mercy regarding you.... ever bearing you with me, my most dear and precious (and only ) son! I do nothing without awareness of your part in my life! You , Eric..... you were the most precious earthly tie I ever had in my life.... I don't know why that was.... or what it is that makes two people so very similar <though vastly! - different too *grin*).... But what I always felt and somehow knew - was that we were soulmates - you and I. That feeling never left me. It never will.

For a long time after you died - I felt a strange wonder that I somehow had not felt the exact moment of your passing from this life - I thought that it should have come to me in an overwhelming feeling of loss..... But now - as the year has passed day by day - I realize that what I was thinking or expected should have been a wrenching pain of something terrible happening - a shock and/or jolt of a catastrophic event....
Was not that at all.... I've come more and more to see that your destiny & destination was to enter into that peace that knows no human understanding.... and peace is a quiet thing - after all - not an awful, hideous, or gruesome experience meant to frighten or be dreaded! Perhaps it is why I slept that night until the 2:15 arrival of the State Trooper.
And so -
your passing - in its' instantaneous and
~no suffering~ manner had nothing jarring to impart to me.... it was quiet and mellow beyond my comprehension....
God was so good to you!!!! (and therefore, to me also!)
He
took you in the uttermost merciful way imaginable! (For you - not for those of us who lost you... for losing you, could not be merciful at all - but it came with a comforting and peace in knowing that you had found what you would never have ever even approximated here on the earth and in this life. For you saw this world in such an innocent and pure vision that it was nakedly blazoned across your great mind and in your tender heart every moment of your life. You never developed those little curtains and deceptive ~costumes~ that most of us dress it up and disguise it in to make life endurable. For you - it was always acutely discomforting to see, (with your soul) to know and to experience the world in it's exposed entirety!
Your search for learning through wisdom and discernment - only made it more and more plain... unembellished, stark and unbearable to contend with - you remained on the outside looking in even while here.... Much like Jonah.... ? But there was no need for another Jonah or the belly of a whale.... Not today....
And so....
Our Father took you and let the starkness end with the perception and understanding of your new eternal vision through which you now look on, if you are looking on? Or perhaps... once this part of our journey is ended - we set our eyes ahead and not backward? I have no idea.... I sometimes wonder about that.... I have often thought on that ..... thinking that I would not want you to see me suffering here without you... for you never could stand to see me suffer...- But now.... Now perhaps........ you see things differently? You see perhaps, the tenderness and mercy that suffering produces in hearts that belong to God? Now you may see it in the purity of perception that only freedom from an earthly body could allow?????
I do know this - that whatever your circumstances are now - they are perfect. I am comforted in that and need no further understanding than that.....
But oh........... Ohhhhh, how I miss you and long to be with you!
~

March 2, Sunday, 1997

Pain and grief, it seems to me, are like leprosy to people..... untouchable - feared to be contagious... or just unpleasant and inspiring of avoidance and denial...? So when people see others who are in pain or are grieving - so many turn away their eyes and their hearts... choosing not to be in contact with it. Some fear that they will make it worse if they touch it or come into any contact with it whatsoever..... Others just don't want to.... And so it is that great numbers of sufferers go uncomforted... unaided.... feeling isolated and so alone. I pray that the loneliness of these people will help them to find You, Lord. To hear, see and come to know Your presence, My Abba - the greatest Healer and Comforter of all..... Then their needs will not go unmet .......and they may come to forgive man of the coldness and cowardice of heart that allows them to neglect and ignore the suffering as they do....
~

Sunday, March 23, 1997

Finances have really gotten tight and so today, I took that five-gallon jug of change which has been in my closet for at least seven years - receiving all the change that I could gather to put into it. It was barely a third full! It is very hard to give up this jar of money... for in it are SO many, many coins which you, Eric, would bring to me to exchange for paper money when your mug filled up with your accumulated pocket change. So.. there are coins which occupied your pockets... coins you touched... coins which, because of that - are so much more than coins to me!!!!
It is a strange phenomena that I have these strong/silly attachments to worldly things like that... little things connected to you, Eric. It doesn't feel really ~unhealthy~ .... just peculiar. A part of me knows perfectly well that it is ridiculous. Another part of me though.... doesn't care about the appearance or any other opinions.... They are small little things and I see no reason to fight the feeling or compulsion if it harms no one. I hold what I can and I will let go when I can do that. I will allow myself whatever measure of ~contact-with-you~ they afford me!
Why not?
~

November 11, 1997

Oh Eric.....it's happening all over again! I go for such a long time... well centered in reality and acceptance of it and then..... THEN - comes a sudden jolt and it is almost exactly like those first moments....You aren't here and you are never coming home! When it hits me like a sudden tidal wave crashing up against and over me - I want to drown in it and have the anguish end..... I want to die and be finished with all this world.... for I don't see how it continues to exist without you here. Life doesn't seem real and death does..... It is unbearable to think that you aren't coming home! I can't stand it. Then comes the guilt over all the others and I know that I should be so thankful for all of them, each and every one... and I AM..... I AM!!!!!! I truly am.... but I don't sit up and talk all night with any of them..... They don't stimulate my mind and invigorate my thinking - They just aren't YOU.
I wish that Thanksgiving would not come anymore....

I loved the sound of your voice..... the way you spoke the word ~mother...~ the special chuckle of yours - you had several individual laughs.... one of them was even a small boy laugh.... So many little ways about you were the little boy which you so healthily allowed to remain with you in your life! I knew and understood that - for my little girl still lives and shares my life too... and one of the special ways that our souls ~knew each other so well~ - was the children in us..... Even our children-selves were soulmates....
~

December 12, 1297

My dear son, Eric; How I miss you!
Sometimes the ache is so great that I feel surely, surely I will die of the brokenness of my heart. Here it is now, the closing of another year at hand. and life continues.... The two little boys that bear your name as their parents' loving memorial and tribute to you.... are growing as little ones do so rapidly.... The pages of my life continue to turn, one after the other, writing themselves moment by moment.... The seasons change just like they always did and will until He returns... And I.... bewildered and longing to leave it all and enter into eternity with you - I continue also. I wish that I could say that meaning has returned to it and that I felt more willingness than mere obedience in the living I face each day.... but it isn't that way. Somewhere in depths of me, there is a knowledge that there could be joy and appreciation of these days - but I haven't found that yet. It's the knowledge of Eternity and of His coming to take us home which makes it so difficult to bear the continuing here..... I have an awareness of The Christs' desire that all should be saved and I desire that with Him and pray that He will find use of me in reaching out to the world which He sees fit to delay ending....
The world so empty for me now without you.....
I wonder
if you ever realized how bright and shining a star you were in my world! I think that you did, for I remember some of our conversations where you said things that indicated your awareness of the joy and fulfillment of dreams which you brought to me as you pursued your own, for your goals and achievements were as much a part of me as you yourself are (and always will be). How busy you were! When I create with the files and compose page after page of your work to share with the world, I am amazed at the size of that legacy you left us. It is such a poignant pride - for it also exacerbates the aching sense of LOSS which your death left behind...... All the words you never got to put together, touching and changing lives in your unique and profound way.... silenced forevermore . And yet - you left so much! How busy you were, my son!

Tonight I watched a movie you had reviewed. It would not have occurred to me to watch it had it not been for the reading of that review... and when it was over, I was so glad that you had called me to the experience! Thank you.
Sometimes, like tonight
- it hurts so very, very badly that I feel the pain will utterly shatter me into small shards that will never fit together again..... It amazes me that I appear so "Okay" on the outside - while inside, I am drowning in anguish! It seems that no one even suspects the storm on the inside of this outer serenity. Am I pretending? It just feels like I am leading two lives which give the appearance of one....
In reading a Philosophy paper you wrote, <regarding Louise Gluck's "The Drowned Children"> these words of yours haunt me ......
"While death often seems more inviting than the pain associated with our own existence, it is that very sense of loss for the experiences which we have never partaken of that give our lives their ultimate source of inspiration. With this in mind, death becomes viewed as the most dreaded of certainties while also functioning as the greatest motivation behind our continual search for meaning"
Those words are so powerful, succinct and descriptive of our existence, Eric. They bring a strange comfort in your release from it all.... and with that, an even greater longing for my own. One of the consequences of faith is the greater longing for the end of this present existence! I do, of course, yield to any purpose which God finds for me here - but my taste for things of the world wanes ever more each day. I grow ever more weary. I think it is because I feel trapped in a painful and lonely existence (relationship) and there is no hope within it, of ever drawing the sustaining joy and fulfillment which would balance out the physical pain, work and responsibility which fills my days. It is hard to love a life so imbalanced. I sometimes feel I am drowning in the confines of a loveless, husband-less marriage which has condemned me to being alone and without even hope to look toward, of anything being any different.
~

December 27, 1997

Awoke to a lovely snow - which brought back such sweet and nostalgic memories and thoughts gently unfolding. The past year I have been kind of taking a vacation from deep thinking - #1, because of the recurrent suicidal ideations and #2, I felt I had to discipline myself to live in the present as committedly and well as I could.
It has not been altogether a positive thing - and beginning on the first - (the 31st, really) - I will return to that commitment (to journalling) for several reasons. #1 - I need to go beyond living in the present - and move more purposefully ahead! I must face the emptiness and the loneliness, and over the next year - it will be my goal to decide and take action - even if only by tiny little baby steps - to progress toward and reach the goal I set again. 1997 has been a year of only short term goals of getting through each and every day and night and experience or trial. I must lift mine eyes unto the hills at a greater distance.
~

Saturday, January 3, 1998

I wish that I could feel good about life again... but NewYears' Eve is such a customary time of reflection and evaluation as I look ahead .... and the last two of them I have not had it in me to look ahead at all...... It is having `spells' such as this which caused me to leave-off of journalling last year. I do not like recording the feelings I feel now.... I simply must use all of my will and strength to survive them - why record them?
Not much left of me tonight. It has been a long and tiring day. I have showered and turned down my bed already (It is only 7:20 here) - but I need to make it an early night. Brandi will watch a movie and I will likely doze off within the hour. Might have just a touch of a "Bug" ?
I was hoping to update the page today - but never had a chance to complete them. Brandi has been e-mailing each day with two new friends who hope to be e-mail pals at least on weekends. It puts a lot of extra responsibility on me too. I already e-mail with some people who work on their grief. That touches my own also and sometimes I slip into a bit of the pain and Eric-emptiness which runs alongside my life like a stream.
The new year triggered it last year too. I think that is because I reflect on my life at this time of year and now, that brings about fresh aching pain at the memories and stark reality that our dreams of a lifetime (Erics') and such great and well developed potential, came so swiftly and senselessly to an end. It kind of brings a hollowness to everything, which has become familiar to me now and I know that it will simply have to pass. It helps to get extra rest and allow time to heal as only time can..... the terrible, inconsolable mourning which will never end. Tomorrow is another day.
~

Sunday, January 4, 1998

The dark-time came over me (last night) when we were watching a movie and incorporated within it was one of the main characters appearing on the JEOPARDY show. It went through me like a sword piercing my heart and it was a strongly overwhelming experience. Since it was part of the movie - I tried not to react to it and shift my mind from the authentic sounds - for we were playing a game together while we half-watched the show. But it so disturbed me that I had to turn it off for I was crying. (The others were free to go elsewhere in the house to watch - for Peach has her own television in her room, and we have them in the playroom and in the family room also.

I have never watched JEOPARDY since you were killed, Eric. Not even once. All those years, we used to watch the two shows, WHEEL OF FORTUNE and JEOPARDY, together, back-to-back, every evening after dinner. The first was my favorite, the second was yours (and you were so good at it too!). We began as far back as I can remember, that little hour together. I was good at mine, you were great at yours, and we would both guess together..... It was a special time of shared enjoyment... Even when you were away at college - it would make me miss you too much to watch most of the time.... And then, at other times, I would feel comforted in watching it and knowing that you were probably watching them at Ferrum, miles from home at the same time, and I'd sort of think of us being together and would watch it with Brandi (who loved the shows too, it would excite her when we would call out the answers before the television revealed them...). Now though... She, like me, finds it triggers her pain of losing you too... and we so don't watch them anymore. For Brandi, Eric, you were an Uncle, and a brother and a father-figure since you were the man-of-our-house for most of her life. In fact, when I began to cry, she came to put her arms around me and said, "I miss Eric too, mommy" and she cried a bit with me.
Almost two years now - yet still the wound is raw and bleeding.
~

Tuesday, February 17, 1998

This was a very busy day... worked on page a lot.

Last evening - I found the long missing phone book! WOW! - was I happy! I was SOOOo thrilled to find it! Had been missing since my surgery - Peach thought she must have thrown it away with stacks of mail which I would sort out on the bed when I couldn't walk right after the surgery. It was terrible to live with that thought for months!..... It was like losing a little bit of you, Eric, all over again...... your friends and their phone numbers.... The sight of your familiar handwriting on some of the pages - etc. etc..... were more of those little things that comfort me as a part of my daily life. Now I have that again!
Well - Miss Brandi has decided she would like some popcorn and to play Sesame Street Uno for the next hour before bed - so - her majesty commands and I must obey! *S*
I am glad that I am well enough to get busy and help divert some of the aching emptiness of this time of the year - the "countdown weeks" which, in 1996 were the last of your life. I went through it in 1997, but didn't think I would be doing it as painfully acute as then... but it is! Once again, though... I praise our Lord that those were some of the best of your days of life! That seems so miraculous to me! And I thank our dear...dear Father in heaven!
Okay - Brandi is ready.... gotta go.....
~

Thursday, February 19, 1998

What I am struggling with primarily, which interferes in my journalling, is this overall feeling of Solomons' - "All is Vanity under the sun"..... I find so little ambition in me to push myself to forge ahead.... Which is also partially why I did not journal for a while. I want to return to the discipline of doing it, I really do! - but I also realize that I am NOT very ready for life - period - at this point. I am mostly existing at this point. Doing what comes to me to do and waiting.... waiting for - as Job would and did say - "My change to come"......
Enuff for tonight.... I pray, Lord, that if You wish for me to resume this discipline, You will give me the grace to do so. I desire to do Your will in all things!
~

Friday, February 27, 1998

Well - February also went by without my return to journalling. I don't know how something so vital to me can have just come to an end - and I have tried everything I can think of to force the return to the daily practice... Without it, many of the memories which I could savor so much more fully in the years to come, with the notes I kept once - will slip away and lose themselves in the vast index file of my mind... I ponder just what it is. Disobedience and unfaithfulness, even to my own self and commitment, is greatly disturbing to me. It has something to do with what I wrote here weeks ago.... something about my strong desire not to be around long and therefore - feelings of not needing the memories????
~

March 18, 1998

I can't stand it - I just cannot stand it!

No one knows or understands how it hurts... and the more I try to hang onto myself and think all those positive thoughts - the more they seem to build up inside of me.

I am pushing myself so hard and obsessing about just about anything which will take hold of my mind and blot it out so I can get through each and every day which seems like a mountain before me. I climb it every day, and when morning comes I am at the foot of it again, looking up to an even greater one than the day before..... I know the impossibility of the ascent, yet I give myself to the climb and the trying anyway.

It's like there are two of me and this one that hurts just has to have expression... and so I am here saying it all... Will it help? I won't know unless I try this. Will it hurt? No, how could it? I am filled to capacity with pain already.

I've come to hate those words people use when say they know or understand how I feel - because there is no way that it could be true! I just don't want them to say that they understand - or that they have lost a friend or something - nothing is like losing your child except losing your child! It just isn't.....
They did not see the tree. They did not walk up to it stepping on bits and pieces of the most beloved possession my son ever owned. They did not stand there and want to rip it up out of the ground for living and standing tall and impossibly slender considering that it bent a car in half and took Erics' life ) there in the aftermath of the tragedy, not bent or splintered..... They did not see the car twisted around with the tortured metal and blood stained seat. I touched that blood. I laid my hand upon the headrest which was once a light gray and now was rust-colored with his now-dried blood which had soaked into it. I stood and I looked at the groceries and the broken steering wheel and ...... and, I saw it all. I've lived it again and again...... I'm re-living it now. I dream of it at night sometimes.
Then I discipline myself to look away from the minds'-eye view and to remember that he is in a far better place and that it IS true that I would not bring him away from that peace, serenity and fulfillment of the human journey whose destiny is Eternity and life everlasting with no more sorrow or care....

It makes me feel crazy sometimes - to be so torn between gratitude and peace ~for him~ and the pain and sense of abandonment of life without him and without all that we shared and enjoyed of each other and together.....

And the calendar. It mercilessly moves ever forward and here it is again - on the last day of this month, we will turn the calendar to the last day of his life, two years ago. The last day of Buffys' life one year ago.

And how do I deal with the days? Each one coming faster (good, I must tell myself, for the sooner, then, it will be behind me....). I obsess with projects and work which absorbs my entire being until I have no room for other thought or feeling. I push and continue and the clock goes around and around - day and night - all one near-blur as I immerse myself into absorbing work ( the URL is a great oblivion as I create and perfect on and on). My brain is so taken up and used in the demanding concentration and natural artistic creativity which flows like a river always through me. How glad I am (so let me concentrate on praise and thanks for this too, My Abba) that I have such strong and urgent predilections which I can lose myself and my pain within.....
It's been going on for weeks now and with each day which draws closer to that terrible anniversary - everything intensifies. How productive I am! I am a human dynamo of a super-productivity given birth to by unbearable pain... So is that good or bad? Some of each, I am sure. For my body aches with the long hours and the lack of sleep or rest. I know that a great deal of it is the lack of balance in my life. Being so physically restricted at the present time, increases my susceptibility to the painful thoughts and feelings of emptiness of life without Eric in it. The night I called his room and spoke to the recording he'd left there to greet and take messages when he was out.... I said to that recording of a voice then forever silenced, "Oh, Eric, life will never be home for me again without you." And those words were true. Until, or unless, someone comes to fill some of the emptiness which came of the abandonment of both husband and son.... my life will never be ~home for me. Home is where Jesus is preparing a place for me. Home is where Eric has gone on before me. Home is in Eternity.... It always was... really, but while I had a soulmate to share the deepest thoughts and feelings - I had a home which was neither earthly nor in heaven, but existed somewhere between in time spent together in a place known as ~relationship~ and called by names such as "We" and "Us"
~

Tuesday, March 31, 1998

Gee - just like old times.... actually clicking on the days' date and actually wanting to write about the day. Not that there is anything particularly spectacular or unusual about this second eve of April 1st after your leaving, Eric, and the first of Buffys' leaving to join you (if such faithful and loving spirits do go to heaven....?)
This evening, at dusk, Brandi brought me a little bouquet of our flowers from up there in what used to be the Tulip-bed when you were born.... They are our beautiful Hyacinths, which are so nicely fragrant (like lilacs) and this year, quite deeply colored.
I thought of you, my dear son. It seems like just a few years ago when it was you bringing these same flowers in to me in your little 8 year-old hands, giving flowers to your mommy. You continued to give them to me for the rest of your life, too! 
I remember.....
And then, last year, those forget-me-nots which bloomed for Mothers' day.... flowers I had not planted and had failed to have grow successfully for me before then. They would bloom and look so lovely, but when summer came, would die off.... I'm hoping that they will come to me again this year too. It felt like they were a very special gift last year... my first year without my son here with me in this world. But you are with me so strongly, and I guess that you always will be - for I cannot imagine myself ~not~ as your mother....
It seems to me, as your pages grow online in the cyberworld, that you live on and grow endeared and even mourned-for in the world every bit as though you were still among us... It is a form of immortality to be a writer and express thoughts and feelings that not all know how to put into words.
This year will be a new tradition. I will be taking gingerbread up to Freesoul and sharing it with all the little inhabitants of that portion of the earth where you are most a part of earthly things yet.... (Aside from in my heart and our home...)
It felt good that the weather has turned so gentle and flowers are blooming and your memorial-area fountain is flowing melodically, its' sound even coming up from under the deck and audible in the kitchen with the doors open.
How I pray that I will be able to get out there onto our rock (so soon after the surgeries) - but if not, I will be close by along the ridge.... beside it -
walking those paths we've walked together and remembering.... I remember you everywhere... all the time... but tomorrow, I will feel closer to where you have gone and await me. It is now a gentle, comforting reminder that I too will one be released from the cares of this world and move on.
This Spring would have been your graduation from post-grad school and you would have had your Masters' and might have even begun to teach as you had considered doing. Many writers are teachers as they write. Your love and comprehension of it all would have been a great gift and inspiration to many. Your death has been too. You have become like a great lighthouse in the midst of the entire world and because of you there, Even some lost and stranded souls have found their way to truth, light and for some.... healing.
I still have not had that dinner at the Outback as we'd planned for graduation week, for so long... But I'm thinking that it will happen soon now. It will be one of the last of those things which you were so eagerly wanting to do, and now it will happen.... just as your words are being read everywhere.....
as you wanted. Sometimes, when I am very still and thinking about you, I can almost I hear you telling me that I'm doing good... *S*
I love you, Eric.

~

Friday, June 19, 1998

Transitioning, for me, is a long long process in adjusting to your not being here in the world with me...... So many things of yours which I just cannot simply give away... yet (?) I know that at some point, I will find someone or something that will seem appropriate to me and I will find myself thinking, "Eric would approve of "this going there" and I will relinquish the property to someone who whom I've discerned will cherish it. (and I feel such joy at the giving/placement!) But until then, there are many things around me in every room of our home, the home where you were born and called home all of your life.

I've been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning and organizing. With the four years of surgeries and physical modifications, things have not been ~up to my standards around the house, and I just had to leave that go and accept it until I could take-back-over and organize once again! The time has been arriving a bit at a time, and as I set out to do that - I encounter so much of you! Things I never thought about as they accumulated - always knowing and regarding in the back of my mind that these are Erics'..... *S* This last week has been the huge kitchen pantry (and the entire kitchen and dining room).    In the desk cubbyholes I find cards from you, Ferrum stuff , even a letter I wrote to you in 1994 when I was so proud and pleased in a weekend we'd had company and you were so wonderful helping with everything.... And the little momentos, toys, just this-n-that stuff.... At each little encounter there is a wrenching of my heart.... aching and hurting with missing you.... your pencils or pens, markers, stickers... that college-ruled paper you liked so well and I'd keep a few packages on hand... newspapers with the columns you wrote so well! That kind of stuff. Yesterday morning I began with the shelves all the way across the top of the pantry, which, of the four sections, three are filled with all those glass collections! You began that "Mom, we've gotta get that set - they will be really valuable collectors' items!" at such an early age! And so - we would go and have Roast-beef sandwiches or Tastee-Freeze, McDonalds, Hardees, Burger King... whatever place was offering a series of collectors' glasses, would become our once-a-week dinner or lunch so that we would have the series!
*smiling at memories of our dedication and your enthusiasm!*

Eric, there are hundreds of them up there!!! Today - now that they have been all washed, dried, shelves cleaned and the row upon row of these Eric-treasures put back upon the washed shelves.... I noticed, in that other section - the boxed set of a Batman plate, bowl and cup. A childrens' sized dinner set... the Toys-R-Us price sticker is still on it, and it said $9.99... I remember when we were together in the store there that day (I believe it was 1993) and you were looking at all those NEW action figures and saying "You can get me this, and this, and this....." Just like when you were a boy and I would (and did) get them (in your boyhood days).... either right then, or sometimes when you weren't looking (and store them in the "gift closet" until an occasion or just a whim to give you an unexpected little gift, would arise and then I would place it on your bed or under your pillow of at your place at the table, for you to find when you awoke or when you arrived home from school..... ) *grin*. I didn't buy the new action figures you were teasing me about... (I knew you weren't very serious) but I did sneak in that set of ~Official~ Batman dinnerware service. I think it was Christmas that year that I gave it to you. *s*..... And you, being the ~collector~ that you were, kept it in the nice box so it wouldn't get scratched up and would be more ~valuable.... I climbed down off the stool and sat down to open the box and look at the colorful cup, bowl and plate - and it hurt so badly as I tried to scan my mind for an appropriate "home" for your treasure. I couldn't think of anyone at this time, and so I put them back into the box and back up into the cupboard with those glasses......... And I'm aching and crying because I am so particular about your things - for I like to see things be placed with the right people and bring joy.... and it seems that I am sort of wasting some of these things for now, being so slow in "placing" them. But if I gave it to someone and then later saw it laying out in the yard or something - I would be overwhelmed with a terrible feeling of not having done well in dispersing your things. Oh, I could disperse them all if it were me (my own possessions) - in a day... but your things are yours.... and I have this crazy sense of responsibility toward them!!!! It is like finding adoptive homes for children or pets! It makes me wonder sometimes, if I am rather "crazy" or deranged in some way. This eccentricity is not of my own choosing. I like being eccentric, but not in this way..... Perhaps if you could speak to me and say "Hey, mom... none of that matters at all to me anymore - so just get rid of it...." and in point of fact, I know that it doesn't.... nothing could compare to your wonderful eternal life and perfect existence!
When I try to understand this discomfort of mine - I go around in circles like a dog chasing its' tail! *giggle* I don't make sense to me! What I have learned about grieving though, is that it isn't a logical or sensible time, process, or experience... Some of it just hurts and/or seems silly, but doing it is rather therapeutic, I've found, and so you just let yourself be ridiculous in some behaviors. You just learn to accept yourself in whatever it takes to get through the pain and readjust to the permanent alteration of your world.

Oh Eric...... I miss you so very much!
~
Wednesday, July 1, 1998

morning........

Here we are, Eric, a third birthday anniversary without you physically present with us. I don't know that this day will ever pass without it being that special day... Your day.

I celebrate your life with all my heart, mind and soul every day! But this is the memorial of the day you were first in the world and it will always be most special for that reason for me !

It's different now, though. For all those other years, it was a celebration of your journey and development... your living another year... growing and going on further and further...
Oh Eric, you were a most incredible spirit - one on such an incredibly beautiful, (awesome, even) continual quest for learning from others who left messages along their own journey before you. You were so gifted in every way to pursue that quest! And - you didn't just dash off down the road of life hungry and thirsty to satiate your own appetite - you were always ready to stop and help others along the way regardless of how far behind you they were. In fact - if you had not been willing to do that on the night of April 1st, 1996 - you might still be here with us yet! That small detail of that night, the fact that you were going to stay up late and help (tutor) another student at Dr. John Hardts' request.... was what took you out into the night to get some brain-fuel for the extra ~mileage~ you were going to use in doing that on that night. You were/are my hero in many ways - and that is one of them.    *proud smile*

As the world continues to deteriorate and I look around and see the fulfillment of the many prophecies of old - I find myself ever and ever more content and I guess I could even go so far as to say, grateful, that you do not have to experience it. Though there are many things that I wish that you could see happening... things that you expressed such strong desire to see come to pass (such as my having entered into beginning a relationship with the kind of man you often told me I `deserved' and you wanted me to have....) ..... The bad so outweighs the good in this world that I still feel that it is a blessing that you are "home" and await my joining you, rather than you remaining with me here.....
In
a way - you, Eric, are the means by which your desire for many of the things you wanted to see come to pass in my life, have done so through the very actuality of your leaving this finite realm! My writings, ( publishing my own works as well as yours).... my emerging from withdrawal from the world, my desire to live (period) and go on with a ministry so much greater than anything I ever sought or had desire to do.... The required computer skills and accompanying talent which emerged developed in my wanting to fulfill your expressed desire to be heard in the world.... which in turn, led to my meeting a prince among men who loves me as I have never been loved or cherished (by any man) in my life!!!! And many other soulmates and bondings with people I doubt I would ever have met in any other way than by the internet homepage which I was initially inspired to set up only for tribute to you and your work in the beginning. New experiences everywhere which I doubt I would have opened myself to without that purpose which your desire gave birth to in my life! All of it.... all connected to you.....
As my realization of your dreams for me keep happening - I always hear a small voice in the back of my mind - your voice, speaking words from our past which you spoke to me of what you would like to see happen in my life! All these gifts you gave to me! They are living gifts which continue on and on - and in an odd twist of "The What-Is" of it all - you, the son I gave birth to in 1973, are giving birth to me!

We are leaving here soon to go to Freesoul with the balloons to be released. I am going to take the camera and film a video of it today... the weather is remarkably clear and I think we will get some good footage - and I know how you love homemade-video productions! *S* So that is our project in your honor on this memorial day of your birth.... I will continue this later....

evening....

It's a good thing that we tend to remember those disaster days with a time-fostered humor afterward.... else this day of such bright promise and expectation would have been ruined! I'd planned our trip for a long time in advance - wanting to make a little documentary of the drive to Freesoul, the path, the rock, the balloons and area in general.

The first monkey-wrench which fell-into-the-gears, was my Monster-Mower mishap which injured my knee a few days ago. I had serious doubts as to whether I could make it there at all - much less climb up and out onto the rock. Never-the-less.... I packed up all the gear, charged up the cameras' one battery (I really NEED another for such a project!) and had it all planned-out in my mind, the sequence I would tape.... If.... I made it out there.
The balloons all fit into the LTD with us.... (b-a-r-e-l-y!)... The portable CD player was in fine shape with fresh batteries and the three CDs I wanted to take, Vince Gills' GO REST HIGH ON THAT MOUNTAIN, The movie-soundtrack you loved so, from PHILADELPHIA.... so I could play "Streets Of Philadelphia" as I do on special occasions of visiting there... and, Enyas' SHEPHERD MOON which has become my own personal farewell-memorial CD with its' EVACUEE title cued-up to repeat indefinitely (until everyone but myself must surely get sick of hearing it! *g*)
The path has never been more overgrown with those thorny vines growing up and waiting to grab whatever passes by! This year (and El-Nino' has made a near tropical-jungle of the valley! So once I found that my ankle would allow me to at least walk out TO that rock - I gathered the bags of helium-filled black balloons and made my way safely out through the path led by Peach carrying the ladder. The wind began to play with the bags and wanted to pull them away from me like a big-bully, but I managed to hold onto all but one which did slip out of the bag and nestled itself in the branches of a tree near the road. Since I always have extras made up - that was no problem. Another one mysteriously exploded all by itself while we were in the process of pulling individual ones out to release.... But that still left us with three spares, for this year marks twenty-five years that I have been your mother... and I had ordered 30- having seen last week when we were up there with the Coyne family, how treacherous a task it was going to be to wend through all those sharp thorns!
The releasing of each one went well, in spite of the brisk (at times) winds which beat at them. Brandi releases the first 8, commemorating that you have been her uncle Eric for that many years, and then I release those remaining, offering any number of them which Peach might wish to release, to her. At the end, we let the three spares leave together and it was quite entertaining how they danced and frolicked in the breezes for a long while over the mountains and valley before going beyond our view...... The weather was perfect. It felt very soulful and healing....

But... what of the well planned video production? Well - I set the new super-duper-deluxe tripod (which I had never used) up successfully upon the rock formation just below Freesoul, aimed it 'just so' - panned the area to see if it was in the best position, and then, reached into the bag and brought out the wonderful digital movie-camera, inserted the freshly charged battery, checked the lens for any dust or dirt-smudges and went to attach it to the well stabilized and positioned tripod........ and........ there was nothing to attach the camera with/to!!!!! I could see that there was a place for the base to slide into and hold the camera.... but the piece was nowhere to be found! One little piece, a few square inches.... made all the difference in the world! I vacillated between laughter and tears - then shrugged and walked away from the set-up to carry on with "Plan-B" which I had not even thought of making up beforehand! Peach did her best to use the camera (for the first time ever) and got some of the releasing. I did some too. And I guess we will have to call this a dress-rehearsal for next July 1st and the production will be attempted again in 1999. While panning (with camera) the scenery from atop the rock, I made sure to tape the abandoned tripod below on the other rock - just in case any of us should forget how easily even the best-made plans of mice and men can and will be ~foiled!

It was an incredible day though. I could have stayed until midnight! I so love it there! I remember so many of our visits there together and how you loved Freesoul. Those memories come to life so vividly when I am there! Especially with Brandi there re-enacting many of those experiences in her own 8-yera-old version of discovery and apreciation of it all just as you did!
In all - I saw seven hawks today! I know that they have a wide territory-range... so am thinking it must be a family. I know that there are young ones still learning to navigate and use their wings - so it is likely that it was the two parents and their nestlings there today. A few vultures ventured some fly-bys past them but then went on their way.

It just does not seem possible that it has been two years and three months since your ashes became a part of that place. Sometimes it seems like yesterday, sometimes, like forever! It seems such an awesome contemplation that your earthly remains are now becoming a part of all that grows there... and one day, I too will join you in being incorporated into those same growths and life-system and we will be together in a unity similar to when I was carrying you within me..... The thought makes life seem, at the same time, so large and also so small... compared to the universe and Eternity! And that thought is only in reference to our earthly particles..... There is not even a beginning of comprehension of the enormity of "That which is of God, returning to God" !!!!! But my soul feels the permanence of your soul, bound together with mine, and us in Him..... and all of mankind as His creation and our destiny to be with Him. I get lost at times out there upon Freesoul, in the peaceful acceptance and recognition of the unity and related continuity of it all.......

And so ends the tale of our July 1, 1998 version of celebrating of your birthday, and your life.

I Love you, Eric!

Writings by Nina Roberta Baker

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