*Last week, I lost one of the most beautiful people I have ever known in a horrific and senseless tragedy. We’re still in shock, we’re still sick, and we have no answers, but I made it home and had some words to share about our Eric. I want everyone I know to know him, so I’m shining his light in your direction.*
People say that one of the worst things about growing up in a small town is that everybody knows everybody. I think it’s one of the best things, but I tend to look on the bright side and I don’t live here anymore. My theory, though, about it being one of the best things is completely proven by the love we see here tonight for Eric, and this is all because of him: his light, his smile, his love for life and his family, born and chosen. When we graduated high school 20 years ago, my address was Eric’s address, my house was Eric’s house and my parents were Eric’s parents. He was my brother.
If you ever hear someone say you don’t get to choose your family, be clear that we know that’s a damn lie. I honestly don’t know very many people who are lucky enough to be a part of a family like ours. It just doesn’t exist, not a family this big, that is rooted, strong and deep, in a love created many moons ago, before we truly knew just how big and beautiful and strong it would be and what it would all mean to us. No matter where we put our heads at night, we will always know that we have each other, even without Eric: our brother, our lover, our court jester, our king. We still have each other.
I’m not sure if it’s helpful or hurtful to know that one of Eric’s epic bear hugs would make me feel so much better right now. He gave the best hugs. He meant them with every fiber of his being. He wanted every cell in your body and your very soul to feel each ounce of his embrace. The knowledge of that will carry me forward. The memories I have will have to do.
One of my favorite memories that I share with a few of you is a night when we got stuck in a cave at Devil’s Prop, in what we thought was a thunderstorm. By the time it cleared up and we headed to Biggie’s where the power was out, we realized it wasn’t a mere storm, but that we’d been stuck in a tornado. We didn’t have time to be worried while it was happening, because Eric made it fun. He lit a fire and danced, we laughed, we loved. Eric was like that: a light in a storm, the sun in the sky. The world may be dimmer without Eric, but I’ll carry his supernova until we meet again in the stars.
Good night, my darling king.