Tomorrow is the 1 year anniversary of my husband passing away. I sat down to write about that day and then I thought maybe I should do something different. I could write about that horrific day, the emotions I dealt with and the PTSD I have from the events of that day…or I could talk about my husband and his life instead of focusing on his death. I could also talk about the grace God has shown me through this last year. So that’s what I’m going to do.
I’ll start with telling you some things about Erik. He had a great sense of humor, such dry humor. He could always make me laugh. He also was awesome at doing impersonations of people and accents. I was always a little jealous of that, I have zero skill in that department.
Erik was more guarded with his emotions so many people didn’t see his truly soft side. I’m lucky that I did. He was kind, giving and such a romantic husband. Because of his tough exterior many do not realize he was still a bit of a kid at heart. He loved Disney, the muppets and Star Wars, among other things. I remember about a week or two before he passed away, we were watching a muppets movie with the kids and someone starting talking and being loud and he said “shh, I’m trying to hear the movie!” It still makes me laugh. Side note- to watch that movie he pushed our two couches together and made a “pirate ship”, as he would call it to the kids, and we all climbed in the middle and snuggled and watched the movie. We did that from time to time.
Erik had many talents and hobbies. He loved putting together circuit boards. He put one together one night and made the light on it flash a message in Morse code. He loved to read, he was very intelligent. If he had a book he really liked he would read it over and over. I have many worn out books of his. Erik loved music. He played guitar and some harmonica. We would listen to vinyl records and he would say “do you hear that?”, and then go into a long explanation about how the person created that sound and what equipment they used. It made me laugh. I would just listen not knowing half of the things he was discussing but loving him telling me anyway.
Erik was actually a pretty soft spoken man unless he got onto a topic that he was passionate about, then you might be there a while. Ha! He loved gardening and cooking. I would come home and he would have amazing meals cooked. He would figure out if he liked the new recipe he tried out or not, and then decide whether he should tweak it somehow next time. He would destroy the kitchen while cooking most of the time but he made some truly amazing meals so I didn’t worry about it. If I had worried every time Erik made a mess or left stuff out, I would have worried constantly! Let’s just say he wasn’t the tidiest person in the world. Haha. We all have our things, right?
He absolutely loved Duke. Not just Duke basketball (although that was his favorite) but also Duke football. His love for Duke and Coach K was borderline obsessive. I remember the first time he told me he was a Duke fan it was through text, I responded with “I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.” I was raised a Carolina fan. After a while of being with him though I caught myself cheering for Duke. How could I not? If they lost, I had a grumpy man on my hands the rest of the night. If they won, he was happy as can be! So I guess I jumped ship and joined his. Although he said I wasn’t a true Duke fan until I also cheered for Carolina to lose no matter who they were playing. I would get the death stare if I openly cheered for Carolina against other teams. It made me laugh and I wasn’t going to hold back. If going for Duke wasn’t enough for him then he would just have to deal. 😉
Erik loved his family. His mom, two sisters, all his extended family, and of course his son and daughter. I can’t go into this too much or I’ll end up down the rabbit hole of emotion trying to crawl my way back up. I’ll just keep it simple. He loved his kids with everything he had. They were quite simply the loves of his life.
I have so much more I could talk about with Erik but I better wrap it up before I’m writing a book not a blog.
So as I said , tomorrow is the 1 year mark. 365 days without him. They have been tough, harder than most people can imagine, but they have also taught me a lot. People say “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” Well I hate to tell them, but that’s wrong. He absolutely gives us more than we can handle because we aren’t supposed to handle it alone. We are supposed to lean on Him, give Him our burdens to carry and pray for guidance and strength. He has given me those things this last year. Have I been perfect in my journey? Absolutely not. I have had days or even weeks that I tried to carry it all on my own, I was drowning from the weight of it all, I thought I couldn’t survive even another hour but then He would remind me “I’m here, I can help.” Believing in God and His grace doesn’t make you perfect, you can still struggle, but it does make the struggle more bearable. I’ve had nights were I drank too many glasses of wine and cried the entire night. I don’t believe He blames me for that, He understands this is an extremely hard journey. Grief is ugly and unfortunately there is no rule book. I’m thankful for the grace that the Lord extends to me on a daily basis. He knows how badly I’m hurting, how badly we are all hurting, and He can help if we allow Him to.
So tomorrow I will wake up and face the day. I’m sure it will have some rough moments, I’m sure there will be tears, but I also want there to be laughter and love. It was a horrific day for me and I do not believe Erik would have chosen to leave us when he did but I also think about what that day was for him…that day Erik gazed upon our Lord. Can you imagine how that must have been for him? The pure awe of it, the peace and love he must have been filled with, and is still filled with…I tear up thinking about it! I’m not crying for me and what I lost that day, I’m crying tears of joy for Erik and all that he gained. 365 days without him, it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure. Thankfully because of our Lord, it’s 365 days closer to seeing him again. I will see him again, one bright day.