Toni; stepmom

It’s October 22nd – 06:00 – and exactly a year ago, at approximately this time, your mother and I held you between us in our arms, quietly weeping and uttering words of love and encouragement as you took your last breath. After a valiant 2 year battle, peace was yours. Your fight was over. And those of us who loved you were left with a deep heartache that will never truly be healed.

A year later, I am still unable to put into words how much you’re missed. Adjectives like bravery and strength are certainly valid – but seem trite and inadequate.

I’m blessed with treasured memories; all nighters watching the Food Network’s Drive In’s Diners and Dive marathons –  joking about who was ‘skinnier’ – dragging a mattress onto the ‘solarium’ to listen to the rain – hours on the balcony talking, laughing; and occasionally crying. Pages and pages of text messages. Getting ‘tatts’ with Aunt Kara in Texas (and giggling whenever she said the word ‘tatt’). The good (much to your surprise, Philly was having puppies; 7 of them!) and the bad (only 1 year old, your other puppy Sam, died). All are memories of experiences we shared.

And so, thank you for those memories Eric. Not a day passes that I don’t think of you. I miss memories of things that will never happen; laughing at Big Brother Canada, debating the Leafs chances this year, watching you try to wrestle Marley (who’s HUGE now by the way)

When I’m feeling especially brave, I’ll listen to audio inadvertently recorded when Shane was trying to use my cell phone as a flashlight when trying to fix your TV. Hearing your voice is bittersweet. And there’s the little note you left for me to ‘find’ in ‘our spot’ (which makes me wonder if you knew all along) More memories that make me smile – and sometimes cry.

So, dear Eric, after a year to reflect, I’ve had no profound epiphanies. ‘They say there’s a ‘reason’; that ‘God has a plan’. And yet, I am still left with more questions than answers; awakening each morning with a dull ache in my stomach that moves up to my heart.  And not a day goes by that I don’t think of you – and wish.

Godspeed sweet boy. I love you.