I saw a post on Facebook last night and reading through the post, I noticed I was too late to attend the funeral (his obituary can be found: HERE). A person I've known since I was four years old passed away last week.
You hear it all the time when someone dies. "I just saw him a few days ago." So it happened with me and Eric. Two weeks ago in church I passed him in the hall and gave him "the nod" and he returned the gesture. I wasn't in too much of a hurry to stop and say, "hello." I could have done that.
When we moved to Farmington we quickly came to know all the families with kids our age. Eric was older than us, but his siblings weren't. When I worked summers at Lagoon Eric was there. Most of us were just punk teenagers and we'd take more than an occasional break if we could get away with it. But not Eric. He was honest in word and deed.
Last year my graduating class had its thirty-year reunion. Before we met, posts on social media were sent and in one, we were reminded of all our classmates who had passed. Among the names was Eric's sister who graduated with us. I missed the news of her death by years. But it hit just as hard.
These people in this family were so much a part of our town, or at least, the memories that have shaped my definition of what my town is, that losing them feels like a long-standing building, or a field where we used to play is forever gone. But no building or piece of property can ever mean as much as the people we love.
Many of my childhood friends have moved away, but I've stayed. There's a price to pay when we remain. The cost is that we must endure change and rely only on memories of how life used to be. That means, of course, watching the people who mean so much to us leave. Eric joins a growing list of friends, family and loved ones who are on the other side and I'm saddened by his passing. If you know Eric, you understand when I say that he was a very good man and he'll be missed.