As a mother, sometimes I find it hard to know where my children start and I end. All three of my sons Justin, Eric and Conner – have been that continuation of my existence. However, Eric, of the three, was the one that was really most like me. He inherited many of my characteristics; the introversion, the creativity, the empathy, and the impulsivity.
But Eric had something else – that “thing” that makes people remember you, because you’ve touched them in some almost indescribable way. My memories are of so many different facets of his personality.
There was Eric the actor who assumed the character of Batman for a few years, laying his bat suit at night so he could be Eric during school hours and Batman by night.
Or for a while there was Eric the rodeo rider who immersed himself in the character of bull rider Lane Frost – at six years old, dressed for the part in buckles, boots and jeans, an avid competitor in sheep riding at the local rodeos.
There was also Eric the gentle soul, who would go out of his way to ensure everyone was included, like protecting a younger girl on the school bus from being bullied, or being the mediator.
And Eric, the competitor in every sport he played. And the tough guy who wouldn’t back down from a fight – on the ice, in the cage, or in life.
There was Eric the wise, and the religious, the creative and the curious.
There was also Eric the sad. I cherish the many faces of Eric that I saw as his mother in the dash that made up his almost 21 years with us.
Eric made his mark on his family and on so many others. Here are some of the treasured memories of Eric – and that “thing” that made him so special to the other lives he touched.
Your life is made of two dates and a dash, make the most of the dash.
How much can a 20-year-old teach a 36-year-old mother of three about the importance of family? The answer is more than I can say. Family isn’t always blood. I found this to be true when my friendship developed with Eric. He was the middle son of my good friend, and the brother of my son’s best friend. We also share one thing in common, we both struggled with mental illness. Many long talks would calm my mind, and I feel it would for him too. He was the most encouraging, gentle soul that I have ever met. Moving forward without him, I am reminded what family meant to him and what he meant to my family. We can now talk about him without sadness, but with happy memories that we shared with him. One of his last texts to me read, “that’s what family is all about”.
Boyfriend (always late)
Eric was unlike any person I have ever met. It would be very difficult to pick just one word to describe him, because you can’t just use one word to describe someone who was so remarkable in so many ways. This one particular memory I have of Eric is just a small one but it has always stood out to me. There would be so many times that we would hang out and he would be pretty late coming to pick me up. We were supposed to be getting together to see each other at around 6 pm and he was a whole half an hour late. When he finally picked me up and we got to his house, I realized that he was late because he had been cooking me dinner. There were actually so many times that he would be late because he was doing something thoughtful for me. With Eric, there were so many small moments like this where he would show that he was an incredibly thoughtful and compassionate person. He would always go out of his way to do something for someone even if it made him late or it was mildly inconveniencing for him.
It’s hard to pick something when enjoying the memories of my friend Eric. What he didn’t know is he was teaching me something every day. He taught me to be myself; showed me how to enjoy the little things in life more, to appreciate everything thing around me. I was in a dark place and he showed me how important family is over anything. All this without knowing or trying. He was the first to help in any situation, no matter who you were. His heart was kind and full of love. Not fearful but “heart is full” is the best way to describe him. He showed me the things I was missing or still trying to figure out. And I’m thankful for it all. It was a blessing meeting him and he changed my perspective on a vast amount of things. My favourite memory of Eric is just him. The way he was, and the way he treated everyone. Thanks brother.
Teammate and Billet
This story takes place in October 2010 in Western Washington state. My family and I had him convinced our house was haunted. In his defence, he had no reason to doubt us. I mean the house was built in 1890, with only a few modern touches. Eric and I roomed together our rookie year of junior hockey, in an old run down barn 50 yards from the house. That barn creaked and moaned. It was small. It was creepy. One night Eric was taking a shower up in the main house where the rest of my family lived. So I thought it would be funny to put an old, extremely creepy Halloween mask in the window, being that it would be the first thing he saw after leaving the shower. So me and my family sat about 8-feet away in the kitchen and waited. Eric opened the door in his towel!! One look at this floating head staring at him, he screams at the top of his lungs, jumps, and in one step was In front of all of us. We all lost control of ourselves laughing. Once Eric had realized it was a mask, he fell on the floor still in his towel, and lost control with laughter. I think that was the night Eric was no longer my team mate, or my best friend but more, a part of my family! We all love and miss him.
– Ethan Mcalpine #15
The Toughest Guy I Knew
Eric was an indescribable kind of tough. We always cornered each other in our fights – him in mine and me in his. I remember the last fight Eric was in. We were on the same fight card. He was up first. Right before he stepped into the ring, I told him to watch out for his opponent’s tough right hook. Eric just looked at me and said “Why, what’s the worst that he can do? Knock me out?”
– Justin, brother, still in my corner