Have you ever had someone promise you something and never own up to that promise?
Has this ever happened to me? Yup, I can contest, more than once.
Nothing hurts more than when someone you love makes you a promise and never fulfills it.
He promised he would never leave.
He promised to always be here.
He even said if I was ever ill with cancer and lost every inch of my hair, he would be by my side. But then he also said that if one day he couldn’t be here, he hoped someone would come into my life, to take care of and love our children and me.
I thought, “yeah right, no one was ever taking his place because he would be with us forever and ever.”
The promises he made all changed in a blink of an eye.
It has been 10 years and 5 months, 545 weeks, 3,819 days, 91,656 hours, 5,499,360 minutes, and 329,961,600 seconds since the day he left.
Honestly, I can’t believe it’s been so long. Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday, the last time I saw his handsome smile or heard his soothing voice. I can still picture his smile, but I don’t recall the sound of his voice anymore. I guess that’s what happens over time. It all becomes just a faded memory.
This day, back in June of 2008, was the day that love was ripped out of my hands, and my heart, forever. It was the day our children lost their father, and the day our lives changed forever.
I remember the phone call. You know the one I ignored, thinking “Oh gee, what has he done now?” So I let the answering machine pick up.
I mean, I had just gone to bed, and couldn’t imagine who could be calling at this time of night anyway. As I think back, I remember that the day was a good day, filled with such peace.
It was Youth Sunday at our church…. and well goodness, now that I think about it I don’t even remember what the kids had performed. I just remember having a sense of peace come over me, despite the fact my fiancé had gone off on one of his wild goose chases again, and I hadn’t heard from him in a few days.
Hearing the voice on the machine made me ponder for a minute before calling back. I remember thinking, “seriously, what kind of trouble did he get himself into this time,” and “honestly, do I have to deal with this again, and right now!?”
At the time, I didn’t even put two and two together that it was a detective calling and not the police (there is a difference). In fact, I remember afterwards, maybe months later, someone asking me if I had realized it, and well, no I didn’t.
After a few minutes of not so very pleasant thoughts going on inside of my now tired and frustrated mind, I called the detective back. He answered and said that they would come by because they needed to talk to me.
There were two detectives instead of one, which made me more concerned. They came in and sat at the table, one on each end and me in the middle of them.
Thank God the kids were sound of sleep, or so I thought.
As we sat around the table they began to ask me a bunch of questions. Questions like, “do you know so and so”, “when was the last time you saw him”, and “why was he taking this medication.” My thought was, “just get to the point!”
I mean really, they clearly knew where he was, so why ask me all of these questions? All of this led up to me asking the obvious question…..
“where is he?”
They exchanged looks before answering. And then it comes; the words no one longs to hear. The skinnier detective looks at me and says..
‘Seriously?! Your kidding! I just saw him a few days ago,’ I thought. I leaned over and began rocking back and forth repeating the words..
“he’s not dead, he’s not dead.”
I look up and see my youngest daughter standing in front of me. The rocking and chanting ceased as she asked me, from what I recall, “mommy, what’s wrong?”. I told her that nothing was wrong, and to go back to bed. She turned around and walked back to her bedroom. As soon as she was out of the room, the rocking and chanting resumed.
This my friends is denial, the first emotion of grief. I don’t recall the next emotion that came. All I know is, once denial was gone, the rest came rushing in. Sometimes at once, and sometimes one at a time. Sadness, anxiety, depression, regret, sorrow, abandonment, and anger are just some of the many emotions that washed over me. The questions and the ‘what if’s’ also came, continued in waves as the years passed.
I remember wondering how I would tell our children that their daddy wasn’t coming home. This was my new life. This was our childrens’ new lives. This was our new normal, our new reality. The detective asked if there was someone I could call. They waited until my dad showed up before they left to announce to my (well she would have been) mother-in-law that her baby boy was no longer alive.
On that night, June 22, 2008, not only did Eric lose his life, but another man did also. Eric was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Caught up in some hideous, egotistical situation that had absolutely nothing to do with him. There were seven people involved in the deaths of two men who would never see their children grow up.
I remember it clear as day.
Funny, I can’t remember the wake or the funeral, or even who told me Eric had been murdered. It’s all a blur to me still today.
10 years ago, we became part of a club no one ever wants to be a part of. But to this day, Survivors of Homicide has been not just another support group, but a family to us.
And though the tears still flow as I am reliving one of the hardest times of my life, I want to share the deepest pain, but also most, deepest, powerful miracle of healing. This is where God came in, to rescue, heal, and restore what has been broken for so long!
Today, I miss Eric deeply, but I can say I have joy and peace knowing that one day I will see his face again!
Original Date December 2018
Revised October 10th, 2020
**Edited by Myself & Tara C