To Eric’s family and closest friends:
Please read this with an open mind and an open heart. This is how Eric touched my life, my account, my story. I hope my words do not offend. I hope I was respectful. I hope something positive can come from this. PLEASE let me know if anything I have written comes across as rude, disrespectful, or wrong and I’ll do my best to fix it.
Some time ago, as I was walking through the city, I passed a shrine. For what seemed like no reason at all, I snapped a photograph, instantly burying it in the depths of my hard drive.
Who was this shrine for? Who passed away? Was it a child that died? Was the child a little girl? What happened to her?
I suppose my reactions could be perceived as overly theatrical. I’m not sure.
Someone I knew, a friend of mine, Eric, passed away very recently. I wouldn’t say we were extremely close. We didn’t know each other for very long, but he was always kind to me. He was kind to everyone, never asking for anything in return.
Every time I close my eyes, every time I dream, I see Eric’s face. I can clearly see his big, dopey eyes. In my dreams, he is grinning, cheesing from ear to ear, like always, missing tooth and all. His goofy laugh echoes all around me. I can hear his voice, words unclear, yet warm, welcoming, and kind.
He hardly knew me at all, yet he opened his heart and his house to me when I was going through difficult times. He fed me when he knew I hadn’t eaten that day. Whatever he had, no matter how small the amount, he gave, no questions asked.
Eric was a musician, his love for music unmatched by anyone I have ever known. I remember his room and lawn, handmade instruments scattered throughout. His smooth singing voice. His vast repertoire of music, composing, songwriting, and more. Upon meeting Eric, I developed a deeper, richer love for music in my own life.
He was truly an amazing man. I never fully appreciated or even understood the true nature of his altruistic character, so simple, so pure. Yet, with all of his gifts, his huge heart, and undeniable talent, he was flawed, he was broken, he was Human.
Eric probably didn’t remember me. I doubt my name or face even crossed his mind in the days before his passing. The impact of his Death, the grief, the unyielding pain that his family and friends must be going through, weighs heavily on my thoughts. My heart feels heavy. I find myself face to face with the demons of my own mortality. I can see my future. I see darkness. I see images of my own corpse. I see my family and friends grieving over my passing. I see myself in someone else’s dreams, like Eric has been in mine.
You didn’t have to show me love, you didn’t have to make me laugh when I was feeling down, you definitely didn’t have to offer me a place to stay when I needed it, you didn’t have do any of those things; I was practically a stranger!
I will never get the chance to tell you this in person and, for that, I’m sorry. I will never have the chance hug you again, never hear you strum guitar again, never get the opportunity to thank you, face to face. It isn’t right! You deserved better! I promise, I will continue to spread kindness, empathy, and compassion to as many people as I can, the same as you showed me. My fiery passion for music will never be extinguished, just as yours did. I will never forget your eyes, your smile, your silent cry for help. I promise this, for you.
I will hold you close, in my thoughts, in my heart, in my dreams, Nameless nevermore.
Image uploaded from Eric Gabitsch Facebook page