In Memoriam

Gill wrote this about a good friend who died suddenly and tragically last week.

Recently I learned the tragic circumstances relating to the death of a friend of mine. His name was Eric and he lived in Austin Texas. In this I will talk of a few things about him.

How We Met

It began as an ordinary day at this Bible retreat in Michigan on February 15 2005 when I was hanging around in the chapel area. I was kind of wanting a cup of coffee, had put in my order, and was looking lazily to the left, “how do you take your coffee?` one of the volunteers questioned. I replied with a straight face, “black and sweet.` still looking to my left. The figure on the piano bench with the same dead pan delivery replied “black and sweet just like me.` I had heard him speak earlier, but I was faraway and couldn’t get a good look at him. Once I did, normally average Gillian experienced something I had not in a long while. Suddenly I felt my IQ drop from mid range to somewhere below my shoes. At this point, now devoid of reason or any kind of forethought, I made my approach. “You have tuffies.` I explained proudly running my fingers through his curly black hair. Surprisingly he didn’t run for the hills and offered, “tell me about those tuffies.`

Discussions Frank and Funny

Once I was in contact with him a few months after our meeting I couldn’t wait to discuss many topics with him. Many were of a lighthearted nature, but many were very serious. We talked at length about how rap music had mainstreamed from inner-cities to suburbia. One thing that sticks out in my mind is the discussion we had sometime in 2006 when he told me that he was glad to be a black man born after 1960, especially living in the deep south. When America stood ready to elect their first black president I asked him, “do you think he’ll get in?` with out pausing for even the slightest of seconds he said, “it’s about damn time.`

He also had this ability to make me laugh. One January night in 2011 I was talking with him while he prepared a sandwich. I asked him, “do you like white bread?` I could feel that unmistakable smile from three thousand miles away, “no. The only thing white I like is my women.` You can imagine readers an elevator dropping through a basement at a high rate of speed, that if you are wondering was any kind of intelligence on my behalf disappearing.

Words Left Behind

Unfortunately we had a fight, and never resolved things. I am left here readers with this crushing guilt that gradually lifts away, but will probably stay with me in the background like an elephant in a living room.

The Letter

Now I would like to take a moment to have that final chat with him, and express things I would other wise not talk of.

Dear Eric

I know you won’t read this, but here’s just some thoughts and feelings. I am so sorry that our last conversation was so harsh, and that I never had the maturity to resolve things. You know I had a great time at my sister’s birthday party, and her friends liked me for me.

I just want to thank you for the laughs, serious times, and you in your own way introduced me to a different thought path.

general. I also, even though you though you thought it was cornball, did mean how I felt when I sang that song to you last year. You know how hard it is for me to say what it is that I’m thinking? I start and then thoughts freeze on my lips.

This may seem creepy, but I phoned and left a message on your voice mail Wednesday. It took a lot to get through that process, and after I cried, and had to go for a walk.

Finally I just would like to say that when we do meet once more I want to give you the biggest most proper hug that you have ever experienced.


P.S. A million ants will ruin picnics if you let them.

Bye for now

She later sent this as well.

As I am not overly good at expression of feelings in situations like the one most recent here is a couple of poems expressing my feelings.

The Phone Stands Still

My phone rings once, twice, and again
I pick it up anticipating hearing the voice
floating along from the great faraway
no that is distant and gone
I know it’s too late
my actions sealed my fate
my phone remains still


You called me
but I was asleep
and just for fun
you told me to remember
those picnic ruining ants
and the no. 21

Gillie’s thoughts

I thank all of you out there in reader-land who read these things that other wise would have been kept silent.

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  1. I was in total shock when she told me she heard that Eric had died. I never knew the guy, but the idea of losing someone so suddenly is always kind of jarring…and made me think about people who I haven’t spoken to in a while…and how I would feel if I suddenly lost them.

    I’m still searching for an online book of condolences for her to sign if she wants to. if I find it, I’ll either post it in the comments or edit it into the post.

    1. Sadly, if they’re taking donations to pay for a funeral there may not be an online book. Those are usually a service provided by a funeral home, aren’t they?

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