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  • Writer's pictureElana

waves of sorrow

Updated: Jun 7, 2018

On November 5th, the world lost an amazing person.

Erin was one of my sister Tamara’s best friends, my honorary sister, and a self-proclaimed princess.

She was in my life for 20 years, and was battling cancer for too many of those. Tamara said this to me and I can’t put it better: I hate cancer. Erin was one of the most caring, fun-loving people I’ve ever known.

Even after years of illness, her charisma never faded. Even when she was only half of the size of her former physical self, she still shared 100% of her hilarious and loveable personality. And she was so beautiful. Her bright blue-green eyes always sparkled and her rosy cheeks always seemed to smile no matter what hell she was going through. And she was still stunning after she cut off all her hair, started wearing wigs, and had lost too much weight.

A friend and past co-worker of mine recently lost his partner to cancer (I hate cancer so much), and I sent him a quote that I thought might help him through some of the pain. Now I find myself turning to that same quote, as I try to deal with the news of Erin’s passing.

“In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost.” – Anne Sophie Swetchine

It’s so true. Erin can never be lost. She created so many lasting memories with us. She was such a loving person and never let a moment pass where she didn’t let us know how much she cared. It’s ridiculous how it can be so awkward to tell someone how much you care about them at times. She never let it be awkward and always had hugs and smiles and kind words to share. She checked in on me after my surgery to remind me that I was strong and I would get through it. She once told me how brave and courageous she thought I was for writing this blog and pursuing mosaics, and it seemed so ironic coming from her, after what she had survived. She said she was inspired by it and was thinking about starting to write her own story. I don’t think she got the chance…

Some of the love messages Erin left behind, for us to remember her by

Living far away from my family, I sometimes have a hard time processing big changes. It’s not that I think nobody’s lives move on while I’m not there… but there’s a snapshot in my mind of how things were left, and it isn’t easy to reconcile reality with that snapshot when the two don’t match up. I struggled with that this summer after my family dog, Molly, passed away. I’m so glad that I was there to say goodbye to her, but it was difficult for me to understand and accept that she was no longer there because I didn’t have an empty, dogless home to walk into and my life in Seattle felt the same, just sadder. But I would keep remembering that she was gone and so my grief would come in waves.

It feels so surreal now to imagine that Erin isn’t on this earth anymore. My grief and sorrow come in waves, all of a sudden, like a crash of pain and sadness. And, right now, I cry whenever I think of her. Which is okay. Because I have such mixed emotions from relief that she’s not suffering anymore, to sympathy for her family who have already endured so much, and sadness that I can’t have just one more hug or one more laugh or that she won’t be the first to ‘like’ the next picture I post of Mitzi.

I’m so lucky that with Tamara’s shower, bachelorette and wedding this past year, I had a few chances to spend time with her, get hugs and laughs and celebrate wonderful occasions together. And in the future, I hope to follow her example and do a better job of letting the people I love know how much I care about them whenever I can.

“Before someone’s tomorrow has been taken away, cherish those you love, appreciate them today.” – Michelle C. Ustaszeski

I love that girl so much. Always will.

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