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April 28, 2015

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April 28, 2015

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December 1, 2009
Erik’s Eulogy

How heartwarming it is to see that so many of you have come to bid Erik a fond farewell. Toward the end of his life, he often felt so lonely, but as I look out at this large gathering today, clearly he is deeply loved.

I do want my words to offer comfort to friends and family, and I hope that they ultimately will, but I also hunger to share my grief and purge this awful darkness from my heart. When a mother loses a son or daughter, the tragic horror of it all reaches the most intense level imaginable. For me, the world has lost all of its color and is draped in a dreary gray. It’s as though we mothers are bonded to our children with an invisible umbilical cord that is both physical and emotional in nature. When severed, especially in such a sudden and unanticipated way, there is great pain. I carry a heavy cloak of sadness on my shoulders that I cannot shirk. But as the days pass, that cloak lightens and the pain lessens, thanks to the solace and support of friends and family. I’m so grateful to you all.

Erik and I shared a lovely bond. During his childhood, we lavished each other with affection and attention. I’d take him on his special Buddy Day once a week to have ice cream at Baskin Robbins, visit his favorite stores, play in the park or go to the movies. We even had a special handshake and saying that only he and I shared. Every night I read him bedtime stories, sang his favorite lullabies, shared with him all those qualities that made him so special to me and told him how very grateful I was that he chose to be a part of my life.

We spent a lot of time together, Erik and I, particularly during the years I homeschooled him. To satisfy that voracious appetite of his, we made many trips to Goode Company, Chick-Fil-A, Subway, and other places. I loved those many moments when we simply sat outside to enjoy each other’s company.

We also shared some of the same taste in music. We loved to hang out in his truck together listening to AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Heart, and other great bands. Of course sometimes we had to compromise on the volume, especially when Lil Wayne was blasting through his system. I miss listening to his amazing guitar playing, watching him practice his welding, and hearing in great and often excessive detail about the subjects that enthralled him so. He was a man of immense passion.

Erik also had a gift for noticing the beauty around him. Even as a toddler, his sense of aesthetics was very keen, especially for beautiful women. He’d tell them how lovely their dress looked, how soft their hair felt, and how much he loved them. He even begged his preschool teacher, Ms. Kane, to wait for him instead of marrying her fiancée. One of the funniest memories I have of Erik happened while we were vacationing in the Cayman Islands. We were all sitting together around a large table at an outdoor restaurant. He was sitting in his grandmother’s cozy lap snuggling against her chest. After a while, he sat up a little, pulled at the collar of her t-shirt and peered inside with great interest. Then he looked into her face and said with fond admiration, “Nice boobs, Bestemor.”

Although I have regrets as most mothers do, I am so grateful that I told him I loved him every day, several times a day and that he did the same for me. I smothered him with hugs and kisses as often as his tolerance would allow and whenever he caught me gazing at him with a sappy look of adoration, he’d roll his eyes with a smile on his face and tell me how annoying I was. I want so deeply to annoy him once more.

Like most of us, Erik had plenty of ups and downs, but when his failures outnumbered his successes, I’d say, ‘Erik, I am never disappointed in you. I know that each of us have to travel our own path in life and those paths are all unique. For some, that journey is littered with some serious potholes, but each is a teachable moment to be treasured because they bring us wisdom, compassion and soulfulness. As long as the defeats are steppingstones to success rather than weapons to sabotage self worth, it’ll all be okay, Erik. I have faith in you.’

Erik was such a wonderful soul. So gentle. So sweet. So affectionate. So sensitive. So concerned for the feelings of others. As most of you know, he had a charming sense of humor that could lift the moods of all around him. Oh and that smile. That loving, kindhearted, and often rascally smile. His smile lit up the world with warmth and joy. I miss that smile.

I truly believe Erik graced our lives to teach us something. Maybe that something was to learn to love and accept each other unconditionally in spite of our quirks and flaws. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if a person went to Harvard or HCC, has lost a job with no prospects for one in the near future, brings home a report card that isn’t perfect, or aspires to be a blue collar worker rather than a doctor or a lawyer. What really matters is how deeply we love and are loved. I hope we all remember that when our kids leave for school every morning and go to bed every night. Erik sacrificed in great anguish to pass those lessons along to us.

I take great comfort in knowing that Erik is at peace now, free from anguish and pain. I know that he’s in the loving care of Aunt Neecy, Bestemor, his close friends, Allie and Jordan, among others. I pray that he will comfort and care for us until we are all united once more.

Erik, my baby boy, my darling angel, the world is a dimmer place without you. But I am grateful and honored that the angels loaned you to us for twenty beautiful years, years I will forever cherish. You have made me a better person and the world a better place. I love you with all of my heart.

December 1, 2009
Kjære Rune og Elisa
Då Knut Bjørn ringde tysdag kveld, vart det mykje gråt her på Hellinghaug. Det er så vanskeleg å forstå at Erik Rune ikkje er blant oss lenger. Det følgde alltid noko stilt og godt med Erik. Og det gode smilet – slik Kristina så riktig minner om i den varme og oppriktige omtalen av Erik i Houston Chronicle.
I desse tunge dagane vil eg ta fram noko lyst. Eg tenkjer på at du Rune og du Elisa har bygd opp ein god heim, der barna alltid er midtpunktet. Og det eneståande samholdet i familien. Dette er frukter av mors og fars kjærleik. Og i eit slikt godt og varmt familiemiljø vaks Erik opp.
Det er godt å tenke på dette no.
Sorg og saknad kan ingen overta. Det blir ein åleine om. Men gode venner og ein trygg familie – slik som hjå dykk – hjelper til å bera sorga og saknet. Det er så godt å tenke på at du Rune har Elisa ved din side og at du Elisa har Rune, og saman med Kristina og Houston, Michelle og Shane, Lukas og Annika støttar kvarandre.

Så sit eg no her og tenker på Erik Rune – frå den første turen hans til Hellinghaug – til Hol kyrkje, der namnet Erik Rune for første gong vart nemnt offisielt. Så etter kvart dei mange turane til Hol, og dei gode samvære på Hellinghaug – der bestemor Åslaug laga julehøgtid så mang ein gong. Og så dei seinare åra, då vi kunne samlast på Øldehaugen. Holsåsen var noko viktig for Erik – det fortel dei mange bilda Erik har derifrå, i sin facebook.
Bilder er godt å ha, dei må ein ta vare på. Det beste bilde av Erik ber vi likevel med oss i minnet – der vil den gode guten alltid vera; hjå mamma og pappa, hjå sysken, tanter, onklar, syskenbarn og bestefar.
Det var så godt at Margaret, Knut Bjørn og Bente Karin får vera saman med dykk desse dagane. I dag samlast de i Memorial Oaks Funeral Home – og i morgon i the Chapel of Memorial Oaks. Eg ville så gjerne ha vore saman med dykk desse dagane. Men i tankane er eg med.

December 1, 2009
Kristina's Eulogy

My sweet little brother. I love you so much. I will miss you forever and always. I wonder what Thanksgiving and Christmas will be like without you. I cry just thinking about how you will not be a groomsman at my wedding one day. I am sad because I feel in this world you did not fully comprehend how much you were loved. But I think now, in Heaven, you do. Now you are free. I never thought I would be writing your obituary, or speaking at your memorial service. You were supposed to be doing that for me one day. I used to carry you around on my hip, just 1 or 2 years old at the time, when you were just a toddler. I beat up the bullies for you, but I guess I couldn't protect you from everything. I know I will never get over the loss of you, my little brother. But I hope the memories that now make me sad will one day make me smile in fond, loving memory of you.

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

Your big sister, Kristina
December 1, 2009
A Eulogy for My Little Brother, Erik

My dear brother, my kindred spirit, my little partner in crime. I stand up here today in a reluctant state of disbelief. Since your untimely passing, my head has been savagely inundated with countless blissful memories of our life together. Our bond was so special and unbreakable, and I will miss our crazy endeavors as a perfect pair. Because there is simply no time to verbalize every sweet recollection of your beautiful existence as my little brother, I ask each lamenting soul in this room to envision your angelic, smiling face.
Those who have had the divine honor of sharing a part of their life with Erik will forever remember how sweet and caring he was, especially toward his only niece, Arleen. She was his pride and joy, and he loved her to unfathomable depths.
While he was still among us, his love for everyone radiated from all possible places in his heart. It is comforting to know that an immeasurable amount of it continues to touch everyone here and beyond. His warm hand is constantly trying to alleviate the pain and suffering felt as a result of his passing. I am undoubtedly assured that his torment has ceased to cast a heavy darkness on his pure spirit. His worldly chains have finally been lifted, and, as a result, his face can be felt on your skin when the sun beams down from the Heavens. His fingers can be felt combing through your hair when a cool breeze gently refreshes your face. His soul is the rain that is slowly washing away all this anguish. Never second-guess his presence, for he is always around us, breathing happiness into our darkened souls bit by bit. Erik, my love for you is and will always be without Earthly bounds. Blessed be the day when we meet again. You’re my main man.

I love you sweetheart.

Your big sister, Michelle
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