Last evening my not so happy hubby and I attended a funeral visitation that should not have been. A young girl - 28 beautiful years old - was laid to rest. People came by the hundreds to share a brief moment with family and to express their condolences for this great loss.
We met Erin over ten years ago. She worked at a restaurant in Elmira. We had popped in there for one of our Friday date nights. Erin was our server and when she asked me if I wanted the low calorie dressing on my salad I facetiously asked, "Do you think I need it?" Are you saying I should
pick the low calorie option? What are you really saying?"
The poor girl. She tried so hard to back track and make amends for something she really did not say. But from that moment on we became friends. Instantly. We laughed and she went to get my salad with the low calorie dressing. We made the Sip and Byte a regular destination for a meal out and we always tried to sit in Erin's section. But if we couldn't, that sweet blonde haired dreamy-eyed sweetheart would make a point of finding a moment or two to come and chat and give us a hug. Once she paid for our meal with her own money. Another time when she found out it was our anniversary she made us a special dessert - no charge. She coughed up her tips again - much to our protest but she was determined.
A couple of times, Erin met us for dinner and we soon found out about some of her dreams, her shenanigans and her free spirit. Not sure why she seemed to care so much about us. After all, we were old enough to be her parents but she was genuine and spoke respectfully and encouragingly every time we met. She was the one who showed me how to text. Erin took my old flip phone at the time and patiently walked me through the process. We had some good laughs as we did that.
I particularly remember one time after I had been going through chemotherapy, Gilles and I hadn't been to the Sip and Byte for a while. But when Erin saw me, bald as a baby, she came running up to me and hugged me and cried her eyes out. We all did. I felt like I was holding my own child as she kept reassuring me that things will be okay.
God did not have Erin here for a long time, but the impact she made on us (and many others we discovered last evening at the funeral home) was mind boggling. It both warmed and broke my heart to see all the young people come in droves to share and show respect to their lost friend. "To our special angel..." I wrote on the huge matted photograph of Miss Erin. I couldn't help but cry as I watched the video of photographs circulate on the big screen TV as we waited to file in to speak to the grieving family.
"That should be playing at her wedding, not at her funeral," I leaned over and whispered to my sad hubby."
We never met Erin's family but she spoke so lovingly of them. And they were all so strong and gracious, yesterday...Erin came from fine stock!
I know not why this could happen to someone who seemed to have so much life and zeal for what each day had to offer. But I do know God has plans for all of us and life is so fleeting. How important it is, then, that we get on with things and adopt some of Erin's free spirit.Life, here, is only temporary and there is a better place beyond. I pray that Erin is nestled in the arms of Jesus.
As I shed tears all the way home last evening, I told God that I would gladly (well maybe not gladly, but surely) trade my life to get hers back. But life doesn't work that way. God calls who He calls...I don't understand it right now, but I am convinced that one day, when I do cross into that Great Beyond, I will have all my questions answered and I will know...
Rest well our dear, sweet Erin who brought such joy and laughter to our soul. Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to know your angel, even for a brief moment in the grand scheme.
There was just something...about Erin.