Roop Vision

Sunday, November 8, 2009 (9:00 pm)

Goodbye, Erin.

Filed under: Life,Misc.,Photography — daweathaman @ 9:00 pm

erin_frontheader1

Last Monday, the worst night of my life happened. As Erin and I were crossing Archer Road after getting of an RTS bus, she was hit by a car while I was inches away. I dove to miss the car, but Erin wasn’t lucky. She was transported to Shands at UF with trauma alerts issued. She suffered an extensive amount of internal damage and she slipped away about 90 minutes after it happened. The trauma surgeon, who I was told was the best around, broke the news to me and her father via speakerphone since he was at work in Wyoming. I fell to pieces once he said the words “we lost her.” I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.

It’s been six days since then and I am back at the apartment Erin and I once shared. I feel emotionally and physically exhausted. I feel just…lost in a daze. I’m not sure what to do next. The woman I have happily been with for the last four years is no longer here with me – just like that.

Yesterday, her memorial was held in Ocala at the First Presbyterian Church. I wrote a speech for the memorial and I would like to share it with those who couldn’t attend:


When I was at CFCC [Central Florida Community College] *ahem* years ago, I remember noticing her around campus. Didn’t know her name or anything about her, but I would notice her walking around in her scrubs or even shopping in the grocery store I was working at. There was just something about her I couldn’t put my finger on. I never knew who she was, though, until we met in Chemistry I. We would have our first conversations in Chemistry lab and would soon become friends, study-buddies, and chemistry lab partners. Over time, I felt like she was someone who I could open up to. She had that glow of affability and trust to where I could tell her just about anything, except that I was starting to get a crush on her. However, little did I know that she felt the same way.

Not long after I found out she got out of a bad relationship, a friend told me something like “dude, she has the hots for you.” Now, that blew me away. Our first date, movie and kiss was on June 10, 2005. It’s a night I will not forget.

I won’t forget our nerd trips to the bookstores or our trips to the beach. I won’t forget our trips and little vacations we had, from Miami, Key West and the Bahamas to Texas to Savannah. Nor will I forget the times we laughed together, cried together, or just cuddled up just for the heck of it. I won’t forget how Erin took care of me whenever I was sick and made me chicken soup, or sang to me at night when I was stressed and couldn’t fall asleep. I will never forget that cute, beautiful smile that she always had. I loved it when she smiled.

Erin also had a big heart. Erin always thought about others and how to make people happy, including me. She was a very strong young lady with class, love and intelligence. It’s just some of the many reasons why I love her so much.

She was no doubt an animal lover. The only kids we have had are Opie, her crazy and jumpy dog, and our cats: The finicky “Mouse”, the loud and loving “Moo” and our crippled but smarter-and-stubborn-than-the-average-cat “Toadie.” There are many more pets she has had throughout her life. Including Frank, the lizard. Erin rescued Frank from the inside of a Books-a-Million this past winter. He was cold and, as she thought, in danger. She took him home and placed him in the window so he could get some sun and stay warm, and so the cats wouldn’t have a feast. It was about a week and the temperatures were finally getting above freezing. I told Erin that I thought she should let him go. She hesitated a little, but decided it was best. It goes to show how much she loved animals and how much of a great veterinarian she would have been.

I always thought we would be together until we grew old and have our property with all of her animals. Since I’m a Ham radio operator, I wanted antennas in our yard. She wanted goats. Erin and I then, jokingly, decided to blend the two together and have goats with antennas on their heads. I remember the first time we mentioned that to Erin’s mother, she gave us the look like “What’s the matter with you two?”

However, Monday night was undoubtedly the worst night of my life as I was there when she was taken from me. I was thinking “Please, God. Don’t take her from me.” I need her. She’s my rock, my soulmate, my lover, my best friend. She’s irreplaceable. But God has other plans. Why he took her now, I will never know.

I hope that one day, whenever it’s my time, I will get to be with her again in our own house, property, antennas, goats, and, yes, goats with antennas on their heads.

Lastly, I told my friend something after Erin’s passing that I feel is important for everyone. I essentially said, “When you go home to your loved one tonight, hug her, tell her that you love her and never, ever take one second for granted. You never know when a moment with each other will be your last.” I have stopped counting how many times a day I told Erin I loved her. I made sure I told her that, and you can never, ever say it enough.

I love you, Erin and I miss you so much. I can’t wait until we’re together again.

The night before, I created a music slideshow on Aperture to present at the reception (I’ll try to post that in SoundSlides format in the coming days). It was some of the best photos and memories I had during our time together. Andrea, her sister, and I also scanned lots of photos from birth to recent and complied them for show after the slideshow.

Again, I am not sure what to do or where to begin. On my whiteboard (yes, I have a whiteboard – Charles=nerd), I have “What to do next” written on it and below that, a big question mark.

I want to find a way to complete this semester successfully and pass everything so I don’t have to waste anymore time at UF. I’ll get with my instructors on that sometime soon. I still need to take the GRE and I definitely think that will not happen until at least December. Days before she passed away and months after I ditched journalism, she told me that I “would be a kick-ass meteorologist” and that I was “so qualified.” And, as she reminded me, she wasn’t BS-ing. This is something I have wanted to do for a while and I love this field too much. I’m not just doing it for me, I’m doing it for her.

Also, I need to figure out how I am going to take care of all three cats and a black lab. Erin was highly selective on who could take care of her pets. I need some time on that one.

I am trying to figure out what to do about what happened. Media reports state that this was the third accident of its kind recently. The bus stop that we get off at is something I feared that an injury and death would one day occur since RTS riders have to cross six lanes of traffic, even at night (there is no lighting whatsoever at that stop). Something needs to change. I’m not sure how to go about it, though. Eventually, the City of Gainesville will be hearing from me. This should not happen again.

My mom and I, as well as Erin’s dad, cousin and grandmother, came to the wall on SW 34th Street this afternoon to view the painting that Erin’s friends and co-workers at Gainesville Animal Hospital created. I was happy to see such love for her painted on this wall. Luckily, we found some orange and blue paint left behind and wrote our names and comments on the wall others. Erin’s grandmother wrote “Phil [Philippians] 4:13” and her cousin wrote “Gone too soon.”

In Memory of Erin 2

In Memory of Erin 1

In Memory of Erin 3

In Memory of Erin 4

A couple of people asked me if there was anything in the apartment should be removed that bothers me. The only thing I cried my eyes out is when I found the promise ring I gave her two years ago. It was my promise to her that I would be with her for the rest of her life through thick and thin.

My life has changed forever. The love of my life is gone from Earth, but not forgotten. It also reinforced the fact that no one is guaranteed a tomorrow.  This is going to take time – weeks, months, maybe years. But I will not forget that one, special young lady who changed my life for the better.

I love you, Erin.

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4 Comments »

  1. My deepest condolences, Charles. Please contact me if you need anything, or just want to talk.

    Comment by Jeff Gammons — Sunday, November 8, 2009 (10:48 pm) @ 10:48 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Jeff for your comforting words to our grieving Charles.
      I just want you to know Charles DID make it,he graduated yesterday (05-01-10) from the University of Florida.
      When Charles walked across the platform and received his diploma I placed a small seed pearl in the special
      live red rose I had purchased for the occasion.
      Call me a sentmental grandma,but Erin’s love for Charles had to be manifested on his very special day.

      Phillipians 4:13 (Erin’s favorite Bible verse)

      Comment by Evelyn "Grandma Pelton" — Sunday, May 2, 2010 (4:19 pm) @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  2. God Bless you Charles, We love you and Pray Jesus will be with you during this very sad time for us all.
    Remember your precious Soulmate will forever be with us and you are doing a great job keeping her memory alive with words and photography. Thanks, Grandma Pelton

    Comment by Evelyn Pelton — Wednesday, December 2, 2009 (8:36 pm) @ 8:36 pm | Reply

  3. Dear Charles,

    I don’t know if you remember me. I think we met for the first time at Erin’s Grandparents, Bud and Evelyn Pelton’s 50th Wedding Anniversary Party. They are my husband and my best friends in Dunnellon. They were so proud of her. And they are very proud of you also. They consider you family and always will.

    What a beautiful good bye to Erin you have written here. She was a very special girl and you are a very special guy! You are right, we don’t know why God took Erin so early. But I can promise you this…God has a plan and He is in control.
    I Peter 5:7 reads, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” and He will give you strength.

    If there is anything we can do for you please let us know.

    God Bless you and keep you,
    Mary

    Comment by Mary Tolbert — Friday, December 4, 2009 (11:06 am) @ 11:06 am | Reply


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