I’ve had a tremendous amount of change this past year. Last year, my marriage was fast approaching its end. Once it crashed and burned, I moved into my own place, started getting out more, writing more, meeting more people. Hell, I’ve been lucky enough to meet one hell of a special woman recently. Things have been turning around for the better.
Then last night I found out a special friend of mine died at the age of 36. Erica Robinson was an amazing woman. Our paths crossed when I worked at Best Buy. (I no longer work there so have no problems discussing this.) Best Buy had this inter-store message board called Watercooler which was pretty revolutionary. It allowed people from all over the company to communicate with each other about store issues and frankly, just to talk. Numerous friendships from people all over the country developed. Marriages occurred. I look at my Facebook friends list and still see a number of people who I’ve never met in person but who’s presence in my life has meant a lot thanks to that silly old Best Buy Watercooler.
I first split from my ex in 2009. During that time, Erica was a constant in my life, giving me encouragement when I needed it and simply being a friend. A ray of light if you will. I ended up getting back with my ex but as marriages go, we ended up splitting for good. It was painful when it happened but we both became happier and better people because of it.
Fast forward to last night. Facebook being what it is, I came across a post on Erica’s Facebook page from a friend of her’s talking about being sad she was gone. I inquired what was going on and heard the news that she had passed away at the age of 36 due to a heart attack.
I was devastated. We had reconnected recently but hadn’t spoken as much as I would have liked. To hear that she wouldn’t be around anymore, that she had died…I was simply at a loss to how to react.
Death is a finale. (No shit, dumbass!) But that doesn’t mean their memory has to end. Erica meant a lot to me and other folks she interacted with on the good old Best Buy Watercooler system. She was almost like the den mother of Watercooler. Erica left behind two children, one teenage daughter and one toddler son. Her husband will have to live life without the companionship of an amazing woman.
As of now, I am not aware of a GoFundMe campaign set up by her family. If I hear of one, I’ll certainly do my best to relay that information because sudden deaths like this do a lot to ravage the average family in America. Erica was a special soul. I’m an atheist myself so to me, death is it. There’s nothing else waiting for you when you die. But a soul passing doesn’t mean the living need to live their lives in constant sorrow. The best way to honor someone who dies is to honor their memory with people you love. Hug them. Kiss them. Hold them close. Show them they mean the world to you. For Erica, I think of the words of Doctor Leonard McCoy, who commented on the passing of his friend Commander Spock. To paraphrase…
“She’s not really dead. As long as we remember her.”