Here are two stories of things that happened, that I know was Erin letting us all know how much she cares and that she is still around “somewhere.”
I have a mentally-disabled uncle, Uncle Joel, who was born with reduced mental faculties and lives with one of my aunts since my grandparents passed away. A few years ago, Erin wanted to send him something for Christmas and she knew exactly what. We went to Build A Bear, and she picked out a modestly priced brown stuffed bear. When it came time to name him, I suggested naming him Catfish. All of my life, that has been Uncle Joel’s nickname (I have no idea why!). Erin loved the idea, and so that is his name. I forgot to mention that she put a sound into the bear. It says “I love you” when you push it.
We found out after giving the gift that uncle Joel had never had a stuffed animal in his life. And he LOVED Catfish. Of course that tickled Erin, and my aunt would regularly tell us how he slept with it and would press the sound every night to hear I love you.
She shared with me that on the night that Erin passed, Catfish hadn’t been in Uncle Joel’s bed for several days. They had cleaned up and he ended up on the table. But that night at bedtime, a few hours before Erin died, he asked for Catfish. When he pushed the button, though, the sound no longer worked. This was very close to the time that Erin passed, and I suspect her soul had already left her little body. This wasn’t lost on my aunt, either.
I found out last week that someone had sent a very nice vase of flowers to Erin’s 5th grade class in honor of Erin. She never got to start, but from what I understand they had reserved a seat for her, etc. My friend who spoke to her teacher (who had previously taught my friend’s son), wasn’t clear on if the flowers were placed on Erin’s desk to be or elsewhere, but the teacher was flabbergasted that they had remained perfectly fresh for two entire weeks. Even with great care, that just doesn’t happen. I believe the teacher noticed this as some type of message, and my friend felt the same. So do I. Erin was so excited about the 5th grade, she loved her friends, and she was excited about this particular teacher. I think she was there in class, making those pretty flowers stay pretty.
As a side note, when we returned from the hospital, our flower garden had bloomed out like nuts. It wouldn’t grow all dang year, and then it’s overflowing? I noticed it, immediately.
I guess that was 3 stories. I have said this once already, but if you have stories or memories of Erin, please send them to me. You have no idea how much I would appreciate hearing them. And I would love to post them, too, so let me know when you send if that’s not OK.