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Mar 03

Easy E and the Ego

I went to a memorial service over the weekend for a guy named Eric, lovingly referred to as Easy E. by many in the recovery community here in Phoenix.  It started raining on my way there, maybe not a big deal for some, but here in Arizona it is always noteworthy. We’re usually very excited when it rains but on this particular day it just added to the somber feeling I already had inside. I must also point out that I have attended my fair share of funerals and services to remember loved ones lost.  However this one was unlike any other I have ever experienced.  I wasn’t especially close to Eric, as a matter of fact he barely knew who I was, but then that didn’t matter much – everyone around here knows Eric  – and to know him, even a little, was to love him. 

As we all pulled into the parking lot the rain lifted, the sun peeked out from behind the clouds and spilled down into the courtyard where people were gathering to greet each other before entering the meeting hall.  Such an interesting group, such a diverse and beautiful blend of family, friends and I’m guessing quite a few mere acquaintances, like me, who just wanted to pay their respects.  For the next two hours Eric’s story played out from the podium, and it was rich. People lined the aisles to come up and say a few words, to share a memory and a couple of Eric’s favorite lines that had become so well known over the years. There was an incredible amount of laughter mixed in with the tears, and that in itself is a refreshing way to grieve, especially when someone is taken so suddenly.  One after another his friends filed by and the theme of his life was powerfully expressed over and over again in the sharing of so many touching experiences. 

You see Eric was a special kind of a guy, a man like no other I’ve met.  There is no doubt that he faced many challenges in life, some of a physical nature that I’m sure many would call great misfortune.  But I believe he was blessed with the gift of living without the burden of the Ego that most of us carry.  Eric had no filter, he didn’t lie, he didn’t care about material possessions, about what people thought of him, or worry about how circumstances would play out.  He lived in the moment every moment of every day.  He laughed when things were funny, pointed out the truth when he saw it and said what he wanted to say without a single thought about judgment or repercussion.  Eric told people he loved them every time he talked to them, he told the men in his life that they were awesome and women that they were beautiful over and over again.  It was said that he was a walking gratitude list and the whole crowd was nodding in agreement. He would remind people of everything good in their lives, even in not so good situations and he would help them to see the good in themselves that they could not recognize on their own. I can honestly say I don’t know what happened to make him the way he was, I don’t know if he was born that way or if something happened that changed him but I do know that he changed everyone around him.  I know that the world would be a better place if we could all say at the end of our time here that the last words we said to each and everyone we knew were “I love you”…… 

On the way home the sky was incredibly beautiful.  I’m sure it is no mere coincidence that God would decorate the sky for Eric’s coming home celebration.  A special welcome for a special man and a reminder to live in state of childlike wonder, free from the burden of the ego, where gratitude and appreciation are as natural as breathing.  Easy E…. Still here, still alive in the hearts of so many, teaching us how to live free…

  • Dori

    Easy E was my nephew. That was the most moving experience I have ever had in my life. To see how much effect Eric had on so many people was overwhelming. He was an angel on Earth, showing people what it means to be gentle, genuine and real. I will keep him in my heart forever. Thank you for writing this awesome tribute.

    • http://janedoerecovery.com/ Jane

      Dori I just saw this and wanted you to know that today has been a humbling experience for me. I’m reading through comments written many months ago and wondering how on earth I managed to overlook them for so long…. Yours especially, here on this post about Eric, was almost more than I could bear. Eric taught me to appreciate people and let them know how important they are and yet I can’t help feeling that I let you down by not responding to such a sweet and heartfelt note. Please know that while terribly belated you still have my deepest condolences and I’m honored that someone who loved him so much took the time to read this. I meant every word. It was a privilege and a blessing to know him.

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