Saturday, April 2, 2011

Erica's Memorial Service

There are a lot of things in life I have tried to either prepare for or protect myself from.  It is safe to say, I was not prepared for this, and I had no protection.

Erica worked for the Norman 911 Communications as a dispatcher.  Because of this, the Norman Police Department provided escort assistance to the church.  The Honor Guard was present and assisted the family and the service.

The service was held on Saturday March 12th, 2011 at 10:00AM at the First Baptist Church in Noble, OK.  The church was packed.  Officiating was my brother Stephen Dover and Rev. Mike Roberts read the obituary.  My cousin Kristal Standridge shared memories of Erica and reflected on Erica as a mother.  Kristal also read a wonderful book titled, Wherever You Are my love will find you, by: Nancy Tillman.  I spoke about the qualities in Erica that I admired and read a poem.  My brother did a wonderful and loving job in his message about Erica.  Through the service three songs were played:
  • One Day at a Time
  • The Breath You Take
  • Sissy's Song
This has to be the hardest thing I've gone through in my life so far.  There is so many things I wish I could have told my sister, if only I had known.  So don't wait, tell your loved ones how you feel, now.  We never know if we'll get tomorrow.   I regret not being more supportive, or telling her more often that I loved her.

If you want to read on I've included the poem I read.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Last Time I Saw Erica

365::225 - The Dark Halfphoto © 2010 Darren Kirby | more info (via: Wylio)
It was Saturday February 26, 2011 at my Great Grandfather's funeral.  My Great Grandfather, William "Skeet" Moody, was 97.  The family gathered for his service and to say our goodbyes.  This would be the last time I saw Erica.  When I first saw her, I thought to myself, she looks great.  Her daughters were with her and she was smiling.  Even though we were gathered for a funeral she still had her sarcastic humor (it runs in the family).  After the service we all gathered to visit an reminisce about Grandpa and our lives.  Erica talked about her college classes she was taking and the marathons she had coming up.  I was happy for her.

Later that night we met at my parent's house.  Several relatives came over and we had hot dogs.  We were all gathered around the dining table where my brother and aunt Marilyn were entertaining us with their crude stories.  We all had some great laughs.  The time was getting late and we said our goodbyes.  I had NO idea this would be the last time I saw Erica.  There is a hole in my heart.

Does anyone else see the strange irony in this?

The Nausea of Grief

Sick Kittyphoto © 2008 Pete Markham | more info (via: Wylio)

For those out there who have never lost anyone close, there is more to your reaction than just tears.  I was immediately sick to my stomach.  The feeling of nausea took over my body.  From Tuesday when I heard the news through Wednesday, I barely ate anything.  By Thursday morning I was hungry but eating ended up being a bad idea.  I decided on a protein shake, I usually have one every morning.  I made my way to the kitchen, mixed up my protein shake, and down it went.  It tasted pretty good.  Within two minutes it was on my bedroom floor.  I couldn't even make it to the bathroom.  My husband, being the great guy he is, cleaned it up for me.  Now the tears started and I was a huge grief stricken mess.  I felt like the poor little sick kitty in the photo, helpless, sad, overwhelmed, and looking for answers.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Day After

Haystack under Cloudy Skiesphoto © 2003 [n|ck] | more info (via: Wylio)

Erica's journey on this earth was over, however our struggles had just begun.  The emotional pain I felt grieving Erica was unlike any I had ever experienced.  The day after her death, my husband and I were at my parent's house trying to be helpful and make sense of what happened.  My parents had numerous visitors, family, friends, and neighbors stopped by to give us their condolences.  Many of them brought food and supplies to help us in our time of sorrow.  The hardest part was hearing my parents repeat the story over and over.  Erica was a huge part of my parents life.  Erica had gone through a divorce a couple of years ago, so she and her daughters moved in with my parents.  Erica's passing has left a gaping hole in their hearts and lives.  Watching my parents, brother, and family grieve was almost to much to handle.  The worry and stress about my nieces, who are six and thirteen, will be a daily battle for a long time.

Did you know that your emotions can make you nauseous?  We had all this food around us and nothing sounded good.  My stomach was sick and my heart hurt.  I didn't have a plan for this.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Cause of Death

At this time what the Doctors believe happened was Erica had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic she was taking after having a minor out-patient surgery a week prior.  The medical examiner report won't be finished until sometime in June.  I will let you know the antibiotic after we have confirmation. 

Erica's Senior Picture
It is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that a simple thing like an antibiotic took my sisters life.  Everyday millions of people take medications in the hopes it will make them better.  In this case it did the complete opposite.  Now my two nieces are without their Mother.  My heart breaks for them and for our family.

The Day We Lost Erica

The stone cross on the hillphoto © 2008 Tambako The Jaguar | more info (via: Wylio)

The day we lost Erica, Tuesday March 8, 2011, started like any other day.  I went to work.  After work I did a little shopping and then went home.  About 5:00 PM I started making dinner for my husband.  My Mother calls about 5:10 PM and told me that Erica was having a difficult time breathing, and that they called an ambulance and she was headed to the hospital.  We talked for a little bit about her day, I reassured her Erica would be fine, and we hung up.  I continued making dinner, Sweet and Sour Meatballs.  I told myself Erica is strong she will be fine, she’s only 34, everything will be okay.  The phone rings again at 6:15PM and it’s my Mother.  Immediately I know it’s not fine.  She can hardly make out the words that Erica didn’t make it.  All I could say is it will be okay, I’m on my way.  I knew it wouldn’t be okay but I didn’t know what else to say.  At this point I’m hysterical and sick to my stomach.  My husband wasn’t home from work yet.  I felt out of control.  What had just happened?