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Two years ago today, I walked out of a courtroom and made the saddest drive to Nashville that I have ever made.
Erik was married to my best friend Kyra and they had an almost-fairytale love story.
I don’t know how many of you have lost someone to suicide, but I can tell you that the grief has a whole different flavor when someone takes themselves out.
Even now, I can barely bring myself to say it. It’s the news you never hope to get, and when you do get it, you are stunned—at least it was that way for me—and I will never forget that day for as long as I live. It was the longest day of my life and the worst day of Kyra’s. I was working when I got a text from my friend Kara saying she had heard that Erik had committed suicide. I immediately brushed it off, because I knew that he would never, ever do that. So I continued to work on the things I was finishing up. She texted again and said she had been wrong—that it wasn’t Erik at all—it was Erik’s boss.
That’s what got my attention. Erik didn’t have a boss.
When your best friend lives 5 hours away, you have very few details to go on when something tragic happens.
I don’t claim to know why people exit the way they do.
As I look back, I see all the signs. I wish so much that I had paid more attention to that nagging feeling I had when I last saw him in December 2014. I had gone to Nashville with a broken heart and he and Kyra wanted to take care of me. They wanted to give me a nice, stress-free weekend away. It was also a time to celebrate mine and Kyra’s birthdays, as we are both December babies. They did what they set out to do. They nurtured me, took me to dinner and made sure I ate. We drove to the Opryland Hotel to look at the Christmas lights and they lovingly tucked me in at the end of the night.
The next morning, Erik’s dad, who is the best omelet maker in the entire universe, made all of us breakfast. And I headed back to Johnson City with hopes of visiting again in a few months. Had I known that would be the last time that I saw Erik, I would have hugged him a little tighter. And I would have held on a little longer when I said what was to be my final in-person goodbye to him.
Pain has deep roots.
Erik, I love you so much and I miss you terribly. I’ve watched Kyra go on without you and I want you to know that she has been so incredibly brave. She doesn’t think she has been, but she continues to put one foot in front of the other and soldiers on. I dare say that had that been me, I would still be in the same pajamas and in a fetal position even two years later. It has been devastating to me to watch her grieve, but oh my goodness, she is so strong. Each day, she gets a little better. Thank you for making my Chica so happy. For turning me into a furniture snob, for almost beating up the man who had my heart at a pig roast when you learned he had disrespected me. In retrospect, I wish Kyra had just let go of your arm so you could’ve stomped him LOL! Thank you for teaching me your stealth driving moves. I still use those to this day and every time I’m successful with one, I say out loud to no one “now that was an Erik Click move!” If I had it to do over, I would have paid more attention than I did. And I would have done anything in the world to save you from yourself. I want you to know that none of us have forgotten you. Your family keeps your spirit alive in every way they can. Your kids are growing up fast and Jude is starting to look just like you. Marina gets prettier every day and I know that you are proud of her just as any Daddy would be. And I pray that one day, a man will love me just as much as you loved Ky.
You are loved. You are missed. And you will never be forgotten.