A good friend of mine, Jason, is one of the most spastic, energetic, and dynamic folks I know and when he first met Erica his response was "wow! it's like she was shot out of a canon!" It might be the best description of her I've ever heard. She was larger than life and for someone who barely broke 5 feet tall it was astounding to watch her fill a room with her personality, joy and energy. She was a tiny star and when you were near her it was impossible to escape her orbit. Today her husband Josh, her children Hattie, Rowan, Yael, Louisa and Japeth and her beloved family and friends feel the terrible loss of her light but I believe that all of us who loved Erica can also still feel the light of her love. It was so strong I know that we always will.
I don't think that she would have considered herself to be brave, but Bravery was her defining characteristic. She was a mother who wanted her children to be extraordinary and she odored their independence and creativity. Some parents want docile children, Erica wanted amazing ones and she got them! She was a wife who wanted to love passionately without holding anything back, whenever she would talk about Josh her eyes would light up and she would gush about how amazing he was. She was an artist who wanted to create from her soul and dared to share that with everyone no matter how she doubted her own ability.. Real bravery is not never being afraid, real bravery is being afraid and taking that step forward anyway, no one I Know stepped forward so far and so resolutely as Erica. She knew that life was a fragile thing, maybe more than most of us do, maybe that's why she lived it a little more colorfully than most of us do.
The first time I met her was to do a tattoo of a mermaid on her leg, I was astounded that she had driven 5 hours to get tattooed for 5 hours and would than drive home for another 5 hours. She told me that she had been afraid to get lost in the city and that the drive home would be very late. When I mentioned that there were plenty of good tatooers in her area and that it might have been easier for her to get the tattoo from them she said "No way, this is like a vacation for me!" Then she took 500 pictures of us. When we got finished I suggested getting a meal before her long drive home and I mentioned the Indian place around the corner. "I've never has Indian food" she told me, "let's go!" When the food came she looked at it nervously for a second but then she took a bite and said "That's awesome!"
The next tattoo it was sushi. Then Ethiopian food, then Vietnamese. Every time she told Cara and I that she was nervous to eat this weird food, and every time she dove in. She never quit exploring. She called us "life-friends" and I never knew exactly what that meant but I did know that it was a wonderful privilege to be one. Because she never was afraid to tell you her true feelings you always knew how scared she was to try something new, and yet time after time she did it.
Erica is beyond fear now, she is beyond pain. We talked many times during the hours and hours I tattooed her, we both agreed that while no one really knows what happens after we pass away, Erica felt that there is something in each of us that keeps going on inside those that we love. Our energy returns to the universe that we are a part of and all of us here today take a little bit of it with us. I think that she would have wanted us to have her bravery and her love. Erica, we love you.