Death stood by during Erik's last six years. He tried on a number of occasions to take Erik home, but Love (there is NO other explanation of how he survived those years) knew we weren't ready to let him go. However, Time, Death's plodding brother, is patient, and ultimately Death and Time always have their way.
Being a woman of a certain age, I am all to familiar with Death. He's claimed my grandparents, my parents, and some dear friends. Sometimes, he seems to come out of nowhere. But other times, he works more slowly and noticeably. We expect Death to come to the elderly. I've learned that it doesn't make it easier for those of us left in the wake. However, when Death takes a child or a young person either suddenly or over time, as was the case for Erik, he leaves behind broken hearts that sometimes never heal.
My heart has healed albeit there are fractures and a few very large holes. Intellectually, I knew even then, that the quality of his life was so diminished and that he suffered, though never complained. He is, I believe, in Heaven, that he is at peace and free of the earthly body that failed him, but friends, even knowing this, you never "get over it." You learn to live with it-I guess you sort of get used to it. Healing takes time, patience, love, and understanding. I, too, am heavily dependent on my faith to see me through.
Now, I have tender days, days when I miss Erik so I can hardly breathe, but as time goes on, those days are less frequent. As this date approaches each year, I am at my most tender. My emotions get the best of me, and I frequently blink away tears. I think, I should have mastered this by now, but I haven't. Perhaps I never will.
Today, I am tender, but I am also so very grateful for the time I had with this child, the time we all had with this child. The pain of loss, is at times unbearable-ah, but his living years...for those years I am grateful.