Updated: Dec 29, 2022
My mom, Eric and I went to Santorini Greece in October. It was a trip Eric and planned for our 16th wedding anniversary to renew our vows and exchange new rings. Since Eric's passing, I had to decide if I was going to move forward with "our trip". I decided yes and Eric agreed, no audible voice, just a still small one. I was freaking out about the weather. It was stating rain and wind, and a really high chance of rain for the duration of our stay. This was a week before we were to leave. However when we arrived, even though it was cloudy, there wasn't any rain. The skies cleared up for us to see the most beautiful sunset we've ever seen. Eric was shining on us and the remainder of the trip turned out to be fantastic
When I saw the sunset, I noticed something interesting. I've seen plenty of sunsets in my life and have never had the epiphany that I had when we were looking at the beautiful orange, blues, yellows, reds and purples of the end of the sunset in Oia, Santorini. I realized that a sun is like life. it burns hot and as they start to set, there is a point in the setting process where the decline is rapid, it accelerates. It was the same with Eric. There was a point in his illness that he reached, the 'horizon', just like the sun does during a sunset, that accelerated his passing. I noticed when the sun hits the horizon point, the setting is goes quite quickly, within minutes. As opposed to when the sunset starts, which can take hours.
Eric's last two weeks were like the ending of a sunset. I also noticed that that's when the sunset is at it's most beautiful. It's not just bright golden any longer. As when the sun is high in the sky burning bright and warming up the world. But when it starts to set, especially towards the end, It start to turn orange, then adds hues of blues, purples and reds that show such an amazing warmth and an array of color. It's majestic, and then those colors light up the sky, changing how the sunset light resonates against everything that it touches, just like Eric. His light resonated against everything that was near him, even more towards the end of his life.
And then it disappears into the horizon, quickly and the horizon engulfs its light and darkness ensues and the moon brightens. The sun sets to rise somewhere else, to set again. I ask myself was Eric his most beautiful as he was setting? Physically no, he was very ill. But his spirit was. He always had a beautiful spirit, and towards the end of his life, it became even more beautiful. More forgiving, empathetic, enlightened, gracious, thankful, faithful and that light changed the color of the environment around him.
Do I wish I can see his sun again tomorrow? Of course I do. But as with any sunset, the purpose is that the sun is meant to rise some place else. When I had this epiphany, I had just met a lovely young lady, Ephrahti LaFleur, who was soaking up the sun, visiting Santorini, but waiting for the sunset on the cliffs of Oia.
As I had this epiphany, I started to cry and she said, Eric is rising someplace else on the other side of the world, and that made me smile. We, all three of us, had a fantastic time in Greece and I was able to light a candle at a Greek church and release roses in honor of Eric. Eric and I had made plans for the next 10 - 15 yrs. of our lives and then we'd do it again in our 70's. But that changed on September 5th, 2021.
I cannot thank my Mom enough for her support doing this time. She took care of Eric as well and deserved to be with us on our trip. As I stated, we had planned this for our 16th year wedding anniversary, and due to his illness had to cancel. I'm glad we were able to go. Santorini is so lovely, especially Oia. It's very quiet where we were staying and I really appreciated that about our stay.
Every sunset, every sunrise is an ending and a beginning. As one ends, the other begins, such as life itself. As Eric's sunset on September 5th, 2021, I'm sure there was a another person's sunrise. And every time I'm blessed enough to see them both, I'll remember Eric, every time, and think....where is he rising today. My heart is broken, my life changed and the plans will have to be reassessed . For how long will my heart be broken? How many sunsets will I endure thinking of him? Well, that will be forever. When will my heart heal? I cannot tell you, but I know it will someday...as long as the sun continues to rise and set. One of these days the sunsets will not so painful.
I love you babe. I see you everywhere. I say to everyone, "Eric would do this, Eric would do that, Eric would say this". That may never stop, I have not come to terms with your sunset, since I haven't seen your sunrise.