Thursday, May 31, 2012

Small moments: Remembering a friend

Erica (right) and I, 1996
Here is a memory of my friend Erica from years ago -- probably in the early nineties.

I am in a department store in Oxford, Ohio, with  Erica. Erica is probably my closest friend,  and she's a great shopping partner--especially clothes shopping. She has good taste and I trust her to steer me in the right sartorial direction -- toward the most flattering styles. For the iffy choices, she says things like, "it doesn't do anything to you, but it doesn't do anything for you either." Or "Well... It's not unwearable." (Erica uses double-negatives when she is non-committal, a habit I  picked up from her). When she approves of an outfit,  she says emphatically "You can't leave the store without this."

Anyway, we are in the Ladies Sportswear on this particular shopping day.  We find we're both drawn to the same blue and white seersucker A-line skirt, and we both decide to try it on. I pick out the size for my just-under-six-foot-tall frame and she picks out the petite version for her gamine figure. She is least 8  inches shorter than I. Into the dressing rooms we go, and back out again moments later. Not Good. We both look down and grimace. Walking over toward the panoramic mirror, we stand side by side and assess the situation. 

Erica:                 I can't do seersucker. You can  get away with it, because you're tall.
Me:                    Erica. I look like a house.
Erica: (smiling) Well, then I'm the garage.

It is such a small, forgettable moment. But as we stand together in front the mirror,  I feel how unique and wonderful she is.  Erica possesses intelligence, generosity, a sense of humor, and an endearing quirkiness. She's an original.

I learned  last night that Erica has passed away. She had been battling a terrible illness, and had a setback. But she'd held her own so long, and the Facebook postings were upbeat. I didn't monitor closely, and when I checked back after a few days lapsed, I saw her memorial service announcement.  I picked up my orange tabby cat, Newman, and hugged him. I remembered that it was Erica the cat lover who inspired me to bring cats in my life, and who was so helpful with my questions about their care and habits. The pet names I use for my cats came from Erica. She's with me in small ways,  from how I talk to my cats,  to the turns of phrase I use, the way I think about libraries, and other small things.
Erica, you have touched so many lives, mine included.  Sleep in peace.

Erica Lilly


  1. I'm so sorry. And yikes. She was born a year later than me!

  2. A touching tribute! I am sorry to read about your loss.

  3. What a beautiful post. You have brought Erica to life for all of us.

    So sorry to hear of her passing. Losing a close friend like that causes a unique sorrow. Hug Newman for me too in her honor. Every touch of love eases the pain.

    Rest in peace, Erica. You were well loved, and still are.

  4. My condolences...good friends are precious & rare. This post reminded me to wake up grateful, quit worrying so much, and to enjoy life. We don't get to do this twice.

  5. Such a lovely story, and touching memorial to Erica. It sounds like she continues to live on and touch your life in many sweet ways. Sorry for your loss.

  6. I am very sorry to hear of your friend's passing.

    You painted a lovely picture for us. Keep her with you always.

  7. You have done a beautiful job of sharing her personality and spirit in not very many words.

    Peace to all.

  8. My first visit here...and I have tears in my eyes, remembering a dear friend no longer here on earth.

    I find your blog fascinating.

  9. What a lovely post. Now we too can pause a moment to remember our good friends and what is truly important in life. I love coming to your blog. You are a wonderful writer, technically, but also in choosing your subject matter and expressing yourself so honestly.

  10. Tears in my eyes after reading. She seems very special, and I'm sorry to hear about her passing. I've been a follower of your blog for quite some time, just kept quiet in the corner, but felt I needed to speak up after reading this. So sorry!

  11. Thank you for the beautiful story about my sister. She had such a positive impact on so many people's lives. I miss her so much.


  12. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Unfortunately, life brings us closer to death. It's the little things we do with life that molds us. It seems Erica has touched your life in such a way that she'll always be there with you in heart.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. You didn't have to, but you did. It makes me feel special. I'll keep you in my prayers.

  13. Thank you so much for your tribute to our mutual friend, Erica. I read this post back in June, but got to revisit it today and wanted to finally respond. I love how you captured so much of the essence of Erica...her kindness, the "double negative," her ironic wit. She was such a gift to us all.

    We became friends through our common bond as adoptive parents of Chinese children. Today, her daughter Rowan is dancing in "The Nutcracker," and many friends are there to support and enjoy. So it is a sweet thing to enjoy some Erica moments. Thank you


  14. Shana, I think of her every day, and also Rowan. I can imagine how your common experience with your children would bring you together. Thanks for responding.


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