When I was 5, I had pretend tea parties with my big brother. When I was 12, we swam across a lake, just he and I pausing numerous times because we were laughing so hard, and when we reached the island we couldn’t swim back. When I was 16 he was hollering the loudest when I walked across stage to receive my high school diploma. When I was 18 we stopped the brother-sister bickering from earlier years, and learned to rely on each other twice as heavily, knowing that he knew me and I knew him and that would never change. When I was 19, I got up to hear the phone ring at 3:30 am to receive news that would change my life forever.
Stephen was the most amazing person I knew. I can still hear his laugh echoing in my memories. He enjoyed playing hockey for the Brockton Boxers and helped his team bring home Gold numerous times. Although school was never his niche, he tried his best and took courses at Massasoit Community College. Stephen loved to have a good time and would always be the life of the party. What he loved more than that sense of being young, wild, and free, was his family and his friends. Family dinners, and special holidays were always complete when he was there. His house served as a second home for many of his friends.
That morning as Stephen slept in his bed, a cold hearted monster of a man shot 9 bullets into his window with every intention of committing murder. Two of those 9 bullets took my brother away.
As I sit and think back on this day, it does not come without grief, anger and inevitable guilt. Thinking back to who Stephen was, the many friends he helped, his beautiful children he left behind, plays a key role in my ability to subside the negative feelings and remember the person he was when he lived. Today, our mother, father, brother, sons and his daughter, uncles, aunts, nephews, and many friends, remember him, miss him, and wait for the day that justice prevails, and the sick man who stole him from us begins his trial ( 2.8 years waiting so far).
The Garden of Peace helps us to remember- or better said- to never forget. At the last ceremony, I recall sitting with my brothers stone, turning around to see a woman standing there crying alone. Not even knowing this woman, I turned to her and wrapped my arms around her for a moment. As often as I feel alone in the battle of grief, seeing others who hurt like me, we are all going through the same feelings. She knew the pain I felt, as I knew hers. As it was said to me by a wise and beautiful woman, you do not move on, you Go on.
Stephen Richard Erving, better known by his hockey nickname, Spike, was born on Friday, January 13th, 1989, and was taken from us March 16th, 2010.
21 years old, and forever young*