I might as well be honest about something before I dig through all the emotions that come with the news on Tuesday that Erica Blasberg's death was ruled a suicide.
When I first got the text message in May to call a friend that needed to tell me something, a knot tied in my stomach. We really only communicated about Erica, so to get a disconcerting text like this from a friend like her couldn't have been good. As you probably guessed, it wasn't.
Lucky for me, I've never dealt with death before. My grandmother and two grandfathers that have passed away in my lifetime both did so when I was too young to really understand what went on, and even though I still wish I could have had a moment with my one of my granddads watching me play in a junior golf tournament because it would have made them proud, I was never on much of a personal level with either of them.
People have come to me about death, sure. My ex-girlfriend had a close grandparent pass when we dated, and I consoled her as best I could. I wasn't sure exactly what to do, similar to a single man giving marriage advice, but I tried my best with what I knew of it or read about it. I was there, more or less, to just listen.
I remember reading that text message and then calling to hear the inevitable. Erica wasn't alive anymore. My mind raced like it does when you get shitty news like this, especially about someone so young. Of course the verdict that came out on Monday crossed my mind at least once. I had a two hour drive ahead of me, without a passenger to keep my mind at bay.
I never wanted to believe it was the case, but it is, and it sucks. Erica was an incredible girl who you've heard me mention numerous times over the last three months. You might be sick of reading about what I'm thinking, and I apologize for wasting your time with my thoughts, but I figured it was better to get them out there than to hold them in.
What does this verdict change in my mind about Erica? Not a thing. Not a goddamn thing. She was a beautiful person and will continue to be a beautiful person that I was lucky to be friends with. She struggled with personal problems like we all do, and made a decision that, unfortunately for us all, you can't take back.
I can speak for us all, friends, family, whomever, when I say that in five years or 10 years or whatever, we won't be thinking of what she did to herself that horrible May night, but about the memories we had with her throughout the years. The laughs and smiles and birdies and cocktails. The moments we all got to hang with her were the best times we could have with a gal, and she will forever be with us in some way or another.
It's tough to hear, that's for sure, but it doesn't change who Erica Blasberg was to me. I hope it doesn't change who she was for you, either.