Erika wasn't just "any" sister, she was truly special...literally! Her special needs made her very vulnerable and in turn we protected her and treasured her like a gem..and that she was!
She was the most innocent and gentle soul I have ever met and her whole existence was a blessing to everyone who met her...she had a radiance that could change the world..
The day she died our lives were forever changed; our family was shattered because we lost the most valuable piece and today, 19 years later, I can still feel that unspeakable pain that only someone who has lost a loved one can truly understand.
Despite her limitations, Erika taught everyone a lesson...that you don't need to be "normal" to love and be loved and sometimes the most "abnormal" of people are the ones who touch us the most.
When I think of my sister I try not to be sad because she doesn't represent sadness; her life was full of joy, her laughter was contagious and her presence was so powerful...that's how I like to remember her and that's how I want people to know her....
So today I say "Erika: life without you is not the same and your memory lives in everything I do, in everything our family does. You are my biggest treasure, my angel in heaven, the one that inspires my compassion every day, the one that taught me to love and accept diversity, the one I think of every day and every night. I will never forget your smile and whenever I am sad I think of you and picture you looking at me with that innocence that made you so unique. Life without you is hard and many days it feels empty but it comforts me to know that you are in heaven because that's where angels belong...you bring a smile to my face every day!"
December 23 will always be a sad day for our family because it's the day when God called you home and the day we learned what pain really was...but because we knew you, we are who we are and the time we had you was the best of our lives...
We love you forever!