Erik T Garoutte

SANTEE, CA, USA U.S. Marines CPL, 1ST FAST CO, 2D PLT MSF BAGHDAD, NORFOLK, VA US EMBASSY BAGHDAD, IRAQ 10/19/2007

Erik was David’s nephew and yesterday we attended his funeral. I had never met Erik, he was already in the Marines when David and I started dating, but I knew his name. You could tell his family was proud of him, proud that he was serving his country. To me, he was just a name, someone I had never met, but yesterday I wished I had gotten that chance. I have been so affected by seeing his family and friends grieve for him; he had only just turned 22 and I thought these kids shouldn’t have to be burying their friend at this age. It didn’t make me feel old to call them kids; it made me feel heartbroken for them. There were five of his friends that spoke at his funeral, sharing memories that made everyone laugh. Apparently Erik had been quite the prankster, so there was actually lots of laughter at his funeral, remembering the good times. Isn’t that a testament to the person he was, that people were laughing at their memories, sharing that common denominator that he was the funniest person they knew… he could always make you laugh. They went on to talk about his music, he played guitar and wrote and played contemporary Christian music. He was a good listener and you could talk to him about anything.

I never met Erik, but I know that seeing David and his brothers, his dad and stepmom, all of his family, grieving their loss, I was grieving with them. It made me grateful that I have not had to grieve this type of loss in my life, but now acutely aware that it will happen in one way or another. We are not promised another day, it is a reminder to love every day and live each moment with passion, whether it’s laughter or tears.

I spent the weekend in DC with Robby, Monica and my mom… I was more grateful for the weekend after yesterday, grateful that we make the time to do things like this. I’ll share pictures and stories of the weekend in another post, but this is heavy on my heart today. I wish for Erik’s friends and family comfort and peace while they grieve, keeping his laughter and wonderful memories close to their heart.

Erik’s remains are interred at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, California

Erik’s portrait is also located on Poster 4 and Poster 15