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Decmber 5, 1991
Born in Colorado on December 05, 1991.
 
December 5, 1991 - by Sharon Sherman
Dearest Eric--When your Mom and I were flying down I-70, me driving 85 miles an hour and your Mom trying not to panic because you were trying to be born much sooner than the nurses at Vail had said you would, I prayed, "God, give us a miracle."

There were two miracles that night--we made it to Rose Hospital just before you came and, the most important miracle, you were born.

I have never forgotten that night, and don't suppose I ever will. Your Mom was the bravest human being I have ever known. I kept telling her that we were modern women and, if we had to, we would get you into the world on the side of the road and then head on down to Denver. But I was scared to death, and so grateful when we met your dad at one of the exits and all I had to do then was hold your Mom's hand while we screamed through town.

I want you to know that your Mom is still facing life with all the courage (and even the rebirth of that great sense of humor) she exhibited that night. And I know that a big part of why she can do that is what a great kid you were.

I remember so many stories about you--the time your boots were packed up while the house was being renovated and it snowed hard and you said to me with envy, "YOU have boots." I remember your beautiful books that you wrote and your Mom helped you put together. I remember what a perfect gentleman you were when you came to one of our office parties. I remember the light in your Mom's eyes when she talked about you.

You live on in my heart as I know you do in so many hearts. You were a miracle and we will never forget.
 
2004
Died on December 07, 2004 at the age of 13, just two days following his 13th birthday.>>>>>>>The success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done. Mother Teresa
 
December 7, 2004
It's the hardest thing for me to write about the day Eric died---because his life was so full that I'd prefer to focus on that rather than his death. But now is the time.



As I write this I find it almost impossible to believe that my life has changed so dramatically in the past year. My son Eric, my only child, died on December 7, 2004.



The day began like any other. Getting Eric up for school. Grabbing a yogurt for bus, double checking to make sure his backpack contained his homework, At the bus that morning, I’m sure we must have exchanged our typical “I love yous” before he left, but I can’t remember.



That afternoon, I received a call from Eric’s art teacher. She said he had been very disrespectful to her. He had forgotten his book and wanted to retrieve it from his locker. The teacher said no, but one of the aids volunteered to share hers. Eric refused. He said no, crossed his arms and simply refused to discuss it further.



I explained to the teacher that Eric was bipolar, and that actually that was a pretty controlled exchange for him, since he had not mouthed off in any way. I told her I would speak to Eric about it, and remind him that body language is yet another way to communicate, etc. It was a fairly typical exchange in what had become an increasingly steady flow of complaints at the school about Eric’s anger.



He had been diagnosed bipolar a couple of years after the divorce, after his original ADHD diagnosis and subsequent downslide. Eric’s dad could never really accept Eric’s mental illness, so trying to involve him in decisions about medications and behavior management was impossible. Doug was on to his new wife, his new baby, his new life. By many accounts, he had given up on Eric already. But not me. Eric’s diagnosis of bipolar (following exhaustive and expensive testing by the best psychiatric professionals) I immersed myself in the literature. Eric basically had a 50/50 shot of beating this illness—either outliving the childhood form, or learning how to successfully manage it through meds and therapy. Eric was receiving good psychiatric care from a child psychiatrist and a family counselor.



I knew the outlook for those who suffer from bipolar disorder. And I was convinced that Eric would become a man version of what he was already: charming, funny, creative, brilliant, sensitive, thoughtful. For me, his diagnosis meant that I would dedicate my life during Eric’s childhood to him. As for Eric’s future as an adult, I believed that I would either be able to love him from a distance, as Eric would be living independently and successfully; or I would love him by his side, if he had ongoing difficulties managing his life and relationships due to his illness. Either way, we were a team. God created us especially for each other. Bipolar disorder was never going to prevent my son from living a full and complete life of love, laughter, friendship and security. All of that came crashing down just hours after I picked Eric up from school on that regular day that turned so very, very wrong.




When I picked Eric up from the bus stop, the first thing I said was “I heard you had a little trouble in Art today.” Eric immediately blew up, shouting “No, I’m not going to talk about that stupid teacher or any of that. I calmly explained that it wasn’t a big problem, just something we needed to discuss. He folded his arms and stared straight ahead. I told Eric he could chill in his room when we got home until he was ready to talk.



We drove the mile up the hill from the school bus in silence, but I could tell Eric was very angry. When I parked the car in the garage, I reminded Eric he needed to go to his room. Instead, he got out of the car, slammed the door, and ran away. I called to him, ‘Eric, don’t do this, come back. But he kept running.



I called his dad and told him what had happened. Neither one of us were particularly worried. Eric had started doing this in response to conflict, and we had addressed it in therapy. Running away wasn’t OK. He knew that. He typically stayed gone about an hour and then he would return, ready to talk. But I fretted that because of his anger, he might damage property. He had broken a neighbor’s window once before, when he found out his dad was getting remarried.

I went looking for him in the car. No Eric. Tension was building, but I still felt everything would be OK. I returned home and sat by the phone. Finally, about an hour later, my friend Carla called. Upon hearing her voice, I started crying, Eric’s missing. She said he was at her house, about 3 miles away, and was watching TV with her daughter, and Eric’s good friend, Lilly. She said she’d bring him home. I told her I was going to ground him for a week. I called his dad to let him know Eric was OK and that I would be grounding him for a week.



When Eric arrived, it was really a pretty typical confrontation. I explained that he was grounded for 1 week in which he would have no TV or friends over to play. That night, he had to go to his room and begin the punishment. I explained that the punishment was not for the incident in art class; it was for running away from me. He cried and yelled and protested in his typical way.



The part of the punishment he was most angry about was that he had to sleep in his own room that night. Since the divorce (4 years prior), Eric had taken to sleeping in my bed. It was a comfortable ritual for us to have our dinner, and then retreat to my master bedroom where Eric worked on homework and I read. He would fall asleep next to me.



After the grounding, Eric came up from his room and asked if he could sleep in my room. I said no. Not tonight. Initially, he was very upset that I did not relent. He was crying loudly, but calmed down after I explained that it was only one night in his room. The rest of the week was just no TV or friends over. He calmed down and then said “OK.” On his way back down to his room, he wiped his tears and asked “How long am I grounded.” I replied “It’s just a week Eric.” And he said “OK, whatever.” Like he had conceded. I breathed a sign of relief.



I followed him to his room, where I disconnected the TV. He was irritated that I was taking the extra step to haul his TV out of the room, rather than just trust that he wouldn’t watch it. But he was calm and already in bed. I assumed everything was back to normal.



I returned to my room and phoned Eric’s dad, explaining that the confrontation was over, what had happened, and requested that he adhere to the TV ban while Eric visited over the weekend. While I was on the phone, I heard a banging noise from Eric’s room—as if he had thrown something against a wall. I listened to hear if Eric was trying to get my attention---no more noise. I continued my talk with Doug, the entire conversation taking about 5-10 minutes. After I hung up, I went to Eric’s room to check on him and give him his evening meds.



When I opened his door, saw him standing in the closet, which was unusual.. I said Eric, what are you doing in the closet? As I approached, the horrific realization set in. Eric was not standing, he was hanging. And Mary, I knew he was already dead. His skin was pale, his lips already blue, his eyes closed. His belt tied around the closet pole and around his neck.



I flew into action, tring to get him down. I couldn’t. The belt was tied to tightly. I ran to the kitchen to retrieve scissors, all the while saying no, baby, no, baby. When I cut him down, I attempted CPR. And I ran to the phone and dialed 911. I knew he was already gone. I called Doug, and hysterically said Eric is dead, I found him dead. Get here now. I’ve already called 911.



I continued CPR until the paramedics came, followed closely behind by Carla’s husband Steve, who was working at the newspaper when he heard on the police scanner “13-year-old suicide on Skunk Alley. He held me tightly as I attempted to get a knife from the kitchen. I was going to run outside and stab it into myself, but Steve just held me tight while I bawled—howled.



Doug came immediately. He held me tight. It was the first time we had touched since the divorce. Then came the parade of uniforms-- paramedics, coroner, sheriff, victims advocates, neighbors, friends—within minutes, they were all there. To me, it was just a nightmare. Not real. I just wanted to go to sleep so that I could make up and let this nightmare end. Wake up with my baby next to me as usual.



But nothing has been usual since. The days to follow were a blur. I was in shock. Hundreds came for the funeral. It was a very beautiful and surreal event.



When I discovered Eric hanging dead in his closet on December 7, my world just ended. My precious son had taken his own life….and I still don’t know if it was an intentional suicide, or an accidental hanging. A couple months after Eric’s death, I learned that he had played “the pass out game” with another boy. They choked each other with bandanas to obtain a high assoicated with temporary oxygen deprevation. Mary, since I learned about this game, I’ve discovered children are now playing it alone, and a child has died nearly weekly from doing it. I am now a member of a group called support for those who have lost a child to the choking game.



I have concluded that Eric’s death was due to an impulse—he had impulse control problems. But I don’t know if the intention of the impulse was to show me how much he hated me; to conduct some kind of experiment he intended to escape from, to get high, or to die. I don’t know what he was feeling, and I can’t bear it. I can’t bear living my life not knowing how my son was feeling when he put a belt around his neck and tightened it until he stopped breathing.

I do know that Eric is in a much better place now. I, on the otherhand, am not.


How could one impulsive act of a 13-year-old boy have such unspeakable consequences.


My beautiful son, my best friend, the person who I admired the most on Earth is no longer here. What pain could possibly be worse?


 
Eric's Birth
The day Eric was born was my last day at work. He wasn't officially "due" for another week. I got the OK from my doctor to travel up to Vail with my boss (and wonderful friend Sharon) to give a final presentation to our client, the fabulous Lodge at Vail hotel.

We were treated to a great meal by our friend, who insisted I have a glass of wine...his wife had delivered three children and a glass of wine in the evenings toward the arrival will make the delivery easier, the chef reasoned, and I agreed. So we had wine. Then he asked us if there were any foods we hated. I said I don't really like seafood, especially if it's fishy or slimy. Sharon agree. So guess what our chef brings us? Raw oysters!! Gross. Then he watched us from the kitchen as we "pretended" to eat them and then politely and discreetly spat them into our cloth napkins. No wonder Eric wanted out of my womb!

So, after dinner when Sharon and I had gone to our separate rooms at the hotel, I took a shower. Then my water broke. And then all hell broke loose.

Sharon and I rushed to the Vail medical center at the advice of my doctor, who assured me labor was most likely hours away and after being "checked out" in Vail, I could make the trip back to Denver and deliver at Rose Medical Center as planned.

Except that I was already in extreme pain when we arrived at the Vail Medical Center. I couldn't stand upright and had to basically crawl into the dressing room and put on the gown to be examined. I was only dialated 1 centimeter, which is basically nothing. And yet, in SEVERE pain, which no one really seemed to care about except Sharon. We both pleaded to stay there and have Doug drive up to Vail and deliver the baby there. No, they wanted me to drive back down to Denver. Sharon pleaded for an ambulance. They sneered and sent us on our way. They reluctantly gave us some paper towels to cover Sharon's car seats....

I had all my labor in the car with Sharon driving down I-70. She's never had a child, so she was freaking out. I've never had a child, and I'm in excruciating (!) pain so I'm freaking out. Doug's meeting us at the Morrison exit, approximately 90 miles down the hill.

At the Eisenhower tunnel, I'm in transition. I actually believe the baby has pushed it's head out...the pain is awful. Idon't remember a lot of this, but Sharon says I was making gutteral sounds like a dying animal.

At Morrison exit (FINALLY) I insist on pulling my pants down so Doug can look and see if the baby's head is out. It isn't and we very quickly get into the car and Doug drives about 100 MPH to the hospital, narrowing missing a homeless person who was crossing the street. Horrid. But now Sharon is in the back seat with me, rubbing my back, which helps immensely. I didn't realize that in addition to the pain, my body had been all tensed up, until she put her arms around me and helped me. The power of touch.

At the hospital, I was greeted with a wheelchair and an attendent, who rushed me to delivery. Amazingly, I was dialiated 10 and there was no time for pain drugs....only delivery. After a few pushes, Eric arrived, 6 pounds, 4 ounces.

Unbelievably, the Vail Medical Center calls to see if I arrived. The Rose delivery nurse told them I just gave birth---they were shocked, indicating they thought it would be hours before I delivered. I should have sued them for not sending me down in an ambulance. My total labor was 4 hours--and ALL NATURAL, although that certainly hadn't been my plan.

A news item ran in The Denver Post in Dick Kreck's column. He's a friend of Sharon's and knew me and made funny remarks about PR people always wanting to make the news and chase ambulances for the story...but this time they were the ambulance...

Eric Donald Grove was in a hurry to get to this world on December 5, 1991 at 4:50 a.m.
 
ERIC GROVE, Our Special Boy

ERIC GROVE

 

     Evergreen resident Eric Grove, 13 died Dec. 7, 2004 and was laid to rest surrounded by hundred of friends, schoolmates and family at Evergreen Memorial Park on Saturday, Dec.

11, 2004.

     Eric was born Dec. 5, 1991 and was in such a hurry to get into the world that his birthplace was almost Interstate 70. He was creative and active—an inventor, an artist, a writer, and someone who would practice a new skateboard trick for hours to get it right so that he could show it to his family and friends.

     His infectious laugh, ear-to-ear grin, and love of life were impossible to ignore. He was an individual and nonconformist who loved to set his own trends; few things made him happier than dressing in an unusual color or style combination to step out into the world. He never met a mud puddle or a body of water that he would not launch himself into – no matter how cold, or where he supposed to go next.

     He loved animals, SpongeBob Squarepants, snowboarding, skateboarding, his friends –particularly Ian Blackburn, Kayla and Corbin Helvenston, Lillia Jackson and Austin O’Brien, and his family.

     Eric had a lot of dreams for his future, including traveling the world with his best friend, Ian Blackburn. He was considering careers as a professional skateboarder, an attorney, a therapist and masseuse. He will always be remembered for his sense of justice and fairness and his kindness and defense of the underdog. We will miss his love and his humor, but he had places to go , angels to see , great things to accomplish elsewhere.

 
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