A beautiful tribute written by my brother Paul Lazo, who walked by my side in these last few months through the trials, the fear, the hard days of caring for my man. He was the one lifting my head, doing research, making phone calls, literally carrying Ericlee toward the finish. I'm grateful beyond words for his support and this beautiful picture of victory...
"In his last few days I was blessed to help Ericlee through a long, grueling night. But in his quiet moments I saw this…
The sun is setting, a crowd has gathered at the finish line. Off in the
distance, the first head appears over the horizon. Then another and
another. Soon the runners rise into view. The cheers grow to a roar as
the first crosses the line closely followed by a second and third. Steam
rises from their bodies as they cool down by pacing around.
Then the questions begin. Where is he? Is he ok? One runner says, “I
lost track of him about a mile back.” Another agrees and adds, “I
thought I saw him kneeling to tie his shoe.” Where could he be? Another
said, “He was right behind me as we came up the last hill. In fact, he
was coaching me to make that last push.” Then a voice cried out, “There
he is! He's coming up the hill.” How could she tell? At this point, the
sun was low and only a silhouette showed the figure of a runner. He was
limping and obviously in pain. He hunched down for a moment gripping his
right leg with his hands.
Then he lifted his head to the sky and let
out a scream.
By now the crowd had gone silent and his painful
yell sent chills through the air. He began to walk again, then his pace
got faster and faster. He cried out again, “I'm ok! I can do this!” His
family, friends, the people he had touched over the years had now lined
the path and were cheering him on. His wife and three girls started
yelling to him, “c'mon daddy, your almost there.” His mom, stood in
silence with her hands together prayerfully in front of the smile on her
As he approached, the officials grabbed another ribbon
and stretched it across the finish line. We held our breathe
anticipating his grand completion. With the last ounce of energy and the
last breathe of air he stretched out his arms in victory. As the ribbon
broke the sun set and darkness fell. A tear rolled down my cheek as I
realized, I never said goodbye. To this father, son, brother, coach,
missionary, and friend. How could he know that I loved him and I was
proud of him and I would never forget him.
Then I see him. He is
lit up. At the top of the hill, past the finish line and high above the
crowd. He is standing strong and tall. His body is restored and he is
looking back at us. There is a smile on his face as he claps his hands
together and waves goodbye. His eyes are gleaming and his face bright.
There is no need for words. He turns towards the light and continues on.