Friday, September 12, 2014

A Tribute to Ericlee by Paul Lazo

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 face.

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.

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