20 years of remembering

erin walker :: august 6, 1977 – october 23, 1994

when i close my eyes

she’s too young to be forgotten
her world has only just begun
her future is an empty slate
waiting to be filled
and i see her
standing there
when i close my eyes

dancing in the sky
over moonbeams, around clouds
starlight in her eyes
angels in her hair
and i see her
when i close my eyes

child of the sunlight
daughter of the day
sleeping on bed of roses
with flowers in her hair

the wind it softly kissed her cheek
the raindrops fell like tears

and i see her
when i close my eyes

a thousand white candles
their flames dancing with the air
as rocks play tag with ocean

she’s fast asleep
never to be woken

and i see her
when i close my eyes

© catherine healy
October 23, 1994



I had grand plans for this year. I had even spoken to some music student friends of mine to help me realize it, but life, as it does, got in my way. I had wanted to officially record the song I wrote and gift it to the father/husband and brother/son of Erin and her mother for the 20th anniversary of their accident. I will make that happen at some point, but for now, I will just write in this space, as I have been since I started my blog.

I also had big plans for the post I would write this year, but I’m finding myself staring at the blinking cursor with little to no words to express how I feel. I have been so angry and sad lately about a lot of things and the last year and a half has left me emotionally spent. All I can think of right now is how angry I was at the time, and how angry I feel right now, over how unfair it is that these lives were robbed of long life and their deaths were too soon. Too sudden. Not fair. Lately it seems that anyone who deserves to be punished seems to walk away with barely a scratch, the loss of innocent lives, the loss of GOOD people, just feels like a slap.

I’ll never forget how I felt on October 22 when I was sitting in choir practice feeling like something was wrong. It was dark, cold, rainy, and the air was electric with wrongness. Erin didn’t show up for practice like she was supposed to. I had just seen her the afternoon before and we said we’d see each other that day. I knew, in my bones, something was wrong, but never in a million years would I expect what that Wrongness was.

I used to think about the driver of the truck that hit them as well. I used to wonder if he could be ok after what happened. It was an accident, I know. And now, after dealing with my own PTSD issues, I think of him again and wonder if he ever got over what happened. I don’t know if I could.

I can mostly remember all of the good times, and happy memories, of my years of friendship with Erin, and knowing her mother. I know my own Mum had years of friendship with Heather. Right now I am having a very difficult time in finding the happy in anything and it pains me to have my memories of this anniversary marred by unhappiness and anger.

There is nothing I can change. What happened twenty years ago happened and you can only move on from there. But I have always held on to the anger I felt about how unfair this was. I have managed to suppress it for years but it’s hard this year. It’s too tangled up with my own traumatic recent events and making a big, gloopy mess inside me. I have been thinking about how I will be 40 in a little over a year and there are things I just never got to share with my friend.

How did 20 years pass so fast. How is it even possible that it’s been 20 years since I was a TEEN. I felt like those years would never end and would last forever and yet, here I am with only a year and 3 months standing between me and the age of 40. How is it possible that 2o years have come and gone since this awful day. Some things are just so, so vivid. Sitting on my bed, penning the song above. The absolute fog I was in for weeks after hearing the news. The funeral and how I almost passed out and had to sit down during the mass. The massive amounts of people who attended the joint funeral for Erin and her mother. There were so many people. I didn’t want to wear black because it just seemed so cliché and morbid. I wore purple.  I think Erin would have appreciated that.

Erin was my friend. She always made me laugh. She was funny, sweet, bitchy, bossy, and I used to be so intimidated by her. Sometimes I was sure she didn’t like me and would cry, but she was just honest and blunt, and exuded such confidence. I was always (and still am) intimidated by confident people. Erin had her insecurities but she hid them well. She was a friend I knew I could count on to tell me the truth and how things really were. We wanted to start our own magical coven. We’d spend time trying to light candles with our minds. (It never worked. Bummer.) I was jealous when she came back from summer camp with a BOYFRIEND. I still hadn’t even had my first boyfriend yet. I was jealous of her. I was in awe of her. I was proud of her. I was so happy to have her as one of my best friends. She was fire. She was sparks. She was a firecracker.

She was seventeen. She lived her life with pure effervescence.  Her energy was contagious. So many people loved her. So many people loved her mother, just an older version of the daughter. They were both LIFE. Pure, sparking, raw energy, LIFE.

And  I miss her so much. All the time. Especially in October.

I should let go of this anger, but it’s difficult. I’m working on it. One day I’ll be free of it. I will always remember the happy memories though, and that’s what I should focus on now.

Twenty years is a lifetime. So much has happened since 1994. So much. I wish I could still share this all with her. Hopefully her spirit is out there somewhere watching over me. If she is – she’s likely telling me to man up and get over the anger and just be happy. That’s Erin. 😉

Erin & I – June 1994


  • Patrick Couture

    Not sure I ever sent you a message I wrote last year, same day. I know I had written a long message about Erin, but hesitated to send it so much so I don’t remember if it made it out…

    That being said, do you have music for your song/lyrics? When I read the words I thought there should be music to this. I write something for her in 2000 or so, been missing her since October 23, 1994. Several times a year.

    If ever you don’t have music, maybe I could try my hand at it, if you do, no worries. I also have a recording studio, if that’s trees at all. I’m in Ontario though… Not sure if you remember me from St. Mary’s, I was directing the seniors choir at that time…

    Anyhow, I appreciate your blog:)


  • Mummy

    This is a beautiful testament written from your heart. I’m sure Erin is proud of you for coping with so much.

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