Thursday, June 18, 2015


Today I stood at that same doorway that we walked through in August… the one you entered to officially start your new life. I turned that same door handle that your key got stuck in, breaking in half… forcing us to be late to dinner because we had to grab a new one.  Holding my breath I walked in, like it was a place that I was used to, like I’d been there hundreds of times instead of just a handful. I flicked the light on in your bedroom- what used to be your bedroom. I stood in the empty space, bulldozed over by that “new apartment smell”, the same one I’d grown accustomed to on my couple of visits to see you. The room was smaller than I remembered, cold and empty, but I could picture the bed. The humidifier on the floor by the door. The dresser we worked for hours building, the last night I ever spent with you there. I walked into the bathroom and caught my reflection in the mirror. The same mirror I had belted “The Little Mermaid” into while blow-drying my hair one of our first nights there. A mirror I pictured you looking into daily as you got ready for work. I still remember your “mirror face” that you never saw me catching you make when you fixed yourself up. I opened the tiny drawers where I’d carefully unpacked your toiletries… empty now but also emitting their own specific smell that seemed so familiar, in spite of how long it had been since I’d been there.  I made my way slowly down the hall, dreading the short walk. Knowing what was coming. First, that big empty space, the space that was a beautiful and jam-packed living room the last time I was there, but the trip before had been the same empty, cold, concrete space I was in now. The floor where I’d laid with you the first night, watching movies on your computer, one of the only possessions we had when we moved you there in August. The floor where I’d collapsed when I’d gotten the call that my cat had died. Where you held me as I screamed and sobbed. That same, cold, empty room. 

And then there it was… the spot. The place of my nightmares. Thank God I hadn’t seen it myself, but I knew where it was. Slowly, tears flowing freely I made my way to that spot and sat down on the floor. I sat in that spot and immediately and ironically felt as if my heart had stopped. … There I lay in the place where I know you took your last breath. I looked up at the ceiling to see whatever it was that you may or may not have seen before closing your eyes one final time. Concrete ceiling, all that damned concrete. There I lay in the same spot as you, and I wept. I wept for all I lost the day I lost you. A love. A support system. A best friend. A listening ear, a shoulder to cry on. My voice of reason. The man that made me laugh, made me smile, made me feel like everything was going to be okay. It’s not okay, none of this is okay. I wept for all that could have been but now will never be. I wept for the brand new start that you were making, for all of the excitement you had for this new life. I wept for whatever potential our relationship might have had if circumstances had been different. I wept for the students who will never get to know you. The friends who never got to say goodbye. For your family, who are the most lovely people I’ve met in a long time, who lost their precious baby.  I wept for you, because you deserved better than this for an ending. Because you were alone, and that breaks my heart. I wept for myself, because I always knew my life would never be the same after meeting you, but I didn’t expect that this would be the reason why. I wept because I am sorry. Because so much went unsaid. Because I hardly kissed you goodbye the last time I saw you.  Because I never ever expected to come back to this apartment for this purpose.  I wept because we will never be there together again. Because we will never be anywhere together again. I wept because this apartment was only about an hour from where I’m currently performing, and you should’ve been at opening. You would’ve been at opening. I wept because you’ll miss the rest of the openings from here on out.  I wept because it’s just not the same without you. I wept because I miss you, so terribly. I wept for the massive hole left on this planet without you in it, and for the even bigger hole that lies permanently in my heart. I laid there, and I wept, and I wished in vain that I could bring you back. That this was all just a terrible, horrible dream. But it’s not. I live in a nightmare wherein one of the most important people in my life is gone forever… as evidenced by the spotless, empty, cold concrete apartment that just months earlier had been occupied by the vibrancy of his new life. I lay quietly crying in that spot for a few minutes, trying not to picture too closely, willing myself to come to some sort of acceptance or understanding that this is real…an impossible task. And then finally… I pulled myself up from that spot.  Forced myself to put one foot in front of the other, the way you would tell me to.  I stood facing that corner, talking out loud to nothing, saying the 800,000th “I love you”, and slowly turned off the lights and walked to the door. I closed my eyes tightly, willing myself to lock in every single memory we had in this space, took in one final deep breath of that specific apartment smell, and said goodbye to the place where you went away from me.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


It's been 17 days since I unexpectedly lost the love of my life.  It's been one week since I saw him for the last time... laying peacefully in a beautiful silver-gray casket, looking the same as he did when he used to lie next to me at night. A week since I last got to run my hand through his hair and tell him goodbye, making sure to send tears with him.  A week since my first time speaking at a funeral.

This was my eulogy.

My name is Erica, and I was Greg's.
I  haven’t been to many funerals, and I’ve never spoken at one before.
I’ve been lucky enough that up until now, the most tragic loss I’ve suffered was 4 months ago when my cat died suddenly and unexpectedly while I was here in Michigan, moving Greg in. I remember he held me as I lay in a heap on his empty apartment floor just after receiving the news. And here I had thought- this is the worst loss I could experience.  No.  This--- of all the people in all the world, there is no greater loss for me than Greg Reuter.

I met Greg almost 4 years ago. It was clear right away that he was going to play a very special role in my life.  We were immediately drawn to each other, and over the years we formed a bond unlike anything I’ve ever shared with another person.

Greg easily and quickly became my mentor, my best friend, and eventually the love of my life. More so than all of that, he was my rock, Keeping me grounded in a world that is often too overwhelming for me.

For years, Greg was my everything.  We spoke every single day and there was absolutely nothing I couldn’t tell him. I’ve lost count of the amount of times and different ways that Greg has been there for me. I worked hard to do the same for him.

I am so blessed to have shared the love with Greg that I did. I was truly enamored with him, and got to see sides of him no one else did. But through our many ups and downs one thing was always certain- my heart was his, and I loved him so much. No one has ever made me feel more beautiful or cherished than Greg. He loved me in the unconditional way I had always hoped for.
He was so gentle and comforting when life called for it- he had this light touch, I called it his super touch, that he would rub my back with when I was upset and instantly, everything would be better. THAT is what Greg did- he made Everything BETTER.

Perhaps one of the biggest impacts Greg made on my life, was through his belief in me. It’s a tough business we’re in, and I was star struck by Greg from the start. 8 Broadway Shows?!  It was astounding.
  Here was this man with so much success and experience, what business did I have associating myself with him?  And yet- for whatever reason, Greg became laser-focus fixated on my ability, and obsessed with bringing out the best in me. Over and over he expressed his belief in me- he was so fervent in his expression.  He wasn’t the first person to tell me that he thought I could succeed---
But he was the first person to FINALLY make me BELIEVE IT.

With Greg by my side, cheering me on, I finally (after 4 years of struggling) started to find success.  Every accomplishment I’ve had these past 4 years has been because of Greg Reuter. And he was there for every single one of them, to hold me tight and say “I told you so.”
Aside from my parents, I’ve never had anyone express such pride for me. No one on Earth has ever made me feel as valuable as Greg did.
He dedicated his last few years to helping me succeed, he was the biggest champion for me, and I simply would not be where I am or who I am today without him.

For every success there were of course dozens of failures.  And through each one, Greg was there to pick me back up. I called him on at LEAST a monthly basis to cry about wanting to quit. The last time I did so was 2 weeks ago.
And for the thousandth time he repeated his mantra: “I will not let you give up. I know you’ve got what it takes. We are going to make this happen for you. I BELIEVE IN YOU.” No one has ever said those 4 words more or made me believe them like he did.

And now, I HAVE to go on and do it for him.  I honestly don’t know how to do it without him, but I cannot give up until I prove him right. And I KNOW he is going to still be there every step of the way. If I know Greg, and the way he always wanted to be by my side, I have to believe that he has found his way to be here now. His influence on me will continue, and he will be in every note of every song that I sing and in everything I do, now and forever. I will continue spending my life working to make him proud.

He was the light of my life, and my world is darker without him. But I am so grateful to have shared part of my life with him, his love is one of the greatest blessings I’ve ever received. I am better for it, and I will cherish what we had forever.

I promise you babe… I will keep going for you.  Everything from here on out is for you. Thank you for touching my life, for showing me real love, for believing in me and for making me better. I love you and miss you forever.