My heart, like so many others, was shattered this morning when I learned that Green Turtle Cay’s Eric Sawyer, passed away unexpectedly last night.
Eric was the most joyful soul I have ever known. He was kind and funny and gregarious, and had more friends than any of us could count.
He kept careful track of birthdays and he hand-made cards for family and friends. With his funny Facebook photos and comments, and updates about his favourite TV show, “Girl meets World”, he made us laugh.
After graduating from Every Child Counts in 2013, Eric went to work at the school’s Starfish Enterprises vocational program. When I visited ECC in 2015, Eric and his best friend, Myron Sawyer, gave me the grand tour of their soap-making workshop. With obvious pride, they showed me how they made, molded and packaged the soaps, which are sold in the ECC gift shop.
Eric also worked at Abaco Ceramics in Treasure Cay, and his colourful mugs and other creations were constantly in high demand.
Two of the greatest gifts in Eric’s life were his parents, Brian and Caroline Sawyer. They advocated tirelessly for him, supported his every adventure and fostered his independence.
And I can’t imagine a more ideal home for Eric than Green Turtle Cay, where he was safe, free and adored by an entire community whose members high-fived him as he cycled through town, and asked about his day when he got off the ferry in the afternoons.
On social media today, someone described Eric as the most loved person on Green Turtle Cay and I have no doubt that’s true.
My favourite memory of Eric is the summer evening I met him swimming on the little beach beside Sundowners. He splashed about in the shallow water, which sparkled gold in the sunset. He sang happily, loudly and without inhibition. It was a scene as pure and sweet as he was.
To Brian and Caroline, Eric’s sister Michelle and her family, brother Ronel and his family, extended family and countless friends, words are simply inadequate to convey how deeply sorry Tom and I are for your loss.
There’s a passage by Kahlil Gibran that has brought me comfort in times of loss. I share it here hoping it may do the same for the many broken hearts mourning Eric tonight.
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides,
that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
Eric’s life was much too short. But in his 27 years, he laughed more, hugged more, danced more and touched more hearts than most of us ever will.
Green Turtle Cay won’t be the same without his shining light and loving spirit.