His name is Eric. He taught me the only lesson ever worth knowing.
Eric has transformed my family. That we can live with heaven on the mind, and teach others to live this way, is an incredible gift. He still helps me all the time. He is more than a memory. He is a saint. He is an inhabitant of a heavenly kingdom, with the kind of freedom we can only imagine, and he's left us a better idea of how to get there. That Wednesday he decided to ask Jesus to talk to him changed all our lives forever.
He was a wonderful man. Apart from being the most intelligent and ethical person, he was also the most loyal friend who devoted himself entirely to helping those around him. He was my rock, but he was also that for all his friends.
He was struggling with his faith. He was born and raised Catholic. He had 3 major hits; three devastatingly hard times in his life.
He was playing baseball with his brother one day when he was 9 and when his father picked them up he had a strange woman in the car, and his hand on her lap, and drove them home to a mom kneeling, crying, in the kitchen.
By the time he was 18 his mom had worked herself into cancer, in his opinion, as a single mom, which is something he blamed his dad for. He was taking pre-med (medical) to be a doctor and cure her.
He came home when it was obvious his mom had little time left, but his father didn’t want him jeopardizing his future and sent him back to the college. His father had moved back into the house with their mom (to take care of his brother that was only 17). Eric was back at the college, and he was away from his mom when she died, when he had wanted to be there.
He remembered the phone call in the morning and sitting in a car with a priest (He was at a Jesuit Catholic College), and said he remembered the moment his faith left.
He said he didn't reject his faith. It was like a wind rushing out or a candle blowing out.
He then changed his major to communications, and that's the path he continued on that led him to be the Editorial Director of GameFan Magazine.
Then years later he was told that a girl he had been with had had an abortion.
He had now lost 2 people in his life "for not being there".
Eric kept his friends so close.
So, I found a man who was pretty banged up but turned lemons into the most beautiful lemonade. He started out as an atheist and was able to, through study, to reach a position of Deism by the time I found him. If he hadn't been searching for God I never would have met him.
I had been reading apologetics papers (proofs of God), science; cosmology, biochemistry, evolution etc. He was following someone online I was following. I remember falling in love with his mind. He was so focused on truth. I thought, because of his screen name he was Japanese. And that didn't matter. He was like a BS detector. He shared all my politics exactly and we had a common upbringing. He was as well versed in the Church as I was. He had an absolutely fascinating mind.
He was so humble and personable that he related well to everyone and made the effort to do so, but as for his sufferings you'd really never know because of how private he was. So our first conversation was about how I had lost my role as a wife, when I left my abusive husband, and felt that I had really lost a sense of purpose. He said that that was how he felt about his faith. So, from that point on we agreed to help each other and lean on each other, and it was truly a beautiful arrangement.
Eric was waiting and asking God to reach out to him, for God to prove that he was there, as a loving God. It was well and good that the universe had a designer, but it was a leap of faith that the designer cared for him, and he wanted proof.
I was with him for 6 years, we lived separate for the most part and we weren't having intimate relations when we were together. He wanted everything done properly. He wanted to marry me and when I would ask him about it, he responded with, "I just want to figure this God thing out first"
He lived in a very contemplative manner. Studying all the time, at his desk day and night. He'd get up to help people and then go back to it. He had already given most of his money away when I met him and had given his step mom and his dad money to buy a house and was living there with them.
I would often find him on a couch at 4am staring off into nowhere waiting for God.
We loved each other well. He made me feel safe and secure. I wrote him hundreds of poems and letters of gratitude and bought him gifts. He helped me raise the children and he worked on my houses. I gave him breakfast in bed every morning he was around me, and he warmed my feet up at night under the covers, and never let my hand go, and let me sleep on his chest wrapped in his embrace.
There are absolutely no regrets.
He stayed with me seven months straight before his step mom started messaging me from the US.
He had come up to do a marriage course with me that was required by the Church in May, and then stayed till November, when she messaged me to say that if she knew he was staying so long that she would have shipped his stuff up to Canada.
She was so concerned with our wedding date and getting him out of the house that I arranged for all of us to go down for US Thanksgiving, which was November 27th in 2017. The idea would be that we would pack up his stuff and arrange for a transition. He had been in the country 7 months straight so she brought up January as a return date, and it seemed that leaving him there till January would be ideal, that way he wouldn't have trouble with having been too long in Canada in a calendar year. Eric and I talked then about buying a house in the US, and moving his things there and seeing each other again in January.
I want to say now that I left him in a very toxic environment.
The first time I ever met this woman she told me that Eric was developmentally challenged. I was beyond shocked and I was beyond disturbed to learn, over time, that she treated him like he was. She left little demeaning sticky notes around the house with chores for him. They pressured him to go out and make money he didn't need to make. It was bizarre and, and in my opinion cruel, though I think they were generally oblivious. They knew nothing of his life, and since he didn’t feel at liberty to share anything with them, they pretended he didn't have a life.
At the service they gave him in New Hampshire, three of them stood up and basically all said the same thing, he laughed at my jokes, walked the dogs, and looked like the guy on the front of the Lucky Charms cereal box. What's worse is that his father even gave me a lecture about not being too religious at a funeral service in a Methodist Church. Thankfully I was given permission to read letters and messages from his friends that painted such a different picture of the impact he had on the gaming industry and the world, that it actually made at least one family member upset that she really never knew him.
The week he died he contacted me from outside the house in below freezing temperature. He was waiting for God.
I called his folks to call the ambulance and police which I tried unsuccessfully to reach emergency services from Canada.
His step mother's answer was, verbatim, "I don't care about Eric, I just want to know where the dogs are."
I knew he was walking back to the house after my pleading and he apologized the next evening for scaring me. That was the weekend.
We had a conversation on the Tuesday, and he said that this search was "just grinding" at him, so I sent him a link to the catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that it is possible to reason yourself to God, but, I told him that what he was doing, was going over the wall.
I said to him, "There is a book here; The Bible. It's right about a lot of things, and you don't even have to believe in it for the principles in here to work. If Bill Gates does what it says in here to be rich he gets rich. Why don't you just try it? The Bible says that those who go over the wall are thieves and that the way to God is through the gate and Jesus is the gate. Why don't you pray to Jesus?"
He protested that he shouldn't have to, that he never had, that God should be enough, to which I responded, "Just try it."
The next night was Wednesday and he was complaining and I asked him if he'd tried it and he said yes, that he had prayed 3 hours to Jesus. I had smuggled a beautiful silver crucifix into his bag that he used to hold onto while he was here in Canada. It was the size of his palm and would help him rest, so I know he had been praying with this cross. On the back of the Cross were inscribed the words, "Jesus the Listener”.
When he said he had been praying, I said to him, "Then He will answer"
He messaged me on Thursday that he was seeing things.
He described three visions, that to him were unmistakably real and not hallucinations, that didn’t vanish or fade or cause him any alarm, just confusion.
We spent Thursday researching, and Friday I found an image that combined his images into one, in an article about mathematics being the language of God. When he saw the image he began trembling, he could barely talk and told me that he’d have to speak with me later. He did call me back, and little did I know that that would be the last conversation I ever had with him.
He wanted to know, what I thought of the whole matter. What it meant that God had actually reached out to him. He had been asking for so long, and now that he had heard from God and understood that God had cared enough to lift the veil, he wasn’t sure how to respond. “What if God wants me to be a priest?” I told him that whatever God wanted would be fine. He was very emotional. The most emotional I had ever seen him. He looked drained. He asked me if he could just rest a minute.
I asked him to promise me that he would go to confession at 4pm the next day at the Church near him. I told him, “I promise you, you won’t feel empty, you’ll feel fine.” That was the last time I saw him in New Hampshire.
He messaged me over Skype
i love you so much
i'm so sorry
Please please take care of yourself
My heart is in your hands
You can't fix everything, but He can
He is Life
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
That's what it says in Romans. This is Him. This is Him revealing himself to you.
Your question was, is he there and does he interact with us, and your answer is yes.
what if he's calling me home?
I texted him back:
Then you'll be with your son and your mother?
But I wouldn't assume that at all at this point
Go to confession, whatever he is calling you to, you need to follow
You won't die in the confessional
He is calling you home to the Church right now
I don't think he'd give you to me to take you away
I haven't even had a chance here
Just go tomorrow.
Either way you have to be able to surrender
Just please be careful on the road
Because I will be in a lot of pain if anything happens to you
I know it's hard, but right now you are just going to have to really really authentically trust that he cares.
No more testing
you are the one being tested now
You are prepared
You have been preparing
He says study to show yourself approved
you recognized him
now you need to follow
He tested Abraham with Isaac
Don't worry about the stuff here
Worry about the stuff there
I love you
I sent a bible verse that popped up on my screen as a commercial from biblegateway that read:
13 This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
The next day I knew I needed to make arrangements to go see him. I called my dad to ask if he could watch the kids. He said to me, “If Eric just saw God, he will be fine.” I told him I was concerned because he wasn’t surrounded by people of faith, and then I hung up and called my daughter who was at work and asked her if she would head straight home after work so I could leave her siblings in her care until the next morning. I planned to drive down, and then drive all night back up, which I had done before. I had just hung up the phone with her and told the children Eric was coming home, when I received a call from Eric’s father.
“I’m sorry, there’s no easy way to tell you this. Eric committed suicide last night.”
“What? No, no. No?”
He said Emergency services had come, that they found him tied to the closet door in his room. He asked me about our last conversation, we went over some facts and logistics, apologized, and hung up. Then I had to watch my children fall to pieces in front of me.
My sons were moaning in the most guttural manner humanly possible.
I called my dad back and told him that Eric died and he must have called my sister, because before the afternoon was ended they were all in my house. I got ready to go to the Church down the road. It was 3 houses down. It was almost 4pm and I was going to go to confession here. I asked my parents to get the kids ready for Mass, which was right after.
I stood outside the confessional for quite a while sobbing, waiting for someone to exit. Finally the door opened and I went to talk to a priest I had never seen before, with white hair and a white beard. The first words out of his mouth were, “Why are you crying? I explained that I had received terrible news and I explained three very esoteric visions to the priest, which he seemed to understand perfectly. I asked him if I could confess the sins of someone else, and then I saw him, as if standing with his arms open saying, “You can always confess the sins of someone else” and then he told me that he couldn’t change the words of the Mass, but that he would take Eric up on the altar for me, and then he told me that he would forgive both of the sins of both of our lives and of both of our past lives, which in Catholic terms means, those sins from before you were born again.
Then he leaned into my face and asked me, “Do you believe Eric is in heaven?” I looked into his face and I saw Eric. I saw his Superman curl in the middle of his forehead and I saw his flowing hair and a soft curled beard. It was as if Eric had seen God and had come back perfectly radiant like Moses had done after descending Mount Sinai. I stared into his blue green eyes and said, “Yes!” and in my head thought, “…because I think you’re him!” I received absolution and watched my father (who had arrived with my sister and the children) head into the confessional after me. I mentioned to my sister who knelt beside me in the pew for Mass, that the priest looked like Eric.
When it was time to go to communion I got out of my row a bit miffed at the fact that, of the two priests at the front, I wasn’t in the line going up to Fr Eric Mason. Fr Eric knew, prayed for, and would remember Eric, because they shared the same name. When I walked down the aisle and reached the altar for communion, with my sister in front of me, I saw the same white-haired priest from the confessional bless my sister. I was now elated! I knelt down and received communion. I tried to tell my sister something, when I got back to the pew, but found it irreverent to say much with Jesus still on my tongue.
After Mass I saw the same priest on the way walking out. He had his back turned and I wanted him to turn around. In my grief, I just wanted him to tell me that he had taken Eric up on the altar for me, as he had promised. As soon as I approached he turned around, grabbed both my hands in his, and said, “I took Eric up on the altar for you,” as if reading my mind. I wanted to hug him, but I just said, “Thank you! Thank you!”
I walked by Fr Eric Mason, and all I had to say was, “he died.”
“I’m so sorry. I’ll pray for you.”
I walked out of the Church with my sister still holding me by the arm.
That Tuesday the family wouldn’t have me at the cremation service, a service I presume they understood I was opposed to on principle. I had been woken up that morning by a nightmarish vision and then when I closed my eyes again and asked God if he was trying to tell me something, I saw a giant Japanese cartoon mechanical dragon splashing with a lot of energy in a stream. “Eric!” I said aloud, and then quickly woke the children up and packed them in the car. I drove my children to the only Church that I knew would have been open. It was the worst snowstorm, and for protection, and out of habit, we began to say the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, meditating on the passion and death of Christ, starting with the Agony in the Garden. It was so apparent, that here we were, suffering with what we were told was a suicide, suffering from the pain of someone else’s action, while Jesus had suffered in the Garden, with a heart breaking because of the weight of other people’s actions. In that moment I could identify perfectly, with not only Jesus, but with Eric, and the kind of burdens he bared from the actions of other people. My heart was bursting with sorrow and love, and that intense love brought a joy and a peace, a joy I could never had imagined I could have experienced in so much suffering. We had all become Christlike.
We finished the Rosary, reached the Church, and threw ourselves on our faces on the floor in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the small chapel dedicated to St Joseph. We prayed and sang to God. At one point a man walked in, opened the doors of the tabernacle, took Jesus, in the form of the host, out and then we were able to pray with Jesus with us, and then he quietly put Jesus away and left.
After an hour of prayer, we exited and I sat down on the bench in the foyer of the Church. My youngest son asked, “Mom, how come you got to see Eric and we didn’t see Eric?” to which my eldest daughter chimed in,
“Mom, why do you keep saying, a priest with a white hair and a white beard gave you communion? We got communion from a black priest.”
At this I stood up and faced my daughter. “What did you say?”
“We got communion from a black priest.”
I just kept saying no, and grabbed my phone immediately to call my sister. She had never been in that Church before she would remember and not confuse anyone.
“Chrissy? When you were at the Church with me Saturday, who gave you communion?”
“A black priest?”
I told her about the conversation I just had with my eldest and how I specifically remembered her being in front of this priest, and being so happy about seeing him, though the mention of the black priest had brought back the memory of being miffed when I initially had stepped into the line.
“I know,” said my sister, “I’m just here at Canadian Tire near you at the Church..” She suggested we head over to my father’s house so he could tell us what he saw. When we got there we stayed for a while outside talking. I was finally understanding that I hadn’t just seen a kindly priest that reminded me of Eric, and cared to remember him, but that God had actually parted the veil for me. That before I even knew that Eric would be cremated and that I would never get a chance to pay my respects, say goodbye or look at his face again, God had allowed me to look into his face, walk down the aisle and be in communion with him, and hold his hands at the back of the Church.
“Do you remember when I held his hands? We were walking together?” I asked my sister
“Honestly? I remember it like a dream,” she said. “Sorry, I don’t remember that.”
I walked into my parent’s house with my sister. I stood face to face with my dad and asked my dad the question. I asked the same dad that had questioned my need to be with Eric that Saturday morning. I asked the dad that went to confession right after me.
“Who gave you communion on Saturday?”
“A black priest.”
“Who gave you confession?”
“You mean the priest with the blue eyes?”
I burst into tears, and gave my dad a huge hug. I looked him in the eyes and said, “Anything you felt bad for, anything you wanted to tell Eric, you told him. That was him.”
As much blessing as Eric, aka ECM, aka Eriku Mironasu, brought us in life, he did still more for my whole family in his death, more than any priest or prophet could have accomplished;
“And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways:
To give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto the remission of their sins:
Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us:
To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace.”
If you haven’t ever repented of your sin, and asked Jesus to come into your life, it’s not too late. It’s never too late. Eric taught me that. Jesus saves, is the only lesson ever worth knowing.
I learned a lot from Eric over the six years we were together. Rule number 1 was, “The ECM is always right!” Since his death I have seen many stories proving that God sometimes allows the circumstance of a death specifically for the family members and much less to do with the individual themselves. I also have read accounts where demons have strangled people. I know that God allowed this to help us and not to harm us. We will see Eric again. I told his gamer friends, most of whom are Christian, that as the ultimate gamer, Eric beat us at our own game. All of us know; the ECM never dies!