Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering Eric

Eric M. Sand was a son, brother, husband, father, son-in-law, brother-in-law and a truly good and gentle soul. He was my brother-in-law, but I thought of him as the brother I never had.

Being a dad was his greatest joy. The thing I remember most, about his short time with his young son, was him listening to Kansas’s Greatest Hits with my nephew and especially the way he would sing ‘Horse With No Name’ to him and the way they would both be smiling and laughing.

He was a devoted, loving husband and took wonderful care of my sister. They had so much in common and yet their personalities were different and complimentary. I’ve never known my sister to be as happy as she was during the time she shared with Eric.

Eric was very giving, loving and unselfish. My wife Denise has four children from a previous marriage. They were all young adults when I met her. Eric treated all of them like they were his family, giving them attention and advice. He had an impact on all of their lives that to this day they still talk about. When he died, they all mourned him like they had lost a family member they’d known for all their lives.

My two fondest memories of Eric were when he’d come to my parent’s house for dinner and when he, my sister, my wife and I would all go camping. He was a fit guy, with an appetite that belied his trim frame. When he would come over to my parent’s house for dinner he would always make my mother happy by clearing his plate, taking seconds or even thirds and making sure that there were no leftovers. I would joke with him that if he kept going he’d actually eat his plate. When we would go camping there were certain rituals that were always followed. First we’d setup our tents, then we would start searching the woods for kindling and logs for what would inevitably become not just a campfire, but a roaring bonfire. Along the way, Eric would always find himself a sturdy stick. This stick would double as both a walking stick and a poker for the fire. I can still see him in this worn brown bush hat and his sleeveless plaid, flannel shirt, smoking a cigar, smiling and sitting by that roaring fire. Those camping trips were always fun and always something we all looked forward to. I miss those trips, almost as much as I miss Eric.

As I mentioned he was a gentle soul. He was soft-spoken but also able to take care of himself and his family. He took Tae Kwon Do in Manhattan and was very good at it. But at the same time, he would go to great lengths to avoid a confrontation, if possible. I said at his memorial that Eric, in the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “spoke softly and carried a big stick”.

My other great memory of Eric was the way he bonded with my late grandmother over Martinis. I believe that Eric is watching over my sister and nephew, who he loved more than anyone or anything. Sitting with my grandmother, drinking martinis.

It’s been 8 years now, but it feels like it was only yesterday that we lost him. I remember him everyday. But today as I write this remembrance, the memories are much more vivid and the emotions they invoke are more difficult to restrain. My eyes are full of tears of both pain and of joy, the pain of his loss and the joy of knowing that the memories of him and his life haven’t faded.

Eric was working in the North Tower of the World Trade Center for Cantor Fitzgerald on September 11th, 2001. He was taken from us far too soon. But he will never be forgotten. Not in eight years, not in eighty years.


  1. Very beautiful Steve. <3 I remember him just as you described him on that camping trip that I went on with all of you.
    I think you honor him with this posting.

  2. I saw your Facebook post and I followed the link. I am very sorry for your loss. I will never forget!

  3. A wonderful tribute. Thanks for never forgetting.

  4. Wow, I am very sorry to say that I had just noticed this now. I have to say this was beautifully written, you captured my emotions and memories of him perfectly. I am grateful to have had him be part of my life. He was my family, and he will forever be in my heart and thoughts.