Honest, self-deprecating, helpful, fun loving, man of integrity
Eric was described by his family as a fun loving, risk taking guy. He liked living on the edge and the adrenaline rush of exciting, and often dangerous, adventures. He often recounted his close calls with laughter and a sense of amazement that he had survived.
Eric loved to read, cook, travel, play pool, camp and go canoeing with his dog. He had an “army” of close friends who valued his honesty and integrity and the fact that he always had their back. He had compassion for people and animals and was considered a “dog whisperer.” He also had a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo, which made others feel safe when they were together.
He was quick to pitch in whenever he saw a need, often spontaneously helping neighbors with yard work or other chores. Eric always led the clean up effort after family events and holiday meals together. He treasured spending time with those he loved and especially enjoyed a recent trip to Italy with his three siblings, and other family and friends. He talked about making more trips to Europe in the future. .
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, Eric worked as a computer specialist in various companies for many years. Unfortunately, after a random drug test would have been positive, he voluntarily left his job. He wanted to work again, but had lost confidence in himself. Though he was smart and capable, he felt he couldn’t compete. The last two years of his life, he lived off his retirement savings and retreated further into his drug misuse. “He just didn’t believe in himself anymore.”
His family watched his sunny disposition turn to doubt and self-destruction. He was depressed and isolated, believing he could manage his drug use without quitting. Eric’s substance use left his family feeling confused, angry and in disbelief. They “didn’t share his battle with others for fear of judgment, and it created loneliness.” Over time they realized how unmanageable their lives had become due to Eric’s constant troubles, and began attending Nar-Anon meetings. “It provided a different perspective, his sister, Heidi said. “We finally realized we had no power to change Eric and we were able to love him with compassion and understanding.”
Eric’s sister said that the family is still “dealing with deep grief.” They miss Eric and the way a room would energize when he walked in, the depth he would bring to a conversation, and his warm abundant hugs. He was a “wonderful son, brother and friend who loved well and was greatly loved in return.”
Information for this narrative was provided by Eric’s father, Jim Olson with input from his mother, Mickey Kilpatrick and his sister, Heidi Sloan.
May 21, 1967-February 7, 2020
Age 52 – Lived with addiction 35 years