The Most Loved Person on Green Turtle Cay

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 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.

Eric was a long-time Special Olympian who trained and competed in both bocce and track and field. He loved to travel, and just this past week returned from his annual Buddy Cruise.

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, 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 with his best friend, Myron

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.

Eric with his Dad, Brian. (Photo: Vaughan Carroll)

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.

The most loved person in Green Turtle Cay

Eric with his mother, Caroline (right) and Aunt Kay. (Photo: Vaughan Carroll)

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.

The most loved person on Green Turtle Cay

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29 thoughts on “The Most Loved Person on Green Turtle Cay

  1. What a beautiful tribute to a very special person. Although I never met him, I can see he was deeply loved by all. Sending condolences to all his family and friends in Abaco.

  2. What a moving and beautiful tribute, Amanda. The final photo brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing Eric’s beauty with those of us who missed the pleasure of knowing him.

  3. Thank you for putting into words, how so many of us feel. Eric made the world a better place. We learned a lot from him. The last photo brought tears to my eyes, ride on sweet Eric.

  4. This was so beautifully said its Eric the whole way.. He will not only be missed in Green Turtle Cay but across many states in America. He has many many friends who will miss him dearly.

  5. Our hearts are broken for Brian and Caroline. Eric was a blessing to all who were lucky enough to have crossed his path. Sundowners will never by quite the same. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this very difficult time.
    Paul and Nancy Jorgensen, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC Canada

  6. I love this so much. The passage from Kahlil Gibran is especially comforting. I feel so lost and sad right now, but the picture of Eric on his bike on his way to the bar is the way I would like to remember him.

  7. A beautiful tribute to a wonderful young man. Our hearts are heavy and we will keep Brian, Carolyn and the family in our thoughts and prayers.

  8. Pingback: Eric’s Light Shines On | Little House by the Ferry

  9. A lovely tribute to a beautiful soul. I met Eric as a young boy enjoyed renewing our friendship each time I visited GTC. He will be missed. Sending heartfelt thoughts to every one who loved him.

  10. My heart is broken for my friend “Woody”(Joan), Eric’s adoring grandmother, and Eric’s entire family. Eric was certainly a gift and we surely need more people like him on this planet. He for sure will be a shining light in heaven!

  11. Pingback: Celebrating Eric Sawyer | Little House by the Ferry

  12. Prayers for Caroline and Brian. It was always a pleasure visiting with them and Eric at Sundowners, he was such a kind soul and will be missed.

    Cole and Sandie Whitaker

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