Hello everyone. My name is Wes and my wife is Stacey. We live in Raleigh, NC, less than an hour from Eric. We stopped going to meetings early 2008, and we met Eric in June 2008 from this web site and our lives were forever enriched by our friend.
My wife and I wanted to be able to provide another perspective of Eric Reeder. We don’t post much, so you may not know us, but we have had the wonderful privilege of being Eric’s true friend, a true family friend. I mean he was truly a part of our lives. Our kids loved him, and he loved them. I want to say he was like an uncle to my kids (8 and 12) but my son says that he was their friend. In fact those are my kids in Cedars’ video compilation for Eric! He stayed over many times on weekends. He came to family gatherings. Went to concerts with us. He made breakfast for my kids. Helped me paint my kitchen. He was a great friend. We could sit for hours and discuss anything. Politics, finance, cars, business, inventions. Anything. He was a smart and driven guy.
Although Eric was great friends with both myself and Stacey, Eric and Stacey had a special bond, partially because Eric loved to talk so much it worked better for her (LOL). But we, and they, have bonded and formed such a strong friendship, that the news really was especially difficult for us. We truly and whole-heartedly loved him. We will never forget Eric.
So the following is Stacey’s personal writing on her life with Oompa, to show you a side of Oompa from a truly loving and great friend:
I would love for you to know my Oompa....
I met Oompa 4 1/2 years ago on this very forum. We were (my husband and I) all leaving ‘the truth’ together and bonded quickly over the phone. Soon after we met in person with him being an hour from us, it was an easy drive. Oompa turned into a member of my family. He was having a hard time with his wife since stopping meetings and would come and stay for long weekends frequently. He quickly got to know all our friends and adopted them and they did him.
Oompa, if you ever spoke to him knows he laughs more than anyone I’ve ever met. He enjoyed life, and appreciated details that most take for granted. We have 700 pictures of some random caterpillar because he found it in the backyard and we just had to stop and appreciate nature... he would stop everything for a beautiful sunset and get everyone near him to do the same. He became an uncle to my children but they wouldn’t know that, they describe him as one of their friends. He would spend hours trying to teach them the guitar, making pancakes, chess, teasing and playing games. He really in many ways was a big kid himself.
He had NO volume control! If Oomps was in the house.... everyone knew! He would try to dial it back when he had to but I think it physically pained him to not show every bit of enthusiasm for every bit of what he was talking about. He felt strongly about his friends and family and I will always regard him as my biggest cheerleader. He spent so much time complementing others. Most of us could say that though, he would always point out how AMAZING everyone else was. “did you see how she did that?? How she MADE that! HERSELF!!??? He BUILT that!!” He would notice every detail... for example, of my house. He was like a proud father to my husband showing everyone that came by how my husband renovated this room, built this etc. He would go on forever about how he loved my decorating and prided himself on knowing where and when I moved the slightest things. He noticed every detail that most people wouldn’t. He gave out hugs like they were candy.
He loved music. He felt the music, and he HAD to move... it was a must. He loved to dance. He could go dancing with us all night and not skip a beat. Then he could come back and play his guitar and serenade us until the wee hours... he was a ‘little sleeper’. He could go to bed late and wake up early and ready to go. He only would sleep on the couch with the TV on no matter how many times I tried to get him in the guest room!
Oompa had the most fantastic sense of humor, and this might be what I will miss the most. Oompa could go on for HOURS, I mean that... about ideas for skits for Saturday Night Live. With Oomps you could sit and be silly and laugh and laugh and nothing else would matter.
I wish this was the end of my writings, I wish there wasn’t another side. I feel very protective of him and will not get into great detail but believe me when I say I know everything about this man, we talked daily and many times a day for YEARS. He talked of suicide for years. I tried, and tried and cried and cried. He had vises, he never denied that. I keep adjusting what I’m going to say because there isn’t reason to drag this part out.
I can with complete certainty tell you that the shunning changed everything for him. As many people as he became friends with... and he DID have a lot though he couldn’t see it because of his illness, he never got over losing all his lifelong friends, parents and wife to a religion that he just learned was a complete lie his whole life. Yes he was bi-polar and mentally ill. If he didn’t have to leave everyone he ever knew I wouldn’t be writing to you now. He couldn’t get past it, he spent years in circles, never progressing... which would frustrate and sadden him to no end. Then there was an end.
I see lots of untruths floating around the board, even people that say they’re related, but don’t share truths with you, more like ‘half truths’ like the Society. People that Oompa didn’t want in his life, and for actual reasons. I also see people saying “if he had friends” or “If I would have known”. Let me tell you... he had friends, true loving friends and family. We also did know, and I can’t add up the countless hours I spent being a therapist doing everything in my power to reason and guide, for years. We did try and I mean that. He was not on his own, he had family, friends and therapists there, frantically there, watching it all happen before our eyes yet somehow unable to stop it. The feelings were so persistent. I tried and tried everything in my power, to no avail. Toward the end the phases of hopelessness and pain were too much.
This is my Oompa. My friend, true and from the heart. We are hosting a memorial for him where friends and family can tell wonderful stories and share this time with one another. I would not let him go without it.