Azalea Gardens Bench dies at WRAL staff memorial

– Family members, friends and colleagues gathered at WRAL Azalea Gardens for WRAL staff Erin Simankis on Wednesday, where she sat on a bench in her memory.

When Erin returned home from work in January, she died in a snowstorm in January.

Erin is survived by her husband, Ed Simanskin, and twins, Emily and Eric.

Ed said Wednesday that Erin had a green thumb and a love of vegetables. Each time she worked, she tried to visit the WRAL gardens, and she humbly maintained her own garden at home.

Ed reminds Erin that she always picks plants for her backyard, which she nurtures with love and skill. Ed has always been a craftsman.

Among other things, Erin remembers her loved ones with kindness and willingness to help others. Ed says she shows that kindness to her neighbors.

The ceremony took place on the 31st wedding anniversary of Ed and Erin.

Ed recalls that he and Erin stopped giving cards and gifts years ago. Instead, they did something fun together – go on a date or visit a special place.

He did not stop, but every year on June 1, he was given a yellow rose. As the yellow rose passed on Wednesday and Erin’s name was on the bench she was visiting, it landed on a board.

Erin Simansky bench in WRAL Azalea Gardens

“I will continue to give Erin a single yellow rose – her favorite – she told me to stop and she was always very grateful,” Ed said. “I will continue to give that rose to the best of my ability. Happy New Year Erin. I love you.”

Erin’s daughter, Emily, spoke at the graduation.

Erin: “A lot can happen in six months … January looks like yesterday, but it feels like it is still alive.”

Emily: The most difficult days since her mother’s death were “especially good – for the first time in months, when I rode my horse… my mother wants to find a new friend… days are hard, because I can never tell my mom about them and I can never.

Emily recalls, “In those days, when I wanted to send a message to her, I remember that she wished I had been happy የም I say all this because I think my mother wants us to do the same today. She will be my mother. We are so happy to see you all as we fill the gardens … we are surrounded by flowers in your favorite place.

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