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Praying in the Face of the Pandemic

Long before reality television star Eric Eremita (Ehrra-Meeta) appeared on set for HGTV, his signature style set him apart. 

“I appreciate the ‘wow’ factor and when I do work for my clients and my clients become friends,” says Eric. "They come into a space, they'll turn around and say, ‘Eric did this. I can tell. I know how he puts a job together. I know how he puts a space together.’" 

Appearing on HGTV shows like "Love It or List It," and "Brother Vs. Brother," the contractor and designer has always pushed through even the toughest jobs.   

“I try to run a smooth ship, but there's always a wave that's going to come that's going to knock you around a little bit,” remarks Eric. “You have to learn how to ride over those waves, get through it and make adjustments.”

The 52-year-old father of three would face a battle he could not fight on his own. With COVID-19 reaching pandemic proportions, Eric says he kept losing his focus. 

“Then the second thing was the - a flu-like symptom started coming on, fevers and things of that nature, thinking that I had the flu,” Eric recalls. “At the same time my wife started to get it.”

Immediately, Eric and his wife Joanne went into quarantine in their Staten Island home. He went upstairs while Joanne stayed on the first floor. Their three kids camped out in the finished basement.

According to Eric, “I started getting a high fever. My wife says my fever went up to over 104. We left it in God's hands.”
One day a week later, Joanne came to check on her husband. This time he was having difficulty breathing and was turning blue. "She came upstairs beause she didn't, you know, really know what was happening. And she turned around and says, 'You don't look good. Can you breathe?'" And that’s the last thing Eric remembers.

On March 30th, Eric was put on a ventilator. He wasn’t expected to live. Two weeks later he was taken off the ventilator.

"The first thing waking up in the hospital is that the nurse brought over an iPad and my family was on the other side of it," Eric recalls. "They were shocked and amazed that I pulled through.”

It was then Eric learned he’d been in the hospital for three weeks and wasn’t expected to make it. 

“You know, it's life-altering,” says Eric. “I couldn't wait to get home and see my kids and my wife and just hug them and squeeze them.”

Eric also learned what he and many others believe brought him from death’s door...thousands of people lifting him up in prayer.

“It's overwhelming, man. It's really, really overwhelming,” says Eric. “You're talking about fans, you're talking about friends, you're talking about family, you're talking about so many different people who were looking out for me.”

And Eric says God gave him another sign that He was the one who brought him through. 

“The number 13 has a history with me,” says Eric. “In the Italian heritage, 13 is a lucky number. Then I got married on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day. And now I’m starting a clothing line called Thirteen. And now I'll fast forward it to the day I got off the ventilator. The day I got off the ventilator was April 13th. Waking up off the ventilator on April 13th means a lot. You know, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, Philippians 4:13.” 

Ten days later, Eric was well enough to go home. His story of healing inspired a very special send-off. 

“They got everybody together, ICU, the emergency room. Anybody who worked on me or anybody that knew me, and it wasn't from being on television. They did it because I was a miracle to them,” Eric recalls. “I was the first person to leave having been on a ventilator. So, it was very uplifting to them. It gave them a sign of hope and it gave caught up in this pandemic, a sign of hope as well.”

Eric reunited with his family, and started regaining his strength. By then his wife had also fully recovered from the virus at home and his children were not infected. Eric is excited to get back to work, with a renewed faith that God is in control. 

“You start to look at life a little differently. You know, don't sweat all that stuff. It's going to happen anyway,” says Eric. “Don’t worry about what needs to be done next. God's got a plan. Okay. It’s going to happen. So if you put all that together and you leave it in His hands, you'll be in good shape.“

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