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When Eric Garner was still alive he told his wife, Esaw Snipes, that he would “always” take care of her. Four years later, despite his tragic death at the hands of an NYPD officer, Garner’s vow remains intact.
In an exclusive interview with the New York Daily News, Snipes said she and Garner dreamed of moving out of their apartment and into a home of their own. After settling with the city in the wake of Garner’s tragic death for $5.9 million (which was split among Garner’s mother, children, and widow), Snipes and her family have realized that dream, but it’s bittersweet.
“We wanted to have a home to watch our grandchildren grow up and for us to grow old together. That was our plan,” Snipes said.
“I have to credit this to my husband,” she said. “He said from day one, ‘I will always take care of you,’ and even through death he’s taking care of me.”
Snipes moved into the home just days before the fourth anniversary of her husband’s killing, and less than a year after losing her daughter, Erica Garner. While she loves her new single-family home, the loss of her husband and daughter have dampened the celebration.
“I have this home but it’s missing my husband; it’s missing my daughter,” Snipes admitted. “I wish that my daughter was here because all she kept saying was, ‘Mom, you need to get a house, so if anything happens to you, we’ll always have a place to call home.’”
Erica Garner died after suffering a massive heart attack last December. At just 27 years old, Erica had become an outspoken activist in the wake of her father’s killing, taking aim at the city, its mayor, the police and former President Barack Obama. Months before she died, Erica had given birth to her second child, a baby boy she named after her father. Now, Snipes is raising her daughter’s children.
“She’s not able to be here to share this with me, but I know she’s watching and I know her children are happy and that’s what my main goal is — just to be happy,” Snipes said.
Now that she’s in her dream home, the 50-year-old widow just wants to focus on her family and fade from the public eye.
“I don’t want to be relevant anymore,” she admitted. “I just want to live my life, raise my grandchildren and let them see something different than New York City projects and shootings.”
While Snipes no longer wants to be a public figure, she has vowed to keep her husband and daughter’s memories alive.
“His mind, spirit and soul are always going to be with me,” she said. “I just have to keep his memory alive and keep talking about him, showing the babies his pictures.”