A Eulogy For My Wife, Victoria

A Eulogy For My Wife, Victoria

VICTORIA was my wife. She was my friend, the mother to our son, Andersen, and the heart and “love-anchor” of our family. And she is gone. And I miss her terribly. And it has been hard and painful to lose her.

But God is greater than that.

As many of you know, Victoria suffered from depression that sometimes made life difficult for her. It started for her following a traumatic car accident in 2009 and was exacerbated when she was rear-ended a year later. My friends, depression is a serious and formidable disease. It is cunning, deceitful, and is often stigmatized in our society. It can make life miserable for those afflicted and is painful for those who love them.

But God is greater than that.

My wife took her life on Wednesday, May 25, 2016. She was a victim of the disease of depression. It is tragic, and we are all coping to understand it. But we will not allow the enemy to cause more pain by hiding behind his lies of guilt, shame, or embarrassment. If you suffer from depression, please take your disease seriously and be diligent with your medications. If you know someone who struggles with mental health issues, help them and take it seriously. I know it is hard.

But God is greater than that.

But I have good news for those of us gathered in her name today. For Victoria’s life will not be defined or remembered by her death. She will be celebrated and remembered as a godly woman with a giving and gentle spirit. She was all about forgiveness and being forgiven. A woman with the fierce heart of a mother-warrior committed to seeing the son she loved succeed and triumph as an overcomer.

She is so incredibly proud of Andersen and the growth he has shown as he has matured to become an honorable, young, strong man with a kind and tender heart. She had the unique ability to fight for what she knew was in the best interest of those she loved but to do so with an overarching kindness. That is rare.

But God is greater than that.

Of course, I have had the gift of a more intimate and personal relationship with the woman I fell in love with twenty-nine years ago on a business trip to Hawaii. We were married over twenty years ago on a scuba diving trip in Cozumel, and we had a lot of great adventures together. The Victoria I know and will always remember was smart, determined, and successful. She had an insatiable appetite for information. She could be tough. She was strong. She was beautiful. And sexy. She made me want to be a better man. I loved her deeply. And now my angel-heart is gone. And it hurts.

But God is greater than that.

I have heard often these past ten days that “I loved Victoria so much.” I get it. I did too. She was a lovable person. There is a saying that says, “Long after you meet someone, you do not necessarily remember what they said, but you will always remember how they made you feel.”

Her memory will live on for those who met her as a woman who made you feel that she genuinely cared about you. And you know what? She did genuinely care about you.

For those struggling to understand her death that seems incongruous after a recent encounter with Victoria, I have been blessed to hear and share many stories since her death. The common theme is that Victoria was at her best when she was focused on the needs of others. Her life will always be celebrated and cherished for that reason. Giving of herself to others was how she felt fulfilled and that is consistent with her desire to live a Christ-minded life.

But God is greater than that.

So where do we go from here? Victoria’s story is not over. Yes, her time with us has come to an end here in New Canaan, but not our time with her in a much more important context. For those who love Jesus Christ, there is no doubt that eternal life with Him is promised and assured.

The Bible and teaching we believe are clear that Victoria is now with our Father in heaven. But sometimes God is merciful and generous enough to make Himself crystal clear on this issue. I have been blessed these past few days to hear of a couple of events where God has revealed Victoria’s presence since her death, and I’d like to share one now (as I have been given permission to do so by our friend Karen):

Karen lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is a Christian sister and friend from Grace with whom we enjoyed Dinosaur BBQ with our mutual friends Toni and Marc after service many times. On Thursday following Victoria’s death, Toni called Karen to inform her of the situation. Like many of us, Karen was heartbroken, and she was also troubled by the fact that Victoria had taken her own life. Despite biblical clarity and theological assurances that the form of death has no implication on your eternal destination, with Doug (her husband) out of town, she went to bed early with a burdened heart. At 2:00 a.m., Karen explains that she was awakened by the material and physical presence of the Holy Spirit, angels, and maybe Jesus Himself. She had a sensation of angels’ wings fluttering close and surrounding her. It was so real, she slowly reached over to turn on the light on her bedside table as she thought this could be the time she would actually see Him face to face. But as she turned on the light, there was no one there she could see. And then, at this moment, an audible voice from the Holy Spirit spoke to her and said, “She is with Me.” For the sake of clarity, the voice repeated the same words: “She is with Me.”

God is Great.

I want to take this moment to reach out to you on this topic. This is not religious. This is not political. It’s not about philosophy. It’s a true story about a Jewish guy 2,000 years ago who gave of Himself so we could all know peace. This is about my life, your life, and eternal life. If you know Jesus, hold Him closer. If you have not looked in His direction, He is there waiting to be with you. Right now. As we speak. Please, talk to someone who knows Jesus, give me a call, watch a program. Read a book. Do it your way. Just ask what it means to have a friendship with Him.

Victoria would want you to so she could see you again. Victoria can’t come to us, but we can go to her. I know where she is and look forward to that day because of the grace and mercy of God through His son Jesus.

God is Great.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with a quote that I am fond of from Richard Bach that takes on a much deeper meaning when considered in the context of eternal life:

Don’t be dismayed by good-byes.
A farewell is necessary before you can meet again.
And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes,
is certain for those who are friends.

Victoria, I will see you again.

SURVIVE
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