My Eulogy for Alice
My wife Alice passed away from multiple organ failure on April 22, 2021. She was my Proverbs 31 woman and the best thing that ever happened to me. This was my eulogy at her funeral.
In 1972 I’d just been discharged from the Army and fell in with some friends of mine in the Jesus people movement of the 70s, which basically could be described as a bunch of crazy hippies who loved Jesus.
We met in each others’ homes for worship services and Bible studies, and that’s where I first met Alice.
We ran into each other frequently and struck up a friendship since we were going to the same little community college, she studying history and myself studying computers.
Alice’s friends told me much later that she was madly in love from the start.
It wasn’t long before I was equally smitten. She was cute, kind, intelligent, well-read, and had a great sense of humor. She was insecure about her looks so I got some pushback on that “cute” part. I just told her, “I calls ’em as I sees ’em.”
After a whirlwind courtship we were engaged.
We had a hippie wedding! We cleared all the cow patties out of a big field, laid down some burlap, some folding chairs… I had long hair and was wearing jeans and she wore a white eyelet dress she’d sewn herself.
When we were newlyweds, she’d come to me with recipes she wanted to try out and she’d try to sell me on it. “Just hear me out, it’s got this in it… and I know you like that, and it’s got that in it…”
“Sure!” Before long she spread her wings and became an incredible scratch cook. People in our church know that if there was a potluck, Alice was on it.
Alice was a voracious reader. We had thousands of books on bookshelves in our home, and many thousands more on her Kindle, mostly murder mysteries and historical fiction.
She was a rabid Anglophile: she loved anything having to do with England. That, combined with her history knowledge, meant that our watching of Downton Abbey was quite unlike yours.
I got a running commentary about the customs and fashions of the era. “Oh, look, Lady Mary is wearing lavender now… she’s no longer in full mourning; she’s in half mourning.”
I remember one morning over breakfast we discussed the latest Kate Middleton news, and then the Scottish independence vote, which led to a discussion of the role of Scottish dissenters from the Anglican church in the industrial revolution.
That might seem kind of wacky to you, but for us it was all grand fun.
She was an obsessive collector of recipes, books, antiques, hand soaps, and candles. I swear she had more candles than a midnight Catholic high mass.
Above all, she was a Christmas fanatic. She would start buying presents in February, and would set up a huge table piled high with ribbons, bows and wrapping paper to prepare presents for everyone.
She maintained a collection of greeting cards, thank you cards, sympathy cards, graduation cards, all organized in a file cabinet by sections, to send out to people she thought needed them.
When she was active in Missionettes, our church ministry to preteen girls, she loved all of those girls like they were her own, and went on to dote on her beloved grandchildren at every opportunity.
Alice has been in and out of hospitals for a long time. You might ask, why didn’t God intervene? He did, one time saving her from the brink of death and shocking the nurses!
Thanks to that we had enough time to watch The Good Place, All Creatures Great and Small, and Firefly in their entirety; we almost finished The Yorkshire Vet.
Towards the end, the doctors trying everything they could, they had her on a medication with an unexpected side-effect: she would talk… incessantly!
She apologized for being such a Chatty Cathy, and it annoyed me at first. We’d be lying side by side in bed in the dark; I wanted to drift off to sleep but she wanted to talk my ear off! But I grew to cherish those times.
We talked about everything under the sun, much of it reminiscing about our lives together:
Working together at a newspaper during my college years, her as a typesetter and myself as a writer.
Housesitting in my parents’ Victorian mansion while my parents were doing missionary work in the Phillipines.
Moving cross country from California to Minnesota.
Raising our three children.
Visits to Duluth, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Oregon, San Francisco, even Hawaii.
Reading, cooking and crafting with our three grandchildren.
And I got to reiterate for the billionth time that from the first time I laid eyes on her, I thought she looked cute as hell. I hope she finally believed me.
Sadly, our 47-year grand adventure has come to an end. I miss her.
But now she is walking on legs that are strong and whole, able to run to her Savior’s arms, with no more need of wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, or pain meds.
We gave that all away to Goodwill! Except the pain meds, those went to the police station.
I have to comfort myself with that. And we have that blessed hope that someday we will meet again.