Monday, July 17, 2006


A few people have asked for a copy of the eulogy I read at the funeral service. Before I forget, here it is.


Peter died four days before our tenth wedding anniversary.

For all of those ten years, people told me that I'd done something brave and noble by marrying him, and by staying with him. They told me that I'd made a great sacrifice because he was sick.

And on some level, Peter himself believed this to be true. He sometimes said that he thought I would have been better off married to someone else, someone healthier, someone who could support me financially and give me things he couldn't.

What I always told him when he said this, and what I am here to tell you today, is that my supposed sacrifice was no sacrifice at all. Anything I gave up by choosing to marry Peter was repaid to me ten thousand times over.

To understand why, you have to know what sort of man Peter was.

He was a man who would get down on the floor and play with children of all ages, whether they were his or not.

He was a man who could tell silly jokes and dance around and talk in funny voices without ever making himself look ridiculous.

He was a man who liked to have fun, and he brought fun and laughter into our home. When you think about our life as a family, don't imagine it as a somber existence that revolved around illness and disability. It wasn't about that at all. It was about singing along to loud music. It was about watching movies together on Friday nights. It was about hanging out in the area behind the couch that he'd designated as "the clubhouse." It was about going to Disneyland.

He really, really liked to have fun.

But at the same time, he was a man who went beyond the superficial and the everyday. He was a man of conviction, but his mind was never closed. He thought deeply and intelligently about difficult topics and wanted to discuss his thoughts with other people. If you ever talked with him about politics, religion, racism or social issues, you know those were conversations you would not soon forget.

Most of all, and most importantly, Peter was a man who was not afraid to love. I never had to wonder if he loved me. He told me so over and over. We almost never celebrated Valentine's Day, because in our house, every day was Valentine's Day. And the loving care he took with our daughter, with raising and teaching her, was something I'd never seen in a man before and never expect to see again.

So that was the man I married. A loving husband and father, a man full of intelligence and insight and wisdom and joy. Sickness, pain, and even death itself cannot stand against such a combination of qualities. And if I could travel back in time ten years, if I could stand at the altar with him knowing everything I knew then and everything I know now, knowing that all this would happen -- I would still marry him.

Every single moment was worth it.

1 comment:

zandra said...

That's beautiful, Vanessa {{hugs}}