Eulogy To My Wife
Last February started a chain of events that lasted almost a year and culminated in the loss of my dear wife Debra. On that morning, she suffered a massive headache and loss of vision for almost an hour. After consulting with our private physician, we were sent to Harbor-UCLA, where we learned that Debra had a ruptured aneurysm. The neurosurgery team was very confident that they could fix this, and after a month in the hospital, a vascular coil in her head, and ultimately brain surgery to repair the aneurysm, Debra came home on March 31st. We thought we were pretty lucky. She was mentally and physically intact. She was recovering nicely, and even driving and thinking about going back to work.
Around the end of June, Debra started to melt down. We took her back to the hospital where she was admitted again on June 27th. On this date, we started a seven month ordeal from which she would not recover. And so, we are gathered here today to celebrate the life of my beloved wife, Debra.
My Sister Diane introduced us to each other. Diane was Debra’s hair dresser, and she knew Debra had just gone through a nasty divorce. She also knew that I had just completed a divorce of my own. So, she asked me one night if I wanted to meet one of her clients, and I said yes. She gave me Debra’s phone number and I gave her a call. She had the sweetest voice and the most unique and wonderful giggle I had ever heard. We talked for hours. We went out the next week, and hit it off right away. And the rest was history.
We got married in a little chapel in Big Bear Lake on July 12, 1980, a marriage that would last over 26 years. During that time, she gave birth to my son Russell on November 19, 1981. Russell was the apple of her eye. We took custody of my oldest son, Kenny, and without any complaints, she took over the duties of day to day mother for him as well.
In 1984 we bought a timeshare week in Palm Springs. I told her she was nuts for wanting to go down there in the summer. But she said it would be ok. So we gave it a try, and we have gone there every year since, except for last year because she was in the hospital. I remember the day after she was admitted to the hospital. She asked me if I was mad at her for ruining our Palm Springs trip. I reassured her that her health was more important. Nonetheless, Palm Springs had become one of those family traditions that we did every year. Russell learned to swim there. The kids always looked forward to going, and frankly, so did we. I learned to love the desert and Palm Springs, even though I had to put up with the heat for a week.
Debra loved the movies. She loved watching them and she wanted to be in them. I of course am the Doubting Thomas of the family, so I always thought, “yeah, sure.” But she was determined she was going to be in the movies. I think it first started when one of the studios rented the computer store I was working at for the day, so they could shoot a television show. She came up to the store to watch, and managed to get one of the assistant directors to let her be an extra. She loved it. After that, she had parts in such movies as The Wedding Singer with Drew Barrymore and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with Johnny Depp. She was on the set for 3 days during The Wedding Singer, and she was so excited to meet Drew Barrymore. Adam Sandler was apparently sick the days she was on the set, so she never got to meet him. In Fear and Loathing, Debra played a snake lady in a circus like casino in which Johnny Depp and his partner had found themselves while stoned out of their minds. Debra had to take one of her old bathing suits to the set, where the wardrobe folks cut it in half. Anyway, she hated the movie when it came out, but she loved being there while they made it. She always thought the process of making the movie was fascinating. She also did a shoot for the movie Deuce Bigalow that was being filmed in El Segundo. She had just had major abdominal surgery 3 weeks before, but she insisted on being there. Unfortunately her part in this movie ended up on the cutting room floor.
Debra was also in several music videos and a television episode. The most famous one was a video for rap star Eminem, in which he is dressed in a superman costume and Debra was laying on top of him trying to hold him down. She told me later that night that between takes she kept asking him if he was all right or if she was too heavy on him. Marshall, which is Eminem’s real name, would tell her that he was ok and not to worry.
For those of you who are fans of the TV show Bones, she was in an episode that aired in December of 2005. It was funny because I got an e-mail from my Aunt Jan telling me that my Uncle Jack had seen someone on Bones that looked just like Debra. She played the mother of one of the FBI lab guys who was visiting after the main characters were all quarantined in their lab during Christmas. She even tried her hand at voiceover. She had a demo tape made, which I am fortunate enough to still have. Her motto was “Always a Giggle and a Smile.” She loved acting and wished she could do more of it.
After you have been with someone a long time, you sometimes begin to take that person for granted. And then something magical happens that begins to open your eyes to what a wonderful person your mate is. That occurrence for me was after my Grandmother was put in a convalescent home. We would go visit Grandma, and Debra would polish her fingernails and put makeup on her. In return, Grandma would teach Deb how to crochet. I got such a kick watching the two of them sitting side by side crocheting. Debra always said my Grandma was a kick to be with. And on the night that Grandma passed away, it was Debra who was the last family member to touch her, stroking her face and trying to cool her off with a wet compress.
One of the things I have come to admire the most about Debra is her courage. Hospitals are such a scary place to be when you are a patient for a long time. She never complained and she never showed fear. Everyday these people would come into her room with needles and tubes and poke and prod her for seven long months. But she showed no signs of fear. And so, in that last terrible week when the doctors told me she probably wouldn’t last more than a day or two, she hung on for 4 days, just to let them know who was boss. Ultimately she would lose her battle and eventually succumb to this brain aneurysm that she fought so valiantly and with such courage.
I think the thing that I will miss the most is her beautiful smile and personality. Debra had a smile that would light up a room. Her personality was magnetic and she quickly became the center of my universe. We were truly in love. Anyone who saw us in public would more than likely see us holding hands or see me with my arm around her. It was wonderful just being with her. She was a grandmother. She was the Mother of my Sons. But most important to me, she was my best friend, my lover and soul mate. She was my Wife, and I shall truly miss her.