Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Words of Remembrance: Nicholas Gonzalez, MD

Nick's Funeral Service, St. Matthew's Church, Bedford NY, July 28, 2015

Thank you for coming. I would much prefer to being doing anything else today, than being here delivering my Words of Remberance and Celebration of Nick.  Yet I am here, with all of you, to honor my beloved husband, the love of my life and my true companion.

First I’d like to acknowledge the compelling and heart-felt tributes from our dear friends Suzanne Somers, Alan Hamel and Kelly Brogan. Thank you for so accurately capturing what made Nick, such an extraordinary man. And thank you Jeanne Marie, Nick’s niece and God daughter, for such lovely music. 

As Nick’s devoted wife of nearly 15 years, I would like to tell you about how Nick and I first met and how The Lord intervened to bring us together. On the morning of what was to be our first date, I woke up with a horrible sinus infection and a high fever. I stayed home from work and called Nick’s office asking if we could please reschedule. While we had made a plan for the following evening, he still offered to come over after work to bring me some natural remedies. I was instantly touched as we hadn’t even had a first date yet, and he was already offering me his compassionate care. Not accustomed to such a gentleman, I politely declined and told him I would see him the following night. 

I was still quite sick the next day, but I was determined to go out with Nick. I arrived a few minutes early and was greeted by name at the door of Nick’s favorite organic restaurant and then I was taken to his favorite table. I had chills and was sweating from the fever. My bare legs were sticking to the banquet. I was quite a sight.  Once seated he thanked me for coming, looked into my eyes and said “I can see that you are still sick, would it be ok if I took your hand?”

I looked into his deep blue eyes and willingly gave him my hands. He covered them with his own and we sat there in silence. His energy was so powerful. As he held me, my fever lifted completely and I began to fall in love. 

Throughout our marriage, Nick and I were a team. We cherished each other. And our relationship, like most marriages, faced challenges. It isn’t easy to be married to a genius.  We had long discussions before and throughout our marriage about whether, despite our profound love, we should be together since I longed for children and a home in the country and Nick knew his calling, his compulsion, was to care for his thousands of seriously ill patients who NO ONE ELSE COULD treat. He would tell me that he already had two babies: me and his work. We ultimately agreed to put the decision in God’s hands. 

While Nick loved being in the country as much as I did, but his seven day work week wasn’t compatible with a commute from the suburbs. Now, as fate may have it, we finally have our home in the country. I hope you will join us as we bury Nick immediately after this service so you can see our country home - here at St. Matthew’s Cemetery filled with war heroes, lush greenery and serenity. 

In time and with prayer, I came to realize that MY calling was to make Nick’s life as easy as possible so that he could fulfill his destiny to help so many - including some of you here today. I made it my priority, with love and partnership, to lift his stress and make our home a loving, safe haven. One Christmas when we were visiting my parents at their home on Sanibel Island, we rented a condo on the Gulf of Mexico with a gorgeous view. Nick and I found such immediate peace together on Sanibel. I was amazed at how quickly he was able to relax in that condo. So I bought it for us. 

While I had to drag him kicking and screaming out of his office and on to a plane for a few days off, 3-4 times a year, once he arrived on Sanibel and had his favorite hamburger on a whole wheat bun at Doc Ford’s, he was transformed. Our Sanibel home was one of the only places on earth where he could truly RELAX. 

One of my most treasured moments was when we celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary with a private recommitment ceremony on the beach in our bare feet in front of our Sanibel home in October 2011. Well, at least I was in my bare feet, it was hard to convince Nick to take off his socks. 

I’d like to share some of the words Nick spoke to me at our recommitment ceremony: 
 “One of the most difficult aspects of a Christian walk, that we all face, is realizing that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect and unflawed, quite the contrary. We are by our very nature flawed, imperfect...with the wonderful promise that in the future the world, flawed as it is, will be itself remade perfect, and we along with it..."
"One of the characteristics of Mary Beth that I cherished most when we were first dating, later when we were married and today...that even though she was smart, even though she had accomplished much in her professional life, she humbly and sincerely wanted, yearned in fact, to do better in her life, to be better, to be a better friend, a better wife, a better Christian. She would bury herself in her Bible studying, despite her long work days, trying to learn how to be better, to become better, to be, as she said “the BEST Mary Beth I can be.” It touched me then and it touches me now...moved me then and moves me now...I cherish that about her always and to me, that is what makes her a true Christian, a Christian Christ would cherish...”

Now, Nick knew as a very young man that he was given a gift and he had a special mission while on this earth. In his daily personal relationship with God The Holy Spirit guided him. This guidance fueled Nick’s work, gave him great strength and it also enabled Nick to know something about literally everything. 

I was constantly astounded to hear Nick speak as intelligently about politics and Bach, global warming and Mickey Mantle’s baseball’s stats as he could speak to the latest from the Kardashians and Miley Cyrus. I used to laugh with him and ask whether he really was going to the office everyday or perhaps he was simply sitting around reading US Magazine? He’d belly laugh at the thought and his eyes would dance and twinkle. 

Nick KNEW that he was destined to write a very important book that would change the course of medicine. Now Nick has already published three books and was working most nights and weekends on a massive three volume book of 125 of his best patient case reports. He had completed 106 meticulously documented, medical miracle cases of all types of cancer and other diseases. I repeatedly suggested that perhaps 100 cases would be sufficient, and we could start the publishing process. 

But Nick truly measured success in lengths of time and volume - when we would lie in bed at night and I would tell him about a good work meeting, his first question would always be “well, how long did it last?” So it will come as no surprise that a book of 100 patient cases was just NOT enough. Nick knew 125 cases was the right number. Now with the help of Dr. Linda Isaacs, we will complete his case book to honor Nick and for all humanity.

In closing, Nick lectured about his work all over the world. He loved to teach and share his knowledge to frankly, ANYONE who would listen. When lecturing, he was known to ignore his time limit and announce as they were giving him the hook, the 2 minute warning: “I’ll just keep on talking and I won’t be upset if YOU have to leave.” Nick often received thunderous standing ovations after his lectures with crowds of people following him back to his hotel room to thank him and ask questions. Similarly, I know he is so very pleased to have such a wonderful turnout today. 

I feel compelled to close with some medical advice from Dr. Nick, and I know that he is smiling because now he knows I really was listening.

So here it is: Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day; eat clean, whole foods; detox your body and take a daily pro-biotic. For those of us here who were his patients, we need to continue to do the things we have "learned and received, and heard, and seen".

Now some advice from me. 

LIVE every single day to its fullest. CHERISH the ones you love because it really can all go away in an instant, without any warning. 

I thank you for coming to honor my husband and celebrate his life and his pioneering contribution to the history of medicine. I gladly, willingly, shared my husband with the world. 

Some people go their whole lives not finding love. I am blessed that every day for nearly 15 years, I knew Nick cherished and adored me. I was His Baby and he was mine. I know I live in that twinkle in his eye. Now I know I need to find “my new normal” without him at my side.

Dear God, thank you for bringing Nick Gonzalez into my life. I pray for strength. Let me not die while I’m still alive. Amen. 

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