Monday, June 20, 2016

Small Private Memorial Service Today: My Words of Remembrance of Nick Gonzalez

Nick's story is a love story. It’s the story of an extraordinary man who so loved his God, his wife, his country and his patients that he was willing to put them first, ahead of his own self and personal needs. I discovered this during our deep and unique prenuptial discussion. We were engaged after 6 weeks of dating so there were important things to learn about each other quickly.  From our very first date, I knew Nick was devoted to his patients and his divine led mission as a healer. I wondered out loud: what about his other priorities? Where would I fit into his life, a life he had already lived for 52 years? Without hesitation Nick replied “God comes first, then you, Mary Beth. Then my work with my patients and of course, my country.” While we sometimes disagreed about his actual time allocation to these priorities, I never doubted the priorities that lit his heart and guided his soul.

Nick was a Teacher. He loved educating others and shining light on the Truth. As a healer, he told the truth about how your body can heal itself and what you can do to actively participate in the healing process. Then, as one who had been persecuted, he told the truth about the lengths to which some, in conventional medicine, would go to sabotage an effective alternative cancer treatment. As a loyal American, he told the truth about how to rebuild America. And as a devoted Christian, he spread the truth about God's love. 

God often chooses unlikely people to do His work. God chose Nick to do this healing work and Nick listened to his calling. It was God's divine power that gave Nick the strength to be a medical pioneer and fight in the trenches for his patients and against his adversaries. Nick quietly treated the untreatable with great humility. God has a purpose for each of us. Even with Nick’s unexpected and unexplainable death, we need to trust that God's plan is bigger than we can imagine. We are here to bring Him glory and to further His kingdom. Nick’s practice was his ministry. For his many patients here today, although Nick was not your birth father, he gave you the gift of life. Nick was a father to the rebirth of many of you.  Now, while you may feel abandoned like orphans, please look around and see that you have siblings and are most certainly not alone. We are gathered here today to stand in Nick’s light and share our own light. Together it burns more brightly.

Nick’s Mission Continues. Unfortunately, Nick, like his mentors, Dr. John Beard and Dr. William Donald Kelley, died frustrated, feeling rather angry and dismissed by conventional medicine. At great personal sacrifice, Nick had bravely picked up the swords of Drs. Beard and Kelley. Today is our opportunity to show Nick that he won, and we love him for fighting so hard for us. Christ calls us to be witnesses, disciples and laborers in the field. We can stand around or we can accept the call. As witnesses, we do things. No sitting around, waiting for someone else. No limiting ourselves to easy things that don't cost us. People have told me to sit down but I am standing up. Because Nick wasn’t done. He wanted The Gonzalez Protocol to live on and to be available to patients for years to come. It wasn't about ego. He shined his light for you, his patients and the future of medicine.

God's New Plan. Through our new 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation, The Nicholas Gonzalez Foundation, I am carrying on his mission alongside a talented Board of devoted Nick disciples preserving and propagating Nick’s legacy. We are building a training program to certify a few doctors in The Gonzalez Protocol so patients have access to this effective treatment. The foundation has a table at the reception after this ceremony to show you how we are building our training program so Nick’s brilliant work and legacy shines forever. 

Regrets? I've had a few. If only I had known that our time was going to be shortened; that his life had been threatened. I ask myself what would I have done differently if I'd known?  A little more walking on the beach and a little less nagging about him eating dark cherries and then putting his red stained fingers on the couch? It is true that Nick worked 7 days a week, treating his patients and writing his books so his knowledge could be spread to the world. He carried a heavy mantle of responsibility with great dignity and kindness and was unwavering in his service. I tried my best to lighten his burden, to slow him down and force him to take one day off each week. I used to hide his office keys on Saturdays so he couldn't go to work. Sometimes it worked and he'd stay home with me and we'd relax at home holding hands on the couch. Most Saturdays, the light would twinkle in his eyes and he would convince me that he had to go do his work because no one else would. Now, I have to trust that our life together for 15 years was God's plan and so it was perfect.

My first experience with Grief. I've joked with my many friends, ministers and therapists that I want to get an "A" in bereavement. That if I have to go through this process, I want to get the most out of it and be receptive to all that God wants me to learn. The sorrow of bereavement is beyond words. I beg God and Nick for answers. Why? WHY? Strangers, patients, friends and family continue to show me the light, lift me up high and help keep the flow of grief moving. I've received many wonderful acts of grace. I've learned that I don't need to be afraid to be vulnerable because to mourn is not a sign of weakness but it is stepping into the circle where people can put their arms around me if I give them a chance. This experience has led me to share my own self, the things that have seeped into the cracked places of my life, revealing wounds that need to heal. The Bible recounts stories of how God often asks us to remain faithful through pain and heartache. The stories of Joseph and the Israelites being forced into slavery in Egypt, stories of Job, Abraham and Moses. When we are faithful, we will see God's own faithfulness in return. God transforms troubled wounds, even our grief, into something new, while Jesus reminds us to welcome peace, love and new life.

Why we’re having this Memorial today. Since Nick always had all the answers, when he dropped to the floor that horrible night, I begged him to tell me what to do. I tried CPR but I couldn't save him. Since then, I have been selfish by intensely grieving privately for a man who wasn't just mine. He selflessly gave himself to every one of you. Now we are celebrating Nick's Life today on the Summer Solstice - the day of the year when there is the most light. Light brings possibility and opportunity. Christ is the light that Nick and I have been called to shine. Nick knew that a single light can make a great deal of difference in the midst of darkness. He had a way of making you feel fine whenever you were around him. He had the empathy of the whole cosmos in his heart. Today we will each light a candle in honor of Nick and the light that we are committing to shine in the midst of darkness. With every faltering step we take towards God, He walks a thousand miles in blazing light to come toward us.

A teacher can't teach if no one will listen. I listened and Nick taught me how to believe. Believe in God. Believe in love. How to believe that in the end, Truth will prevail. Thank you for hearing Nick's voice. For allowing him to teach you what he knew and loved to share. We admire his bravery and dedication to doing what was right and not what was easy. You saw his light. Now let's make sure that this light doesn't stay hidden under a bushel basket. There is a light within each person of light and it illuminates the whole universe. Let's each shine our own lights and help make the world a brighter place of hope. God's grace is lavished upon us, not because of anything we do other than stand in need and stand in His light. I will hold the lamp of my love high to light the way. 

Nick was my best friend; he was my hero: He was a man of great integrity. He was a true healer who touched so many lives and gave hope to many. He healed my heart as he healed many of you. I believe he is now working hard on the other side to heal me again and continues to heal patients. He wants us to embody his spirit for him and carry on. Nick was a bright shining star, a giant of a man, and his light and love will never die.