On Sunday, November 29th, 2015 – my beautiful and dear wife, Lisa, passed away quietly and peacefully in my arms. We were watching a live-streamed service from the Agape Center in LA where Rev. Michael Beckwith, one of Lisa’s true supporters and mentors, was speaking. We had listened to some of her favorite music, and we sat silently, hand in hand, for almost two hours. I stroked her face and head, telling her I loved her, and that God was embracing her on her journey. This morning it is raining here in Atlanta. A soft, soulful rain, gently falling – gently imitating my tears as I write this.
We were together for 32 years, as partners in music, business, life, love, and as parents (of our gorgeous talented now 21 year old, Emily). Almost as long as I can remember. During those years we had all the ups and downs of married life – but we alway had a soul connection that couldn’t be broken; that went beyond words, and that kept us strong on every level.
For those of you who knew her well, Lisa was a fireball of contradiction. She could be difficult, willful, quick to anger, and challenging. The flip-side of that, was her intense passion, her enormous capacity to love – more fiercely than anyone – her generosity, her light, and her ability to inspire others to kindness, beauty, and joy. She loved to dance and sing. Her smile started at her bright, luminous, blue eyes, and spread across her entire being to emanate from her very core.
Her recent passion was to make music and videos with her family. We had the idea of putting our love into a colorful family band called Laughing Pizza. It was Lisa’s vision that drove the mission: to share our family spirit as an example of how to live in peace, joy, kindness, health, and mainly love. We may have never reached her idea of what was “successful” which included nothing less than global recognition – not for personal gain, but simply as a platform to connect people and cultures; to show by example that families could love and respect each other, work together, and that “we’re all the same on the inside” – no matter where we live of where we’re from. But nonetheless, we were able to touch thousands of families’ lives, and our videos played on PBS stations for nearly 8 years – impacting a small generation of kids and families that enjoyed the videos, came to our concerts, and were swept up in the color, sound, and love that we felt for each other.
Over the last three years, I was privileged to share her journey through Ovarian Cancer, from diagnosis to her passing. We both learned an incredible amount about life and love; about health and what defined wellness; about strength and commitment; and about the deep connection to spirit that all human beings share. The last year, I was by her side 24 hours a day, caring for her both mentally and physically, taking her to healers, doctors, and spiritual advisers. I know Lisa was able to heal so much of her own human suffering, and brought light and love with her everywhere she went. She connected with everyone on her path – as she so easily did – and I’ve heard many beautiful stories of how she inspired people wherever she was.
I can’t imagine now how different life will be. I feel her presence in everything I do, and everywhere I look. She’ll always be by my side. I believe that she now is in the all knowing, all loving, all forgiving, arms of the universe. She has brought color, life, music, and laughter with her to add her joy and love to the angels of heaven, however you define it.
I thank all of you who have already shared your “Lisa stories” on Facebook and in emails and texts to me and to Emily. We love you and feel your support in our grief. But most of all – I can see how deeply she touched each and every one of you – no matter how long, or how well you knew her – and that is what I hold most dearly in my heart. I know she now understands that she achieved the purpose of her time here on earth which was simply: to love.