For this eulogy, I would like to simply tell my story. It is about my daughter Mary* and Elizabeth Ste- venson. Mary will be twenty years old this year, and Elizabeth Stevenson made that possible. How pro-life Liz was!
I met Liz Stevenson in December 1990 at the Pregnan- cy Help Center where she volunteered her time helping young couples deal with unexpected pregnancies. I was twenty, and my girlfriend was seventeen. Little did I know at that first meeting with Liz, what was still ahead for us. Naturally, my girlfriend and I were in shock. Liz asked us what we wanted to do about the pregnancy. We told her that we planned to marry and to raise the baby, but what we were most terrified of was telling my girlfriend’s parents. Liz comforted us with her soft, lov- ing, motherly-nurturing voice. She came with us to the hospital to get a blood test to confirm the results of the home-pregnancy test. That day Liz held my girlfriend’s hand as the blood-test results came back positive.
Liz didn’t just scratch an address of a hospital on a piece of paper, hand it to us, and wish us luck. She made the whole journey with us. She continued holding our hands, literally, through the most difficult and terrify- ing journey of our lives. That is love. That is gracious- ness. That is Liz.
My relationship with Liz continued.
In early January, my girlfriend and I told her parents about the pregnancy. Their preliminary denial turned to rage as they began their campaign to terminate my daughter’s life. They took my girlfriend to a gynecolo- gist to confirm the pregnancy and immediately made an appointment for the abortion. In a panicked state of desperation, I called Liz the next day and asked what could be done about the terrible turn of events. She suggested that I call the Right to Life League. They helped me find legal representation through the Chris- tian Legal Society, and the lawyers told me they would take on the case pro bono. Liz was right there by my side again, like a guardian angel, on the day the judge granted a temporary restraining order against my girlfriend’s parents, based on the possibility that the parents were coercing their daughter to have an abor- tion she didn’t want.
But the legal papers were useless if they couldn’t be served in time to stop the abortion. After trying to plead with my girlfriend at her high school to be strong and stand up to her parents, she was taken out of school. None of her friends would tell me where she was or anything about the abortion. I pleaded with her older brother for help, but he refused to divulge any information. One person (anonymous) called me secretly and told me that the abortion would take place Friday morning at 7 a.m. and also told me the name
of my girlfriend’s gynecologist, but not the location of where the abortion would take place.
The morning of the scheduled abortion, Liz awoke in the darkness of the early morning hours. She had dreamed – or experienced – an angel arriving in the middle of the night and whispering in her ear and urging her to call the gynecologist’s emergency paging service to find out where he would be practicing Friday morning. The next morning she told me and the other people who were with me about this idea. The clock ticked ever closer to seven. We called information to get the number of the gynecologist, and then my friend called him pretending to be my girlfriend. She told him that she lost the address of the clinic and needed it to get to the appointment, but that by now she wasn’t sure that she even wanted the abortion. The doctor gave her the address, and we raced off to that address.
The lawyers got to the clinic in time to serve the papers to the clinic and my girlfriend’s parents. Nurses were already preparing her for the abortion. The lawyer asked my girlfriend if she wanted to have this baby, and she answered yes. Liz was there, like the sweet angel she was, standing by my side – always standing by my side.
There’s a reason why giving birth is so painful. Just as there is a reason why dying is so painful. It is the human and spiritual struggle to get to the other side. Through the birth canal, a child is born into the world, and through the journey of death we are united with our Heavenly Father. Just as Liz was my angel on earth, so is she now in spiritual form. I can imagine the tips of her wings on the nape of my neck; still protecting me, still telling me that it’s all going to be okay. I imagine that she’s happy and at peace in the Kingdom of Heaven where her light shines down upon us all.
Liz was a woman bursting with love, overflowing with love. Much love and commitment is needed for a suc- cessful marriage. Much love and patience is required to raise a child. Liz was the mother of her children, and then grandmother to her grandchildren, yet still the shining light of her love was not exhausted. She con- tinued to feel the divine desire to reach out to complete strangers; strangers who needed love and protection more than ever before in their lives.
Sometimes, when I’m with my daughter, and I see her smile or laugh, I believe that I see the face of God. It feels as if God’s love is rising up from deep within my heart, deep within my soul, and it’s all I can do to contain myself so as not to explode with happiness and gratitude. This is how I imagine Liz felt, in her quiet, gentle way, not only for her love of family and friends, but for humankind, born and unborn. She followed the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Liz’s love lives on – through the beautiful children she raised; through the undying love of a faithful husband; through her grandchildren who will be inspired by their grandmother’s strength, love, generosity and selflessness. She lives on through the children she’s saved – like my daughter Mary. It’s amazing to witness how one woman’s love can touch so many lives with the grace of God.
Sometimes I think that death, in its most profound and universal way is simply a reminder for the rest of us to begin living – to begin prioritizing – to begin loving deeply, passionately, and with purpose. This makes our individual and collective lives all that much more worth living.
Let us learn from Liz’s selfless example and rejoice in her abundant love. In whatever way Liz’s love has touched your heart, may you spread that love onward and outward so that Liz’s love, by the grace of God, will go on forever. She is an example to us all. We honor her memory by learning from her example and becom- ing the best versions of ourselves.
Elizabeth Stevenson saved my daughter’s life and has given me the greatest joy in my life.
She was a gentle kiss from the lips of God for anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.w
The author was born in Germany and grew up in the US. He received his Bach elor of Arts in Theatre from California State University, Los Angeles and works currently in Munich, Germany in the television and film industry. His beautiful daughter just turned 20.