A Tribute To My Late Wife: Lessons Learned Since Her Passing


Eleven years ago this month, my late wife was killed in a car accident.

It was on a Tuesday.

Earlier that morning, we had exchanged our “I love yous,” said our goodbyes, and headed out in opposite directions. I drove to the health club, and she headed to a women’s Bible study.

I had finished my workout and was on my way home when my cell phone rang. On the other end of the line my daughter informed me that the nearby hospital had called and was trying to reach me. She said Mom had been in a car accident…. That’s all we knew.

I hurried home, picked up my son and rushed to the emergency room. When we arrived, it was clear that the situation was grave. My wife had been hit on the driver’s side of her car by a large sports utility vehicle. She had been resuscitated at the scene and was now lying unconscious in front of me.

I struggled to believe it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2004, had started out like any other day, but without warning, this journey called life had taken a sharp, unexpected turn, and for me—life would never be the same.

Three days later, my precious wife of twenty-five years, mother of our two wonderful kids and a friend to so many, was pronounced dead. She was only forty-seven.

As I reflect on the past ten years since her passing, here are a few important lessons I’ve learned:

  • Life goes on; it stops for no one or no thing
  • Life is a gift but it’s also fragile, so cherish it every day
  • Adversity is indiscriminate; live long enough and we all face them
  • No matter how dark the night may get, the sun will come up in the morning
  • God will use all things (if we allow Him) to shape us more and more into the image of His son
  • A life of depth and substance is most often and most deeply shaped in the desert
  • If you keep walking, you will eventually get to the top of the next mountain
  • Death is cruel but it isn’t final
  • God can be trusted; He really can!
  • Heaven is closer than we think and when we get there it’s going to be very, very sweet

None of us know what tomorrow holds. So let’s make every effort of every day to build a life that counts and leave a legacy that matters.

My late wife did. I hope to do the same. I trust you will as well.

Sincerely Submitted
Ken L Roberts


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33 thoughts on “A Tribute To My Late Wife: Lessons Learned Since Her Passing

  1. That's beautiful, Kenny. I loved Debbie, as did so many. And her passing was a shock and a source of heartbreak to me. I've also lost people I've loved dearly. And, like you, I have chosen to learn and grow from the painful circumstances, because I know that no matter what, God works all things together for the good of those who love him, and are called according to his purpose. Even the painful, unanswerable, questions and circumstances that come into our lives, when we least expect them. We don't always get to know or even understand those purposes… or the twists and turns in our lives that get us to the point of His fulfilled purposes. But, as long as we continue to cling to, and trust Him, He will always carry us, and we will always come through, shining in the light of His Glory. This tribute was beautiful and fitting. Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable spot of your life with us. Grace and Peace

  2. she was an amazing woman, beautiful, talented, friendly, caring, creative. She is missed on the spiritual scene here in Cleveland. You, my friend walked through that valley with an inner strength that is uncommon. May the rest of your days grow sweeter and sweeter, as you have found a new life and have lived it well!

  3. She was an INCREDIBLE, real, beautiful, expressive, loving woman Ken. We were all so blessed to know her and look forward to seeing her sweet smile again someday. Thank you for the reminder to live our lives to the fullest:)


  5. Dick

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, Missy has been such a gift to me. I'm really, really blessed. Look forward to playing golf when summer shows up.


  6. Steve

    Thanks for your kind words. For someone who has gone through his own challenges of life, they mean that much more.

    Love you, respect you, appreciate you


  7. Allison

    Such beautiful, kind, and wise words from you. Thanks for allowing all things to shape you more and more into the image of His Son!

    I appreciate YOU!


  8. Thanks so much for opening your heart and sharing your personal insight. Yes Debbie was and is a beautiful person. Seeing that we are eternal and have also overcome "death" there is only victory as the fruit of such circumstances! Ken, lets carry on sharing His light as we hear our loved ones in that great cloud surrounding us!
    Shalom my friend.

  9. Debbie stood by me during what was probably the most difficult season of my life. She helped me walk through darkness…challenged me to trust…and helped me to heal. I will never forget her. She was a gift. To so many. And is still missed.

  10. Debbie always had a sense for when to encourage people. Her words were timely, well spoken and wise. Thanks Ken, for reminding me of her example to make every moment count. It is always good to honor and remember.
    Regards, Friend

  11. Ken,

    Unfortunately, I did not personally know Debbie but have been blessed to become friends with many others that did. Jeff and I began attending the church you were pastoring in June 2004 after our family experienced a devastating situation at the church we had attended for 17 years.We sat in the back row of church, listening to you share how God was holding you up and healing you as you trusted Him with your pain and your future. We cried through most of the services for months, as God used you in the most painful time of your life, to begin His healing in our hearts! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing God to use you even in your darkest times. We love you and miss you but are so excited that God brought Missy into your life and that you are serving the Lord together! Blessings to you!

  12. Brenda

    Thanks! You'll never know how much your words mean to me. Knowing that somehow my pain helped you and your family in their's means a lot. Thanks for your encouragement. Keep moving ahead…God is good; God is near; God is faithful.


  13. Wendy,

    Very, very kind words regarding Debbie. But somehow I have a feelling she already knows how you feel about who she was in your life!? 🙂


  14. Ken,

    Tim and I are praying blessings on your family. A big hug in the Spirit goes out to you, Nicole and Britton. It's amazing how the Lord has carried you through it all.

    . Cheryl

  15. Chris

    such wonderful words. I agree: let's keep sharing His Life.

    Love you…miss you…respect you…


  16. Dear Ken, As we remember Debbie we are thankful for the influence that she had on us in our formative years as believers in Christ. We always felt loved and valued by Debbie's kindness and we experienced that in her smile and uplifting words. She really shined with the countenance of Jesus and carried His authority with grace and strength and dignity. She was and remains a great example to us. Bless you Ken, we are so grateful for you as we recall our days with you in Cleveland. Thank you.
    Ed and Linda

  17. Ed and Linda

    Thanks! Yes, she had a huge influence on a lot of people and all of us sure had some wonderful, wonderful days in the early days of Cleveland. I'm proud of who you guys have become and what through God you have accomplished in and for Him!

    God's ongoing grace


  18. Ken, After loosing my wife in an auto accident also and in the process of rebuilding with Robin, I remember we were at Dan Camm's house for dinner. We had shared how we felt that God was going to relocate us somewhere and Debbie sitting in the bay window with a twinkle in her eye said that God told her we were not to go. Love Ya Buddy!

  19. Kenny, this is such a beautiful tribute to Debbie, one of the most important women in my life. She was a wonderful friend to me. It was a blessing to witness her passionate love for Jesus, ever striving to know Him more and more each day. I will never, ever forget her…her contagious laugh, beautiful smile, and most of all, the love of Jesus that emanated from her, always looking for the good in people. Her integrity and strength of character were qualities that I always admired, and tried to imitate. Debbie will always be the one woman that made the biggest impact on my life, teaching me how to practice the Presence of the Lord. I look forward to the day I will meet her once again in the heavenly realm. Pat and I love you both, and will always cherish the times we spent together.

  20. Melissa,

    Wow…your words mean so much to me. Debbie was a true treasure; loved by many, missed by many. I long for the day we are all reunited.

    Blessings to you and Pat…miss you both lots…


  21. Thank you for sharing this. Debbie was an incredible woman. I am forwarding this to my sons and friends. You've identified some real pearls of wisdom we can all learn from and be reminded of. God bless you Ken.

  22. Leon

    Thanks for the comment.

    Debbie could sure have that quisical, whimsical, mischievous, look in her eye.

    Love you…

  23. Paul

    Thanks for the kind words and thanks for passing this post along to others. That means a lot to me.


  24. Ken, so happy to see all you have done and how very well you are doing, and to still have the opportunity to hear your thoughts.

  25. Ken,

    So beautifully written and precious for you to share. My thoughts and prayers are with you. God amazes me in how deeply he transforms our life in a split second. "I stand, I stand in awe of Him!" Lord bless you with an extraordinary sense of His heart for you during this time. Blessings, Brenda