Dear in Christ Fr.Protodeacon,I grieve with you for your loss,coming as it is after the many years you were unjustly maligned.You carried your cross,my brother,and now,after a period of suffering,your beloved wife has been taken from you.May the Lord God remember Matushka Alla in His Kingdom,Amen.
I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Alla Jillions Wheeler yesterday after her courageous battle with cancer. It's so hard to see someone so young leave this life, especially with a loving and caring family who adore her and still need her with them. I hope and pray that her struggle was not always in physical pain, but that there was some light and joy in her life as she accepted the Will of God for her. Even though I don't know the family, I can only imagine the sadness they are experiencing now, after caring for her for so long, unable to make her well, and finally having to accept God's Will also and let her go home to HIM.
May God bless her soul and allow her great rest now. May God watch over her family and bring them comfort and healing as they go on to live good Orthodox lives and relish in the many memories of Alla's short life on earth. God give all of you strength in this difficult time, knowing that there is joy to be found again in life when the time comes.
MAY HER MEMORY BE ETERNAL. "BLESSED ARE THEY WHO MOURN, FOR THEY SHALL BE COMFORTED."
My condolences to Dcn Eric and his family as well as Matushka's family of origin.
While I am not a close family friend, I have met them in Alaska and have known of them through their support of honesty and the fight for the integrity of our Church mission.
May God Bless them all in this time of need and reflection, and Grant Peace to all.
My selfish mind now turns towards the future... the diocese of Alaska's future...
We are in need of a bishop... one who can heal and unite...
I knew both Protodeacon Eric and Matushka Alla when I was first a student at St Vladimir's Seminary from 1982-1984. Alla was a very quiet and gentle, but yet a very warm and caring person. She always had a smile and a "Hello!" for everyone, and she always remembered and called people by their names! She was one of those rarities in the OCA: a true, practicing Christian!!
Forgive me if I express a little anger here that may lead some people to think that what I am about to say is far-fetched! However, having done many types of healing ministries over the years (12-Step Programs, personal therapy, group therapy, Rebirthing, etc.), I am convinced that one of the claims of these healing ministries is very true, namely, that, many times, we store painful emotions and traumas in our bodies! As I said, some may feel this is far-fetched. However, I have not only seen this in practice, but it also is in harmony with our Orthodox theology, which has always looked upon the human being as a wholistic creature, with the mind, body, emotions, and spirit being totally interconnected! Within this process of emotional trauma being stored in the body, it has become a classical fact that the emotional trauma of anger, wrath, and rage is stored in the body in the form of cancer. When I first heard of Alla being stricken with this disease, I was momentarily shocked, but not for long. For, the timing of this onslaught of disease was too close for comfort to be merely coincidental. As Mark here notes, she was diagnosed in June 2008, a time before that autumn's All-American Council at which the assembly gave a perfunctory nod to Protodeacon Eric's heroic efforts in this crisis! It came within a few years of his suffering for speaking the truth in love (as St Paul says in Ephesians), getting kicked in the head by the administration, and then subsequently getting kicked to the curb! Knowing Alla's deep-seated love for her husband, I know that she must have been livid at the fact that he had given so much to the Church, especially his honesty and courage, and then been discarded like a piece of litter on the sidewalk. Again, some may disagree with me on all of this. But, maybe, just maybe, on that final Day of Judgment, +Herman, Kondratick, and company may find that this situation is something else that they will have to answer for before our Lord!!!
Dn. Eric and his children are doing well, considering. They have had some time to prepare for this. What was amazing is that at the Parastas, Met. Theodosius was present at the request of Dn. Eric. The healing has truly begun and forgiveness and love have dominated even during a time of great grief. In Christ, all things are possible! Memory eternal!
I am so sorry to hear about Matushka Alla's tragic illness and sufferings from Adenocarcinoma of unknown origin. I remember the innocence and purity of her heart when meeting Alla in New York in the 1970's. We shared a passion for missionary work, love of the guidance of St. Herman and the stirring to serve the church as God willed.
May God give you every support you need to deal with Alla's lose and may her Memory be Eternal!
Matushka Carol Klipa/Gladky Bacha
I fournd your comments interesting. I believe that we are wholistic creatures in the way you described.
We sent a personal note of condolence to Fr. Dn. Eric Wheeler.
May Alla's memory be eternal.
Patty and Fr. Paul Schellbach
I knew Dn. Eric thirty-five years ago and he was always a man of honesty, intergrity and vision. I mourn for him and his family, as well as for Alla's family. It is so tragic to lose someone so dear and special. My heart goes out to them. Memory Eternal!