Deb McQuilkin reflects on the first anniversary of Robertson McQuilkin’s passing

Friday, June 2, 2017, marks one year since we lost Robertson. As I ponder his life and legacy, his impact on me alone was huge. Perhaps that is why God let me marry him. He knew how much Robertson would change me for good. When I married him 13 1/2 years ago, I didn’t realize he was an introvert, even as he loved people well. He was a stellar servant, and he persevered through life’s challenges and blessings with much fruit. He was my best friend, and my other half.

What I admired about him, was his incredible self-control and love for people and yieldedness to be all God wanted him to be, regardless of the cost. I miss his wisdom and his insight into people. He was a great reader of people, perceptive and discerning. More than once, he helped me to navigate the politics of a university with grace and diplomacy. Never once did he speak badly of anyone, no matter how much they hurt him. He held it in silence from everyone. What a lovely example for me, who needs to sort things out by talking. As you know, from Living the Life, that was akin to murder since it diminishes another. So, I remember what he taught me, and apply it as best I can.

Life is simpler now…. His classic line that is so true for me these days. Needs are so small these days. I go regularly to visit his grave. I’m not sure why. We know he is not there, but somehow he feels closer, like I can connect, catch a little more of him by being there.

I said that I would make no big decisions for a year. It’s been a year, and I’m still making no big decisions. I figure I’ll stay at the university for two more years and then go part time at 66. I want to keep my mind as sharp as possible, yet have more time for family. Will I move? Probably then, but I love the wee house. It is all I need, and our neighbors literally ­­­­­­­­­­­­look out for me. Mardi, Anne and Paul are close by and provide such companionship. I am very grateful for them and those who care for me so well.

I read an article today about a good death. Morbid, right? I still wrestle with guilt, grief and some anger. The article said that a good death is one in which a person dies on his own terms, with their affairs in order, relatively free from pain, in a supported and dignified setting. Robertson certainly had that. We kept him home until six days before he died, children called and visited, friends came and prayed, and we kept him out of pain. He was afraid to die forgotten. How can we ever forget the one we love? He left his affairs in order. For that, I am eternally grateful. Another mark of his wisdom and care…..

He must be having a great time in heaven with Muriel, Bob, his Dad, whom he adored, and grandson Eric, of whom he was so proud. He, Buck Hatch and Terry Hulbert are probably resolving Biblical issues with Jesus, ones that we hardly even consider. Great minds, together. What joy! Sometimes, I feel left behind. My prayer for the last months is that God will continue to expand Robertson’s influence. Five Smooth Stones and The Great Omission are going out of print, I wonder how God might answer my prayer. I re-read The Great Omission after I received the news that it was going out of print. How relevant even for today! Incarnational living for the out of reach, in a day of short-term mission. The first page related how we live for self, others, or God and that determine the outcome of life. I re-examine my motives and find them in need of attention.

The worst of the acute loss is waning, yet I feel like I am continually adjusting to being alone. Sometimes that is really hard and sometimes I’m shocked that for the first time in my life, I can do what I want when I want. But, I remember him, his loves, his commitments, and his perseverance and look forward in faith.

Deb McQuilkin


  1. Alleene Kracht
    June 2, 2017

    Beautifully expressed !

  2. Lorna
    June 3, 2017

    You loved him well and took such wonderful care of him! You made his last year’s so very happy.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top