June 21, 1994 – April 20, 2021
Celebration of Life
April 29, 2021 at 2pm
Wagg Funeral Home
Welcome and Words of Grace
Welcome. My name is Juli Conard and I have been a friend of Tori’s for about 6 years. We first met through the Scriver family, but became kindred friends after bonding over crystals and energy and the mystical and magical in life. Today, it is with a heavy heart that I say that I am honored to be here with all of you as we remember and celebrate Tori’s life and love for each of us.
You have a rose quartz crystal in your hands, and this is a crystal that represents love and compassion. It’s meant to be a comfort stone or a worry stone – as you know Tori loved crystals, their healing power and found great comfort in surrounding herself with them. I’ve given each of you one today as a token of Tori’s love, to bring you comfort during this time and to feel connection with her Spirit.
Let us be honest with death. Let us not pretend that it is less than it is. It is separation. It is sorrow. It is grief. But let us neither pretend that death is more than it is. It is not annihilation. As long as memory endures, Tori’s influence will be felt. It is not an end to love. It is not an end to joy and laughter—nothing would dishonor her soul more. Let us be honest with death, for in that honesty we will understand Tori better and ourselves more deeply.
I share with you the agony of your grief and the anguish of your heart finds echo in my own. I know I cannot entail all you feel, nor bear with you the burden of your pain; I can offer what my love does give: the strength of caring, the warmth of one who seeks to understand such a great a loss. Please know that on this often lonely path of grief you do not walk alone.
During these times, with conflicting emotions, is when we need one another’s company for understanding and support. Just to be together, to see each other, takes away some of our loneliness and draws our hearts together in healing, human goodness and hope. We come together to celebrate Tori’s life, to give thanks that we knew this incredible woman, to express our gratitude for the time that we were able to share with her. We are here to memorialize a caring, loving, funny, loyal woman by remembering the best of her, by recalling some of her finest qualities, by honoring the values and dreams that guided her life. We are here today to let go, but also to embrace the parts of Tori that she has now entrusted to us.
We often say that the hour of death cannot be forecast. When we say this, we imagine this hour would be in a distant future. Yes, it came too soon. We never thought we would be thinking about Tori as a memory. But memories are the most important thing that we leave behind when we leave this world, for in them those that are left behind find the solace and the peace and the strength to carry on. We are now the keepers of these memories – and that is the greatest gift we give one another and they will be what we hold dear to our hearts forever.
When I met with Brenda the other night, she shared with me some of Tori’s poetry. As I briefly flipped through the pages of her notebook, Tori’s own words jumped from the page, offering us wise wisdom. She said:
the ones left behind cry,
left wondering why?
We move on from the pain
to gain happiness
which was taken away by such sadness.
In an instant life can change –
rearrange for better or worse
You must go with the course
For just like there is a reason to every season
there is a reason to an ending of a life.
We don’t know why and the reasons elude us, but in this passage, I think she is telling us that it’s okay to move beyond the pain to find our happiness again – to carry on without guilt or grief and to be happy in our own way. Just as there is beauty in every moment, life can change in a moment and it is our responsibility to now move forward to find our happy in each moment as we live hard and love hard, just as Tori did.
The universe is made of stories, and today we take a few moments to share stories of Tori’s life as we hold her in the Universe of our hearts. If you are so moved, I invite you to come forward to share a brief story that exemplifies who Tori was to you and the gifts that she brought into your life.
A few thoughts from Chelsea:
Tori and I shared so many happy memories! She was my best friend. Always so supportive and loving. She would do anything for the people she loved! I never felt more love than when I was with Tori!
One time I was visiting Tori at her mom’s house, and I got out of my car and I ran towards her and I slipped and I caught myself on the car, kept running, slipped again, this time I fell, wiped out and cut my knee. Tori was laughing at me by this time and she walked over, scooped me up off the ground and held me in her arms for like 30 seconds to a minute. And she looks at me and goes are you okay? And I was like, can I have a band-aid? And we laughed – we laughed so hard.
One time I was struggling with an opiate addiction and Tori and I sat down by the water and I told her about what I was doing to myself and how I thought I needed help. She never judged me! She offered love and support. She was a genuinely good person.
One thing Tori and I always did no matter how we were feeling- we’d laugh! We made each other laugh constantly!
She was an amazing Godmother to my daughter Addilyn. Every time Tori saw Addilyn she was so engaged with her and she would always take pictures with her. She bought her gifts on every occasion! So considerate and loving. Addilyn and I were so lucky to have Tori in our lives. She will be so deeply missed. I’ve written a poem to capture our relationship:
You’re a hot cup of coffee,
On a cool morning right at dawn,
You’re that refreshing feeling after the rain,
Once the clouds are done and gone,
You are the sun upon my face,
Warming up my soul,
I know when I remember you,
My heart is briefly whole,
You are the planets all aligned,
You are the comfort to my sorrow,
I know all the lessons and memories we share,
Will still be here tomorrow,
You are the sound of joy in laughter,
The light in my child’s eyes,
You are the beautiful milky way,
Spilled across the skies,
You are beauty like the rain,
You are the lightning and the thunder,
And to me my dearest friend,
You were the umbrella to hide under,
You are the waves crashing to shore,
The reflection of the sea,
You’re the moon shining through my window,
You’re everywhere to me,
My cup had runneth over,
I was so lucky to be your friend,
And it’s comforting to know,
Someday our souls will meet again.
I love you forever and always,
A few thoughts from Shelly Scriver:
Today when I sit and think of Tori I feel so blessed and grateful that she was a part of our lives. I wonder if Tori ever truly realized how much she had to offer the world? She was full of beauty, and by beauty I don’t just mean physical beauty, I mean her kind ways, caring about everyone, funny, smart, compassionate and a great loyal friend. She was absolutely beautiful on the inside and outside. So today as I reflected on our time together I felt inspired to write a poem from my heart for Tori, I’ve called it ‘Love from Above’:
Fly with the eagles my beautiful girl and gracefully swim with the mermaids.
Shine bright in the skies on the darkest of days and twinkle with love throughout the night sky.
May your light shine through the beautiful crystals of the earth.
With the sound of the ocean, may all your fears be swept away.
Whisper your words of love through the tall pines of the forest.
Love with all your heart dear beautiful girl and may you feel our love surround you.
Until we meet again,
Love you to the moon and back.
Today we share different memories of Tori, but one thing they all have in common is the way she loved and lived for her family and for others. Even though she was only with us on earth for a short 26 years, she made a huge impact in many lives. Tori always encouraged others to be what they wanted to be, to live in a way that brought them happiness. Many of her friends have said that Tori was the light they needed as they went through dark times, that she was a gift, a person who always wanted to give, to heal others and help where she could often wanting nothing in return. She was honest, loyal and forgiving. One friend told me that to know Tori was an honor. She had the ability to always make you feel beautiful and loved. She had a smile that could light up a room and her laughter was the best medicine for the soul. She had a fire in her soul and anyone that knew Tori knew she was up for a good time.
Family was one of the most important things in Tori’s life. She would stand up for her family no matter what and loved you all with all her heart. Brenda shared a story with me the other night about a trip they took to the Toronto Zoo when Tori was younger and how she was chased around by a Peacock. Able to laugh about it, the memory became a shared joke between them and they often would buy each other peacock figurines and feathers as a reminder of the laughter and the good times. The peacock story is much like the “Ladybug Attack” story when one flew up her bathing suit and all sorts of antics ensued as she tried to get it out. Tori loved to laugh, loved to make others laugh even if it was at the expense of herself. She also loved to take care of her family, to BBQ, feed and look after her Dad. She loved to be a helper and a healer but above all she cherished her time with her family, especially with her Nana. Joan was a life line of support at times in Tori’s life, a necessary grounding force. But also a source of joy and happy memories, like the time that Tori tried to do Joan’s hair as if she had it done at David’s.
I think we can all agree that Tori gave the best hugs, sometimes bone crushing, but if you were lucky enough to be on the receiving end, you could literally feel her love in her embrace. Some family and friends have told me that she NEVER left without a hug.
Tori was creative – she loved photography and poetry and she loved to play with her imagination. One time when Tori was babysitting Breanna she made spaghetti for dinner and added green food coloring. They lined up all the teddy bears around them and they pretended that they were all eating vines on a picnic together. She also invented Mustard, Sour Cream and bologna sandwiches that she became known for.
One of Tori’s other loves of her life was Nalah. She told me once that “nothing made her smile more than looking into the face of a dog that loves me.” Nalah was Tori’s best friend in a lot of ways, she felt at home and at peace when Nalah was around and that friendship helped her through many difficult days and celebrated with her through the happiest of days. They truly loved each other.
Tori may have bid farewell to her physical body, but I have no doubt that she is with us in Spirit today. I don’t believe that Souls die. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere – they are in each other all along. Tori is within each of us, the love she has shown us has the potential to bloom within us, reminding us that she existed. And because she existed, we are better. Brenda told me the other day that a Cardinal has been visiting her this week, so let us be open to the signs all around that remind us of Tori’s presence and her love for us all. Let us remember her as the carefree and loving woman that she was. Her name is carved upon each of our hearts, with a legacy that it etched into our minds and her good work, good deeds and amazing love will carry on through each of us. Just as Tori was a rock for so many, let us continue to honor her memory and be a rock for each other now. She taught us how, because she existed.
Family and Friends, in the days ahead, we will need each other as we move to continue on with our own journeys and find a way to fill the void left behind. Treasure your memories, love and comfort each other, find strength in each day, and hope for each tomorrow. Perhaps you will find comfort in the wise words of Christopher Robin, who once told Winnie-the-Pooh “if there ever is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember…you are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is that even if we are apart I’ll always be with you.”
Tori, today we say Thank You. Although our time with you was brief, we are grateful for the generosity of your love and warmth of your hugs. We are thankful for sharing your vulnerabilities and strengths with us, for being a rock when we needed you, for being loyal, for treating everyone with kindness even if they didn’t necessarily deserve it. We are grateful for your twinkling blue eyes and warm smile, for sharing your love of the beach and the stars with us. Thank you for existing to make our worlds a better place. We release you now, Tori, to rest in peace, and rise in glory, now and forever more.
We are glad that Tori lived. That we saw her face, those beautiful blue smiling eyes and felt the glow of her friendship and love. We cherish the memories we have with her and carry her in our hearts forever. Let us now go from this place in comfort and peace, assured that even in this time of loss and sorrow that life remains precious and good. May we also on this day rekindle in our hearts an appreciation for the gift of life, and be reminded of Tori’s mantra and message to the world, “in a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
To the Universe and the stardust of the great beyond, we place Tori Noreen Zwicker. We trust she is safe and free to experience another reality and whatever joy awaits her there. We bless you Tori and thank you for being a part of our lives. We honor your life on earth and we wish for your peace ever-after. We will not forget you. Go well.
Facing the congregation:
In the words of Tori herself, from her notebook, she wrote “maybe someday we will meet again, till then we have come to an end and I will never forget.” Let us honor Tori by living, more freely and lovingly in the days ahead as we remember her beautiful Spirit. And so, I leave you with Tori’s words in hopes that as you hold this rock in your hand, or as you look to the stars of the night sky or you search the horizon on the shores of a beach that you think of her and know that she is with you:
Looking at the midnight sky,
Those magical diamonds up so high
How did they get there?
How did they grow?
Did the man on the moon watch them grow?
Where have they been?
What have they seen?
Shining down upon us, helping us see
Lighting the way each and every night,
it all seems so right
As if it was meant to be…
At this time, I would like to invite each of you to come forward, taking a rose and placing it upon Tori’s casket. You may take a moment to say goodbye in your own way. When we have each taken a turn, we will remain seated to listen or rock out to Tori’s favorite song together.
Recession – Sweet Child of Mine
It’s been an honor and a privilege,