My job was to show up; her job was to be real.

Barbara Dundon

Typically in Stephen Ministry a caregiver never reveals the identity of her care receiver. And there are a lot of reasons for that. But I’m going to break that rule now because my care receiver, Lynn Deming, made it quite known to people that I was her Stephen Minister and I’d like to tell her story. Her story is really our story.

Lynn was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago. She enjoyed two remissions but eventually the disease killed her and made life toward the end very difficult, very painful.

Before our experience in Stephen Ministry Lynn and I really didn’t know each other. We knew one another casually through social events at St. Martin’s but we were really not what you would call friends. And so in the beginning it was a little awkward. Here we were introducing ourselves, getting acquainted knowing that there was something very profound happening that we didn’t have words for, we couldn’t quite articulate. But over time this depth developed because of the trust between us. My job was to show up; her job was to be real, which she was very good at doing.

Over a period of time we came to look forward to one another’s visits. I’m sure of that; I know it was true for me. So when her disease became worse I knew this would be a devastating loss for me. I didn’t know quite how to prepare for it except that both of us knew – we knew from very early on that when the two of us got together, there was always a third presence there. It was the presence of the Holy Spirit. And it was that presence, it is that presence, that transformed two people who hardly knew each other into two friends for whom this relationship meant the world.

Here’s how I know this. Two days before she died I wanted very much to visit. And I called, I called the house to let Ged know I was coming over and he said, “I don’t think you’d better come; she’s deeply sedated.” They had to do this because the pain was so horrific.

I understood but I was really devastated. How could I not say goodbye?! Sensing this over the phone, Ged said, “Wait a minute. I’m going to put the phone up to her ear.” So I waited. And then, knowing she was there, I just simply called out. I said her name – twice. And I heard back. It wasn’t a word, a phrase – but it was her voice. She was doing the best she could to let me know that she was there, too, and that we were saying goodbye.

I will always treasure this moment and I will most especially treasure this deep, deep relationship.

Regular Sunday Service Schedule: Returns September 24, 2017

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist with music
10:00 a.m. Parish Forum & Kairos
10:15 a.m. worship.together
Holy Eucharist for families with young children
11:15 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Silent morning meditation is offered at 8:15 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

We would love to have you join us.

Location

This Episcopal church is located in the heart of the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, five blocks west of Germantown Avenue at the corner of St. Martin’s Lane and West Willow Grove Avenue.


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