At the time when it happens it’s as if the world ends.

Helen White

Helen White’s husband of 52 years died after a protracted battle with Parkinson’s disease. In this interview Helen talks about what it meant to say goodbye to George and what’s happened since.

My experience about saying goodbye is that you don’t realize it at the moment but eventually you live into the reality that there are new and surprising hello’s – new things that begin to emerge after the goodbyes. And the goodbyes are so painful. And sometimes you think you’re not going to recover. But the finality of that goodbye, the aspects of finality, no goodbye is fully final because we carry friendships even after death we carry things way beyond.

So there’s no such thing as a permanent goodbye in a very real sense.

But at the time you think it’s all over, as I did when George died. The end is so final and yet not final because we knew that it was coming – his illness was protracted over 20 years from diagnosis until the time of his death. So we knew what was coming and unlike most people who experience death we had a way of knowing it was coming, but you can never really fully plan for it. At the time when it happens it’s as if the world ends. Everything has changed. Everything has changed.

But one of things that really showed up for me, quite surprising, was that having watching the ravages of Parkinson’s take its toll over 3 years, although he was present to us all the way to the end — was that in these last few months, it’s now been almost 6 months, the former George is more and more restored to me. And that’s the unexpected hello.

The presence of George now is very real. But it isn’t the sick and dying George. It is the George before the disease took its toll.

And so with people telling stories about him and remembering and reminding me what a great guy he is and with our sons and our daughters-in-law and our grandchildren, the former Pop Pop and grandfather keeps coming back stronger and stronger, and that’s the surprise hello. These are real surprises.

I’m grateful, I’m very grateful. I had him for 52 years.

Regular Sunday Schedule

8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
9:15 a.m. worship.together (Eucharist for preschool families)
9:15 a.m. Parish Forum & Christian Education (Kairos)
10:30 a.m. Choral Eucharist

Other Days

Morning prayer is offered at 7:30 a.m. weekdays, in the Mary Chapel.

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

Mid-week Eucharist is offered at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays, in the Mary Chapel.

Compline is offered at 7:00 p.m. on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, in the Church.

Choral Evensong is offered at 5:00 p.m. on 1st Sundays, Oct.-June, in the Church.

We would love to have you join us.


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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