McCormick alumna, the Rev. Deanna Drake (2012) officiated a bittersweet marriage ceremony for a terminally-ill patient. Deanna is a chaplain at Rush University Medical Center who had been ministering to the patient and her family.
“It was an all hands on deck kind of thing,” says Drake, who began planning the wedding with the family before the patient's fiancé even proposed. She worked with family members to choose scripture passages and readers, and helped them set up the chapel, located on the ground floor of Rush’s Kellogg Building, which houses the oncology unit.
The young couple had been dating for two years. To provide them with some comfort and closure, the family joined with the staff to make the wedding happen. He proposed one evening after she found the ring in her evening medications and the wedding was the following afternoon. The nurses helped dress her in her wedding gown and staff helped to decorate and provide gifts and a wedding cake.
Five days after the ceremony, the new bride passed away. Her new husband was at her bedside, holding her hand.
“I felt profoundly humbled to be invited to do it, because it was a sacred place to be in that tender moment with them,” she adds. “I think all of us were inspired by their tenacity and the strength of their love in the face of an extremely difficult situation. I know many will continue to be inspired by their story.”