“Rev. Sonia is nothing short of a miracle to me..."

She will forever be part of my life story, and her spirituality, sensitivity and sincerity made the most difficult day of my life also the most joyous. When my long-time partner, John, learned he had pancreatic cancer in December 2013, it was just a few weeks after my Father had passed away. I was still reeling from that loss. I decided that I could not give in to losing someone else I loved so much. We were together through all of it. Sixteen months. Surgery. Dialysis. Chemotherapy. In and out of the hospital more times than I can count. And through it all, John remained his positive self. He accepted whatever came his way.

He often took the time to tell me that this, the worst of times for him, was also the best of times for him. We grew closer than we had ever been. In  September 2014, on the 35-year anniversary of the day we met, John asked me to marry him. We planned a spring wedding. When we got the news that he would no longer be able to have chemo treatments, and hospice stepped in to help us, John told them his last wish was for us to be officially joined together.

John kept telling the hospice chaplain he wanted to marry me. He told the hospice nurses, over and over again. His family was scheduled to arrive on Saturday, March 21, 2015. I thought that would be the best day to make our wishes come true. But John kept getting sicker and sicker. The hospice chaplain put me in touch with Sonia. She listened to my story. She pulled together some appropriate sentiments for our interfaith service. On Thursday evening, March 19, I called her to let her know that John was a rapid spiral downward. She decided to take a half day off work on Friday to come and perform the ceremony at our home. She said she would return on Saturday to do it again after the family arrived. This is just a small example of her compassion and her caring. If it had not been for Sonia, our miracle would never have happened.

Then, Mother Nature also intervened. Snow, and a lot of it, was predicted for Friday. John’s family moved their plans up and arrived an hour or so before Sonia did….they were all there for our beautiful ceremony. After 35 years of knowing each other and 18 years together, John and I were finally able to complete our destiny, with Sonia’s help. Three hours after Sonia joined us together forever, my beloved John passed from this earth. Sonia made it possible for his last wish --our last wish-- to come true.  So…you can see why Sonia is much more than a reverend. In my book, she is an angel.

Months later, I held a memorial service for John. I asked Sonia to help me find a verse to close out my eulogy. She delivered this….and I ended my remarks with it. It was pitch perfect.

“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no separation.” - Rumi

— Angela Buonocore Wilkins

"She gave us a moment in time, we’ll remember for the rest of our lives"

If you’ve landed on this site and are reading some of the remarkable acknowledgments to Rev. Sonia, I can assure you, there are not enough sentiments to capture the true meaning of her glorious spirit.

This past year has been a true anomaly for me, I’ve lost several family members all in a very short period of time and during all these times, I’ve never been more grateful to have Sonia to turn to.  When my nephew Jaime passed away, his death was sudden and completely unexpected.   My family and I turned to Sonia for spiritual guidance and to help prepare and conduct a service of remembrance for a light too quickly gone.  She was amazing, kindly and gently helping assemble a service that combined moments which would both sooth our sadness and yet celebrate Jaime’s life.

Sonia prepared a lovely sermon, speaking of why we all gather in these moments.  To not only grieve, which is part of the process but to all share in the grief to help support each other and bring us all together.  She asked people to come forward and share special memories of Jaime, many of which brought laugher through the tears.  And she asked us to all remember that the light that lived in Jaime would forever live in our hearts and we would always have him near through our memories of him.

Messages were written on the balloons and released into the glorious summer sky.  With tears in our eyes, we all turned toward each other, embraced, knowing, feeling, Jaime was smiling down on us.

Sonia’s gentle voice, soothing words and generosity of spirit helped us all feel connected with Jaime and we each other that night. She gave us a moment in time that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.

 - M S.