Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dying in Real Time

Terry Megginson Walton
by Rev. Laura Barclay

Last week, a beloved former employee of CBF named Terry Megginson Walton passed away from a long battle with cancer.  I didn’t know her very well, unfortunately, but she made me feel extremely welcome at CBF National events. She was warm, quick with a smile and a laugh, and was easy to get to know. From what I observed, Terry was keenly interested in making everyone she met feel like a beloved child of God.

Over the last few months, I noticed that more and more people were calling for others to pray for her over Facebook and email. But then something even more intimate happened. Last week, people began sharing their favorite memories of her on her Facebook pages, attaching pictures and last messages to Terry. Dozens and dozens of people were saying goodbye in the most touching of ways, which created an amazing memorial to her and a fitting tribute to a life that was clearly well-lived through her love of others.

Tears sprang to my eyes as these messages to her swallowed my Facebook feed and I realized that her life must have been coming to an end. And, a few days ago, her family relayed the news that she had indeed passed on.

As someone who knew her only briefly, I was overwhelmed with the sentiments of her friends to share their best memories with her to send her on her way. Look how many people she had touched! What a beautiful tribute!

Before Facebook was available outside of the world of college students, one of my professors, Dr. Paul Weber lost a long battle with cancer. Like Terry, his impact on the world is immeasurable. He was a former priest who married a former nun and taught political science. He always strove for a high ethical standard in whatever he pursued, and he loved mentoring students. Dr. Weber was a huge reason why I decided to go to divinity school. Before he passed, his family encouraged people to write letters of their favorite memories to him without saying goodbye or focusing on his illness. I wrote to him about his classes, my favorite lessons, and his encouragement and care outside of the classroom. I never heard a response, but this gave me an opportunity to not let anything left unsaid.

My takeaway from the lives and deaths of Terry Megginson Walton and Dr. Paul Weber is this: there are amazing people in this world who touch us deeply. We would not be the same people without them. While we can, we must let these living saints know what they mean to us before they pass on into the cloud of witnesses.

Who has loved, cared, sacrificed and mentored you? Are there friendships that have transformed you life? Don’t wait until tomorrow to tell them how much they mean to you. Let them know that their lives are well-lived, and that they have made a difference to you. 


  1. What a beautiful tribute and an absolutely amazing post. Really gave me a lot of things to think about.

    1. I'm so glad that it was meaningful for you, and I love your screen name!