Over the years I have had many opportunities to interact with families of Well members. Some stay in close contact with their loved ones, making sure they have housing and keep up with doctors’ appointments. Others live far away but call me from time to time to check on how things are going for their mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter.
The most recent poignant encounter with a family, however, came last year. One of our long-time members, John, passed away, and several of us reached out to his family to offer sympathy and support. His adult daughter, Tiesha, had assumed he had been alone, lonely and isolated because of the severe mental health issues he had lived with for many years. Even though she knew her dad had come to the Well, she didn’t know much about our community, and had no idea how involved he had been.
We assured her that for 18 years John had been an essential part of a community of loving, accepting, supportive people. We shared stories of how John had enriched our lives and had been a friend to so many others at the Well. It was our joy to fill in many gaps she had about her father and to detail the value and dignity we saw in John.
When we gave her some drawings her father had done—one of which had her name on it—she was stunned. “So, when he was at the Well, he was even thinking of me while there?!” Years of worry began to melt before us, and a supernatural comfort wrapped around her.
Sometime later Tiesha shared, “I finally knew he went to a place where he was truly cared for, where he was truly accepted. The people at the Well met him in his darkest of times. I am just forever indebted to the Well because I know they really cared about him.”
Yes, we did.