Role Reversal

Bryna’s best friend’s father died of a massive heart attack Monday night. Words like “unexpected” and “shock” keep getting thrown around. Cy McGinnis was a well-respected Briarcliff psychologist, a sweet and gentle man. Bryna and Hollee have been the closest of friends since her family moved next door to the McGinnis’s when she was in 4th grade. Bryna’s mother still lives next door which is how we heard about this.

We got the call about 10:40 pm and Bryna headed right to the hospital. It was one of those situations where you don’t ask questions, you just go. Dr. McGinnis was pronounced dead on arrival at the Phelps Hospital ER.

It was an unfortunate role reversal for us. I’m used to getting calls like this, throwing on a collar, and heading to the hospital. It comes with the professional territory. In this case they didn’t need a priest, they needed a friend. Well they needed both but as devout Roman Catholics a call was placed to their parish priest. For once I wasn’t called upon to “do” anything but pray. Which is really the only thing to “do” anyway in such a situation.

Bryna spent much of yesterday “managing the house” for the family while they took care of the myriad details. Ministry comes in many forms.

Once the initial disbelief wears off, this will hit everyone hard. Including Bryna, for whom Dr. McGinnis was in some ways a surrogate father figure and a constant presence. The family has already canceled a long-planned trip to Maine they were to take next week in celebration of Cy and Eva Marie’s 50th wedding anniversary. He will be missed.


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