Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Shady Grove Staff Plan Hospital Wedding so Dying Mother can Attend

The bride and groom originally planned to hold their wedding in Florida on Valentine's Day. But when the groom learned his mother was seriously ill, Shady Grove staff helped to bring the wedding to the hospital.  

Story by Susan Griffiths  

Shady Grove staff and the newly married couple surround patient Tamara Jayatilleke. Shady Grove staff and the newly married couple surround patient Tamara Jayatilleke.


Last month Shady Grove Adventist Hospital staff in Rockville, Md., celebrated the marriage of Kushan Jayatilleke and Farheen Waquad. The mother of the groom, Tamara Jayatilleke, a patient on unit 2B, passed away the following day.

Sabrina Jules, a patient care technician on 2B, remembers that when Tamara first came into the hospital, she didn’t want to stay long because her son’s wedding was coming up.

The groom and his bride had originally planned for a Florida wedding on Valentine’s Day. However, when he learned of his mother’s declining health, he and his fiancée traveled to the hospital to see her. After contacting Pastoral Care, the couple moved the wedding date and decided to hold it at the hospital so his mother could be there.

About 30 family and friends attended, in addition to 2B staff and members of Pastoral Care. Family and employees organized a reception afterward in the Magnolia Room.

Shelvan Arunan, the hospital’s executive director of Mission Integration and Spiritual Care, officiated the ceremony. Both Jules and Judith Mufuh, senior chaplain, (pictured far left in group photo), remember one part of the wedding especially.

“I will never forget it. After the bride and groom kissed, [Tamara] yelled ‘one more time!’ and they kissed again, and everyone clapped,” recalls Jules.

“Care [comes] in different ways,” Mufuh says. “This is care in terms of bringing a patient to a place of peace, where she can say goodbye to her family. When she passed away the following day, [the family] said they were in a good place. Their mom died a happy woman.”

This article was first printed in the March 17, 2014 edition of the Shady Grove Adventist Hospital PRISM newsletter. It was reprinted here with permission.

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