Drawing to a close

June 25, 2009

Years of pain and grief are drawing to a close as my father entered the hospital last night with acute renal failure. His kidneys have ceased to work.  With a mixture of sadness and gratitude, I have begun to mourn.

I am grateful that I was with him June 3 to 10, grateful that back in May I heard God saying, Go to L.A., your dad needs you. Grateful that I heard His voice and obeyed.  It was a shock to see how he had declined since early March when I was in L.A. because the doctors had decided my mom was too frail to stay alone in the little bungalow at City of Hope where they sequester patients being treated for thyroid cancer with radioactive iodine.  We enjoyed our time together in the peaked roof cottage with the little garden out front and giggled like school girls at our inability to keep the rules–stay six feet away apart and wear gloves whenever touching anything the other might touch–to avoid my being contaminated by her radioactivity.

I saw little of my dad that visit, as I was only home a day or two. His shuffle made me suspect Parkinson’s disease.  You could head him coming, schurch, schruch, schruch for minutes before he appeared, head forward tortoise-like.

When God said, Your dad needs you. I was surprised. Then I heard from my sister that he was walking around the house wearing only a diaper. Gulp!

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Find Faith in a Cancer Ward

February 25, 2009

In the early years of her practice, Dr. Diane Komp reported to the bedside of dying children out of duty. But one day the scene that followed changed her life. Just before seven-year-old Anna died, she mustered the strength to sit up in bed and cry: “The angels–they’re so beautiful! Mommy, can you see them? Do you hear their singing? I’ve never heard such beautiful singing!” Then she lay back on her pillow and died, reports Komp in her book Images of Grace (Zondervan).

Anna’s vision was the first of many such supernatural visitations that Dr. Komp witnessed at the bedside of dying children. Although Komp was an atheist at the time, the children’s dreams and visions forced her to reexamine the faith she had discarded while she was in medical school.

Surely dying children have no agenda, thought Komp, no reason to deceive me. They simply report what they see. They are, Komp reasoned, reliable witnesses.

That was more than thirty years ago. Today, thanks to progress in cancer treatments, fewer children die of cancer. But the miracle of children–and their families–finding peace with God has not diminished.

Diane Komp is known for her remarkable insights on life, insights she says she learned from the children she treats. “When I listen to kids I get much more sensible answers than when I listened to adults. So I listen to their stories, then write them down. I’m just the secretary,” says Komp, with a grin.

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