A few weeks ago, while Dad was home recovering from surgery, Mike’s sister and her husband drove from Texas for a visit. This had been planned quite some time in advance, so the timing was fortuitous. Their trip was a three week sweep to see all the family. As it happened, they came into Chicago right when an aunt died. While they had missed one last visit, they were able to attend the funeral. It also worked out that they arrived in Grand Rapids when Dad was home from the hospital.
When they arrived, we all had a lovely visit together at the parents’ home and then Mike and I whisked them off to the ballet. We had great seats and the performance was wonderful. To prolong the evening, we suggested a stop at one of our favorite downtown restaurants – Leo’s.
We had a light repast with excellent service, and as our conversation was winding down, Charles (not his real name) said, “I have something to tell you.” He proceeded to reveal that he has a medical condition that, left untreated, would cut his life off in five to six years. With treatment, he has about ten or twelve. He was told it’s incurable.
This was the reason for the trip. They were telling each family member, face to face, over and over, and in each city. I can’t imagine how hard it was for my sister-in-law to go through so many conversations about her husband’s condition.
They were visiting for a few days and we were able to spend time with them, absorbing the news, asking questions, and offering help. But mostly, I went through the motions of entertaining. I felt numb. We’ve had so many losses over the past few years, both family and friends. The thought of Chas gone was devastating.
While my brother-in-law doesn’t share my faith, he is respectful and not mocking. He feels you can’t know that there’s a God. Ever the engineer, he wants hard data. So I hit my knees (figuratively, since I have a plate in one leg) and start praying. I’ve had all the data I need to know that God is very real, very caring and very personal. I’m praying that Charles will have an encounter with God that will remove all doubts, and I’m praying for his healing.
Please join me.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.