Haven Bradford Gow
Haven Bradford Gow writes from Greenville, Mississippi.
Haven Bradford Gow (at age 8): Dad, what does it mean to die? If you die, can you still come back to me? Otherwise, I don't want you to die.
Joseph Gow (my father): When you die, you close your eyes and go to sleep and don't wake up again. When I die, all you have to do is close your eyes and think about me and I will come back alive again for you.
Haven: Aunt Lena, please don't leave us (my handicapped sister, Sally, and myself). I don't want you to die; you promised me that you would live to at least 100 years old.
Lena Wong Yee (my aunt at 94 years old): I don't want to leave you, but someday everyone has to die.
A few years ago I discerned a glimpse of God's love and what heaven must be like as I watched my father die a noble and courageous death from a cancer that had spread from his liver throughout his body and brain; my father purposefully came home from the hospital that particular day, just so he could prove to me and my handicapped sister how much he loved us.
Fearing that he would die in a dreary hospital room without having had the opportunity to say goodbye to us, my father ordered the doctor and nurses to permit him to accompany us home, despite the fact he would have to endure excruciating pain.
As I was driving him home, I kept looking at him in the rear view mirror and thinking about how noble and courageous my father was and how precious was each second that he remained alive.
In his own bed, with me and my sister by his side, my father died with peace of mind and soul; he understood that one not only must live nobly but die nobly as well.
I thanked God for inspiring and giving my father the strength, nobility, and generosity of mind, spirit, and character to show us his unselfish, effusive and sacrificial love. And then I experienced a flash of insight: my father's love was a reflection of God's love for me. God made my father for eternity. And when it is time for me to go, God will reunite me with my father. *