How much easier our lives can be when we live and move and have our being in Jesus; when we relinquish ownership of our problems and allow for His provision. This truth was once again exhibited to me in the last few weeks as my parents’ home was sold at an above-asking price to a wonderful family after multiple offers. When the tenants of the past three years called to tell me they had to move I felt an immediate certainty that God was in control so there was no worry; just a certainty the He had a plan. Before Dad died he told Mom that he had given that house to the LORD and he didn’t want her to ever worry about it—so she didn’t; and for three years she had the most incredible tenants who made improvements and left the house in better shape than it was when they moved in. My dad was a man who lived his faith and the truth of Mark 7:37 and Philippians 4:11-13 were evident in his life.
And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
My prayer that the following excerpt from Richard’s Story will be a blessing to many as the testimony of my Dad’s faith lives on.
Things became difficult during the last few years of Richard’s life, especially as his vision and hearing became progressively worse and Leota had several strokes. Having survived prostate cancer, a hernia, a detached retina in one eye and macular degeneration in the other, cataract surgery, and a pacemaker; he was now also afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, he was constantly worried about Leota, who was incapacitated by multiple strokes. Regardless, he continued working in his yard almost every day, struggling to mow, keep the weeds out of the grass, and fix the sprinklers that kept breaking. Things that he once could do in a few minutes required hours, but he kept on keeping on.
All of Richard’s and Leota’s kids were concerned about them continuing to live alone in Apple Valley, knowing they could no longer manage, and all of them came as often as possible to spend time helping out. Finally though, their health issues became so critical that Barbara often had to drive up from Orange County, 100 miles away, to handle an emergency of some sort. On several occasions it was when the neighbor called to say that Leota had been taken to the hospital by ambulance and he would stay with Richard until she could get there. As a registered nurse, Barbara had serious concerns about the quality of care both parents were receiving so, in September 2008, she finally loaded them into her car, took them home with her, and got both of them appointments with doctors she knew were competent.
Richard’s new ophthalmologist provided one of the greatest gifts he could ever have received in his final months. Previously, some doctor had told him that his vision was steadily deteriorating and he would eventually go blind, creating a dread and a fear that plagued him constantly. The new ophthalmologist not only did a thorough eye exam, but also performed a laser procedure that improved his vision a little, and he was frequently heard happily proclaiming, “I thought I was going to go blind, but that doctor told me ‘Mr. Kain, I assure you; you are not going to go blind.’”
During the month at Barbara’s home, a condo about a mile away was leased for Richard and Leota. As the new home search began, Richard was adamant that he didn’t want to live in the city and there was just no way he’d ever move into one of those places. But then a miracle occurred—by what could only have been divine intervention, Barbara was told of a place that had just become available and wasn’t even listed on the market. As soon as Richard walked in the door his face lit up and he exclaimed, “I like this place!” A spacious 2-bedroom/2-bath condo with two enclosed patios in a beautiful setting was the answer to many prayers, and on October 1, 2008, they moved into their new home. Richard often expressed his gratitude to God for helping him find the perfect place for Leota to live when he was gone.
As it turned out, Richard and Leota only got to share their home for about two weeks before she had to have surgery for colon cancer and then went into a nursing home for rehabilitation. They were thrilled when she came home in good shape, but just another couple of weeks had passed when she fell, breaking her femur and ended up back in the hospital and nursing home again. By this time, Richard could no longer be left alone and Barbara and Ed traded off staying with him. He was quite a challenge because the Alzheimer’s had progressed to the point that he couldn’t go out and walk (as he loved to do for hours on end) without getting lost. It didn’t matter how often he was told not to leave the house alone, off he’d go and the search was on once again. Additionally, he was so very worried about his “sweet, beautiful, pretty-thing, wonderful wife” that he would moan and cry all night and there was nothing they could do or say to comfort him. One time though, when Leota confronted him about it he replied, “But I was just praying for you.” An intercessor right up to the end! Ed wrote: “I was able to spend a lot of time with Dad during the last 4 months of his life while Mom was in the hospital or rehab facility. With all our time together, I came to appreciate that Dad was the real deal; what you saw and heard from Dad was what he believed. He experienced some tough times dealing with Mom’s medical problems, but he also had a faith in God that saw him through an extremely difficult time.”
In January 2009, Barbara received a call from Ed that Dad had fallen in the shower and he was unconscious and bleeding. The paramedics were already there by the time Barbara arrived, and off everyone went to the emergency room. Richard had a gash in his elbow that was bleeding profusely and required a lot of stitches. During the routine screening which included a chest x-ray, it was determined that there was a massive tumor in his chest and he was admitted to the hospital for a biopsy. The tumor was a malignant cancer for which nothing could be done (quite a surprise as two chest x-rays taken just eight months previously had been completely normal!). By this time he could barely walk due to pain from a tumor in his foot, so he was discharged from the hospital to the same nursing home where Leota was a patient—in fact they shared the same room for about 6 weeks before he died.
God’s miraculous provision was so very evident in all of this! Not only did Richard get to spend his last weeks with his beloved wife at his side 24 hours a day, but they were both being professionally cared for; they were served meals that he enjoyed tremendously, either in their room or in the dining room; all of it was completely paid for by Medicare so there were no financial worries; and it was party city as all of his kids and the majority of his grandkids came to visit. He was in his element surrounded by his family.
After entering the nursing home, Richard had one final doctor’s appointment. Barbara took him to the oncologists office to get the official results of the biopsy and to see what, if anything, could be done about it. Before the doctor even spoke, it was evident by the look on his face that the news was not good. He actually had tears in his eyes as he explained that there was absolutely no hope for a cure and the best that could be done was to keep Richard comfortable for the very short time he had left. Richard responded, “That’s OK. It only means I’m going home sooner rather than later, and I’m ready.” The doctor didn’t quite know how to respond other than to tear up again. What a testimony!!