Lately, I have been to a hospice for children as a volunteer with the members of Zion (WMSCOG). A hospice for children is a kind of nursing home for the little patients, who are on their deathbed due to an illness, to spend their last hours with their family in the beautiful nature out of the narrow and stuffy hospital. When I heard a staff member’s explanation that it was already booked up till next summer, I felt a little bitter.
What we had to do was to take care of the park, paint, and pull out the weeds. I could see over one hundred lamps with burning candles in the little memorial park where the children who had passed away during their stay at the hospice were sleeping. They said it needed lots of care because muddy waters splashed onto the lamps and the weeds grew out here and there when it rained.
When I was washing the lamps with soapy water one by one, I got a little choked up. In front of each lamp, there was the name of the late child, the toys he or she had played with when he or she was alive, pebbles with writing on them, “We miss you,” “We love you,” and next to them the pictures taken with their family together. Among the pictures, some parents were tightly embracing their children who were troubled in pains. I felt pain in my heart, thinking of how the parents, who had to look on their children holding back their tears, felt, watching them suffer the agony of death at an age when they should be sitting on their parents’ laps, doing cute things and running around with their friends.
Around the park, the parents who had a parting ahead of them were walking together with their children in wheelchairs. Even though I greeted them brightly, I wasn’t brave enough to look them in the eyes, so I quickly turned my eyes away. After a period of time, other lamps would be turned on here and visits of the parents, who couldn’t forget their deceased child, would continue.
A phrase inscribed on a pebble in front of a lamp jumped into my eyes. “What is embraced deep in the heart cannot be deprived of even by death!”
Parents can never forget the children buried in their hearts. Suddenly a Biblical verse came to mind. It was what the father said, looking at his son coming back to his home at the point of death after having squandered his father’s wealth in wild living,
“. . . Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Lk 15:22-24)
There would be nothing more painful to parents than their child’s death. Then there could be nothing more joyful for them than their supposedly dead children returning to them. In the actions of the father, who doesn’t care anything about his son’s faults and hurriedly prepares a feast for the son, that kind of joy was fully contained.
Sending Their precious children, like the apples of Their eyes, to the land of death, how hard did Heavenly Father Ahnsahnghong and Heavenly Mother beat Their chests? In the appearance of Heavenly Father Ahnsahnghong who came to the earth even two times to look for us, and through the sacrifice of Heavenly Mother who is with us even now, I dare imagine the immeasurable pangs of parting.
I would like to change the pain of separation I caused Heavenly Parents into the joy of finding Their lost heavenly children. I think that is how I can repay Heavenly Parents for having turned me away from the way of eternal death to the way of life.