Lori Poczekaj's Dad


When Lori Poczekaj's dad became sick just a few months before Christmas, her mother rented a wheel chair and insisted that she take care of him at home. "Even though he was 79, he still was a very energetic man," Lori says. A retired farmer who loved animals and tinkering in his shed, he (and the whole family) continued to hope he would beat the cancer that was draining his strength.

Lori's parents lived in a house her father had built. "It is on a corner of a 45-acre field that they own," she says. "Their large lot is bordered by pine trees." And although there were always animals around, in the twenty years that they had lived in this house, Lori's mom and dad had only seen a deer twice. It seemed odd, since the woods were the perfect place for wildlife, but that was how it was. Now, as his world grew smaller and more limited, Lori's father stayed in his wheel chair looking out the dining room's sliding glass doors at the snow. Once his wife had a suggestion. "Wouldn't you like to sit in the living room, so you could watch some cars go by on the road, and wave to our neighbors?" She asked.

"No, I'd rather sit here and look for animals," he replied. "Maybe I'll finally see a deer."

When Lori's mother told her about the conversation, Lori went home and prayed. "I asked God to let my dad see a deer, while he was sitting in that wheelchair," she says. "I got very specific about it."

However, no deer appeared. Days later, Lori amended her prayer. "Okay, God," she said. "How about any animal? A racoon, opposum, even a neighbor's cat? You know how much this would mean to Dad."

Nothing happened, and a few days later, Lori's father became confined to his bed. Lori and her family didn't have to be told that Dad wasn't going to see any animals again. Lori prayed again, but this time she couldn't help feeling angry. "God, I know I'm not supposed to question my faith, but I'm having a hard time. Jesus said 'All you have to do is ask' but nothing's happening." She needed a sign that God knew all about everything, that He cared about her and her family... "But I'm kind of skeptical about these things," she admits. "I figured if God did send me a sign, I'd probably pass it off as a coincidence anyway."

Lori's father died early the following morning. An hour later, most of her seven brothers and sisters had assembled in the house, tearful, standing in the dining room in a daze. Life would never be the same for any of them again. Was Dad in heaven? How would they ever know?

Suddenly one of Lori's brothers looked out the sliding glass doors. "Hey, everybody, come here!" He called.

Lori and the others hurried to the window. "Standing in the backyard, maybe twenty feet away, were ten or eleven deer," Lori says. "Although we had all been near the doors, none of us had seen them approach." The animals were all facing the dining room, motionless, arranged almost as a tableau. For a hushed moment, they gazed quietly, calmly at the family. "All is well," they seemed to say. "Be at peace." Then, as one, they suddenly turned and bounded off.

"Since then my mom has seen one or two deer, but never that close," Lori says. "Whenever I am missing my dad, I recall this from start to finish, and it always eases my mind." God does send signs, she knows and comfort too.

Joan Anderson Copyrighted by Joan Wester Anderson, used with permission. Originally appeared on the Where Angels Walk website, http://joanwanderson.com

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