My 14-year-old daughter was at the hospital fighting for her life. She has a serious infection that was over-taking her body, shutting down all her organs. The wonderful doctors here did all they could, but they told my wife and I to simply expect the worst and to make "arrangements."
My little girl was so full of life! She had big dreams of becoming an actress, living the big city life (as opposed to the small country life here in Independence, Kansas), traveling the world, starting a non-profit organization for people without clean water, writing books, and having her own television show. Now, she lays in the hospital bed unconscious, sick, having no color in her skin, and very skinny.
My wife was asleep in the chair besides my little girl. It was after 12 midnight and I was still wide awake, holding my baby's hands and hoping that all the stars and planets would be aligned just right so that my one and only child could live. She still has so much to live for!
The hospital room that we were in was divided by a curtain. I don't know who was on the other side, but I kept hearing this person moving on the bed as if this person was trying to sleep. But besides the ruffling of the bed sheets on the other side of the room and the faint sounds of the nursing staff outside the room, the entire environment was fairly quiet.
"She's so beautiful," said an elderly, female voice from the other side of the curtain. I never seen this person before, but she sounded like a sweet, grandma-like person.
"Thank you," I said through my tears, trying to smile at my daughter. "She's very beautiful."
"She's so young to be so sick," the mysterious voice sympathetically said.
"She is." So, so young, just being fourteen. I couldn't stop thinking how cruel life could be, claiming a life as young as hers.
"I'm so sorry for you and your family," said the grandmotherly figure. "Just keep praying for your child."
"Thank you," I simply said. I was an atheist, as well as my wife. Not sure what my daughter believed in, though. I've never prayed in my life, and as dire as this situation was, I've felt no urgency to pray. I did, however, secretly wished that the universe would intervene for my little girl!
"If you don't mind my asking, are you a praying man?"
Had this been another person, I might have struck out at this person. This is certainly no time to talk religion! My daughter was dying! The last thing I wanted to talk about was God.
But since this woman seem so sweet and innocent, and perhaps was losing her own mind, I just gently replied, "Honestly, I'm not."
"Do you believe in God?"
Again, had this been another person, I would have blasted this person with a few choice words. My daughter may not even live through the night and she wants to talk church with me. But, this was a sweet, little old lady, perhaps herself on her dying bed.
"No, I don't," I said quickly, yet gently.
"Would you believe for your daughter's sakes?
Again, she's a little, sweet old lady, so I didn't want to shout at her. But if she was going to keep asking me questions about my personal faith, I may have to get a bit tough with her.
"Ma'am, no disrespect to you, but right now, I much rather not talk about this. My daughter is dying here."
"I understand," she soothingly said. "I don't want to make you angry. I hurt for your little girl, and I would hate for you to lose her." Then she started crying, which further broken down my guard. "I'm just a little old lady. I have no one left to care for me, and I don't want the same to happen to you. You love your daughter very much, don't you?"
I started to break down in tears. I didn't want to lose my little girl. "Yes! I love her very much!"
"Would it hurt any if you could just believe in God for this one night? Would you just believe for your daughter's sake?"
What did I have to lose, except for my little girl? At that moment, I completely lose my composure and said, "Okay! Okay, I believe! Just for my daughter!"
The little old lady sounded relief. "Good. She's in good hands now."
But after she said that, the heart monitor machine made a long, horrific noise. My daughter heart has stopped beating. My wife quickly woke up as I frantically shook my daughter, trying to wake her up. The medical team rushed in and kicked us out the room. They worked on my daughter for a good 20 minutes...but to no use. The leading doctor pronounced my girl's death. So much for me trying to believe in God for my daughter's sake.
My wife and I held each other and cried outside of my daughter's room for perhaps a solid 15 minutes. After that, we got enough strength to walk into the room to look at our now-dead daughter.
I knelt down, holding my little girl's hand. My wife spent her time stroking her hair. But suddenly, my daughter squeezed my hand! Then, she started moving her eyes and making slight groaning sounds. My wife was so excited that she ran out the room screaming, "She's alive! She's alive!"
Once I stood up, my daughter looked right at me and said, "Hi, Daddy. What's going on?" All I did was hugged my daughter and cried. "Daddy! You're choking me!"
The medical team, including the doctor who pronounced her death, entered the room in disbelief. But not only was my daughter alive, her color has returned. She looked very healthy and her vitals were room.
She looked at everyone and asked, "What's going on? You guys look like you've seen a ghost!"
At that moment, I remembered that old lady on the other side of the curtain. I quickly left my daughter to thank the woman for her encouraging words -- just to find that nobody was on the other side! There wasn't a bed or any medical equipment, but just empty space!
I quickly return to the other side and ask, "Where's the old lady that was on the other side?"
One of the nurses looked at me puzzled. "What lady? Your daughter was the only person here."
"Impossible! I was just talking to a lady right here before my daughter died."
"I died?" gasped my daughter. "I thought I was just sleeping!"
"Sir," said the nurse, "there was never anyone on that side."
"Then who was I talking to?"
The nurse shrugged her shoulders. "Maybe it was your daughter's angel," she said matter-of-factly, with a straight face as if she actually believed that. After she said that, she left the room while the rest of the medical team surrounded my daughter.
I went back to the other side of the room. It was absolutely empty with signs that it was recently occupied. I just dropped to my knees, looked up to the ceiling with my hands raised, and said, "Whoever you were, thank you for saving my daughter."