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A Window to Heaven: When Children See Life in Death Hardcover – March 1, 1992


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Every health-care provider and all family members should read this book. It is a gift and a treasure." -- Bernie Siegel, M. D.

"This is a beautiful book about life and death in which children are our teachers. It is full of joy..." -- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Dr. Komp is the first person I've met who found personal faith while treating such dying children. -- Philip Yancey

From the Back Cover

"To love a child who will die soon is to expose one's self to the pain of dying," writes veteran surgeon and missionary doctor Paul Brand about Dr. Diane Komp's work with children. In this richly detailed memoir, Dr. Komp describes her journey to a vibrant faith in God. Schooled by medical mentors who told her to set aside her personal feelings as she treated young cancer patients, Dr. Komp's faith slipped away until she could no longer believe. "If I were to believe," she writes, "it would require the testimony of reliable witnesses . . ." Her "reliable witnesses" appeared in the suffering lives of the children she treated: Children like Anna, who mustered enough energy to sit up in her hospital bed and say, "Mommy, can you see them (angels)? Do you hear their singing?" Or young Donny, a boy with Down's syndrome and leukemia, who entertained his doctor with a mythical feast shortly before he died. Parents, too, bore witness to a God who restores life even in the face of death: the pain of divorce healed at the death of a son; a grieving mom and dad of twins who died within three months of each other: "Soon, Jordan, you will go to see Jesus and Nathan in heaven." Even parents angry enough to "hate" God but who never lost belief. "My own vision of God is more informed by these 'parental theologians,'" writes Dr. Komp. Written with remarkable honesty, A Window to Heaven captures the essence of what it means to believe in God when life's tragedies seem to undermine our faith. It is the story of an unbeliever's journey to a faith guided by her patients, the littlest of God's giants.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310589703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310589709
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #650,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "mattsuh" on July 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I first ran across the name of Diane Komp a few years ago in a Christianity Today article -- her name or the article itself did not catch my attention but this excerpt did:
"Today many children with leukemia are cured, but this was not the case when Anna first became sick. Her therapy brought her periods of time when she was disease-free over the five years she received treatment, but she faced the end of her life at age seven. Before she died, she mustered the final energy to sit up in her hospital bed and say: 'The angels - they're so beautiful! Mommy, can you see them? Do you hear their singing? I've never heard such beautiful singing!' Then she laid back on her pillow and died." (p.28) So began the spiritual journey of this doctor, who was self-described as being somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist.
I made a mental note to read this book in the future but quickly forgot about it until few days ago. Subconsciously, as I was preparing for a Pediatric Surgery rotation in October, I remembered Anna's last words. After few searches on Google with "Mommy," "angel," "doctor," and "faith," I found the book again.
I got this book in the mail today and finished reading it in one sitting, in about two hours. (This is rather RARE for me, but the book is rather short, only 113 pages long, and very gripping)
I almost cried several times while reading the book -- not because it was so sad. Does Jesus drive a school bus? I think so. You'll have to read the book ...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By SuzieM13 on March 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Children suffering, children in pain, children dying. How can we comprehend? How can we offer comfort to a parent or to the child...or maybe even face this dilemma of losing a child ourselves?? The pediatric doctor, Diane Komp, ever-so-lovingly takes us to the bedsides and into the homes and relates story after story of courage and love and faith. It's the little children who lead us.....away from materialism....back to God..... and to cherish those relationships. An excellent book to offer as a gift to those facing such mental anguish and which lends itself to opening a window of understanding to God's love.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan W. Durham on April 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
You will sob when you read this book but it will also give you a sense of peace. Being a health care provider, I have been in search of understanding the suffering of children throughout my career. Dr. Komp does not try to explain it but lets her patients help the reader make some sense of it. Her stories are beautifully and tenderly written with the utmost respect for the dignity of her young patients and their families. I have given this book to my nursing students who have worked with children with cancer. Regardles of thieir religious affiliation, they have found comfort in her words. I wish that this book could be required reading for all medical & nursing student prior to sending them out into the world of practice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Carnley on January 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a book to help you with the healing process for a child who died by accident, you may not feel that you can relate to this book. However, her stories of children seeing God and Jesus before they died did bring me a sense of peace, hoping that my little cousin DJ did the same.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Katie on November 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I actually cried as I finished this book - not a sad cry, but one that I cannot fully understand or articulate at the moment... That's why I call "A Window to Heaven" "soul stirring" - it did something to me, for me, but I'm not sure just what yet...

In this book, Dr. Diane Komp describes her spiritual journey - from agnostic/atheist (she said she went back & forth between the 2) to someone who truly believes in God. This transformation was due to the special relationships she had with her patients - all children suffering from various forms of cancer - and their families.

Dr. Komp describes several of her patients, and what each of them (and/or their families) realized & taught her - and what they can teach us as well, if we're willing to listen...

She also discusses the problems with today's medical system - where doctors-to-be are taught not to form relationships with their patients, but instead to see each new "case" as just a job to do - as if there was not a HUMAN attached to the disease/injury/issue. I know I've run into this myself, and it's quite disheartening!

Overall, I would highly recommend "A Window to Heaven".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W. H. McDonald Jr. on September 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It is a subject that is hard for most everyone - the death of a child. However, Dr. Komp takes us on a spiritual journey and gives us a look at the lives and deaths of some special children and their experiences with angels and other inspiring encounters.

There are so many moving individual stories inside this book. One that hit read khard had to do with a Jew who lost his daughter in a camp when he was seperated from her by the guards. She was sent to be killed and he went to a forced work detail. He deals with the issues of having let go of her hand and being seperated. That must have been a nightmare for him.

It is a one sitting book to read - you will not put it down and will start and finish in just that one sitting. I cried but not from sadness but out of a spiritual understanding about love and God.

I highly recomemnd this book to buy and read.
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