The Night Kathy Kayser Passed
By Charles Edward Kayser
Once upon a time a young lady named Ruth was invited to her neighbor’s house when it seemed her neighbor was in the season of passing on to Heaven. The old matron who had always been so kind and loving to her asked for a private conversation. When the room was empty, Ruth heard these amazing words that she could never forget:
“Ruth, you’ve always been so dear and so special to me. I’ve loved you like my own since your birth, and I want you to keep me in your heart just as I will always keep you in my heart. I have a secret trust with secret people who have instructions to mail you a twenty-dollar bill each day for the rest of your life. There are not many of the secret people, but if any of them ever hear that you are receiving the twenty dollars a day; the money stops. You and I will always have our little love secret.”
In our little fairy tale, Ruth eventually goes to heaven with her little love secret. My wife, Patty, and I may go to heaven with very few knowing our little love secret from the night our sister-in-law Kathy Kayser passed on to Heaven.
Kathy had been a special part of our lives from the days she and my brother Lee had been dating. We loved visiting and playing games often late into the night. A few years later, Kathy was central to the most pivotal experience of our lives. I was teaching English and coaching football and wrestling at Shawnee Mission North High School and enjoying life with my wife, Patty, and our young children, Don, Bruce, and Sherry. Upon my March 21, 1973, drive home from a Fellowship of Christian Athletes weekend retreat at William Jewell College, I experienced the voice and presence of Jesus that I had not felt possible. I was changed in many ways, and Patty, noticing the change, began to pray also for such an experience. Patty’s prayer was, “Lord, I don’t know what you did to Charlie, but do it to me, too.”
The following Saturday, we invited them to our Shawnee Mission, Kansas, home to tell them what had happened. The four of us were sitting on the carpeted floor as I told the details of my experience. As I finished, Kathy suggested something we had never done together before. Kathy said, “I feel like we should pray.” As we held hands for the first time in a prayer circle, Patty began to react and exclaim that she was feeling a warm, tingling presence of Jesus just as I had felt a week earlier. Now, all four of us were beginning a new adventure together, an adventure that continues. It was later that we learned the Bible has a description and a term for such an experience, Jesus’ ministry of baptizing in/with the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 3:11, Acts 11:16-17)
So, Patty and I have had this long 50-year intimacy with Kathy and Lee through births, deaths, graduations, tragedies, disappointments, difficulties, victories, mutual friendships and warm family relationships, job changes, more children, grandchildren, and a continuous string of faith experiences. Kathy had no brothers or sisters, and she expressed occasionally that we filled a bit of that gap for her. Thinking more of what was to happen at Kathy’s passing, perhaps it should not be so surprising that something special would happen regarding Kathy and Patty at that time.
In the last two weeks of Kathy’s earthly life, we had spent many hours in her hospital room and then in hospice care. When passing time came a little after midnight on May 12, 2015, Lee had stopped going home to sleep and had stayed all night the last two nights. Carrie and her family were back at Lee’s and Kathy’s house where we were sleeping; Lee and Jenny were in the Via Christi hospice room when Jenny called Patty’s cell phone with the news. After Jenny’s news of the bittersweet release, Patty asked me about my singing a few minutes earlier. Did I know I was singing? No, I didn’t. Patty said that for a short time I was quietly and beautifully singing Hallelujah. She had heard the tune before and I tried a couple of versions there in the night, but neither was quite right – and my voice was certainly not quiet and pretty. In fact, Patty noted that my waking-up voice never sounds even close to being that good. At first, when she heard me sing, she thought I had been in quiet prayer and didn’t want to wake her with my praise. Sometimes in the night I lift my hands in prayer, but I never sing. In our over 52 years of marriage, Patty had never heard me sing in my sleep. The more we thought about the uniqueness and timing of this event, the more we realized its personal significance. It’s as though God had shown Patty that her special “sister connection” had departed for a season. While Patty had the awareness of receiving that blessing, my blessing came upon realizing I was a channel for it.
The past two days as I’ve continued considering the meaning of this private little love gift which others may never notice, I’ve seen a correlation between this May 12, 2015, experience and my July 19, 2013, dream/vision that I reported in my book, A Deeper Life Primer: An Antidote to Shallow Living. Both the song and the vision are intensely personal and a part of us. From now to the end of our lives, when Patty and I think of Kathy, God’s special love gift to us will be remembered. From now on to the end of my life, whenever I think of my book or my faith, I will think of the 2013 dream/vision. Both events are internalized.
By His Word and by His Spirit, God is still revealing truth to me regarding the dream/vision. About a week before Kathy left us, I saw that the five circles that have always represented the totality of a human suddenly was also the totality of the earthly Jesus Christ. I remembered anew that when “Christian” was first used by pagans to denote followers of Christ, “Christian” had the meaning of “little Christ.” As we can die to selfishness as did Jesus, we can be as He was on earth.