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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Review: The Color of Rain by Michael and Gina Spehn

This is a book I picked up at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in September. I put it aside because, to be honest, I prefer fiction. At least with fiction I can put trajedy on a shelf labeled "Figments of Imagination" in my mind. True stories deal with real life, real horrors, real tears.

I admit I shed some tears in the reading of this book. Two lovely people die, beloved spouses and parents of young children. There isn't anything that tears at my heart more than young children going through the loss of a loving parent. I grieve with every one of them.

Matt Kell, a devout Christian with probably hundreds of people praying for him, goes through a prolonged, painful death--but never loses his hope for the brighter tomorrow. He knows he will probably die from this dreaded disease, a type of cancer that killed men in his family. He asks Gina, his wife, to go with him to the water's edge.

And go she does, every agonizing step for four years, until the day he goes Home, Christmas Day 2005.

And then there's Cathy Spehn. She's a childhood classmate and friend of Matt. She begins to reach out to Gina. She and her husband Mike have three children, a girl and two boys, not far apart in age from Gina's now fatherless children. She asks her husband, Michael, to help fill in for their missing dad.

At the end of January, Cathy has a headache, the first in several. They chalk it off to a pinched nerve, but a week later he takes her to the emergency room because the headache is accompanied by throwing up.

A little over two weeks later she is gone, the victim of a fast growing tumor. Her last words to Michael are, "Call Gina Kell. She will help you."

At Cathy's memorial service, Michael meets Gina for the first time. As they talk, he realizes she is the only one there who really knows what he's going through.

The second half of the book is uplifting. From two grief-torn families, God raises up one solid unit, one stronger for the dual trajedies they have endured.

You have to read this book. There's no way I can convey the emotion to you. You will laugh in the midst of grief, weep through the happiness, and grow in your own faith. I guarantee it.

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