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Timothy P Daaleman


Many years have passed since I visited Donny in the hospital, where he was admitted with a newly diagnosed and terminal lung cancer. Despite years of separation, his wife Rose took him back into her home and cared for Donny at the end of his life. In the months after his death, I learned more about their relationship; Donny’s drinking and infidelities, the emotional and verbal abuse that Rose put up with. At the end of one office visit, I was incredulous in silent amazement and asked her, “Why did you do it?” Rose looked at me and simply said, “Because he was one of us; because he was family.” As she repeated this, I saw the face of God gazing at me. Well before caring for Donny and Rose, a spiritual director encouraged me to work on describing my image of God. It was an arid time and place on my interior journey and the activity felt forced and inauthentic. Although Rose died more than 5 years ago, I still think of her and reflect on my life as a physician practicing in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. As she looks at me, my uncertainties scatter and her image draws down and stirs divine wellsprings in me.


Daaleman TP. The Face of God Revealed. Ann Fam Med. 2022 Sep-Oct;20(5):481-483. doi: 10.1370/afm.2862. PMID: 36228061; PMCID: PMC9512555.

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