Someone asked me the other day, if I believed in angels. I had to take a minute and collect my thoughts before answering. I never know how much of my beliefs to divulge. I have an extremely close relationship with death.
I was born into a grieving household – my father was killed by a drunk driver when I was nine weeks old. My first memory, at 3 ½ years old, is my grandfather suffering a heart attack and dying before my eyes. Throughout my most impressionable years, I was surrounded by grief. Then on my 18th birthday, my grandfather died. On my 21st birthday, my best friend Becky was killed by a drunk driver on her way to my surprise party. And on my 25th birthday my great grandfather died.
Then in 1999, I came face-to-face with death myself, when I suffered a pulmonary embolism. After spending several days in ICU, I was released back into the world with a new appreciation for life, no matter how wearing and soul-sucking it can be. I’ve ended every day for the last twenty years since then, with a prayer of gratitude for the “extra days” I’ve been given.
It was during the first couple days that I was in ICU, they came to me. My father and grandfathers surrounded me on either side of my bed and whispered words of love and encouragement. “You are not alone, we are always by your side,” they said. “We will guide you, if you allow us – just take us with you.”
Even though I haven’t “seen” them again since I left the hospital back then, I am often aware of their presence. And a couple more angels have joined them – a dear friend and true love I lost to cancer in 2001, my younger brother who passed away in July of 2018 and a dear childhood friend who lost her battle with cancer in August of 2018.
And now, as my mother withers away in a nursing home, I know it’s only a matter of time before she joins them on the other side and that knowledge paralyzes me with fear at times. How will I ever endure the loss of the woman who gave me life and became my very best friend? When I feel that fear creep in – and it’s happening more and more every day – I summon my angels and I am reminded that she will always be with me.
When the fear and the pain come knocking, I whisper, “Are you there?” and immediately I feel the warmth and light of my angels’ presence. They have stood by me through harrowing job interviews, painful breakups, achievements and losses. They hold me up when it all feels too heavy. They remind me that I am loved and that I don’t have to do this alone.
So, when they ask me if I believe in angels, my answer is unequivocally yes. I travel with an army of them, where ever I go.