This story was originally posted in July 2015
I took it down to submit it for possible publication but it was rejected. 😦
If at first you don’t succeed and all that…right?
For those wondering why there are no paragraph indentations: I tried so many times to edit this and it just won’t do it.
So…without further ado,
“My Angels Embrace”
I walked into the dimly lit ICU cube, dutifully using the hand sanitizer located by the door, the smell now familiar. However, I still wasn’t accustomed to all the tubes, bags, and beeping equipment that monitored my mother’s vital signs. Thankfully the despised ventilator had been removed and she was finally waking up! I approached the bed in anticipation of seeing her move or to hear her speak. I leaned over the railing and took her hand, trying not to disturb anything.
She looked at me with her sweet eyes open and whispered, “You’re a pretty girl.”
Feeling alarmed I asked, “Do you know who I am?”
“I’m sorry I don’t know you.”
Trying to speak past the lump in my throat I said, “It’s me Patti, your daughter.”
With the smallest of smiles she said, “Patti Kathryn.”
“Yes mom, Patti Kathryn,” the held back tears now streaming down my face as I squeezed her hand.
She looked off to the left and said, “That’s so pretty.”
“What are you seeing mom?”
“So pretty,” she repeated.
In a stronger voice I asked again, “What do you see mother?” Her reply sent chills up my back.
She said, “An angel.”
I couldn’t speak. I was overwhelmed by the presence of God so I prayed as she drifted off to sleep. I gave thanks that her life had been spared, it was nothing short of a miracle. I asked for continued protection and strength to see her through the long recovery she faced.
Mom had spent the last four days in intensive care in a clinically induced coma. A cancerous tumor had ruptured in her colon which resulted in peritonitis and the loss of part of her colon. By the grace of God it had not taken her life. Her guardian angel had been right there fighting with her, watching over her. I didn’t know my own angel was just outside in the hallway.
My visiting time was up and I had a couple of hours before I could sit with her again. I decided to leave the grounds for lunch and I was on a high when I left her room. She was awake! That feeling lasted until I walked into the waiting area and flashes of the past week hit me head on, like I’d been punched in the stomach.
Only a scant five days earlier my family sat in that same area having no idea what had happened. We waited for the surgeon to come share what had left mom in her current state.
Life in those five days had been a blur of travel and phone calls between family members. My sisters and I were overwhelmed with the anxiety of not knowing what was happening or what was next. My days consisted of the two hundred forty mile drive, staying at mom’s house when I could. I felt blessed and thankful that my job was part time.
All of this was rolling through me like waves when I reached the hallway leading to the elevator. Clutching my purse to my body in desperation I felt numb and couldn’t breathe.
Her name tag said Miranda. She was a hospital custodian, pushing her cart full of supplies. We looked each other right in the eye and out of nowhere I asked her if she was a praying woman.
She said, “Yes I am.”
“Will you please pray for my mom?”
Miranda said something affirmative or nodded, I don’t know which. The next thing I knew I was wrapped in the arms of that perfect stranger. The sobs caught in my chest were finally released, while she crooned comforting sounds. Time froze for that vaporous instant and I felt God with me. In His mercy He sent my angel to hold me up. Oh how I would need it later that day.
I was shaken by the beauty of that moment and then it fled. Somewhat embarrassed I thanked her for her kindness as I pulled myself together and we both went on our way. The rest of that day proved to be horrifying as mother came fully around. She was suffering what is known as ICU psychosis and having severe hallucinations. This can happen after being in a drug induced coma for so many days. It was surreal.
I remember trying to re-connect with Miranda when I saw her later that day but it was like that moment never happened; as if she’d never seen me before. I know I didn’t imagine what happened and I felt hurt somehow that she didn’t want to acknowledge me. But a few days later I was given a sign of what I believe was affirmation. It was a small yet profound thing.
I was entering the hospital and decided to stop in the gift shop. I was browsing the showcases of specialty items and saw an angel figurine. So help me it looked like Miranda. I picked up the tag to see what she was called; the tag read…Angel of the Spirit.
I wanted to weep. I bought it and immediately started thinking of my faceless figurine as Miranda.
Even after mom was moved to a regular room with the promise of being released soon, I would look around and try to find Miranda.
I never did and I didn’t know her last name. I finally called the hospital and gave them her first name and job description and the floor she had been on. They didn’t seem to know of her. I wanted so badly to mail a card of thanks to her. I let the people in personnel know what her act of kindness meant that day. I was told I could send a card to Human Resources with her first name on it and I did. I didn’t hear anything. It’s as if she didn’t exist.
This happened a little over four years ago and I’ve finally decided to share this story for the first time. It was such a spiritually precious moment that I wanted to guard it against scoffers.
I firmly believe while mom was in that coma fighting for her life I was called to intercede on her behalf. I felt the weight of that calling as an honor and I praise the Almighty that I was used in this way. I will always believe my mother and I had angels of mercy that day. I can still feel the impact of those moments and the comfort that Immanuel, God with us, provided for me.
It is in times such as these that there is no denying our Sovereign God. In those few days I felt His blessed presence so near and so dear, totally dependent on Him. Oh the prayers that went up, even those of perfect strangers. One of which I’ll always call my angel, Miranda.
A true account by:
Patti D. Hemphill
July 11, 2015