It’s my Father’s birthday today, August 24, 2017. He would have been 88. He passed away 8 years ago on June 17, 2009. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him. I was encouraged by a writer friend (www.readsuzette.com) to submit the story of my Father’s experience of an angelic visitation to one of those “Chicken for the Soup” series devoted to angel stories. I did as my friend Suzette suggested and she was very helpful with edits, but I never heard back from the Chicken Soup peeps.
The family story that I shared was about a blue-eyed angel of death, so perhaps that might not have been what the soup editors and connoisseurs were looking for. They probably wanted tales of blue-eyed angels of life. However, angels of death exist (at least in our family) and I’ll reprint the story below. So, if possible please suspend your disbelief and enjoy the true and honest recollections from a father and daughter. And, if you don’t mind, I’ll take a moment to shed more than a few tears in honor of having had a most awesome Father. He is sorely missed.
The Blue-eyed Angel of Death
My Father called to relay a strange story. In 2009 I was on high alert because a few months earlier, he had been diagnosed with bone cancer. However, it was contained and not aggressive, but my level of anxiety was still heightened. My father told me that while getting out of bed that morning he heard a loud click and when he turned in the direction of the noise, he saw the blazing figure of an angel staring at him.
“Oh Dad! Tell me more! What was she like? Did she ooze love?”
“Well,” my Dad replied, “she was short and beautiful. Her wings were glistening, but it was her eyes that struck me! Her beautiful, brilliant blue eyes that just shone. I can’t forget those eyes! That color blue!”
I pressed, “Did she have a message? Did love surround you?” I so ached to hear of a heavenly message of love and light, but what my Dad shared did not match up with what I expected.
He said the angel was neutral, almost cold. A cold angel? Surely that was a mistake. It seemed so strange because I thought angels came to save, and to offer love, help and support.
I told him he should immediately write down what happened, if not for himself then for his family.
During the following days, I pumped him for more information. Was there anything more he had to say, something he had forgotten?
“Nope,” he said in his succinct way, “In fact, I’m beginning to think I must have made it all up.”
“Wait”, I said, “What about that click, that noise you described right before the angel appeared? You described that so vividly. Did your brain make up that noise as well?”
“Well, maybe not,” he said, conceding that something out-of-the-ordinary had possibly occurred.
My Father was a medically trained eye doctor. He was scientific, matter-of-fact, loved numbers and the stock market. He was a pragmatic, down-to-earth man who said in a self-deprecating manner: “You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy.” He carried himself in a regal way, and sometimes strangers mistook him for a priest. Even though he never wore a clerical collar, many would address him as “Father.” We four sisters got a kick out of this and were secretly pleased because it proved our point: our dad was saintly!
The Angel story began to unnerve me. A past dream came bubbling up from the deep recesses of my mind. Before my Father’s cancer diagnosis, I dreamt my Father was going to become gravely ill. I woke up and sat up in the middle of the night after this dream and thought, “Oh, ridiculous! Dad takes such good care of himself. There’s no way something is going to happen to him.” My father was so health conscious! He squeezed his own wheatgrass juice, grew his own tomatoes, and researched vitamins compulsively. I had let that dream fade away.
Yet when I combined that dream with his cancer and the angelic visitation, I shivered with dread. Was it the Angel of Death who came to see him? Now, not only did he have bone cancer, but it turned out that he had liver and pancreatic cancer as well, and he was in and out of the hospital for biopsies and a blood transfusion. The cancer turned his beautiful skin a bright carrot orange. In three days, he went from walking freely, to using a walker, and finally to becoming bed-ridden.
On the day before he died, he pointed to an angel statue on the nightstand. In a raspy voice he said the angel who had appeared to him had much larger wings than that particular statue, wings that glistened with gold and silver flakes.
I wondered who merits a visitation from an angel? I believed my father did, a remarkable man, husband and father. My Father was resigned to “the will of God”, saying he would accept and surrender to what would be. Perhaps the angelic visitation was an affirmation that no matter what, Heaven would be by his side.
In his final hours, our family gathered at his bed. I held his left hand and bowed my head. All of a sudden, my body lunged forward and a loud wail left my lips, and in that moment my Father took his last breath. My scream could only be described as the painful “cry of a banshee.” Friends of mine had described experiences of their loved ones dying surrounded and bathed in white light with serenity and peace emanating from their faces. But for our family, there was no white light – simply the story of the blue-eyed Angel of Death and a cry of the banshee.
Two years after my Father’s passing, I came across papers in a briefcase that appeared to be a diary my father kept during the last months of his life: a recap of his many doctor visits and an eight week bout with shingles that had left him feeling “quite depressed.” Included were favorite quotes and fond memories of raising four daughters. Then an entry caught my eye and my heart leapt into my throat, “Now for something very startling which I forgot to mention.”
“During my most severe pain from shingles, the following happened. I forgot the date but here it is: I was getting out of bed at 6:05 am and as I was just about to set my feet on the floor, I heard a “SNAP”, saw a very bright white light and an angel appeared to me. She was dressed in gold and silver both on her garment and her wings. She looked at me with the most beautiful deep, blue eyes and then she was gone. No words spoken, but I know that she wanted to assure me that all would be O.K. as I recall her expression was non-committal. But I do know that it was a sign that the Heavenly Father has a very special job for me. I am praying that he postpone my arrival to accept the position for some time yet.”
He died eight weeks shy of his 80th birthday. I witnessed how my father faced the unknown with trust and faith, perhaps taking to heart that a special job awaited him. After his death, I would often dream he was in heaven still healing from cancer, but the key message was always that he was okay and ALIVE! Dying is a natural, inevitable part of life; and I realize now that an announcement from an angel of death, although rare, can be a part of that process, and not something to be feared.
Here’s to you Dad! Forever in my heart.