A few days ago I received an email from Davila (a stranger) writing in response to a story in A BOOK OF ANGELS of the Jamaican char who came into my dying mother’s hospital room and with a few words healed our relationship. I can’t do better than to print the whole email, and not only because the writer is so grateful. Here is her story of another healing angel: (Sorry I can’t find the tag on the new wordpress thingey that lets you choose to read on. Darn!)
I have just begun reading A Book of Angels, and after a particular passage, I feel compelled to share this story:
My mother died this March 2, 2016. She and I were very close. On February 25 she was admitted to the ICU in the hospital with pancreatic cancer. She died seven days later in a beautiful hospice room. Even as I write this now I realize that today is March 25, exactly one month from that night she went in the ambulance.
The day we moved her from the hospital to a hospice a few miles away, my older brother and sister stood with my father discussing some details with the doctor. I stood by my mother’s hospital bed, crying, she opened her eyes, though she was heavily sedated, and I called my family back in to see. Her eyes rested on each of us, and she tried to speak to us but was unable to, because of the breathing tube. It was the last moment she was awake and looking at all of us together before she died, and it felt like a small miracle.
My family went on ahead in the car. I stayed with my mom. Just before the ambulance guys arrived to move her, a priest came in to give her a blessing. I am not Catholic, but I took some comfort in the prayers. But what soothed me more was the sturdy nun with deep chocolate brown skin and a smooth round face who walked in behind him. She came directly to me and stood quietly beside me. As the priest finished his blessing, the ambulance drivers arrived. I felt her beside me, and I wanted her there.
There was a flurry of straps and tubes and hospital machine noises as the nurse and paramedics moved my mother and her life support from one bed to another. I stood back, feeling helpless and lost without my mother. Then, at the same moment, the nun turned to me and I to her ,and she wrapped her broad arms around me, and rocked me like a little girl. It felt natural, like I had known her a long time. I started to sob.
“You’re the baby” she said. She had a thick Islander accent. “I lost my mother too” she said to me. “Its hard and you love her so.” As they began wheeling my mother out of the room, the nun let me go. She said more things quietly to me as we let go hands, but I don’t remember what they were. Only that I had a strong feeling that mother love is all around me. I remember thinking that phrase specifically, mother love.
She kept her gaze on me until I was out of sight. I remember noticing how no one in the hospital room had paid her any attention. Not even the priest. Her name was Zita.
How The Treasure of Montsegur came to me is another angelic story in itself. That story has resonated with me like no other I’ve read, and reading it led me to A Book of Angels. I am so thankful to you Sophy, for your beautiful writing. It has touched me with truths I will hold for the rest of my life.