The Hallmark Store Angel

There is an old song by the group Alabama that I love called I Believe There Are Angels Among Us. Not only do I love the song, I also happen to believe it is true. There have been several times in my life where I have encountered someone whom I believed was an angel or at the very least someone used by God in some way to help me. No time in my life was this truer than one spring day in May when my father was dying from bladder cancer.

I am the oldest of my parents three daughters and the news that my very young 63 year old father had cancer was a shock. He was stage four when he was diagnosed and his doctors offered no hope for treatment or cure so it wasn’t long until he needed constant care. My father adored my mother and spoiled her every opportunity he had and he loved to buy her jewelry. When he became to sick and weak to leave the house and a special event was coming up, he would sit for hours going thru the sale ads from the newspaper searching for just the right gift. Once he found what he was looking for he would tear the picture out of the ad and give whichever daughter was staying with him both the picture, the cash and very specific instructions on picking out the perfect card. The week before Mother’s Day it was my turn to stay the week with dad. We all knew we didn’t have much time left with dad and cherished each moment we had with him but as weak as he was, he still kept up his ritual picking out the perfect gift for mother. I did not feel good about leaving him, but he insisted I needed to go before mother got home from work and added that this would be the last gift.

I left wanting to make the trip as quickly as I could and thankfully I was able to get parking close to entrance. The jewelry store was empty and they had the exact earrings in the picture, emerald and diamond. They even were giving away little teddy bears for a Mother’s Day promotion and I knew that would thrill dad. Last stop was the Hallmark Card store which I dreaded because I just knew I would be reading hundreds of cards trying to find one that expressed the exact sentiments dad wanted to say. I picked up the very first card and could not believe what I had read. I went back, re-read it and it said perfectly just what dad wanted to say. All of a sudden, out of nowhere it hit me, the reality of what was happening. My dad was dying and I had just picked out the last of 42 years of cards he had bought her, telling her for the last time how he felt. I just started to sob right there in the middle of the store and I know it wasn’t quiet and I am quite certain people were looking, but quite frankly I didn’t care. At that moment I was the only one in the store. All of the sudden I heard a very soft, sweet voice ask me if I was ok. I couldn’t speak, I just looked at her. Then she hugged me. I remember feeling love in the hug, the way my grandma used to hug me. Then she said, “Honey I don’t know what’s wrong and I don’t need to, but everything is going to be ok. Everything will turn out the way it is supposed to”. Then she handed me a tissue and she was gone. I looked around, but I didn’t see her anywhere. I pulled myself together, paid for my card and headed back home to Dad.

I have thought about that moment often thru the years and I can still feel the comfort from her words and hug. Was she just a kind, compassionate stranger reaching out to someone in need or was she an angel sent to comfort a little girl who’s daddy was dying? I will never know for sure, and it doesn’t matter. Either way I know God sent her to comfort me when my heart was breaking. I do know that I changed that day and many times I have reached out in a similar way to someone hurting and in those moments I have suspected that God was using me in much the same way to comfort someone else who’s heart was breaking.

Until we meet here again, may God bless you and keep your family safe.