Mawmaw's Angel Story

from Tami Shelton of North Carolina

My husband’s grandmother was taken to the hospital with pneumonia. She was one of the most saintly Christian individuals I have ever known.

She had lived alone for some time since the death of her husband, but she never seemed scared living alone and an air of surety always surrounded her. She possessed not only spiritual strength, but also was quite physically strong for her age! So, when she fell sick, it was a surprise to us all.

One evening as she remained in the local hospital for a few days, we went up to visit her. She seemed much better, and the doctor’s assured us she was on the road to recovery. Mawmaw, which was the name we called her, was much stronger physically and proceeded to tell us that her angel had been with her all morning, standing in the corner of her room. Of course we all turned to see nothing in the corner and asked her where the angel was then. “Oh, she’s gone now,” replied Mawmaw in a nonchalant manner.

I now believe that if Mawmaw did see an angel, it must have been the Angel of Death, since the phone call came the next morning. Mawmaw had passed on.

A few years later, my grandfather, who was also a Christian and had told me stories of his encounter with an angel when he was a young boy, was taken to the same hospital. He had fallen and was coughing up a minute bit of blood. It was determined that he probably had an aneurism in his stomach. At the time, I was seven months pregnant with my only child and on bed rest due to pregnancy complications. However, I was granted permission from the Ob-Gyn to visit my grandfather, since I would be at the hospital should an emergency arise.

My husband drove me to the hospital, which is less than a mile from our home, to visit Papaw. Surprising, Papaw seemed to be much better. The nurses bragged about what a good day he had. I sat next to the head of his bed and talked with him as he dozed. A little while later, Papaw perked up from his brief nap and peered to the corner of the room then asked, “Tami, what kind of hat are you wearing?” I was still sitting up at the head of his bed, confused at what he was asking. He asked the question again. Leaning against the wall on the other side of the bed, my husband spoke up, “Papaw, Tami is still right beside you.” “Well who is that in the corner with that thing on her head?” was the next question. We assured him that no one was there, yet he insisted. Finally, he gave in to embarrassment and pretended to ignore the thing he could see in the corner of the room. Our visit ensued a little while longer until Papaw grew too tired to keep the conversation going, so we said our goodbyes and left him with is hat-wearing visitor in the corner.

I was unable to attend my grandfather’s funeral because I was admitted to the hospital for the birth of my daughter, so I never have gotten closure with his death. The strange twist is that my daughter, whom I was pregnant with at the time, has my grandfather’s personality. Although they never met, my daughter is my connection to my grandfather. She is now three years old and has an array of “imaginary” friends, perhaps angels.

Even stranger… Just this past week, I visited my grandfather’s grave for the first time. It was a surreal moment for me. I still expect my grandfather to be sitting on his porch waiting for visitors. I still can’t let go. But as I was finishing writing the previous paragraph, my daughter just found and brought me a lapel pin of the Angel of Courage with this inscription: “May this angel of courage help you to have the strength to let go of the past & step into the future.” I have no idea where she found this pin, but it must be a sign telling me it’s okay to let go of Papaw.

Eureka! Maybe I have encountered an angel or at least a daughter.