The Grip of Angerby Leonard Day
Knowing of my coming, I had been forewarned by some of the family members and friends about Frances' dreaded
personality. In fact, she had been so open with her hostility that now many of her friends and even relatives shunned her.
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I had been contacted by Pam, Frances' niece, who had recently enrolled in one of my angel workshops. Her call had informed me that her Aunt Frances had been hospitalized with recurring heart problems and was now having severe complications. Her weakened condition had shown little improvement and the doctors warned that nothing more could be done and that death was imminent. Pam also indicated that during the past three days her aunt had slept very little and had commented on several occasions about angels being very close. Then, in the same breath, she would curse God and the angels, ending each outburst with tears running down her face. Pam asked if I could take the time to see her aunt, and I agreed to see her that afternoon.
I made my way down the hall, watching closely for room 307. Finding the room, I slowly pushed open the door to find a darkened room with a fluorescent light behind the headboard. I noticed that Frances had her eyes closed, so I quietly walked to the side of the bed and paused. As if on command, Frances opened her eyes and glared up at me.
"Who are you", she asked. "Are you one of those new doctors they want me to see?"
"No, I am not a doctor", I answered. "My name is Leonard Day, and I am a friend of your niece, Pam. She is very concerned about you and asked if I might take some time and visit with you."
"Pam", she repeated. "She is just like her mother, always caring about someone or something. Pam thinks just like all the others, that I am going to die, and she feels like she has to care for me to the very end. Believe me, I've seen plenty of dying over my years, and it really doesn't matter how much you care, not at the end, because caring can't stop it."
Then she looked toward the ceiling and closed her eyes.
"Frances, I understand that you have seen angels around you. Is that right?"
In another burst of energy, Frances again opened her eyes, raised her head and looked right into my face.
"Yes, I have seen something, but I don't think they were angels. Devils, perhaps, but not angels. Besides, angels are for fools," she added. "I used to believe in God, in angels and even in saints, but none of that believing works. I have been let down so many times that nothing seems real, especially not now, not for me."
Then, as if a floodgate had been opened, Frances continued to share with me about her past. She was the oldest in her
family and had never married. As a nurse, she devoted most of her time to caring for her ailing parents. After their deaths,
she focused upon her nursing career. She told of how day after day she witnessed the pleading of her parents and her
family for comfort and help, but all of their cries fell upon seemingly deaf ears. As the years passed she became bitter and angry, and her heart hardened toward God and all that He stood for. Then she began to look upon herself as a failure and soon she came to despise other people. Once she even tried to commit suicide, but she even failed at that attempt. She had tried so hard to save and comfort so many, and now she felt that she had failed herself and others.
"So you see, Leonard, seeing angels is just another way of failing", she continued. "The only heaven is the heaven we create for ourselves, and believe me, I have failed in that category also." She turned her head away, but I could see tears glistening in her eyes.
"Frances, do you believe in angels?" I asked. Although my question was simple, Frances hesitated a long time before
she again looked right at me and spewed forth her answer.
"I have to say that I was brought up knowing a lot about angels", she said. "Mama taught each of us children about angels and how they are always only a prayer away. She even taught us a prayer about guardian angels. My, that was a long time ago, a long time ago. Then I grew up and angels faded into the background, and life seemed so cluttered. Being a nurse I saw more hurt, but no angels."
As Frances continued, tears began to flow from her eyes. "Then, one by one, my family left me. First Mom, then Dad. Ted, my brother, was killed in the early part Vietnam, and Sheila, Pam's mother, died two or three years ago with cancer. I stood alongside each of their graves and I buried all of them by myself, without any help from any angels."
Then leaning over the bed rail, I said, "Frances, you are a very strong person. Your life has been filled with a great deal of suffering and grief, but your life has also been a life of sharing and healing. Throughout all of this you have been strengthened by God and constantly surrounded by his angels. God's angels have always been very close to you, even when you have not been aware of their presence. Now God knows that you need help and that is why his angels are so very close to you and why you have been able to see and feel their presence."
In a sheer moment it seemed that the coldness melted from Frances' face.
"Are you sure that these angels are real, are you really sure", she asked.
"Yes, I am sure that what you have seen and will see is all very real", I answered. "Frances, God loves you very much,
but He needs you to let go of all the anger and bitterness that you have inside. He wants you to know that you have
not failed, and the He is very proud of you and of everything you have done."
Then Frances smiled, a smile as radiant as any sunrise, and I knew that God's light had been restored to her spirit.
"You know that I am dying, don't you, Leonard?" she asked.
I nodded in affirmation.
"You know that earlier today, if someone would have agreed with me that I was dying, I would have probably cursed at them and told them to leave me alone because I was so afraid to face my death. Now I know that God has sent His angels as friends to be with me. I know how very special I must be."
I looked into her eyes for a long time and, as I turned to leave, she said, "Please pray for me and pray that my angels come back."
Then she closed her eyes as I closed the door behind me.
Several days passed before I again received a call from Pam. She told me of the miraculous change that had taken place with her aunt. Pam told all of the relatives and soon Frances' room was filled with friends and family. She seemed happier than she had been in years. Then Pam shared that early that morning her aunt called for the nurse and told her that the angels were back and that they were everywhere. She asked the nurse to hold her hand and she said, "Listen. Don't you hear the angels praying?" Then she closed her eyes without fear.
As I hung up the phone, I looked to the heavens and thanked God for Frances and for the faithful presence of His angels.