my seven years as a hospice volunteer, I had only one truly unexplainable
encounter with what I believe to be an angel. On Valentines day, 1997,
I was in the home of dear friends whose sonI will call him Billwas
dying of AIDS. The care he needed took the efforts of his mom, dad, sister,
a nurse and me. While taking a break in the living room that day, I was
surprised to hear a knock at the front door. This startled me because
the house was in a rural part of Mississippi, and there was a long gravel
driveway which sounded the approach of any car rolling in over the loose
gravel. From inside the house, you could clearly hear the crunch of tires
on the rocks. Well I had not heard this sound, so I went to the door wondering
what was up. There stood a lady stranger, and behind her in the driveway
was parked a large customized van. I couldn't imagine how it had gotten
there without my hearing it.
I asked, "May I help you?" She
replied, "God sent me here to pray for Bill." Not knowing this woman,
I asked Bill's mother if this stranger could come in and pray for Bill?
She said, "Please, let her in!" I did.
Bill was in a bad
way on this day. Since morning he'd had his eyes open and arms
raised off the bed toward the ceiling as if he were fixed on
an object he was reaching for.
The stranger came
in and walked directly toward the room where Bill was without
any indication from me where he was. She carried two large Bibles,
one in each arm. My first thought was that she looked like Moses
from the movie, "The Ten Commandments,"
carrying the tablets on which the Commandments had been written. I followed
She entered Bill's
room and immediately began to pray in a very charismatic way
which made me a little uncomfortable having been raised Catholic.
To me prayer was less animated and a lot more quiet than this
woman prayed. I thought it best to wait in the living room.
I sat near the baby
monitor receiver we kept there and listened to the stranger pray
and to the sobs of Bill's grieving mother. Moments later, I heard
his mother cry out,
"Oh, God, no.... He's gone. No, please God, no!" Had Bill's time come?
I rushed in to check
his vital signs. The stranger continued praying. She seemed to
pray louder than before, almost rejoicing. It was true, Bill
had passed on. The others in the house came in, and we all began
to cry and hug each other.
My job was to call
the hospice nurse who in turn would call the police and coroner
to come and remove Bill's body. I made the call, and we mourned
together while we waited and the stranger prayed.
The hospice nurse
arrived first, but we were all crying and did not hear her drive
up the gravel driveway. When she came into Bill's room, the stranger
abruptly closed her Bibles and prepared to leave. She came to
me and asked if I had seen her keys? I said no, but offered to
help her find them.
I don't know why,
but I began
to search in rooms that the woman had not even entered. In my state of
grief, I wasn't thinking clearly. After searching, I could not find the
keys, and I went to tell her. But she was already gone. I looked outside.
Her van was gone from the driveway. I saw only the nurse's car, and I
knew the nurse had to be parked behind this large van and must have moved
her car to let the stranger leave. I asked the nurse about the lady, and
she replied, "What lady?" I said, "The woman in the van parked in front
of you." But the nurse had not seen a van in the driveway. "You didn't
see the woman with two large Bibles leave the house?" She had not
seen the stranger at all. Only Bill's family and I had seen her.
The nurse commented
that this was not the first time a story like this had surfaced
in her profession, and she concluded: "The stranger you saw was an Angel Escort." She had
And neither do I.