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Two Who Slip Away

John, a friend of the family, was terminally ill with inoperable cancer and had elected to receive no further treatment other than painkillers. Two months before his death, he took to a hospital bed in his living room and rarely left it. Between his three daughters, a hospice nurse, and my mother, he was never alone. John often told us that he was surrounded by angels and that he could see plainly see them. One, he said, looked like a "beach bum" and wore shorts, sandals, and a flowered shirt. This angel reportedly sat on an invisible lawn chair throughout John's decline, and we just smiled when he spoke of it.

Several weeks passed, and John's body deteriorated despite his good spirits. Eventually, he became too weak to be conscious for more than an hour at a time. One day, Mom and I dropped by to say hello, and we could hear that his breathing had changed. Something told us that he would not last the night, so we stayed to lend morale support to his daughters.

Around 4 a.m., John's daughters and my mother went to bed, leaving me and Audrey, his nurse, to watch over him. Audrey sat in a recliner behind the head of John's bed and read. I sat beside the head of his bed and held his hand, praying. At one point, my eyes caught a movement reflecting off his bed rail. It was the reflection of a person in white walking down the length of the bed toward his feet. Assuming it to be Audrey coming around to take his vitals signs, I stood up and moved out of her way. But it wasn't Audrey. She still sat in the recliner engrossed in her novel. When she noticed my movement and glanced up, I told her about the figure I had seen in the bed rail. Audrey agreed that it had probably been one of John's angels now that the end was eminent.

About 2 hours later, John's breathing became very hollow sounding, and Audrey confirmed that he would die very soon. We woke the others up and stood around his bed. For the next 45 minutes, we all felt the tiny hairs on our face stand on end over and over again. Although he seemed peaceful, he seemed to be emitting an incredible energy that we could all feel. Finally, he took his last breath and was pronounced dead. It was a relief for him and for all of us that he was at rest.

I told the others about the figure who had been at John's bedside earlier that morning, and it brought incredible peace to them. We all agreed that the energy we'd felt before his death was heaven sent. I now believe what I always suspected to be the truth—we don't come into this world alone and we don't leave it alone either.

B. Langman




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