Ever Watchful Angel
Heaven sent a familiar figure to again stand watch over her daughter's resting place.
Tamee and I had been friends for years—even before we started working the hospital switchboard together. I looked forward to seeing her each morning. We laughed a lot, shared all our hopes and disappointments. In many ways she was like the sister I never had.
So when she told me she was moving to Portland, Oregon, I knew I was going to miss her more than words could say.
“You’re going to love Oregon,” I told her. “It’s gorgeous. You’ll be about eighty miles from where I used to live in The Dalles.”
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Of course I’d told Tamee all about my life in Oregon years ago, good times and bad. The worst moment of my life had occurred while I was living there: My young daughter, Dana, passed away.
I had three sons to comfort me, but you never completely get over the loss of a child. Tamee understood completely, and I could see in her face that she knew I was thinking about Dana now.
“If we ever drive through The Dalles I’ll stop off and visit Dana’s grave for you,” Tamee promised.
That evening as I drove home my thoughts were still with Dana. We’d moved out of the state soon after she died. In the 15 years since I’d only been back once, and that was to check on Dana’s grave.
The headstone was simple, with a short prayer and Dana’s name carved into it. I’d bought a little ceramic angel holding a bird at a store in town and set it on the grave. It was my way of asking the angels to watch over Dana’s resting place since I couldn’t.
I wondered if that little angel with the bird was still there. Immediately I realized how silly the notion was. Of course it wasn’t still there! My pilgrimage to Dana’s grave was almost 15 years ago! Maybe the real angels are still watching over her, I thought.
Tamee and I stayed busy at work, preparing for her departure. And then she was gone. I was lonely on my first day without her at work. I pictured her taking in Oregon’s beautiful landscape, settling in to a new house...going to Dana’s grave.
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I put the thought out of my mind. It was sweet of Dana to say she’d visit, but The Dalles were miles from Portland. The angels are watching over Dana, I reminded myself. Weren’t they?
About six weeks after Tamee left she sent an e-mail. “Guess who I spent some time with yesterday,” she said. I couldn’t imagine who she might have run into from my Oregon days. I scrolled down to find out.
“We took a long drive and passed through The Dalles. We stopped at the cemetery even though it was closed. There were thousands of graves and no one to help us! I was sure we’d never find Dana.
"My husband and I said a prayer for help, and we got out of the car. He went one way, I went the other. It only took me exactly ten steps to find Dana’s grave! I attached some pictures for you.”
As I looked at the pictures I couldn’t believe what I saw! There was the little ceramic angel with the bird, right where I’d left it 15 years ago! Did I need any more proof that angels were watching over my girl?
“Tamee,” I typed back, “Would you believe I put that statue on Dana’s grave fifteen years ago? It’s not even properly attached. And yet the statue remains. It makes my heart feel good that the angels are ever watchful.”
“But there was no angel on the grave,” Tamee wrote back. “We brought that angel for Dana.”