Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.
- David Searls, author
Many times in hospice care, we find that patients who are dying have mates who are dying too. The one in the protective role, whether it’s the husband or the wife, often says they will stay until their loved one dies; then and only then will they let go as well.
Wanda was such a woman. She was a precious 74-year-old whose husband was wheelchair-bound due to a stroke. She had active cancer throughout her body and was given only a few weeks to live, but she lived for more than two and a half years. Wanda was concerned about her husband’s caregiver and so said she would not let go until she found a more suitable one for him. It took two years. She was hilarious and determined and stayed until she made it happen.
A few weeks before her death, I was sitting on her bed and talking about what lay ahead for her. She was content in her heart that her husband was well cared for and now she could focus on herself. She asked me that day, “Have you ever heard about angels who look like queens and princesses?” I told her I had not, so she told me about the ones who were visiting her bedroom each day at about the same hour.
“They come and stand right next to the dresser, wearing beautiful colors with jewels on them and crowns in their hair. There are two of them, and they smile at me but say nothing.” I commented that most people who told me about such things only saw one angel and they were dressed in a white we had no words for. She told me that there were always two, standing together and smiling. They looked happy to be with her and she loved their visits.
Since God knew Wanda was a person who loved life and lived it fully with flair and joy, he allowed her to see her angels in Technicolor. That is how intimately our Creator knows and loves us. It would not be like Wanda to see an angel all in white.
Her surgeon often asked me about her and insisted that there was no way she could possibly still be alive. “I am the one who did her surgery and I know she had just weeks to live,” he said. I explained all she had to do before she could die and about her angels. “That sounds just like Wanda,” he said with a smile—for her it couldn’t be any other way.