Who was the mysterious angel who appeared when her dad was all alone?
Posted in , Jun 24, 2022
I was already on my way to be with Dad when I realized I hadn’t even bothered to change out of my work clothes. It was a four-hour drive from my home outside of Atlanta to Asheville, North Carolina, where Dad was in the hospital having surgery to repair a patch for an aneurysm he’d suffered years earlier.
My brother, Joe, had called me at work to tell me the operation wasn’t going well. “They can’t stop the bleeding,” he said. “Dad’s arteries are too calcified. Can you come?” I finished my shift at the med-surg unit in the hospital, and stopped by the house to pack a bag and make sure my teenagers were set while I was away. I was still in my scrubs when I got in my car.
Joe had been at the hospital since early morning, but the surgery had been delayed until late afternoon. Then the complications. Joe would wait till Dad was out of surgery and go home to rest while I traveled.
I hated the idea of Dad being alone at the hospital, even for a few hours. I was a widow, raising two teenagers and working a busy job. Plus, there was Dad, 85, with just my brother and me to look out for him. Sometimes I felt alone in the face of it all.
The road wound through the mountains of North Carolina, the sky pitch dark. A wrong turn cost me another hour backtracking. It was nearly 2 a.m. before I reached the hospital.
Inside I approached the guard and gave him my father’s name. “Seibert,” he repeated. “Yes, he’s in the ICU. An older woman has been here visiting him. You just missed her.”
“You must be mistaken,” I said. “It’s just my brother and me. Dad has only the two of us.”
“I am sure of it,” he said. “Seibert’s an unusual name. The woman arrived after your brother left.”
I was more than familiar with hospital rules. No one who wasn’t family would be allowed to sit with Dad. My mother had died of a stroke soon after my husband was killed by a drunk driver. That was eight years ago. There was no one else. But there was no point in explaining all that to the guard. I simply thanked him and followed his directions to the ICU. A nurse unlocked the doors.
I explained I’d come to see Dad. “Wait here, please,” she said. She returned with a colleague who ushered me to my father’s bedside. The room was silent except for the whoosh of the ventilator. Tubes and wires criss-crossed Dad’s body, his eyes closed. I held his hand and prayed. “I’m here,” I told him. “I love you, Dad.”
After a while, a nurse asked me to go to the ICU waiting area, where families stayed near their loved ones without being in the way of staff. Numbly I walked down the hall. An older man greeted me. We talked and realized his wife was in the cubicle next to Dad’s.
“A woman has been with him, praying over him for hours,” the man said. “The nurses didn’t engage with her, but she was amazing to watch. I imagine that was your mom?”
I shook my head, not sure what to make of this second account.
“She was tall, willowy,” the man continued. “There was something so calming about her, radiant. She had long, light silver hair. She definitely made an impression.”
There was no one I knew who matched that description, including my mother. I politely excused myself and found a chair, slumping into it, mentally and physically exhausted.
The next morning my brother returned. I told Joe about the mysterious visitor. We asked the nurse who had been sitting with our dad before I arrived. “The night staff mentioned there was someone,” the nurse said. “But I don’t know anything more than that.”
Dad recovered in the days that followed. I met others who saw the woman who’d prayed over him, all of them commenting on her serene and peaceful nature. No one had spoken to her or inquired about who she was. My father had no memory of the woman, but hearing of her prayerful presence brought tears of joy. It was then that I knew she was an angel. She could have simply appeared and disappeared from Dad’s side without a trace. Instead, she revealed herself to nurses and visitors, even the guard, people God knew I would come across. He wanted me to know that Dad was never alone. And neither was I.
For more angelic stories, subscribe to Angels on Earth magazine.