An Angel Gave Her the Strength to Move Forward

In the hospital after a terrible accident, she experienced divine intervention that gave her the will to live.

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Posted in , Feb 25, 2021

An artist's depiction of an angel enveloping a woman with her wings; Illustration by Andrea Cobb

The dinner tray sat beside my hospital bed untouched, the food getting colder by the minute. I’d been in this room at Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis for 10 days now, recovering from a broken pelvis and fractured ribs after an auto accident. The pain that permeated my body was constant and intense. At times I felt as if I couldn’t breathe, let alone eat. At 18, my life seemed over. Three months earlier, I’d lost my father to cancer. Now this. The world felt like a dark and empty place. Eating wasn’t going to change anything, and the mere sight of food only made me feel nauseous.

I looked away from the tray, my stomach rolling, as a nurse came into the room. Her eyes went directly to the dinner tray. “Amy, you’ve got to start eating again,” she said.

“I can’t” I said. “No matter what I do, I’ll still be in pain and my dad will still be gone.”

“If you don’t start eating,” the nurse said, “we might lose you too.”

She didn’t know how complicated it all was, how alone and helpless I felt. My mother couldn’t spend endless hours at the hospital with me. She was needed at home to care for my younger brother, and she worked full-time to provide for us. Even God seemed distant, unreachable. How could I expect anyone to understand?

The nurse squeezed my hand and left. I couldn’t describe to her everything I was thinking, the way I used to do with God. For years I’d asked him to heal my father’s cancer. But it hadn’t helped. Dad had died in this very same hospital. I wanted to believe that God was listening, but I didn’t see the point of praying anymore.

Consumed by grief, it was hard to focus on anything else. That’s how I’d wrecked the car. I was driving home from school. At a stop sign I looked both ways and pulled out. But I was so distracted I hadn’t seen the other car to my right, already in the intersection. My body slammed sideways as the car plowed into the side of my Buick Skylark. I faded in and out of consciousness. The only thing I remembered was the first responders cutting through the car to rescue me.

Then I regained consciousness, three days later, I was in this bed, with my hips held in place by metal rods. If I moved even slightly, stabbing pain raced through my core. How could I even begin to think about eating?

The phone rang beside my bed and I picked up to Mom’s worried voice. “Amy, your doctor called me, very concerned. He thinks you’ve given up.”

“I have nothing left,” I said. “I just want to be with Dad.” I felt guilty unloading on Mom, but I couldn’t pretend anymore.

“You have to fight,” Mom said, “for all our sakes. I’m praying for you.” Those words she always said.

I hung up, sadness washing over me. Help me get better or take me home, I prayed in desperation. Either way, I can’t do this on my own. Exhausted, I drifted off to sleep.

In my mind, I saw a woman in a long flowing robe standing by my bed. An angel. “Come with me,” she said.

“I can’t walk. I have these metal things.…” I looked down, and the rods were gone. I slid out of bed, without even a twinge of pain. Soon we were standing in a vast meadow of wildflowers. I’d never seen anything so beautiful. I ran through the flowers, breathing in their sweet fragrance. My sadness was gone. I giggled with joy, like the teenager I was, carefree.

The angel led me to a giant table covered with my favorite foods—burgers, spaghetti, roast beef, buttery dinner rolls. I shook my head. “I can’t,” I said. “My stomach hurts all the time.” But even as I said the words, I realized how hungry I was. I reached out, took a still warm roll and bit into it. The bread melted in my mouth. It was delicious. Not a hint of indigestion. I took another bite, bigger this time.

It was then I realized I wasn’t alone at the table. My father and grandparents were there with me. I couldn’t see them, but their presence was unmistakable. Their love enveloped me like a warm blanket.

I turned to look for the angel, and a stabbing pain shot through me. “No!” I said. “I don’t want to go back to the hospital.”

She put a hand on my shoulder. “God is with you,” she said. “You need to return, but you’ll heal. You’re not alone.”

My eyes flew open. I was back in the hospital bed, the rods in my hips and the pain as bad as ever. Yet I felt transformed. Stronger. Confident. Eager to see my mother and brother again.

I called my mom and told her about the dream. “I’m going to fight,” I said. “I want to live.”

“You can do it,” she said. “But don’t be afraid to ask for help. We have to support each other. That’s what your dad would want.”

When the nurse came for her morning rounds she was surprised to see how alert I looked. “Can I get some breakfast?” I asked. “I’m starving.”

Though I went home from the hospital one month after the accident, it was months more before I could return to school. The physical therapy was painful and exhausting. But anytime I thought of giving up I remembered the angel and reminded myself that my dad was looking down at me from heaven, cheering me on.

Nearly 40 years have passed since my recovery, and I’ve experienced blessings too numerous to count. My strength comes from knowing that even when I’d given up on life, God hadn’t given up on me.

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