Angels Watch Over a Mother with Multiple Sclerosis

She'd long felt she was in the tender care of guardian angels, but would they look out for her young son too?

Posted in , Feb 21, 2018

A pair of African American angels

Scrambled eggs sizzled in the frying pan. Eighteen-month-old Joshua grinned up at me from the floor where he was playing. “Mommy’s making eggs,” I said. “You like eggs, don’t you?” His brown eyes widened with delight.

A happy baby and a fresh, buttery breakfast. Those might seem like little things to some, but not to me. Eight years before, in 2004, I had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. At first, I chalked my symptoms up to being klutzy. I felt tired all the time, I tripped going up stairs. Then things got worse. My whole right side was weak, my arm and leg almost useless. My spine felt as if it was being shocked with a Taser. For two weeks, I was blind due to swollen nerves in my eyes.

An MRI confirmed the doctors’ diagnosis. My life changed dramatically. I had to leave my job teaching fifth grade. At home my husband, Fletcher, and I had two sons, Jarvis in tenth grade and Christopher, five. Even with Fletcher working at a school five minutes away, close enough to get home fast in an emergency, it wasn’t easy getting used to my condition while also being a good mother to my children. I never dreamed I’d have a third child.

“Eggs!” Joshua announced from his spot on the floor.

“That’s right!” I moved slowly to the cabinet for a plate, leaning once on a chair for balance. Cooking was a real challenge. So was getting Joshua ready in the morning or giving him a bath. As I made my way back to the stove, I thought back on the day I first learned I was pregnant with him. Fletcher and I were completely surprised. I was 44 years old. Jarvis was a grown man. Christopher was in high school. Taking on an infant seemed impossible. Impossible without the help of angels, I thought as I reached the stove at last.

Angels had been part of my life since I was almost as young as Joshua. One day, while I was lying on my bed, someone reached out and gently tugged my ponytail. I jumped right up and ran to my mother. “An angel’s in my room!” I told her.

My mother didn’t doubt it. Over the years I got used to angels being with me. Sometimes I just sensed them. Sometimes I smelled them. I’d catch the scent of jasmine or lilac out of nowhere, and I’d know.

“Stay right there, Joshua,” I said, switching the stove burner off. Leaning on the counter, I put the plate down near the pan. I wouldn’t risk picking it up and dropping it anywhere near my son. Instead I reached in the drawer for a spatula.

It must have been a comfort to Mom knowing the angels were with me when I was growing up, I thought as I closed the utensil drawer. I didn’t realize how much comfort until I was pregnant with Joshua.

The first months of my pregnancy were exciting and a little frightening. Would one condition affect the other? I stopped taking my medication on my doctor’s orders, but had little trouble with symptoms during those blissful nine months.

One evening when I was seven or eight months along, I was getting ready for bed. I turned toward the spot in the bedroom where we planned to put the crib. Filling the empty space were three angels. One on bended knee, a second with arms raised as if praising God. Behind them a third angel towered in white light. The trio stayed with me for several moments before fading away.

Even as a child I’d never seen angels so clearly. Like my mom, Fletcher didn’t doubt what I’d seen. Whenever I feared the challenges to come I visualized that trio of angels.

After Joshua was born my symptoms returned. I lost my balance and strength, my joints ached, my vision faltered. My arms and legs went weak. It could be hard to feel the presence of those angels.

I know they’re with me, I reminded myself as I reached for the handle of the frying pan. I turned it around on the stove until the handle pointed inward where Joshua couldn’t reach it. I turned around.

“Joshua?” He didn’t answer. Awkwardly, I turned the other way and slowly stepped away from the stove. “Joshua, breakfast is…”

He was gone. Disappeared from the kitchen! Where did he…? I took another step and immediately sensed something behind me. I looked over my shoulder, careful not to lose my balance. Joshua! He’d gotten behind me. He reached for the eggs on the stove. The eggs in the hot pan.

I put my hand on a chair to try and steady myself. I turned around, but not quickly enough—bang!

The frying pan hit the floor.

“Joshua!” My legs turned to jelly. Did it hit him? Was he burned?

Joshua squealed. Not in pain or fear, but with glee. “Eggs!” he said.

I went to his side, took him in my arms and checked him all over. He was absolutely fine. “Eggs!” he said again, pointing to the floor.

The frying pan was on the linoleum face up, the eggs still inside. It was the only evidence of an accident—a splotch of butter on the floor. It looked almost as if someone had taken the pan out of Joshua’s reach and moved it safely to the floor rather than have it topple there.

I saw no glowing figures this time. Felt no tug on my hair. Smelled neither lilacs nor jasmine. Just butter and eggs. But angels were in the kitchen that morning, and breakfast was served.

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