Easter is supposed to be a time of renewal, but after losing her sight, she just wanted her life to be over. Then she had a visit from a mysterious stranger.
- Posted on Apr 1, 2015
The door swooshed shut with a thud. In the darkness the sound made me feel like I'd been shut off from everything. Maybe I was. There could have been lights blazing, but I wouldn't have known it. I was in an isolation unit at New York's Eye and Ear Infirmary. "The best in the world," someone assured me when I was admitted.
I needed the best. If the doctors couldn't help me I might be blind forever. The thought of it made my heart race. I was cold. I pulled the blankets up to my neck and tugged at the hem of my gown, trying to warm my legs. Everything seemed unreal. Blind? From a freak accident? How can I live like this?
It was Good Friday of all things. Just the day before I'd been making plans for Easter. I'd come home after work to find sawdust and cracked paint all over the floor of my living room. Termites. How many times had I asked the landlord to get rid of those termites? The mess had to be cleaned up. My parents were coming for dinner on Sunday.
I filled a bucket with sudsy water, plopped down on my knees and sponged the floor. Some of the sawdust flew up into my face. My eyes stung something awful. I felt my way to the bathroom to rinse them, splashing again and again with cold water. I was exhausted when I finished cleaning the floor. My eyes burned. After a quick dinner I went to bed.
When I awoke, the bedroom was pitch-dark. What time is it? I fumbled for the lamp and clicked on the switch. Still dark. Was the bulb burned out? I wondered. Maybe just loose. With a little twist it should go on. "Ouch!" I jerked my hand away. The bulb was hot! The lamp had been on the whole time. Oh, my God, I can't see! Darkness pressed in on me, and I screamed. Nothing had changed in the last 24 hours.
The swoosh of the door startled me. I heard rubber-soled shoes padding toward me. "I'm your nurse for today." She put a small box in my hand. "Plenty of tissues if you need them," she said. I hadn't realized I'd been crying. The guardrail on my bed clanked as she locked it into place. "You'll get excellent care here," she said. "Just call if you need anything." The door swooshed open and thudded shut.
I tried to go to sleep. What else could I do? I couldn't even look out the window. God, forgive me. I know Easter is supposed to be a time of renewal, but I just want my life to be over. The door swooshed open again. Was the nurse back already.
She touched her hands
"Hello," someone said. "Are you all right?"
Something inside me snapped. "How can I be all right?" I demanded. "I can't see!"
"Don't be afraid." The woman came closer and touched her hands to my face. It was a feathery touch, gentle and warm. She massaged my face. A burst of energy radiated like a wave through my body. "There," the woman said. "Everything will be better now." I wondered how she could possibly know that. But at the same time I knew she was right. Something was different. Something inside of me.
The door swooshed open again. This time it was my nurse's voice. "I'm just checking on you," she said.
"I'm much better," I said, "thanks to my visitor here."
"Who? There's no one here. You must have dozed off and had a dream."
"She was with me a second ago!" I said. "She must have gone out when you opened the door."
"Don't get excited," said the nurse. "You just had a dream."
A dream? But the warmth I felt from the woman's touch lingered. And where was my fear? My hopelessness? Gone as simple as that? Had God sent me an angel? I wanted to believe it.
A team of doctors tried to restore my sight with four surgical procedures over nearly two months. The dust had caused an infection: The pressure in my eyes rose so high it shattered the optic nerve. I was blind for life.
My parents insisted I stay with them for a while, but I was determined to live on my own. I went through rehabilitation sessions offered by New York's Commission for the Blind and Lighthouse International. I kept thinking of my mysterious visitor. "Everything will be better now," she had told me. But how?
One evening I sat with my parents. They watched TV. I found myself paying attention to one of the commercial breaks for a massage therapy school in Manhattan. Something tugged at me. I thought of those gentle hands massaging my face, giving me strength, making me feel better. Maybe I could do that for other people. Give them the kind of comfort I was given.
It was a two-year course with classes five days a week. All I needed was a guide dog to get to the city and back. I called the guide-dog foundation. It just so happened a dog was available who'd been trained on public transportation. "The dog's name is Jake," the agent said. "If the two of you are compatible, he's yours."
Jake and I seemed to be a match made in heaven. We went to school together for two years and graduated at the top of our class. Today I call my massage practice Healing Hands and operate out of our local wellness center.
People come in with all kinds of problems—physical, emotional, spiritual. With a gentle touch, using the techniques I learned, I help ease their pain. I once wanted my life to be over, then came my mysterious visitor. Things are better now, just as she promised. And Easter is Easter again.
Download your FREE ebook, Angel Sightings: 7 Inspirational Stories About Heavenly Angels and Everyday Angels on Earth.