Dear Readers, I have been advised to issue a "tissue warning" for all the em-paths, out there. I shall start my tale, at the very beginning of our Angel's life!
At 5:20am, 23 July 1970, our third and last child was born... A beautiful baby girl. We named her Angelique, which was soon shortened, to...Angel. Angel was a very bright child, full of love, laughter and wit. As she grew up, she caste her beautiful magic spell over many people, bringing joy and happiness to all who knew her.
In March 2002, Angel got married, amid much jubilation. In August 2004, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl; Shenay. This child was to become the centre of Angel's world!
In September 2008, Angel's death sentence was signed; she had the dreaded 'big C'. She had been misdiagnosed with 'groin-strain', for the past 18 months. She battled on bravely, through numerous operations; radiation and two lots of chemo therapy. She lived and breathed for her little daughter, Shenay.
On Sunday morning, 3rd June, Angel was taken to hospital, in great pain, by her friend and neighbour, (we will call her K.) Midday, Tuesday 5th June, we got a call from our eldest daughter Nicky, who was at Angel's bedside in hospital. She said, "Come quick, Mom. I don't think Angel has much longer!" We jumped up from the lunch table, where Ray (my hubby) and I had been entertaining my brother, who was visiting from New Zealand. We rushed the 50 - 60km to Alberton, taking my brother to see his niece, for the last time.
When we arrived, Ray and I were shocked to see just how much she had deteriorated since the day before. The previous day, on the way back from playing with her mother on the hospital bed, Shenay had stated, that her mommy would not be coming home this time! At the end of visiting hours, Ray had to take my brother back to our home; Nicky stoutly declared that she was not leaving her baby sister. I wisely decided to stay with her as well. We kept the long vigil at Angel's bedside, during the evening and long, gruelling night.
Nicky, very attentively, ministering to her sisters needs; wiping her forehead and giving her sips of water. At one point, Nicky asked Angel "Are you scared, to die?"Angel's answer..."No!" Angel was on oxygen - full strength, her breathing was in short gasps! I sat holding Angel's right hand. (I had sustained a bad back injury, the previous Friday and couldn't stand for long periods of time.)
Sometime around 2am, Angel stopped making the horrible, rasping noises. (I didn't know it at the time; it was the "death rattle", that had been going on, since early the previous morning.) Nicky and I jumped up, thinking that the end had come! I noticed that her eyes had rolled back; only wide slits of white were showing. When Nicky asked, "Is she sleeping?" I answered "Yes"...I wasn't sure, but I didn't want to alarm Nicky any further... She had been crying copiously, on and off during the night.
Nicky dozed on her arm, while holding her little sister's left hand. At around 4am, Nicky roused to use the adjacent bathroom. While Nicky was in the bathroom, I saw a shadow pass quickly over Angel, from her feet, to her head. My first instinct was that Nicky had opened the bathroom door; but no. I quickly looked behind me, as the only source of light was above a mirror on the far wall, behind me. Nothing was to be seen. I asked softly "Dad, is that you?" No reply! But my 'jumpy' feeling subsided swiftly.
As Nicky emerged from the bathroom, I asked the stupidest question, "Did you see that?" Of course, Nicky asked "What?" I proceeded to tell her about the shadow, she was stunned! (I had been praying that my Dad would come to 'fetch' Angel, for a few hours already.)
At around 5:30am, I went outside for a smoke. It was still very dark, the sky heavy with clouds, heralding the cold front. As I stood shivering, smoking my cigarette, a Cape Robin flew down, settling on the paving, only a few feet from me; I believe that Cape Robins are pretty shy, so this was unusual in itself. There was no sight, or even sound of other birds yet. It looked up at me, in what seemed to be an enquiring way. It proceeded to peck at unseen specks, looking at me all the while. It eventually flew away when someone arrived at the hospital gates. It left me wondering... Was that a spirit?
On my way back to the ward, I stopped off at the nurse's station. I spoke to the Night Sister, telling her that I had never watched a person die before. I asked her if it was possible that the oxygen was the only thing keeping Angel 'there'. She answered, that it was possible. She then followed me to the ward, and tried to get a response from Angel. (Nicky protested, "Let her sleep")...to no avail! Next, a nurse came into the ward, to take Angel's blood-pressure and pulse. She could get no reading. She walked out, muttering something about the machine being faulty... I knew better! I just knew that our Angel was knocking on heaven's door!
This is when my "miracle" happened!
What happened next will stay with me to the end of my days... Angel opened her eyes... Directing them to look straight into mine, as I leaned over her. It was like... A meeting of souls! I told her how much I loved her; how brave I thought she was; that I would never forget her and that she must wait for me on the other side. I probably said a whole lot of other comforting things to her as well, I don't recall everything; I was too distraught! My last words to her were, "My special Angel, rest in peace." She then took a deep breath... And exhaled... And was gone from this earthly plane. I glanced at my watch; it read 6:10am.
When "K" (Angel's friend, whom was looking after Shenay) arrived at the hospital, sometime later, she told Nicky and me how Shenay had woken her at 5:40am. Shenay told "K" that she had a terrible nightmare, her Mommy was dead. A man, dressed all in black, had 'killed' her mother and taken her away. My text message to "K", informing her of Angel's passing, only reached her, after she was already at the hospital, which was just after 7 Am.!
Two mornings later, my husband, Ray, awoke in the dark, to the sound of a voice. The voice said "Dad, don't worry, I am in a happy place!" But, the voice didn't bring him closure. He says that the voice wasn't Angel's, it sounded like his own voice! I told him that it was most probably the only way that Angel could communicate with him. He must just accept that he did, in fact, get a message from his precious Angel!
On the 18th June, was Ray's birthday. As he walked into our lounge, he heard Angel's voice say "Happy birthday, Dad!" He whipped around, expecting to see Angel... Nobody was there. Her death was still so new to him... It really sounded as if she were in the room with him. When realization dawned on him... He went to the 'shrine' in our dining room, (picture of her with flowers and a candle) to thank her.
About five weeks before Angel's death, I had a very vivid dream. I dreamt that I was standing on a hill, overlooking a seaside city. As I watched, the city disappeared like mist before the sun. I was faced with a vast shore. I looked to my left, out to sea, to see a huge tsunami forming. I looked forward again, and in the distance, I saw the form of a person. As the person drew nearer, I recognised Angel. I started to run towards Angel, as she ran towards me. I looked to my left again, to see the tsunami looming nearer. As Angel and I met, we joined hands, running together from the tsunami. I awoke before the tsunami struck!
I told Angel about this dream. Neither of us could figure out what this strange dream meant! Only since Angel's passing, have I managed to interpret my dream (I think). Death was the tsunami, crashing down on Angel, and changing my life forever! But, we were together... Till the end.
Thank you to all of you, who stood behind me in my time of grief. You will never comprehend the measure of comfort that you brought to me. You Know Who You Are!