I promised I would tell about my angels and this remarkable story.
When my mother (Helen), age 92, fell and was sent to Emergency (see earlier post), I realized that she would need to go to Assisted Living. While she had lived on her own terms, independently, for over thirty years, I could not trust that she would survive another six months without direct oversight. Such supervision was not something I could provide, nor could my sister.
I also realized I could not make these huge decisions for my mother on my own. I felt overwhelmed. So I doubled my morning and evening prayers, with an emphasis on worship and adoration, recently having read that this kind of prayer allows God to work within me, guiding my choices.
I sensed the clock was ticking. The skilled nursing facility could only look after her for a limited number of days, and I would need to provide a place for my mother to live with assistance. I was told that they would give me only two days’ notice of her discharge. I wondered how to go about this, and in spite of my prayers, which became nearly ongoing, I tried not to panic.
I met with several eldercare counselors and they helped me with a list of facilities close to my home. I soon began tours – three local Assisted Care facilities, all excellent, but each having some kind of drawback. I decided that the third residence was the best and I was ready to sign papers to secure a studio for Mother.
Then I tracked down Ginny, Mother’s best friend.
After checking on Mother in the nursing facility the first day, I went to her home to listen to phone messages and look over her apartment. The only personal message was from Ginny, a longtime friend. They had lost touch when she had moved to Assisted Living over a year earlier. “I guess,” my mother often said with great sadness as though accepting fate, “that’s the last I’ll see of Ginny.”
So, when I heard Ginny’s crackly humorous voice on Mother’s voicemail, I thought, what a time to be calling. It appeared from the date on the answering machine she called soon after my mother fell. She could not have known about the accident. She said something like this:
“Well, you probably wonder why the hell I’m calling after all this time, but I just wanted to know how you are… would you please call me, I have the same number…”
She sure sounded like Ginny (whom I have had the great joy of meeting over the years).
I made a mental note to contact her, but continued with my search for a facility, all the time thinking about the call. Finally, I dialed the number.
“Where are you?” I asked, curious.
“I’m not sure,” she said. “Something to do with Pleasant Hill.”
“That’s okay, I’ll find you.”
As I was touring the other residences I kept thinking of Ginny. Eventually I tracked her to a place in Pleasant Hill, Chateau III, about fifteen minutes from my home.
I was nearly ready to sign papers on the third residence I had toured, but as I reported to Mother in the nursing home the latest turn of events, the phone rang. Mother looked confused, and I searched for the phone, buried in a drawer. I grabbed it and pressed the red button. It was Ginny. I handed the phone to Mother. Her face lit up. It had been, after all, over a year, I thought.
So Ginny had called two times out of the blue. The coincidence was too much to ignore. I decided that I should at least see where Ginny lived before settling on the other residence. So I scheduled a tour for the following day.
In the morning I met with one of the staff, Lisa, who informed me, her eyes wide, that the only studio available was next door to Ginny. (I had told her the story.)
As I absorbed this third great coincidence, I figured the angels were batting me with their wings. This had to be the place for Mother. Two oddly timed calls, and now the only studio available was next door to my mother’s best friend, whom she hadn’t seen in over a year.
Angels or coincidence? My prayer life had not ceased, and this clearly seemed to be a heaven-sent message.
“Would you like to see the studio?” Lisa asked.
I nodded, stunned. I can’t believe this, I thought.
It was a lovely spacious room, looking out on leafy shade trees. I couldn’t decide, it was so amazing.
As Lisa led me back to the lobby to sit down and give me all the information about the residence, I asked, “Could I visit Ginny?”
“Of course! She doesn’t take part in anything, you know, she stays in her room, even for meals.”
I wondered about that as we knocked on her door.
Soon I was standing by her bed. It was noon and she had not gotten up, but had chosen to spend the morning reading. She recognized me, and was delighted, as was I. We chatted a bit and I said what did she think about my mother moving in next door?
Her face lit up just like Mother’s.
“You know,” she said with a wink, “I don’t like to go downstairs for meals, but I just might with Helen here!”
“Good,” I said. “She’s moving in.”
We’ve sinced move some furniture in and await Mother’s discharge from skilled nursing. One big decision behind me.
Today, on the Feast of Pentecost, when we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples, giving them power to proclaim the love of God to everyone, I am again stunned by how very much God loves us, and how active He is among us. He watches every moment in our lives. As long as we are open to Him. As long as we are faithful in our prayers and give Him a chance to enter our lives. As long as we worship and adore, as His Body the Church.
And I give thanks to the angels who keep brushing me with their wings.