By Joyce Dunn
Entering MD Anderson for each chemo treatment was tough, I put on a turban, since I had no hair, put on my Aussie hat and a Mexican serape or some other type of cape, which in no way resembled a halo and angel wings!
Chemo treatments at MDA are 24/7 and you can be scheduled even at midnight. The halls there are very long, wide, and periodically open up into waiting areas where patients and family sit waiting for treatment or waiting while a loved one has treatment. My second treatment was late in the evening. Very few people were in the halls and my husband and I were walking down one of them when I saw a man sitting in one of the chairs closest to the hall look our direction, he smiled, stood up and kept looking our direction. I distinctly remember him being about 5’8” wearing khaki pants, a blue shirt and black rimmed glasses. Other people got up to see what he was looking at, some stayed looking and smiling, others turned away and sat back down. I looked behind me to see what he was looking at, there was no one there. I looked down to make sure I was buttoned and zipped! I was, and then checked to make sure my husband was also buttoned and zipped. He was.
I realized the man was making eye contact and smiling at me, so I simply nodded and smiled back. After we passed him, I looked back; he had sat down with a very peaceful smile and look of contentment on his face. Another couple was sitting against the wall, both smiling, and I heard her say, “everything will be alright, that was an angel”. I looked around again and saw nothing. My thought was, they sure must have seen something I didn’t! I had no idea they meant me.
This happened to me many times. I always tried to put on a “happy face” and would smile, nod, speak or sometimes just touch someone on the shoulder as I went by because I could see them looking at me expecting some sort of acknowledgement from me. I simply did it out of kindness and compassion because I knew what they were going through and I wanted to offer encouragement. I could always tell when looking at a couple or group which one was the patient and which were not. Most, if not all patients, had a dead look in their eyes, no sparkle. Sometimes I would see a sparkle come back in someone’s eyes after I spoke with them, or just nodded and smiled. Some people’s face would literally light up when they saw me – total strangers they were
These are some of the sentences I would hear as I passed by or right after passing them, and having nodded, smiled or spoken to them, not realizing they meant me. However, there were times I was mystified and bewildered when I was pretty sure they were talking of me mainly because I was the only one in their vicinity – there was never anyone around or behind me. I would think, “Surely, they don’t mean me” but would throw it off and move on.
“That was an angel”
“I felt the brush of the angel’s wings”
“We’ve been touched by an angel”
“We’re going to be ok, we’ve seen the angel”
“I felt the touch of the angel’s robe as she went by”
“Did you see that? It was an angel”.
“We’ve been blessed by an angel”
“Did you feel the flutter of the angel’s wings?”
When I had conversations with people, I always spoke of my faith, that He was there, and I would get through this. After the treatments, when I was down there for follow-up appointments, I would visit my son’s chiropractor. The first time, while waiting my turn, I was visiting with a lady in the waiting room who noticed my turban and hat and was asking questions of me. I don’t remember all I said, but I know we talked about God, Jesus and faith and she said, “You must be an angel”. I said no to that and told her several times I was not an angel. She wanted questions answered I could not answer. She was almost badgering me. I was called in for my treatment, and then went to my son’s house where I stayed while in Houston. About an hour later, my son called from his office – the chiropractor had called him to find out if I wanted to talk to the lady I had talked to in the waiting room. She had asked him for my number which ethically he could not give out. She kept after him for the number, crying, getting frantic about her “need” to talk to me and ultimately caused a ruckus in his office insisting I was an angel and that he had no right to keep her from me. He was to the point of having security remove her from the building but didn’t really want to do that to her. I did allow my son to tell the doctor I would talk to her. I tried telling her I was no angel, but she wouldn’t listen. She was adamantly forceful in trying to get me to tell her I was an angel and that I could tell her things about herself, and possibly her future. By the time the conversation came to a close, I could tell she was angry with me for not acceding to her wishes.
This type of incident happened two more times with two more different women in the same chiropractor’s office. The second time, that woman was almost as adamant as the first one about me being an angel but she was more amenable to the doctor and to my telling her I was not an angel, that I was simply relying on my belief in God and my faith to get through the chemo. The third time I saw it happening in his office was with a German woman who was calling me an angel in the same context as the others did.
So, what did these people see in me? Was there a countenance about me? Did they perceive something about me of which I was unaware? Evidently. As I said earlier, an Aussie hat and Mexican serape certainly doesn’t look like a halo and angel wings! Neither do blue or red capes and hats. My face was fatter, no wrinkles, peaches and cream complexion and blue eyes with a sparkle. Was that perceived as cherubic? Was I perceived as an angel? I don’t know. I seemed to have brought a sense of peace and hope to some people. Did God give that sense of peace and hope through me? In thinking back on that, my thoughts are “Did I do right”? Did I do what was expected of me? Did I fail Him? Then I would realize it wasn’t for me to know. I am assuming if He uses us for His purposes, it is not for us to know.
Or, did some of them perceive an angel watching over me?
The Angel Story
By Joyce Dunn