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[ Personal Narratives ]

Angel in Disguise

As I’ve been listening to Christmas carols lately and hymns about angels I am reminded of a most unlikely person being an angel in my life.

Time travel back in time to the 80’s where all the greatest music was born. I am an 80’s music lover and admit it , mostly because it’s the only music I know the words to.

The image that stands out in my mind is highschool. The longing to fit in, trying to figure out who I am all the while making it seem that I have it all together. I can picture sitting in home room and can still see my home room teacher, a short, sweet, stout old man who always favoured the girls. I can also picture the students who sat around me. One student in particular stands out. She sits at the table in front of me. She’s not one of the “in” crowd and would be considered more of an outcast because she didnt fit the “in” crowd persona. Looking back I wished I had made more of an effort to get to know her but at that time I took the easy route and didn’t really engage with her. For five years we shared the same home room and for five years I chose to sit back and only make small talk when absolutely necessary.

Travel 25 years into the future. I have lived in 7 different cities/ towns by this point and have moved once again to a town closer to where I grew up. Imagine my surprise to find that the above mentioned student is now my neighbour! All the memories I had of her came flooding back and I will admit some of them I’m not proud of. I had to figure out what I was going to do with all the history versus present anxiety I was having. Do I ignore her or be pleasant, do I admit knowing her or just walk away. What if she won’t talk to me? I chose to embrace the circumstance and see her for the person she was a person of worth and value and someone who I now had second chance at getting to know.

We didn’t always have the opportunity to interact but when we did there was always a little bit more of a connection made. What I could have never anticipated happened one night when my son was out of control. We had been trying for days to get help from police as his behaviours were escalating with the drug use and he was breaching probation. We called several times to the police station. Each time an officer would show up he would listen to our pleas and then say there was nothing he could do to help us. Finally, on this particular night the officer who came ( another angel) saw our anguish and said ” no problem, if he’s breaching probation I can take him in”. He went into the house and cuffed my son. The look on my son’s face as he removed him from our home and put him in the cruiser haunts me to this day.

My whole being flooded with guilt and I started to shake uncontrollably out of fear of what I had just done. I had to run, to escape, to somehow get out of my own head and thoughts. I ran blurry eyed around the crescent near our home barely able to breathe through my convulsive gasps. I couldn’t run fast enough to escape the pain in my soul. As I rounded the corner I looked up and there standing alone in the middle of the dark street, was the silhouette of my neighbour. Her arms out stretched ready to embrace this broken mom. In that moment she was my refuge, my angel. I don’t know how she knew I was there but she did and she stood waiting to catch me. Even though I wasn’t there for her at a time when she probably could have used a friend she was able to overlook the past and shine her light on me. For that I will be forever grateful.