Calling all angels….those words washed over me on this Feast Day of Sts. Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel 24 years ago. I woke up and reached for my missalette. My body, mind and soul were weighted with unbearable grief. As I glanced which Feast Day was being celebrated, I burst into tears. This was the day we chose to have my sister’s memorial service but we had had no idea that it was an angel day. She was 26 when she died on the 26th, suddenly of meningococcemia meningitis.
I somehow knew I would survive the day’s anguish and that Corrinne was ok. She was safe and at peace. The rest of us would never be the same but we would find our way. My sister’s death and the months that followed had been the most challenging life event I had ever faced to that point. Even in all of my own recent medical issues, I suspect that her death changed me in ways that only grief can, marking me for a ready acceptance of where I find myself today.
I went to an early mass this morning at a church with a great preacher as I had an appointment at the time I usually go to my parish. The priest began his homily by saying we believe in angels. Yes, I thought, we do. I remember how angels worked so hard the day my sister, lay dying. Everything seemed to unfold as it should. That brought great comfort as the days went by, in the shock and numbness of loss. God had been present that day, taking care of each detail. Yes, there were things I would change but mostly, I believe that a multitude of the heavenly hosts were attending to my family.
I do not know what heaven is like — I have an image in my head of Light, Joy, Peace, and much singing and praise. I envision angelic choirs singing, and me having a voice among them with ecstasy. Here on earth, we hold the pain and suffering, looking to that day when there are no more tears, trusting our angels to walk with us through it all.
I wrote the following on the first anniversary of Corrinne’s death.
Keep me safe
Keep me sane
Pain numbing me
Ripping my heart apart
Shaking my faith
We know you do
Work with me
Walk with me
How have your angels protected you?
What has changed you in ways that are marked?