28: White Feathers

28: White Feathers

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

White Feathers

A guardian angel walks with us, sent from up above, their loving wings surround us and enfold us with love.

~Author Unknown

As soon as I saw the small feather angel on the car floor, I knew it was a bad omen. It always hung from my mirror and even with the air conditioning on full blast, the angel had always stayed put.

My husband John had been in the hospital for almost three months, and even though the doctors stressed that his situation was severe, there had never been any doubt in my mind that he would make it home. Now I wasn’t so sure.

This had been a month of deaths. My father’s cousin had passed away unexpectedly and now my cousin Roy was dying of lung cancer. I was praying for him to make it, not only because he was my cousin, but because I am a highly superstitious person and I believe that things happen in threes. If my cousin died, I was sure John would be next. When I received the phone call that Roy had passed away I ran to the bathroom and threw up my breakfast.

Now I picked up the angel and tried to hang it on the mirror again, but it wouldn’t stay put. It kept falling down, so I put it on the car seat. In a daze, I started the car and pulled out of the parking lot. I caught myself singing burial hymns on the way to the hospital. This really freaked me out and I almost hit the car in front of me as I stepped on the gas instead of the brakes. I was hoping it was not a sign, but deep down I was certain that John would not make it after all.

When I got to the hospital, I received bad news. My husband wasn’t going to make it. Five days later he passed away and I fell to pieces.

After being cooped up in my apartment alone for an entire week, not wanting to talk to anyone, it felt like the walls were closing in on me. My son had gone back to his life and I realized that I needed to face the world again, too. I wasn’t ready to return to work, but I needed to get out of my apartment before I lost my mind.

It was a beautiful summer day so I decided to take a long walk. I started on the walking trail behind the apartment building, my head down, afraid to run into someone I knew. I suddenly noticed white feathers scattered to my right. I didn’t pay too much attention at first but every time I turned onto a new path, left or right, there were more white feathers, always scattered on my right. For the last fifteen years I had walked these paths almost daily and had never seen any white feathers, and now they were everywhere.

My spirits lifted immediately. I knew at that moment that somebody was looking out for me, and I hoped it was John. During the following weeks I saw feathers every time I went for a walk, even when I chose a different route. However, as the weeks passed they were more scattered. By now I was certain they were a sign from above.

After two weeks my boss called and encouraged me to come back to work. “You don’t need to do anything,” he said. “But I think you need to be around other people.”

He was right, of course. Living on a military base in another country, I didn’t have any family members close by. And talking to them on the phone wasn’t the same as being with them. To my surprise, working actually helped dull my pain a bit.

One day, after an especially long and stressful day at work, I couldn’t wait to get inside my apartment, lie down on my couch, and give in to the tears. I was filled with hopelessness, fear of the future, and a little panic over how I would manage on my own.

As I came up the stairs to my third floor apartment, I gasped. There, on my dark brown doormat, was a white feather.

How did the feather get inside the apartment building?

This was not a breezeway building, but an apartment building with a front door. My whole body shaking, I picked up the white feather and barely managed to open my front door. I still cried my heart out as I entered the apartment that evening, but the white feather confirmed that somebody was actually looking out for me and letting me know that I would be okay.

~Karin Krafft

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