2: Angel at the Door

2: Angel at the Door

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times

Angel at the Door

By Jeri McBryde

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

~Philippians 4:6

Angels have many names and shapes. The one who appeared at my family’s door in July 2001 was my cousin, Casey. Casey had no idea of the turmoil and anguish that was going on behind the door when he decided to visit us on that hot summer day. Having sold his business in Arizona, he was on a road trip, stopping here and there to visit relatives.

My sister and I were sobbing and praying. My mother, who had been my father’s primary caregiver, had just been diagnosed with heart disease. She had an appointment with a specialist in two hours. What would happen now? Who should stay with my father? Who should take my mother to the hospital? Should we both go and take him with us? Our hearts were filled with confusion and doubt as we cried out to our Lord.

And then there was a knock on the door.

According to Casey, he had stopped at a motel to rest and plan the next step of his journey. “I had a dream last night,” Casey said after we greeted him. “I kept seeing the shape of Tennessee and knew that I was needed.”

He was at a crossroad that would change his life and enrich ours. One turn would take him to south-central Tennessee, the other to west Tennessee. He had relatives in both areas.

“When I came to the interstate exit, I found myself heading here.”

What he didn’t know was that my father had started his long, slow decline into Alzheimer’s, and my mother was dying.

“Take your mother to the hospital, and I’ll stay with your dad,” Casey said as he unloaded his car.

My mother fought hard. My sister and I spent most of our time with her, comforted by the fact Casey was looking after my dad and the house. He cooked and cleaned. He built a deck with a wheelchair ramp and a walkway. But, most of all, he cared.

After three operations and four months, Mom’s battle ended, and she went to be with our Lord. My father took my mother’s death very hard. He refused to accept he had Alzheimer’s, and the thought of leaving his home devastated him.

I was unable to quit my job. My sister had children to care for. One brother lived out of state, and the other had a job and family commitments. We were forced into looking at assisted-living homes despite his pleas to live at home.

We expected Casey to continue his journey. We were wrong. “Don’t worry,” Casey assured my father. “I’ll stay until the end.” And stay he did. For seven years, Casey took loving care of my father. But Casey did more; he gave us all comfort with his faith and belief in God’s plans for our lives. He was an angel on Earth, and my family was blessed to have him.

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