A Cherished Angel

A Cherished Angel

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories of Faith

A Cherished Angel

Angels are the guardians of hope and wonder,
the keepers of magic and dreams...

~Author Unknown

Cherished is the word I’d use to describe Grandma Madge. Her loving generosity poured out to every friend and family member needing help. Madge was always the first person to take a home-cooked meal to someone who was sick. The treasured time she spent with them surpassed even the healing benefit of her famous German dumplings.

That’s why it seemed sadly ironic that friends and family now came to sit at her bedside. When Madge had learned about her fatal illness, she’d insisted on remaining at home. “To be surrounded by my angel collection,” she beamed.

Madge’s colossal collection of angels—fifteen hundred, to be exact—had started with just a few Christmas tree ornaments and an occasional figurine she’d picked up at souvenir shops or garage sales. But, it didn’t take long for her sons to discover that contributions to Madge’s menagerie were the perfect solution to the “what to get Mom” dilemma. Soon every friend, neighbor, grandchild and in-law bought her an angel for every holiday, birthday and anniversary. It wasn’t long before her tiny cottage overflowed with a host of heavenly beings. She proudly displayed many of them year-round on shelves, the coffee table, end tables and on top of the TV. Her choir of angels assembled in the teeny guest room, reserved for musical figurines only. There, hundreds more singing, twirling, dancing angels crowded antique shelves, hutches and bedside stands.

Each November first, Madge began the month-long process of bringing out the rest of her collection. Angels graced her Christmas tree and the floor beneath it, then cascaded everywhere, from the buffet, to the mantel, to the back of the toilet and top of the refrigerator! To Madge, each angel was a reminder of a person who loved her. She inscribed the name of the giver on the bottom of each, along with the date she had received it. She gave explicit directions. “When I pass through the Pearly Gates, make sure every angel goes back to the person who gave it to me.”

Now, with a caring hospice nurse and Madge’s two sisters staying with her, that loving task seemed imminent. Late one afternoon, her grandson Troy stopped to spend some precious time. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he tenderly caressed her hand. “You’ve been an angel to us all, Grandma, a true gift from God.”

A few hours later, Grandma Madge ascended through those Pearly Gates.

Her sisters, Rene and Gladys, and the hospice nurse, gathered in the living room marveling at how Madge had died with the same dignity, courage and grace with which she had lived. A faint melody interrupted their testimony. Bewildered, they turned their heads, trying to discover the source of the music. Rene and Gladys followed the hospice nurse to the guest bedroom while the tune grew louder. There on a table, one lone angel played the song “Cherish” from beginning to end. Then it stopped. With trembling hands, Gladys picked it up and read, “From Troy, 1992.”

Gladys held the figurine to her chest. “Thanks, Madge, for letting us know you’ve joined God’s heavenly collection of angels.”

“Your angel,” whispered the hospice nurse, “has returned to the Giver.”

~Margie Seyfer as told to LeAnn Thieman

Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul

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