48: The Purest Gift of Love

48: The Purest Gift of Love

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

The Purest Gift of Love

There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved. It is God’s finger on man’s shoulder.

~Charles Morgan

A few days before Valentine’s Day, my father blacked out while at home. My mother called an ambulance to transport him to the hospital, where they promptly admitted him. Since I lived so far away, Mom and I agreed that she would phone every morning with updates and I would call her in the evening to see how her day went.

When she called the day before Valentine’s Day, she sounded downhearted. “Is something wrong?” I inquired.

She took a deep breath then softly said, “Your dad’s dying.” I felt dizzy as I tried to grasp the meaning of her words. Originally, the doctors had predicted Dad would leave the hospital in a few days, not die in it.

“Can’t they do anything?” I asked. “I thought they said he would be discharged soon.”

“That’s before they discovered that his heart is failing. Life support is all they can offer him now, and you know how we feel about quality of life,” Mom said. And of course, I agreed.

Mom explained that as Dad’s condition had worsened, he had drifted in and out of consciousness all morning. Tomorrow they would transport him to hospice care where he would be made comfortable for the next few days or weeks, depending on how long he lasted. She promised to keep me apprised of the situation.

During the afternoon, my father remained unconscious as his condition deteriorated. However when I made my usual checkup call that evening, my mother said that Dad had miraculously made a comeback. Unfortunately we remembered the dreaded last comeback, as my family called it, for we had witnessed it many times before. Right before certain loved ones had died, they had become lucid.

Of course, Mom recognized this phenomenon and had summoned the family for this blessed moment so that farewells could be said. I asked to speak to Dad and promised to make it quick since he had visitors.

Thankfully, Dad recognized my voice. He told me he loved me; I told him I loved him and we said goodbye. That was it. As soon as I hung up I regretted the abrupt goodbye. I had so many things I wanted to say and it hurt to know I had lost that chance forever.

Later that evening when we talked, I had mixed emotions as Mom reminisced about the family’s last visit. Dad had solved math problems, recited poems, told jokes and even sang his old college song. After the family departed, my dad, once again, lost consciousness.

Even though I was thrilled that the rest of my family had such a wonderful visit, my own last words with Dad were disheartening. I reminded myself that many people never even get to say goodbye to their loved ones. However, all the reasoning in the world didn’t make up for the unspoken words I wished I had said and the deep regret that now consumed me.

On Valentine’s Day, they transferred my dad to the hospice center. Though he never regained consciousness, Mom believed he had squeezed her hand to acknowledge her presence. As evening approached, the staff encouraged her to head home for a bit to shower and eat. They knew she had remained at the hospital throughout Dad’s stay and reminded her that she needed her strength for the days ahead. She called to tell me she would be leaving in a little while and then she’d be back.

As soon as I hung up the phone I felt agitated. Like an echoing loop in my head, I heard the words over again, “Say goodbye to your dad; he can hear you.”

Back and forth I paced, as the words raced through my head. Finally I flopped on the couch to rest. All at once I felt unbearably hot as the phrase started to repeat in my mind louder, sounding more urgent.

This kind of verbal call to action had happened to me before. I knew I had been given a precious second chance by my guardian angel.

I stood up and closed my eyes. “Dad, Dad, I know you can hear me,” I said, and without a doubt, I knew he could.

As I spoke to my dad, I felt his spirit there with me along with my guardian angel as both souls enveloped me with a warm, tingling sensation that filled me with pure bliss. It’s difficult to describe, but I felt as if they had protectively wrapped me in the purest love I could ever imagine. I expressed everything that I had yearned to tell my father before he left. As soon as I finished, I understood that the moment had come for him to move on. Even though I found it difficult, I told him he could go and that I would be okay. His presence dimmed as he slipped away.

“Oh Dad, I’m going to miss you so much,” I blubbered. As the tingling ceased, a sense of calm washed over me, bringing me comfort and peace. I wiped my tears and waited for my mother’s call.

A few minutes later the phone rang. “I’m sorry, I’m calling…” Mom choked up, unable to speak.

“It’s okay, Mom. I know; Dad’s gone.”

It comforts me to know my guardian angel watches over me not only in times of danger, but also in times of need. Sometimes it provides much-needed guidance, courage, or a kick in the bottom to keep myself moving. How fitting that on Valentine’s Day my angel blessed me with the purest gift of love, in the form of a second chance to talk to my dad and thus find peace in his passing.

~Jill Burns

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