I wrote another version of this story from my viewpoint in Spooked by An Angel earlier this year. I rewrote the story from the viewpoint of my mother who told me the story originally. I submitted this article to Guideposts Magazine. It’s been accepted for publication in one of their sister publications, Angels on Earth.
Early one morning, my mother spoke. That statement doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. Mothers talk every morning, all over the world.
My ninety-three year old mother, Adele, hadn’t spoken in nearly three years. She had never been talkative, and as the years wore on, she spoke less and less. One day, she quit speaking completely. There wasn’t an obvious reason, like a stroke, to explain her silence. I think she just ran out of things to say as she got older.
Then, one morning, living quietly in a nursing home in Louisiana, my mother spoke. That morning her roommate had died. The nurse closed the curtain around the deceased woman. No one told my mother that her roommate had died.
My silent mother spoke.
“There’s an angel in the room,” she said to the nurse in the room.
In fact, every time another person entered the room, she repeated her words.
“There’s an angel in the room,” she said.
When I arrived later that morning to visit, my mother was still in bed, in her nightgown with long braids lying across her shoulders. I walked to the nurses’ station to ask why hadn’t anyone helped my mother that morning.
The nursing supervisor overheard me talking to the assistants at the front counter and walked out of the inner office.
“Mrs. Matherne,” she said, “we will attend to your mother shortly. Right now, I am having trouble finding a staff member who will go into her room. Let me explain to you what staff members are saying about your mother.”
During the morning, word had spread through the nursing home of the mute woman who had spoken of an angel. As I walked back towards my mother’s room, the daughter of the deceased woman met me in the hall.
“Did you hear about your mother?” she said. “I have been praying every morning for a sign that my mother would go to heaven. Your mother’s words were my sign.”
I didn’t know what to say. My mother was a spiritual person, but she had never spoken about angels or visions before. I thought about what I had heard. It seemed impossible to believe. Perhaps the story was just a result of overwork, lack of sleep, and excess emotion on the part of the staff, I reasoned to myself.
I questioned my mother hoping she would speak to me. She never said a word. Soon, two assistants came into the room to help change my mother into her dress and help her into her day chair. Still, my mother had nothing to say.
I stayed until lunch was served. As I helped her with the meal, I tried to engage my mother in conversation, asking her about her meal, the weather, and again, of the events of the previous night. She said nothing.
I left the nursing home and drove home. As I drove, I thought about the morning’s events. I had studied the Bible throughout my life. I believed in God and angels. I had to admit that it was possible that the story of my mother speaking in the night of an angelic encounter was true.
For certain, I know two things. I know that the story brought comfort to a grieving daughter who saw the event as a sign from God. Secondly, I know that mother never spoke again after that morning. She died quietly at the age of ninety-seven.