An Angel of Survival:
My company has been creating “Angels of Survival” from silk flowers, and the angel has been an important means to share my families story of how you can survive a horrible tragedy when God walks at your side and He gives you strength to make it through whatever evil is thrown your way. I often equate myself as the person referred to in the poem “Footprints in the Sand.” So many times during the past 20 years, I have been that person that Jesus held in His arms because the trauma and tragedy that had befallen my family was just too great a burden for me to carry alone.
God sent me angels.
My children and I were victims of Domestic Violence and spent time in a shelter. I found myself making very difficult decisions and realizing in today’s world you do not stay in a marriage for the sake of the children. The time had come to file for the divorce from my husband of 20 years. I never knew what he meant when he said “I’ll never let you go.” In June of 1997, he disappeared with my two youngest children. For 15 days, I did not know where they were. My daughter was left behind with me. Up until then, I didn’t recall a time when I was so scared, until a month later when I heard the words “This is from your husband” and found myself lying on the ground riddled with bullets. In nano seconds, my life had been changed forever.
I was left for dead, lying in a parking lot. Several men heard the gunfire and came running to my rescue. I remember a man kneeling by my side and I heard him say “Our Father” as he clutched my hand. His friend ran inside a building and called 911. It was only minutes from the emergency room, but it seemed like an eternity.
During the next six weeks, I remained in critical condition. The injuries I had sustained internally, including a bullet to the liver, took a tremendous toll on my human body. Without liver function there is no coagulation. The doctors gave me less than a 5% chance to pull through.
The Catholic Church, Saint Margaret Mary in Naperville, Illinois, with Pastor Bill O’Shea, where I was an active member, united together as a faith community, and they prayed for my family and me. Going into day two after the shooting, my liver just started to function to the amazement of everyone.
I remained on full life support in the intensive care unit for the next 6 weeks. My heart had stopped beating and I had to be resuscitated three times while I remained in a coma. The doctors told my family that I might have brain damage due to the 105° and 106° temperatures caused by a bacterial infection from the intestinal toxins.
God was working miracles through the people who heard His call and acted to carry out His will. You see, I believe that angels are messengers sent by God. We are never alone or without His unconditional love and so He sends us spiritual messages, not so much in what is said, but what is done by His angels. They were at the right place at the right time, doing the right thing and saying the right words. People allowed God to act through them, and by doing so became the Angels that carried me on their wings when my human body was so frail. Angels also came into my family’s lives and found the right words of comfort and hope that I would recover and that my children would not be without their mother.
I have had so many coincidences over the last 20 years that I have come to realize that there is no such thing as coincidence. So I pass on a definition, which I have come to believe a “coincidence” really is. I call it “A minor miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous.” These minor miracles are what has given me the strength to make me realize just how precious life really is and to choose in life that which is the most important.
This is how these silk flower angels came to be a symbol that I have used to say “Thank You” and to share my story. So few of us have a second chance at life and if we are so blessed, we must somehow share a part of the profound spirituality that comes from being a survivor. There is an inner strength that gives us the courage to take what human life has given us and use it as an inspiration during our journey called Life.
These silk angels have become my family’s symbols of hope and survival. It is a gift from God through one of His many messengers. This angel has been a means that my children and I have been able to survive this horrible trauma. I hope you or your families never have to go through such a catastrophic event, but always know that you can be that angel to someone, just by listening to what your heart tells you to do. We can only achieve heaven through our love for God and one another. We are all ordinary people, but we have extraordinary gifts from the Spirit, which are meant to be shared.