Angels Amongst Us
She was dying.
It was just before Christmas and I was on a tour of the care facility in my capacity as the health region’s Chief Executive Officer.
The nurse in charge of the unit told me in the hallway the elderly woman in the next room did not have many days left and they were doing everything possible to make her comfortable.
When I introduced myself, she asked me to sit and visit for a few minutes. The nurse left us to attend another patient.
I reached out to touch her hand and she held mine in hers with a surprisingly firm grip.
So, I sat down next to her hospital bed, and we quietly talked about life, family, and friends.
Her parents had come to area from Nova Scotia to take up a homestead in the early 1900s’.
The first winter, her father had left to work in a lumber camp, leaving his wife and two little girls, ages four and six, behind in a one room log shack.
It was bitterly cold for weeks on end, and soon the pile of wood that had been put aside in the fall would be running out.
Mother and daughters slept in their clothes; the draft from the incessant winter wind could not be avoided.
The cabin’s cookstove seemed to have a voracious appetite for the remaining meager supply. The water in the kettle would freeze overnight, as did the “slop” pail.
Several days before Christmas two bachelors who lived several miles away across the valley came into the yard driving a team of horses covered in frost.
Behind them on the sleigh was a load of poplar trees.
After a cup of tea with mother and some teasing of the children, the men went out and proceeded to “buck up” the wood to a size to fit in the stove.
Her grateful mother invited them to return for a Christmas meal, and the five of them celebrated it together.
There may have been no presents exchanged that day, but laughter lit up the dwelling.
The lady in the bed said her mother told the girls as they were be tucked in to bed later that night to never forget angels were not just in heaven but also walked amongst them.
As I took my leave, I gave her a hug knowing we would never see each other again.
What a precious gift I had received; a personal testimony of the importance of reaching out to help our neighbours without thought of compensation in return.
Let us not forget what is truly important in life – family, friends, community, faith.
I know the people of the Midwest will support each other through these difficult economic times, just as our forefathers did.
It’s our heritage.
Vern McClelland is an associate broker with RE/MAX of Lloydminster. He can be reached at (780) 808-2700, through www.vernmcclelland.com or by following the Midwest Group Lloydminster on Facebook.