This story is by Becky Swainson and was part of our 2017 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the Summer Writing Contest stories here.
The Angel of Forgiveness
While walking through the parking garage at the nursing facility where I am employed, early one morning, the unthinkable happened. I saw a figure in the distance. As I got closer I realized he looked familiar. He introduced himself as Milhouse, the Angel of Forgiveness. He had been sent down to ask me some questions regarding some of the patients who had recently passed from our facility.
I was in disbelief. I couldn’t help but ask myself, was this person real? Did he randomly choose to talk to me or was I a deliberate choice? If choosing me was deliberate, did it have to do with my struggle to overcome the recent loss of my father? I looked around and spotted a co-worker walking through the garage. She asked what I was doing and I quickly said I was making a quick phone call and would be in shortly. As she walked away, I realized that she couldn’t see the angel.
I turned to him and stuttered. I couldn’t get a single word out that made any sense. The angel chuckled and assured me that everything would be fine and he was merely there to ask some questions about the handful of people who had recently passed away. It was his mission to ensure these people could be admitted to “the highest home” for deceased only. I managed to mutter an ok. He asked me about the souls who had passed over the last several months. Questions of character and beliefs. As I answered the questions, he took notes on only those things that may have been of question when it comes to getting admitted to this high home.
After he finished asking his questions, he asked me if I had any questions for him. I thought I should ask about my father but the thought of doing so was too overwhelming, so I thought of the residents. “Can I see them one last time, these people who have passed on?” He thought for what seemed an eternity, smiled, and agreed.
He grabbed my hands and held them in his while he lowered his head, as if to pray. I thought to do the same before he told me to. When he said ok, I opened my eyes. We were no longer in the parking garage. We were in a place that looked like a park. In the distance, on a bench, I saw one of my residents whom had just recently passed. He looked over at me and smiled. He stood up and walked over to me. He could walk! When I knew him he was in a wheelchair! I reached out to shake his hand and he leaned in for a hug. As he did, he whispered near my ear, “hi there beautiful clown!” He always called me that.
Then I turned to see another two of my residents who had passed. They too could both walk, and looked young and beautiful. By young, I mean in their sixties instead of their nineties. I sat and talked with the man and two women for what felt like hours. Asking them questions like what it was like to die, and where their adventure had taken them since they had passed. They all had stories of watching their families grieve, which saddened me. But they also had wonderful stories of seeing those close to them who had passed before they did, as well as happy stories of being healthy again. I couldn’t believe how wonderful it was to see them, and how it felt to be able to say goodbye. It occurred to me, at that moment, that I was chosen for this journey so I could learn what their experiences after death were like and begin to overcome my grief with my fathers passing. In that moment I felt my soul overcome with happiness. I was finally beginning to accept my fathers passing.
Then suddenly the angel appeared again, and within an instant, the three were gone. It was time for me to return. We held hands again and closed our eyes. When I opened them, I was back in the parking garage and I was alone. As I entered the building I couldn’t help but smile. I was finally at peace. I walked in, thinking about an excuse as to why I was late, only to see that no time had passed at all. It was as if none of it had ever happened. I hoped it wasn’t a dream, although if so, what a wonderful experience.
The story’s intriguing, but I feel it could be better.
Robert Ranck says
Doing fine. Keep at it. The story instantly enveloped me, and yes, he is named “Milhouse”, isn’t he? Only the final sentence felt out of context, but I loved the story.