WHITE ROBED ANGEL & OTHER STORIES
WHITE ROBED ANGEL
The patients knew she was an angel – that white robed figure who slowly and silently movedthrough the dim night hours in Ward Eight of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. Some people do not believe in angels, and I understand why they do not. But I do!Angels come in all shapes and sizes. Their existence does not depend on whether people do or donot believe in them. Most think of angels as diaphanous spirits floating down from heaven tominister to people in times of need, before returning to ethereal realms. This angel was notvisiting from heaven. She was an earthling, who did not know it, but was on her way to paradise.The angel’s name was Norma. We had been married for almost thirteen years when she becameill. Initially it seemed to be nothing more serious than a sore throat. She took a turn for theworse, becoming hoarse, tired, and weak. I drove her to the hospital, insisting that a doctor examine her. The doctor ordered tests and x-rays.The test results and x-rays came back. The young physician was taciturn, avoiding my gaze. “Ithink we’ll keep her in,” he said. “We need to do further tests.” I wheeled her into the receptionward, hugged her long and hard, and left for home. When I returned with her necessities, she wasin bed in Ward 8.She was gratified that something was being done and after some rest, she was more like thehappy, laughing woman everyone knew. I spent each day with her and she had many visitors.Friends and neighbours flocked to see her, bringing her flowers, fruit, chocolates, and themandatory energy drinks.Her happiest day was the Sunday three of her four surviving children visited. They spent the daytalking, remembering, and laughing. She loved to laugh, but her greatest attribute was her impulse to loving service. Although now enfeebled by disease, she obeyed the divine impulse toserve others, shuffling painfully through the ward, seeing to the needs of others.A young girl, struggling to come to terms with life, lay listless and morbid. Tattooed, pierced, her arms bearing the scars of frequent self-mutilation, ostracised by her fellow-patients, brooding, anddepressed. Norma encouraged her to think positively about herself and the possibilities of her life.In the bed across from Norma was an old lady. Everything she ate came back. Norma soothedand comforted, encouraging her to take a little nourishment to get strong enough to fight theillness that was sapping her vitality.One elderly Indian woman spoke little English. She had many visitors at one particular time of each day, but for long periods after that, she was alone and unable to join in conversations.
Copyright © Ronnie Bray 2000All Rights Reserved