I would like to share with you my Christmas angel story. She sat in the darkness, waiting her turn. She never asked for much, but this year was different. The line to see Santa Claus was terribly long and the dark hallway seemed to shrink the longer she waited. When would it be her turn?
Sitting cross legged on the floor with the others, waiting in line, she drifted into the same nightmare she had been having since Sept. A loud sound and then the empty feeling like a void in her life, the car laying on its side and the smell of gas in the air. Heat reaching her hands as she tried to pull herself out of the back seat belt and up front to save her daughter.
Looking into the drivers seat was like looking into the worse of all fears, her husband slumped over the steering wheel, blood covering his face and hands. Fear ran through her as she touched him, shaking him gently to see if he was able to wake up, but his limp body only sagged deeper into the seat. His head turned enough to show eyes wide open and fixed. She remembered letting out a scream that frightened her more then the knowledge that the man she loved was dead.
Pain shot through her leg as she reached over the seat and unhooked the child restraint that Amy was trapped in, motionless, only the sound of shallow breathing coming from her tiny chest. Angela picked up the small child and laid her in the back seat beside her. She took her left leg and while covering Amy with her own body, she kicked the window out of the side of the car and fought with wrenching pain to pull her self and child from the fire building in the engine.
“Dear God” she cried, ” Please save us from this wreck” and as she tumbled to a safe place on the side of the dirt road, the car ignited in flames and bursts of black smoke. Angela made sure that her Amy was safe and then she laid back on the dry dirt and lost consciousness. There on the road side she was found, her baby daughter wrapped in her arms, death a short step away for them both.
Today was Christmas Eve, Amy was with her grandmother where they had moved since that horrid night when their world had fallen apart. And there was Angela, waiting to talk to Santa Claus by herself, “what must these people think of me” she thought, looking around at all the children with their parents and she, there alone with one single wish for the holidays. She glanced at her watch once more taking a deep sigh and getting more comfortable on the floor.
After an hour the line had made it’s way to the front of the store, the sound of laughter and joy filling her ears, but in her heart there was so little joy left. How could a God that loved the world take away her James? He was a loving man, a wonderful husband and caring father and now both Angela and Amy had to face the world without him. How horrid a thing to do to a family. She never had a chance to say good-bye, he was just Gone. No more long walks in the woods, no more kisses goodnight and no more tender hugs that said “I love you”. Gone.
One more family and she was next, she had written a letter to be sure her words came out the way she wanted. She looked at this ‘Jolly Ol’ Man’ and wondered what she was doing there, standing in line alone to talk to Santa Claus, but she made a promise and that was one she intended to keep no matter what. At 3 Amy couldn’t say many words, but ‘See Santa Mommy”.
An Elf touched Angela’s arm, “Mama, your next, where is your little kid?”. She just smiled and blushed a bit and said she was here to talk to Santa Claus alone if that was alright. The Elf had a strange look but allowed her to go up and talk to the man in the red suit. Angela looked at the tired old man, and had second thoughts about her journey, but gathered what was left of her own strength and asked if she could just stand, sitting on his lap was more then she would have been able to accept and her emotions were raw and ready to snap.
She told Santa Claus about the wreck and the tragic loss their family had suffered, and she explained to him how Amy, though she would never walk again from her small legs being crushed on the dash board, still had the wonderful spirit of a child and asked her to come and talk to Santa Claus for her. Then Santa reached out his hand and took hold of Angela’s shaking hand, he held it tight and told her that he knew personally that God hears each prayer and that while we can’t explain why things happen, that her husband James was safe in the arms of God.
Angela came to her knees and asked how Santa Claus knew the name of her husband and he just smiled and told her that all of God’s children know those who have passed on, and God shares that which is needed when it is needed. She allowed a tear to roll down her face as she thanked him. “Amy wants her daddy’s Christmas angel to come down tonight and let her know he is alright and safe in heaven, I didn’t have an answer for her” Angela looked at Santa Claus with wishful eyes and he chuckled at the question and in a soft voice he answered her, “Tonight Amy will have the chance to talk with her daddy, just remember that you must believe”.
With that Santa Claus handed her a candycane and laid his finger to the side and of his nose and winked at her. Angela smiled through her tears and thanked this kind old man who seemed to know more then she had shared with him. This was worth the wait to keep a promise, even if it only was to make two lost people feel better about their loss.
After Angela got back to her mothers house it was dark outside, the Christmas lights where sparkling in the yard but inside Angela had a feeling of wanting, a longing for something she knew she would never have again. One more chance to talk to James and tell him how much she loves him. Just one more chance. She walked up the back steps and up to her old bedroom, now she shared it with Amy, but it was still ‘home’ to her tired spirit. Angela sank into the clean bedsheets and needed to rest her head before going down and talking to Amy about the gift that Santa Claus said she would receive. “Remember, you must believe… remember you must believe…..” the words keep repeating over and over in her head, for Angela and Amy’s faith was about as strong as a thin piece of grass and the grass was getting dryer with each passing day. “Believe.. believe…. believe… ….” she drifted into a deep, much needed sleep.
Amy’s giggles brought Angela out of her sleep. It had been so long since she heard that sound she all but ran down the front steps to see what was happening. There at the bottom of the landing was a music box, not just any music box, but the very one her James had given her the year they were married. Long lost in the last move they had made, Angela had always felt that she would never hear that sweet song again. Dancing to the sound of Amazing Grace were two little bears holding hands. Amy laughing and humming along in the most wonderful off key voice Angela had ever heard. Amys little braced legs clanging together in time with the tune.
“Mother, where did you find my music box?” Angela asked in amazement, and her mother told her she had no idea where it came from, “Amy found the box wrapped in pink paper under the tree with her name on it, and she opened it before I could get out here and stop her… I’m sorry if she should have waited dear”. Laughing out loud for the first time in 4 months Angela hugged her mother and then swept Amy up into her arms and asked “who sent you the pretty gift Amy?”. Looking at her mommy’s tears of joy Amy said “Daddy’s Christmas Angel”. And there on the floor laying with the crumpled wrapping paper was a note “To my 2 special Angels, Thank you for believing. Love Daddy”