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Angel Arms

a true story of love after death

I realize not everyone believes life goes on after death. My story may change your mind about this, or at the very least hopefully open your mind up enough to reconsider it. 

The story I am sharing here with you is all true. I’m telling it to the best of my ability and with the help of close friends and journals. 

One may wonder why even tell it? I risk a lot by openinly writing this all down, not everyone will like what I have to say. I want to write this because I feel like I have been given such a huge transformative gift and I hope this will help me to truly embrace it. I want to remember all of the lovely and shocking details. I want to have a place to remind myself of the miracles. I want a place to go to so that I can remind myself this all very much real.

This blog will be an ongoing fluid retelling of the story of the heartaches and amazing miracles in my life. I will be sharing and editing it as I go along… so do not be surprised if you come back and discover I have shared more details or have reworded things in new ways. It is my hope that in the end… if there is one… that I will have this story recorded as closely as it can be to how I have experienced having an angel hold me through my darkest hours… and how he has carried me through in his arms.

💖A

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Words With a New Friend 

                    ~ Chapter 8~

Words With Friends used to be my favorite on-line game to play. Like a simplistic game of scrabble it satisfied my love of creative thinking and words. It was a convenient app on my phone and I could play with other people when I had slivers of time or when it was most convenient for me.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to have many games going at once with several people. 

Actually, I wasn’t too bad at it. In fact, I seemed to win many more games than I lost. Perhaps it was the competition I chose… or perhaps just good luck! Regardless, it was a game I very much enjoyed. 

Words with friends was a game I played in the evenings. I often played it when hubby got home from work, possibly to distract me from the negativity and the residual anxiety that his presence provoked. It calmed me, centered me. 

Words with friends really helped me to relax and yet my husband actually resented me for it.  He frequently accused me of “being addicted” or “being checked out”. I didn’t agree at all and resented him for criticizing me for spending time enjoying something for myself. 

Sometimes in casual conversations I might mention that this was a game I liked to play. I wish I could remember how it  was brought during that treatment session with Brad, but it was. I’m sure I talked a bit of smack in fun… and the challenge was set! Later that day he initiated a game… and the rest was WWF history. 

He was easily my favorite competitor. Not just because of his friendly game message banter, although that was super fun, but because he was GOOD! I mean “beat me most of the time” good. And I loved it. 

We came very close many games, but he seemed to almost always pull ahead with a genius word choice and placement that left my score in the dust! Ha! 

There was one game that will always stay with me. The game was neck to neck and I twisted my brain to keep up. Well, I kept up alright! I kept up son well, we tied! 

I was thrilled to say the least! Ha! Honestly, part of me hoped that he was just as tickled about it as I was. Okay maybe not “tickled” but at the very least amused. Somehow I am sure that he was. 😉

❤️A

Late Night Confession

                   ~Chapter 7~

I hadn’t slept in the same room as my husband for months… maybe over a couple of years. The official excuse was because of his Earth-shaking snoring, but of course there was much more to it than that. I wanted to keep away from him and his negative vibe. I wanted to avoid conflict and his complaining. I wanted peace.  

I also cherished the time alone I had to read, get on-line, write, and some nights if I was really lucky I would get the chance to talk to my best friend Erika who lives across the country in LA. Without any risk of conflict I could discuss my fears, share my dreams, and confess my innermost thoughts  with someone who accepts me for who I am and who truly loves me unconditionally. 

Erika and I truly have no secrets. I confide to her not only the regarding the dysfunctional dramas in my life but also about the pleasant little happenings in my life. One of those “little happenings” was my sincere appreciation of Brad as a human being. I told her of his intelligence,  his low key vibe, his humor and that he was an architect, the very profession my oldest son is aspiring to be. I think I may have emphasized to her that I didn’t like him in that way (romantically), although maybe I just kept saying that to myself!😉

One such night as I was sitting in bed upstairs, alone in the dark, I was sharing the details with Erika about another one of the toxically cyclical fights I was having with my husband. Exasperated I said “It’s a good thing that there isn’t such a thing as a personality transplant because I would switch out Len for that guy Brad’s in a heartbeat!” We chuckled and she continued to give me the cyclical advise and support that got me through those dark times in hopes of a brighter day and the end of the heartache my marriage was bringing to me. 

Honestly, I felt a little guilty later at that thought. Somehow it felt like I was being disloyal to my husband, but I was just kidding… or was I? Regardless, I wasn’t saying I wanted to be with Brad only that I wished my husband was more like him… that’s not the same thing, right? 

Well my admiration of Brad was now blatantly out into my conscious mind, no longer hidden within. Confession: I wished my husband was like Brad or at least like the most precious part of him… the part that was inside.  Actually, I wished he was exactly like him in his personality and intelligence. This confession to myself in the dark made me realize that I was unhappy with much more than just my husband’s behavior, but with who he appeared to be. 

Forced Whisper

~Chapter 6~

Brad spoke in a whisper for most of the time we spent together face-to-face. The theory was that during his shoulder surgery one of his vocal cords became nerve damaged when they put the tube down his throat and it stopped working. Talking with only one vocal cord forced him to communicate with more effort. He spoke with a lot of expression and at times I wondered if he was forcing it too much.

Brad said that it was affecting him at work. It really did seem to bother him. It was affecting his communication with his coworkers and his ability to present himself optimally in meetings. Over time I could tell it was getting old.

I was pretty worried about him too. The doctors assured him over time it would likely come back, however it was without a guarantee. His mother (a retired speech pathologist) wasn’t overly concerned either, so I just hoped in time, for him, that it would return.

Looking back I wonder if the hushed dynamic forced me to listen more closely to his words. Perhaps it made me focus more closely and pay increased attention to his body language.  Yet, I believe I would have listened intently to what he was saying no matter his voices clarity and volume.

The differences between Brad’s quiet (albeit involuntary) voice and laid-back personality drastically contrasted the man who I was communicating with (or trying to) within my own home.

At home my husband typical verbal tome was loud and aggressive. He was uptight and hostile. Many things would annoyed him, offend him, frustrate him and he would go on and on it seemed about these (often little) things. I confidentially shared with my best friend Erika how I wished personality transplants were possible. I’d have quickly switched out my hubby’s for Brad’s in a heartbeat!

I know that sounds so bad! It really wasn’t like that, I swear! I was wishing for the qualities Brad possessed, it wasn’t that I wanted to cheat on him. It is not like I wished Brad would have whispered sweet nothings in my ear! Oh, my! Not at all! I wasn’t fantasizing about Brad… just truly appreciating him.

Being around Brad seemed so easy. I felt accepted, appreciated, relaxed and hopeful… and I am sure most everyone who shared time with him felt the same. I hardly think I was unique.

In great contrast, being around my husband was extremely hard. He was almost always grumpy, aloof, and angry. This often left me feeling rejected, taken for granted, and fearful. The difference between the two seemed to be colossal. I was becoming more and more aware of the contrast between the two. I also was becoming more and more aware how different my husband was from me, and not just because of his communication style.

As a natural optimist, I often focus on the good with my thoughts and my words. I enjoy relaxed conversations about art and culture. I enjoy exploring new places, cuisine and ideas. I want to share life with someone who actually enjoys it. I bravely began to think more about of the type of man I craved to grow old with, someone like Brad.  The contrast between the two of them became increasingly clear. It forced me to realize that something needed to change.

Careful Conversations

~Chapter 5~

One of the best part of my jobs is the people I meet and the conversations that we share. I truly enjoy talking to almost everyone that crosses my path, even those that in another setting I might actively avoid. 

Sometimes I am lucky enough to meet a someone who is so interesting and engaging that time flies away and at the end of the hour I wonder who benefited most from the interaction in that hour. Brad was one of those special few. 

It’s hard to say if it was his intelligence, his insights and opinions, his open-mindedness, or his gentle spirit that I grew so fond of. Perhaps it was the just that he seemed to the perfect combination of all of the above with the playful banter that tied them all up in a bow. 

No conversation with him was ever boring and I frequently thought of things when not with him that I wanted to ask him about, just to hear his thoughts. I found I looked forward to his sessions. He was a quality guy and someone I could lose time with if allowed, but of course it wasn’t. 

Professional and marital boundaries kept me from sharing too much or getting too close. I was intentionally careful with our conversations resisting the urge to tell him everything

An Appointment With An Angel 

~Chapter 4~

I work as a outpatient therapist rehabilitating upper extremities. Helping people heal from injuries that occur from the shoulder to the tip of the finger is my specialty. To say I love my job is an understatement. I feel like I was born to do it… and I have  worked in this specialty for the last 20 years. 

One of the coolest things about my job is the opportunity to work with and meet a diverse number of people. I’m sure over the years I’ve treated thousands of folks and from time to time I will meet one or two that get stuck in my heart and mind for always. This was to be one of those times… but on that first visit I had no idea. 

It was literally just another day at the office for me. That morning I had gotten up early as I always did before the rest of the house woke up. I let out our two minigoldendoodles, fed them and got dressed and groomed for the day. I wish I could remember what I wore… nothing to flattering or impressive I’m sure, as comfort is key for me so that I can position myself to measure and stretch arms all day long. 

My favorite body part to treat is the shoulder. I was likely pleased to see  I had a post-operative shoulder evaluation of a new patient on my schedule that day: March 13, 2015. 

On my schedule there he was: Brad G., ORIF shoulder, DOB 12/3/1971. “Oh, this should be fun!” I thought, “He is only 4 months older than me!” 

As I brought Brad into the clinic from the waiting room I noted that he was impressively tall with long lanky extremities and a friendly face. His dark hair and pleasant eyes went well with what seemed to be a very easy-going personality. Yes, he seemed very nice and laid-back, the perfect personality of someone to treat, especially as this poor fella had a pretty bad fracture and I could already guess he’d be on my schedule for awhile. 

Turns out a slip and fall on some ice outside his apartment building resulted in the break of his humeral head that required the surgerical placement of hardware on to secure. Oh, and he had pain. Lots of pain. I remember that as well. It hurt bad! You don’t tend to have a fracture that impressive without the correlating pain that comes with it. 

I’m sure he was a bit anxious on that first visit, and understandably so. I’d treated folks in fear before and I used all the charm and confidence I had in reassuring him that he was in good hands. I loved trying to win patients over and put their minds at ease. It seemed to work with him as well, and of that I was pleased.

So this is where we met: in an outpatient physical therapy clinic following a random fall. This fall resulted in a bad shoulder injury followed by surgery with an unfamiliar doctor from across town and somehow Brad was referred to our clinic (that actually was outside the referring doctors medical center) and ended up on my schedule that day in mid March. 

It’s funny to me looking back how I had no idea how Brad would change my life, and me… forever. It seemed like just an ordinary day, and he seemed like an ordinary guy yet the day and he were actually quite extraordinary. They say Angels are often amoung us without us being aware and this was one of those times…

💖A

And Time Marched On…

~Chapter Three~

As time marched on I grew, as many of us do. I developed much deeper interests in spirituality, human rights, writing/blogging and in spiritual/energy healing. My husband (of 19 years) had no interest in any of it, or better put: no interest in learning about what interested me.

He has never independently read my spiritual blog (NotJustABlonde.com). Okay, maybe he did once (no more) after I pointed it out. Truly, he has had little no interest in my interests, my gifts, my talents, who I was or what I was all about.

To many he seemed to be a good guy. Hard working, loyal and faithful. He was a solid presence in my life. I smugly thought I had this marriage thing down. No one is perfect. Everyone has to compromise, right ? I truly believed if I focused on the positives and worked through disagreements that everything would work out just fine. Except, it didn’t.

💖A

Tough Love 💔

~Chapter Two~

I cannot share this true tale without the backstory that prepares the reader for the things to come.

Who needs a miracle when all is well? A rainbow is at its sweetest after the rain. Well, raining it was… actually it was storming.

I got married years ago to a man I love. I met him in college and we began our long-lasting relationship right before graduation and were engaged just a few months later.

Looking back it all looks so quick and reckless, yet at the time it didn’t feel that way at all. Truly it felt meant to be.

Actually, I had known him for years after working with him and taking college classes with him even before we were accepted into the same therapy school.  I had casually befriended him for over four years before we even had our first official date.

I was the one who asked him to begin the journey of our over 20 year relationship… and once the door was opened he seemed to eagerly go along. He was handsome, loyal and complicated… what wasn’t there to love?

I will never forget the night, over a candlelit dinner when he shared his darkest secret with me: he was on an antidepressant. He struggled with depression. He braced himself for rejection, but I reached back with love and acceptance knowing that he was in no way defined by this mental illness.

I truly appreciated his honesty and vulnerability. I felt honored to have him share such a private thing with me. He seemed ashamed. I really didn’t understand how deep his depression was, nor how deep was his fear and shame. How could I without truly experiencing it myself?

I thought I knew what was ahead, and was not worried one bit. An optimist by nature I was sure once life became more stable and secure his mood would improve as well. After all, I myself had taken Prozac for a short time a few years before, and eventually got off of it as my coping skills and life improved. Therefore, I saw no red flags and felt no fears due to his confession.

Little did I know that his mood, depression and anxiety issues would become the center of my life. I wanted to be supportive so I adjusted my expectations of him. I consciously tried to accommodate his needs and was hopeful my unconditional love would improve his outlook and help make him happy.  After all, isn’t that what we are supposed to do in marriage and for those we love?

As the years passed, I gradually let go of my own preferences and became satisfied with going along with his.  We rarely entertained, minimized contact with my “annoying” family and had very few couple friends. We went to his preferred restaurants and mostly saw movies he wanted to see or those that I thought he might like. It didn’t FEEL controlling as he didn’t demand these things outright, yet if I attempted to choose otherwise his mood would sour and irritability would follow. It was easier I suppose to just let go.

I had my own friends. He rarely seemed to take any interest in who they were or what they were all about.  The was perhaps ONE acception of a friend of mine who lived in  our old neighborhood with a very nice, morally solid and easy-going husband.  Mostly, I would go out alone rationalizing “it’s just not his thing” or “I’m sure he’d be bored anyway”, never questioning why he wouldn’t go just to be with me.

The problem is, over time it just did not work. Being human myself I made “mistakes” as I juggled embracing my own happiness as I attempted to balance it with caring for him. He criticized and I analyzed how to fix things… both myself and him. I became tired, defeated and weary. Life and loving him was tough.
💖A

In the Beginning…

~Chapter One~

The story truly started many years before I came to know my angel. As I sit pondering where to begin, a memory twinkles in my mind.

Many years ago,  I lie in my bedroom. I was as a fresh-faced teenage girl around the age of 17.  Often as I went to bed, I turned off the lights, snuggled under the covers and prayed.

The room was dark except for the light from the moon. The top of my bedspread was firmly crinkled into my hands as I had pulled it up snugly under my chin. Fervently I  called out to God, speaking my request out loud: “Dear God, please. I want to see an angel.”

As the moon’s rays cast across the floor I heald my breath. I was scared as I believed that it might happen right then. My faith felt fragile and I thought that seeing an angel would solidify my faith making it easier to be obedient and believe. Yet, I fell asleep without seeing one. With hope, I imagined my request was floating up to Heaven’s ears.

On another night, not too far from the time I had prayed before, I sent God another plea, still not giving up on the last. That night I prayed to God for a Christian boyfriend. I would find some spiritual strength in a relationship! I was excited to see God bring him to me. Ask and you shall receive, right? Needless to say, I did not see an angel nor did a cute Christian guy show up to court me. “In God’s time I suppose,” I thought “if it even really works that way at all.”

If there ever was a forshadowing event in my life, this was it.

💖A

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