Today I met an angel!
I certainly wasn’t planning anything spiritual. Hell, I was off to present a market analysis on a home. But then I met Judy. And when you are in Judy’s soft-spoken, engaging presence, you feel…well, blessed. Like you should rush out and be kinder! Or get a dog with one eye and a limp.
Judy laughs easily and talks kindly, but never about herself. She emits light and I was desperate to know what generated her sublime energy. I confess I pried and am so grateful Judy shared.
Judy was young when she married a man with five children. His young wife had tragically died a few months before. Four out five kids were still in diapers when the new pair walked down the aisle and she made her vows to them, too: they were hers until death did them part. Try as they might, the couple couldn’t bring their own babies to term. So instead, they adopted two special needs children! OK, I count seven kids now. I feel a panic attack coming on, but Judy’s calm and emitting love and joy, so I force myself to think of having seven dogs and my heart swells and my mouth expands with pleasure. “I’m still with you, Judy,” I promise.
The adopted boy child, Judy and her husband were told by doctors, would never be able to write his own name. But these “experts” clearly had no idea how angels work. Thanks to Judy and her husband’s love and gentle care, the boy graduated with honors and now a wonderful man, he’s a medic on a rescue squad. The girl child had her own child, an autistic little soul and both mother and daughter live with Judy and her husband, himself a saint of sorts I would imagine.
Like the angel she is, Judy just keeps giving selflessly. Not only did she work as a teacher’s aid for special needs kids in New York for 26 years, but this angel and her saint… ahem… husband fostered 13 special needs kids over a ten-year period and nurtured them for as long as they needed. Most still keep in touch.
In addition to her husband suffering from cancer as we speak, Judy cared for her mom and dad who lived in their own home a few miles away. She’s spent most of her time there in the last months, seeing her own family only an hour a day. Her dad has Alzheimer’s and her Mommy – as she’s called – became ill. Judy was there making sure her parents were as comfortable and happy as possible because they all knew Mommy would soon be gone.
The time came too soon, and now poor Daddy is lost and calls for Mommy ten times or more a day. And ten times a day, Judy has to tell him Mommy’s gone to heaven. He cries and cries with this shocking fresh news each time. Judy put him to bed a few nights ago, and he was so desperately sad. She said “Daddy, you believe in prayer. Why don’t you ask Mommy to come and hold you and lay with you tonight?” Judy, her own heart breaking, went to bed holding fast to the baby monitor, so if Daddy was distressed, she could rush to comfort him. Then she heard her father’s cross voice, echoing through her monitor: “You were supposed to be here to hold me. Now stop talking and go back to sleep.” Judy laughed and cried for hours thereafter.
This story is apropos of nothing.
But wait! Judy has a gift for all us writers! She’s the perfect example of “SHOW DON’T TELL,” every writer’s nemesis. Judy shows goodness in the way she looks at you, the way she smiles from her heart, the way she talks about others. She doesn’t need to tell you how wonderful she is. She shows you by the way she makes you feel.
In my lifetime, I doubt I will ever meet another Judy. I can’t model a character on Judy, she would sound too impossibly good to be believable. But inspired, I will dash off now and love on a precious four-legged soul and wish I had many more! Does that qualify me for sainthood? Well, Saint Francis of Assisi made the grade…