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An Angel Watched Over Them For More Than a Decade

Seeing the heavenly being during his car accident restored her son’s faith.

An angel descending into a backyard; Illustration by Kim Johnson

The call from the hospital came in the morning. Our son, Chad, had been in a terrible accident, his car totaled while he drove in the fog. He had stitches in his left temple and a fractured ankle, plus a bruise on his chest from the seat belt that saved his life. My husband, Randy, and I raced to his side.

“They’re just keeping him overnight to make sure he has no internal injuries,” Randy reminded me during the two-hour drive to the hospital. “He’s in no immediate danger, thank God.”

Yes, thank you. As we got closer to the hospital, I remembered the car accident I’d had 10 years earlier. Driving home from my nursing shift, I’d hit a patch of black ice and spun into a parking lot—only to be hit by another out-of-control car. Eleven cars in all were involved. I’d emerged with minor injuries and come home to my husband and three children. God had been watching over me that day. If I needed confirmation, I got it two weeks later. Chad, then eight, called me to the back door. “Mom,” he said, “you have to see this!”

I couldn’t imagine what he might be seeing in the darkness. I went to the door and looked out into our unlit yard in the country. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. Something hovered above the playhouse, radiating light. I thought I could make out three sets of wings, even the outline of a face. “It’s an angel,” Chad said. He was the first to name it, and I knew instantly that it couldn’t be anything else. Chad and I gazed at our guardian for several minutes, until she slowly disappeared into the night sky.

Now, driving along the highway, I looked up at the sky through the windshield. I knew that guardian angel was still there, even if I couldn’t see her. I wish Chad still believed that, I thought. He’d told the kids at school about our vision, but they didn’t believe him. Worse, they convinced Chad that we hadn’t seen what we saw. Whatever it was we’d seen in the sky that night, he decided, it wasn’t an angel.

That vision continued to bring me comfort in my life. Especially now, as Randy and I drove to the hospital. But Chad had never regained that childhood faith. On the rare occasions he brought up the incident, he referred to it as “the angel we thought we saw.” I knew there was no point in correcting him. Chad was grown now. He was 18, in the Navy, engaged to be married. If he was going to accept the truth, it had to be on his own terms.

By the time we got to the hospital, Chad was settled in a room. He gave us more details about the accident. As he was trying to pass a semitrailer in the fog, he was hit by an oncoming semi with no lights. He spun into a ditch and passed out. It had taken 30 minutes and the Jaws of Life to extract him from the car.

It was horrible to imagine what my son had been through. I tried to picture that gauzy guardian angel lighting up our backyard. The angel I knew was watching over Chad now. Randy and I spent the night at a hotel. The next morning we were able to take our son home.

He was quiet as we set out. Then he said, “Mom, do you remember that angel we saw years ago?”

My heart skipped a beat. “You mean the angel we thought we saw?”

“We did see an angel,” he said. “I know we did.”

Chad turned around to face me in the back seat. “When I came to in the car, I thought I was paralyzed. A lady was at the window talking to me, telling me to stay awake, but I couldn’t move my head to look at her. The first responders didn’t see her. No one did. But I heard her, and when she left, all the feeling rushed back into my body.”

Maybe the first responders hadn’t seen her, but Chad and I had. We’d seen her together, 10 years before, and we would never forget it.

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