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Animal Angels: My Dear White Deer

An unlikely visitor reassures a grieving widow that she is not alone.

An artist's rendering of a white dear

Out in the yard trimming a tree, I thought, Fred should see me now. We’d been married almost 50 years when lung cancer took him from me. In the four months since, I wondered every day how I’d go on alone without him by my side.

I threw some clippings into a pile and felt a presence behind me. A deer stood stock-still, staring at me from three yards away. I’d never seen such a noble-looking animal before. She was almost entirely white, except for a bit of brown on her forehead. But not just white. Immaculately white.

Her coat was so clean, so impossibly pristine, like something from another world. I took a small step closer, half wondering if this deer was real or some kind of divine vision.

The deer held her ground. She didn’t get spooked by my movement. She didn’t run, like a regular deer would. But then again, there was nothing at all that was regular about this deer. She watched me until I finished my job and went back inside.

The next afternoon my strange visitor returned. And the next. There wasn’t a day in over two months that I didn’t see her. I came to rely on the sighting. A strength, a peacefulness seemed to radiate from her and penetrate my aching heart. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t without God. I wasn’t really without Fred, even.

“She doesn’t go into anyone else’s yard but yours,” a neighbor mentioned one day. And eventually the white deer stopped coming to my yard too. But not before I’d gotten the message of her comforting presence.

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