Written by Linda Johnston

"It's Not Your Time" - Linda's heart stops and her angel appears

Used with permission.

 

I stared at him. Every bone and unbroken bone in my body revolted. I gritted my teeth and went to war. "No way," I said. "I'm going to lick this." A sad smile fell across his face. He knew I was a fighter. But was my goal to ambitious? Later Marla and Sandra tiptoed in, weepy and uncharacteristically quiet. "Mama?" I had chosen life on this earth to complete my mission: to raise my daughters and made a home for my family. And I desperately wanted to assure my girls that we were a family. "Mom's here," I said. "I'm awake and I'm here for you. You'll have to help me out now - for a while - but I'll be back for you. Nothing is going to stop me from being there for you and your dad."

With my good arm I pulled Marla close, down onto the bed that was laced with tubes to machines. I ignored the nurse on the other side of the glass wall, eying us with disapproval. I held on to my dear one for dear life, and we cried together.
In those first days I didn't fully understand that my life still teetered on the brink of death. On Thursday evening I lay alone, half asleep, lulled by the morphine and the rhythmic bleep of the heart monitor rigged to my chest. But suddenly the rhythm stopped. I closed my eyes and drifted off. From afar I heard one extended beeeeep of the machine, and at that instant I say my beautiful angel - she was smaller now, the size of a tall man - standing at the foot of my bed.

She wore the same white robes, still blown by an internal wind, still illuminated by an internal light. As she walked closer to me, she displaced the end of the bed; I could no longer see the traction pulley that supported my right leg, and yet the tension stayed taut. Again her dainty hands spoke as clearly as her voice: "Linda, I'm here. You have a long want to go but I am with you. Things will be alright. There will be much to endure, but I will be with you."


I smiled at her and blinked my eyes in gratitude. I reached out my right hand to touch her, but with a smile on her face she faded like mist. She was gone, and two wide-eyed nursed towered over my chest. One frantically checked the monitors. The other wielded electronic paddles that jolt a heart back to beating. "Oh, Linda...We thought...the monitor...your heart flat-lined...cardiac arrest." I heard what the nursed said, but I didn't reply with medical talk. "I saw her again," I said.
"Who honey?" "The angel." "Where?" "In here with me. She tole me not to worry, that things would be all right."

That second angelic message has given me the strength to fight a battle that has raged linger and more fiercely that I ever imagined: fifty-eight days in the hospital; five months bedridden at home; six months in a wheelchair. I gained ground inch by inch - learning to sit , to stand, to take baby steps while clinging to a walker, to steady my gait with two canes, not with must one cane. I can't trudge through the woods or hike a hillside trail, but I can walk!

Every victory came with pain, which continues to taunt me. It hides deep in a bunker that I cannot dig out. In the moment of te accident, my life changed forever. I will never again romp from one high-action activity to the next - playing ball with my children, running in the sand at the beach, trudging through thick woods.

And yet every morning I wake, thankful that my deepest prayers have been answered; In the face of death - at the time of the accident impact - O felt no pain. And with the gift of extended life on earth, I am able to guide and be a cheerleader for my family. This year Marla graduated from high school, and I was at the graduation. Sandra is in the band. And Herb - he's out back cleaning his gun, getting ready for opening day of deer season.

That guardian angel print still hangs over my bed, and remains my inspiration. It's reminder of my own angel, and it inspires a new style in my painting. I no longer sketch unpeople nature scenes. My paintings now tell stories - most often my story, which isn't complete without my guardian angel. I portray my angel as I saw her, very different from the broad-winged angel of the traditional painting on my wall. My bright angel hovers in the dark. I struggle to capture the luminescence of her robe, the slight curve hf her wrist, the silkiness of her skin. I can't get it quite right, but I keep going back to the sketch pad and easel, eager to try again to capture her essence - the love that overshadows any sorrow.

Since seeing my angel face to face, I've taken on another venture; For the first time in my life, I'm reading the Bible through, beginning to end. I want to know what it says about life and death, about humans and angels, about the Lord of the universe.
I shouldn't be surprised at what I read, but I am. From those ancient writings I find confirmation for my experience. Some of it is subtle, but it is there - in Psalm 55:6 (KJV): "Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away and be at rest." And in Psalm 36:9 "For with thee in the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light." And I was reminded that some women, men, and children have always been blessed to hear some nonhuman voices speak their names. "Hagar." "Samuel." "Zacharias." "Mary."

A few months ago, nearly two years after the accident, I was working on an angel painting. It was about time for me to go pick up my children from school, so I set my paints aside and soaked my brushes. I walked to the kitchen to wash my hands. Just as I had lathered them up, scrubbing at the paint, I heard my name called. "Linda, I am here!" The voice came from one of the bedrooms, down the hall.

Knowing it's hard for me to get in and out of a vehicle, the girls sometimes catch a ride home. They must have come in, I thought, eager to greet them. "I'll be right there, girls," I quickly answered. "I'm just cleaning up." I rinsed and dried my hands and walked the length of the house, looking in each bedroom. No one was there. No TV. No radio. But I heard a voice. A female voice. If not my kids, then who? Oh my! Yes, it was the same familiar voice. "I am here," She assured me. "I am here." The God of Love will not leave me comfortless. His messenger is with me.

I left to pick up the kids from school. We got back home before I told them I had heard my angel - right in our house, in one of the bedrooms, maybe theirs. Neither Sandra or Marla looked at me with disbelief. They smiled, reached arms around my shoulders, and whispered the words I'd lived to hear: "We love you, Mom. We're so glad you're here."