Unlikely Angels

The folks in white uniforms escorted the baby away from her. And, since good teenagers did what they were told, she let them.

She’s in her car. Vehicles are parking outside the chapel. People are dressed in dark colors. Greeters stand at church doors nodding to those walking inside.

She crosses the street and makes her way in.

She is nervous. Her hands tremble. She shakes hands with the grieving family. She offers condolences. She looks at his body. She cries.

They are not tears for him. Not exactly.

He was no saint. In fact, he was what some folks would’ve called “no good.”

He treated his first wife and second wife terribly. He was abusive. Unfaithful. Bad to drink. His kids were estranged. His friends were few.

He was her uncle.

As a girl, he lived with her family. She was fifteen; he forced himself upon her. It altered her life.

After the hateful thing happened, her mother sent her to stay with cousins in Tennessee. It was only days before Christmas. It the worst period of her entire life.

It got worse when she started waking to morning sickness.

It wasn’t long before she had a daughter. The baby was magnificent, but her mother made her put the child up for adoption.

The folks in white uniforms escorted the baby away from her. And, since good teenagers did what they were told, she let them.

But she doesn’t want your sympathy. In fact, she wants people to know that she doesn’t need it.

Years later, she met a man. He was kind. Funny. Young. He was studying to become a teacher. He encouraged her to finish her GED, go to college, to be proud of herself. He told her she was smart.

And she believed him.

She studied nursing. She studied late hours, worked clinicals. And when she earned her certificate, he was there.

They were married. It was a simple ceremony.

But on their first night as man and wife, she had a panic attack. It was a bad episode.

“Please don’t touch me!” she screamed.

Old wounds came to the surface. She recoiled. She cried. She left the hotel on foot.

He followed her, driving behind her. He begged her to get into the car. She finally did. Then, she told him about her past. She expected him to be disgusted.

He didn’t even blink. He only held her.

Over the years, her baby-fat has disappeared. She got older. She raised two children with him. Family vacations, nice house, nice cars. Her children attended good colleges.

When she heard about the passing of her uncle, her first reaction was not anger. She packed an overnight bag.

“Where are you going?” asked her husband.

She wouldn’t say.

She drove across three states and arrived in a familiar town. She stood in a single-file line to stare into a casket.

“I forgive you,” she said to the dead man. “And even though you tried, you didn’t ruin me. God bless you, and I pray you’re at peace.”

That was all.

She got into her car. She drove away. She ate gas-station snacks. She sang with the radio. She returned to a home of three people who can’t live without her.

And this Christmas, her twenty-nine-year-old biological daughter will be joining them for supper.

And she just wanted me to tell you that.

33 comments

  1. Cathi - December 15, 2018 7:33 am

    I love it when good wins and you tell us about it in a most beautiful way. So many men seem to think younger & weaker is fair game…and it absolutely is not. I’m glad she got the closer she needed. Merry Christmas Sean, Jamie, Thel & Otis…we’re gonna need more of you in 2019!

    Reply
  2. Karen - December 15, 2018 8:12 am

    Thank you. Love wins. Love always wins.

    Reply
  3. Leslie in NC - December 15, 2018 10:44 am

    It’s true what they say. Forgiveness isn’t for them…it’s for us.

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  4. Sherry - December 15, 2018 12:40 pm

    Ditto, Leslie…forgiveness frees us!

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  5. Steven P Bailey - December 15, 2018 1:16 pm

    Beautiful.

    Reply
  6. Lee Green - December 15, 2018 1:21 pm

    I start each morning reading your words of inspiration and hope. They make my day better. They make me better. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

    Reply
  7. Liz Watkins - December 15, 2018 1:38 pm

    That’s why forgiveness is necessary to go on with life! God Bless her husband for his kindness. And I pray that uncle asked for forgiveness before he died.

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  8. Connie Havard Ryland - December 15, 2018 1:44 pm

    God bless her. Bad things happen. You can let it break you or make you strong. Thankful she met someone to help her but she had that strength in herself. I’m happy she found that and even happier she found her daughter. I hope she’s somewhere reading these comments and knowing that love and peace and hope are coming to her.

    Reply
  9. Linda Dupree - December 15, 2018 1:48 pm

    Oh, wow! I was four years old, so no pregnancy, but a life marred by shame (!). When I was 54, I was able to talk about it. Fifty lost years of stupid shame. Thank you for this story.

    Reply
  10. Nita Stacey - December 15, 2018 2:04 pm

    Oh Lord, Sean, you did it again! Tears are flowing for her, her husband, children and new found daughter and for the knowledge that I need to forgive my uncle as well. Sixty-two years later, I forgive you Uncle Rex.

    Thank you for this story. I needed to hear it. Merry Christmas to you and Jamie (and the fur babies).

    Reply
  11. Alan W Day - December 15, 2018 2:14 pm

    Thank you, Sean.

    Reply
  12. paula jones - December 15, 2018 2:39 pm

    Tears. Tears for her grace, for the reunion with her daughter, and for your writing. Thank you.

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  13. Toni Tucker Locke - December 15, 2018 3:17 pm

    Wow!

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  14. Pat Thomason - December 15, 2018 4:15 pm

    Lovely ending to a tragic story. Nita Stacey, I pray you can forgive as well. Merry Christmas to you all.

    Reply
  15. Gary Jensen - December 15, 2018 4:50 pm

    Wow!

    Reply
  16. Debbie Britt - December 15, 2018 5:29 pm

    Tears ? n my eyes!

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  17. Shelton A. - December 15, 2018 5:41 pm

    Great story…good for her and thanks for touching my heart.

    Reply
  18. Suzanne - December 15, 2018 5:58 pm

    Thank you for sharingher story. We all Love a story with a happy ending❤️

    Reply
  19. Dale Head - December 15, 2018 6:21 pm

    WOW!!!!!!!

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  20. Nancy Rogers - December 15, 2018 6:30 pm

    I am glad that she was able to give him grace and find peace. Very few survivors of early sexual trauma do.

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  21. Patricia Gibson - December 15, 2018 7:05 pm

    God bless her!

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  22. Betty F. - December 15, 2018 8:03 pm

    Phwew! Another one leaving me speechless

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  23. C.E. HARBIN - December 15, 2018 10:14 pm

    Forgiveness is powerful, beautiful, and the perfect expression of love.

    Reply
  24. Bill - December 15, 2018 10:26 pm

    Sean, What a beautiful story! She is incredible, and I hope that supper is only the beginning of a happy new relationship with her biological daughter.
    I think the husband should also be commended. Many of us guys simply cannot get to that level of compassion, kindness, and understanding. You gave us a beautiful example of how we should offer unconditional love. Forgiveness is powerful always! God’s love is THE power! Bill

    Reply
  25. P Tims - December 15, 2018 10:29 pm

    I wish I could hug her neck and gently pat her back. I am so proud of this dear lady!

    Reply
  26. Kathy Grey - December 15, 2018 10:32 pm

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  27. that's jack - December 16, 2018 2:41 am

    Forgiveness is good…………………… Strength makes it better.

    Reply
  28. Alice Grimes - December 16, 2018 6:50 pm

    Beautiful!

    Reply
  29. Laura Martin - December 17, 2018 2:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing this hard wonderful story.
    It was a blessing to me. What an amazing woman.
    And what a great and wonderful God we have

    Reply
  30. BJean - December 17, 2018 9:02 pm

    WOW! I just love how this mess was redeemed. Only God’s hand could do this.

    Reply
  31. Carol Stern - December 18, 2018 2:15 am

    I’m a survivor and I’m so glad she has survived and thrived beyond the worst day of her life. God continue to bless this brave lady.

    Reply
  32. Joya. Taylor - December 18, 2018 1:45 pm

    Sean, I cried… a lot. Thank you.

    Reply
  33. Robert Chiles - December 20, 2018 1:14 pm

    So beautifully written, So wonderfully told. What a magnificent writer you are.

    Reply

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