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Touched By An Angel… 

I have a sense of gratitude to God for blessing me with the ability to share precious moments with a woman who meant the world to me. Just the thought of her stirs up uncontrollable emotions as I attempt to hold back tears. I’m speaking of Anna Mae Johnson, my late grandmother of whom we all affectionately called “Granny.”

Sunday mornings growing up will forever be ingrained in my mind and heart. On Sundays at church, I enjoyed being in her company I would sit in a chair at the kitchen table as she cooked, lectured me, and always made sure to keep God at the center of our conversation. She possessed a presence that gave warmth. It was her mild tempered, soft-spoken voice that held my attention, but ultimately it was her smile and tender hugs that assured me that I was worthy of being loved.

As a family. I can remember good times, dancing, laughing and enjoying each other’s presence. Many of those moments of peace would be short-lived. There was always that one member of the family who indulged in one too many drinks and ended up causing a scene. There were times when I could sense something was troubling her. She would be lost in thought as she rocked back and forth humming to herself. She would call out to me “lil-man” and just like that I would come running. As I became enveloped in her warm embrace, it always seemed all of my problems and cares would vanish. I often told her how much I loved her and how she was the greatest Granny in the world.

She taught me important life lessons through her actions. I watched how she would tend to her garden. I saw how she would plant just the right amount of seeds, perfectly spread them apart and add fresh soil. But most importantly, I saw the amount of care and patience required to make the garden bloom. I truly got my strength from watching her. She was the rock and foundation of the family. I never saw her cry until one day when she seemed to be in extreme pain and distress, crying out to God. This trapped me in a mix of emotions. She was experiencing emotional anguish because her daughter had succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver. She had to be the one to make the decision to pull the plug on her child. That would be the first time that I really experienced the effects a person’s death would have on a loved one.

God has a way of putting people in our lives, whether it is for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Whatever His purpose is for unifying people is beyond our comprehension, but one thing is for certain: there is no dollar amount that can be placed on memories made with a loved one. Even if it was not spent doing anything but spending life together. Not having my grandmother to lean on for strength is painful.

I often find myself lost in thought, replaying scenes and feeling joyful. Being in my grandmother’s room where she spent her final moments overwhelms me. I know she is listening and watching over me, as my guardian angel. I just have one request, Granny…. smile for me!

I’ve learned to come to terms that death is always going to be a part of life, and to be grateful for special moments. I’ll meditate and talk to my grandmother, telling her how everyone is doing and how we all miss her dearly. Oh what I wouldn’t give to just see her again.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is in order to gain peace we must forgive, let go and let God deal with those we feel have wronged. There have been times when I thought that God had forgotten me due to my situation, but by staying faithful to Him during my journey in prison, several people have appeared in my life and filled the void of emptiness.

Not long ago, we all suffered the loss of a true hero here at this facility, Nurse Pauline. If you knew her, you knew that she had a mother’s touch. She possessed the heart of a lioness, and the compassion to care. She touched so many lives. Sometimes it’s not easy trying to make sense of why we sometimes lose the ones who are the closest to us. I want you to take a brief moment and reflect on a time when you may have experienced a sudden gust of wind hit you, a soft touch on the shoulder, or something lightly brush against you…or perhaps you just sensed the energy of something in your presence when you were alone that gave you comfort. Whatever the case may have been, one thing is for sure…

You were touched by an angel….

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