. . . with angels . . .

My sister’s picture wrapped the entire computer screen as I downloaded it into this post. I sat and cried as I saw her beautiful . . . bigger than life.20191115_105838She had wasted to sixty pounds the last few weeks, barely resembling this happy picture. How much do I know of this sister who chose to live all of her adult life in New Mexico? Oh, we talked on the phone, but can you know someone’s heart with two calls a month?

This past week, I peeped into her life as her Bibles, pictures and writing notes spilled around me. Our daughter, Sherree, was with her the last days of life, and had packed Cindy’s past into boxes, shipping a part of her life we didn’t know back to Tennessee.

Cindy never boasted of her nursing accolades, but I know she was an excellent nurse.  After enjoying years of a medical career in major hospitals of Albuquerque, she retired and continued using her gift at schools, nursing homes and even in a prison. She had kept notes and drawings from third and fourth graders when she left the position of school nurse in 2004.

Dear Nurse Cindy, I am very sad that this is your last day. I really don’t want you to leave. I won’t like it without you. I will never forget the time my ribs got hurt and you helped me. I got sick once and you helped me. I won’t forget when you checked my ears. I wish you luck in your new job.   Your Friend, Kenyon

There are many similar notes from these sweet children.

I cradled the phone Cindy had only recently held until she could no longer respond to calls and texts. I returned each text and call to her neighbors and friends who had prayed these weeks for a peaceful passing. So many sweet replies to my texts, affirming a sister they know better than I.

“I think you are angels,” our daughter, Sherree, expressed to Cindy’s neighbors who had ministered and served Cindy daily since her prognosis of death given on September 4.  For eight weeks, they gave of themselves.


Two of Cindy’s neighbor angels, Bonnie on the left, Cher on the right with Sherree. Other angels neighbors include Diane, Dawn, Martha, Ari, Phyllis, Lenora. The Lord knows others I may have left off.

“Angels, we are not.” Bonnie told me. “We are doing what God wanted us to do, yes.”  Oh, that we all lived with angels near—or had neighbors with such a heart to obey His voice in ministering when and where needed. Cindy would tell me she was being blessed by those coming and going around her during the last weeks. I wish I had pictures of all of them.

Jesus was questioned once about the way to gain eternal life. Remember, he then asked the expert in religious matters what the Law required; he answered correctly . . .  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor  as yourself.”  Luke 10: 25-37

His answer affirmed he knew the right words, but the religious expert had no idea what a neighbor was. Jesus’ story reveals that a true neighbor is one who shows mercy to someone in need. As a nurse, Cindy had extended mercy all her life; in the end she was lovingly given love, mercy and kindness by those around her.

I want to remember Cindy as she is in this picture. I want to remember her years of service as she gave herself away to children and hurting adults. She was an angel to many as were those beautiful, caring women who were there for her.

This is how we are to live—and love—serving others in their pain, walking with them right to the door of death.

Are you an angel? Do you have angel neighbors? I like to think of the verse in Psalm 91 that says, “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. . .” verse 11, as a promise that the Lord’s angels are watching, protecting, ministering over me. I am taking it out of context, but it reminds me that we need angels. Who knows, they just may be our friends and neighbors.

Yes, divorce and abuse fragmented our family.  Thankfully, Cindy found purpose, friends, and angels in New Mexico . . . a long way from Tennessee.

I wanted this blog to honor Cindy in some small way, and to give immeasurably gratitude to the friends and neighbors who loved her and ministered to her needs. . . to the last . . .


Cindy’s Bible study group-Cindy is seated  left

About oct17

The little girl in me loves bird watching, butterflies, sunrises, sunsets, walks in the rain; the adult I am enjoys the same. I sense God's awesomeness in all of life--what wonder there is in slicing a leek or cutting open a pomegranate. I have many favorite things--a formation of Canadian geese flying overhead, the giggles of my grand daughters, the first ripe watermelon in summer, snowflakes on my face--these gifts from my heavenly Father delight me continually.
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17 Responses to . . . with angels . . .

  1. Joan Hester says:

    So sorry for your loss. May God give you strength daily.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sheila says:

    My condolences, Barb, praise God for all the angels.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dorothy Scanlan says:

    Cindy was an angel herself. I am surprised how many people in our area knew her, I am newer to the area p. When she was struggling herself, she cared for others. Nursing was not just her profession, it was who she was. Cards of gratitude, little mementos, books and tapes were ways she used to encourage others. I’m really not sure we did her justice at the end but she was loved. She is missed by us. Her memory is dear to so many of us.
    Thank you for such a beautiful tribute to this beautiful lady.
    Dorothy Scanlan


  4. Amy Zotter says:

    My deepest condolences on your loss!
    It is very difficult to deal with the loss of loved ones that lived far away from us (I know), but the holy spirit the comforter help us to remember those precious times we had with them (as little as they may be) as gifts and make it easier to be comforted.

    May the lord reminds you of those moments and help you to be comforted, in Jesus Name!
    I’m thinking and praying for you and your family.

    Love always
    Amy (Vienna, Austria)


  5. Jan Pirtle says:

    Barb, the Good Lord gave you the answers you were seeking about your beloved sister. Her life in New Mexico was about service and love – attributes for which we all strive. When you see her again it will be forever.


  6. Robin Dillard says:

    I am so sorry for your loss, Barb. Great words and honor for your beautiful sister❤️


  7. Monty ChitKhin says:

    I remember Cindy from school and often wonder about her. My deep and sincere condolences to the family. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Sherry L. Peters says:

    Barb ,I’m so sorry for your loss .She sounds like a wonderful person ,much loved and appreciated by many ,,


  9. Sue Alsup says:

    My dear Barb, 💕💕 Is this today’s post? Did the angels really come for your “flesh & blood sister” today? Reading this post, I’m thinking so. If that is true, I wish I had “held you a bit tighter & a bit longer tonight” at Golden Gems…….I felt a ‘longing’ of sorts and said, “I wanted to see you”. I remain happy that we ‘embraced’ and shared a moment and you certainly have mine & Wallace’s sincere condolences, along with our love and sympathy, and prayers.🙏🙏🙏🙏 I look forward, with a renewed sense of encouragement for tomorrow, to share Jesus with others in your sister’s honor….. We love you and Bro. Tom,💕 Sue and Wallace

    Sent from my iPad



    • oct17 says:

      Thank you, Sue. Cindy is my flesh and blood sister, and she passed this life on October 31–3 weeks tomorrow. Your words are precious, and I am happy we had a hug time!!


  10. Glenda Ferguson says:

    So sorry for the loss of you sister. What a great tribute from you and all the others for the love, mercy and comfort she showed to all through her life. May God bring you great comfort at each remembrance of her knowing that one day we will be again with ALL our loved ones. She like you Barb are loved by so many because you are such a blessing to everyone wherever you go. I’m so glad God has let us know one another. Love my friend, Glenda


  11. Gerry Frazier says:

    Thank you, Barbara, for the beautiful story of your sister. She came full circle, didn’t she? From being an ” angel” to having ” angels”. I had just read the story of “angels” who ministered to a homeless lady in my Nextdoor blog. Oh, for more everywhere. Sorry for your loss.


  12. Nicole says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I just read it now. It’s amazing and encouraging how she lived her life. Sending you many hugs Barb


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