My mom used to tell me that if I found a white feather it meant an angel was around, looking out for me. I didn’t believe her, even if I did think it was a neat idea, and as the days have passed, I’ve sure wished an angel could be here, with me as I fight cancer.
My oldest daughter paid for me to have a wig fitting. The two beauticians pulled a stocking over my scalp, and Mike helped me pick wigs we both thought would be cute. We all laughed and joked about a white bob. At one point I told them a story and said, “Well, I’m glad I finally found something worse than cancer. It’s THAT wig!”
But something happened halfway through the session. As if the music slowed to more foreboding melodies, I looked in the mirror, and the gravity of the situation hit me.
I look so much different than I did six months ago. How much worse might I look within the next year? The magnitude of stage 4 cancer falls on me in waves every once in a while. I never know when or where the sadness will hit. And as tears started to flood my eyes, I wished again that someone somewhere—even if it were an angel—could be looking out for me right now. But even if God is as real as ever, angels have begun to feel like the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, and as I continued looking in the mirror, I rushed to wipe away the tears before the beauticians or Mike could see.
I finally picked a wig, and the beauticians let me wear it home. The thing is a blonde number, hanging just to my shoulders. It is meant to make me feel fun and free, but as we pulled into our driveway, I felt fake...and sick.
The tears really came then. “What’s wrong?” Mike asked gently, parking the car. “What do you need? Are you nauseous again?”
“No. Today, I’m just scared.” It was a huge confession, something hard to even say out loud.
We stayed there, parked in the driveway. And as he held me, I gazed out the windshield.
Then, as if time had stopped, the strangest thing happened. When my fear was at the worst it’s ever been, a white shape started falling from the sky! I watched as it ebbed and flowed, barely swayed by the wind. Then the white feather landed on the windshield, resting RIGHT in front of me!
I immediately stopped crying. “Hang on,” I told Mike and hobbled out of the car.
The feather remained despite gusts of wind. So, I gingerly picked it up, almost cradling the thing, and brought it back into the car.
“My mom always says that when you find a white feather like this, it means an angel is watching out for you.” My voice caught on the words.
And as odd as it sounds, a strange peace folded through me, from the top of my head, down, through the rest of my being. A peace so thick that it has stayed...
After we’d walked into the house, I hung up my wig, stared into the mirror and touched my own sheered hair. As I placed the white feather in my keepsake box, I couldn’t help shaking my head. Maybe even when things are at their worst, when we feel like they won’t get better, someone, somewhere is looking out for us.
And now there’s hope.... I still don’t know what to “really” think about the feather. But maybe—even when I’m all by myself—I’m not fighting this alone after all.