What is a miracle?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 16, 2013

I was just reading an article about a young girl who was thought to be dying of pneumonia and outside of her hospital room, a security camera caught the unmistakable image of an angel. Some would call it a miracle, others, an illusion but it started me thinking about…what is a miracle? Must it be an ethereal visitation or can it be simply the gift of a look and words from a beloved face that you thought you would never see again?

Three days before my Mama died, she was once more back in the hospital for the procedure to have her throat stretched. She could barely swallow water, breathing was difficult and the lack of oxygen was making her drowsy all the time. At 5:30 a.m. I arrived back at the hospital, so I could be with her when she went back to the operating room. They came early to give her the pre-meds, which made her even more woozy. Mama had not spoken since I arrived. The nurse came in and told us that Mama’s procedure was being moved up and they would be coming to get her in just a few minutes.

I was trying to get Daddy on the cell phone to tell him to hurry because Mama always wanted him there when she had anything done, but I couldn’t get the call to complete. Then to my amazement, I heard my mama’s voice. Not mumbling or incoherent, I heard her say my name. I turned, lying there, Mama was looking at me, clear-eyed, her voice perfectly normal…I looked into her eyes and she was there.


“Where is your Daddy?”

“He is on his way, they are starting much earlier than we thought.”

” I want you to tell your daddy something for me.”

The way she said it, made my heart skip a beat. In single moment of icy clear clarity, I knew, I KNEW, she did not believe she would see him again.

“Mama, he will be here when you come out and you can tell him then.”

I was almost babbling, I was so frightened.

She fixed those brown eyes on me and in a voice that had commanded obedience since as long as I can remember, said, “Marsha Josephine..I want you to tell your daddy something for me.”

“…Yes, Mama.”

She then gave me a message, that in its simplicity, summed up over 50 something years of marriage between two people that had been through so much together and her love. I do not share those words here because they were for Daddy alone.

I reached down and took her hand, she kept looking at me, her eyes clear, young and…at peace.

I leaned down and kissed her forehead,” I love you, Mama.”

“I love you, too.”

I straightened up, and her eyes were closed, as the medicine put her to sleep.

Mama did make it through the procedure but died in less than three days. I never heard her speak again.

I may never personally see a miracle again, but on that cold early morning, I saw a woman who supposedly could not get enough breath in to think straight, much less talk, speak with the clear voice of her youth.

I consider myself blessed beyond measure.

I guess miracles are all a matter of perspective.

Marsha Phillips