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  • Garry Gooding

My Angel Story

My novel Fresh Snow on Bedford Falls tells the after story of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. One common element between these two fictions is the role of angels. For some, the role of an angel immediately labels both works as fantasies. For others, an angel in the storyline is an entertaining reminder of a divine connection with God.

The angels in both the movie and my book take on more tangible forms and critical roles than most people ever experience firsthand. Real encounters with angels defy earthly explanation—I know because I had one of those experiences myself.

In the year 2000, I lost my wife to breast cancer. She died peacefully at home on a Sunday morning. The next 24 hours were hectic and filled with incredible sadness and grief. Monday morning, while my late wife’s best friend consoled my two stepdaughters, I wandered the house, feeling lost and alone. To break the malaise, I began calling friends who had not yet been informed.

That’s when something angelic happened.

As I dialed the phone there was static on the line followed by the sound of voices. It took a moment, but soon I recognized the source. It was characters from a soap opera of the time. All My Children was my late wife’s favorite show. She had faithfully followed the program for over 20 years. It came on at noon. The clock on the table next to me read just past 12.

There were three TV’s in the house at the time – one each in our bedroom, family room, and living room. I knew the first two were off. Confused, I started to hang up. Then, I heard the voice of Susan Lucci, in her role of Erica Kane. Her words came clear, cutting through time and distance, as if she was talking just to me. She said, “Don’t worry, it will be fine.”

I put the phone down and headed to the living room and found that television off as well. Yet somehow my telephone broadcast this timely message. No one could provide a logical explanation for what happened. Whenever I think of that moment, the impact of the message – don’t worry, it will be fine – still resonates. I don’t believe it was Susan Lucci speaking that day. It was an angel delivering a message from my wife. A message of hope and encouragement. How comforting that miraculous message is for me to this day.

So, isn’t hard for me to accept the angel Clarence from It’s a Wonderful Life, and it wasn’t hard to write about an angel in my book, Fresh Snow on Bedford Falls.

Here’s to lots of angels getting their wings.


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