An Angel Walks Among Us

You are looking at Veronica, a woman who was hired from an agency to be my 91-year-old aunt Betty’s home care assistant. If Veronica had had a job description it would have said that she was to show up 6 days a week, 8 hours a day and see that our aunt was cared for. And Veronica did that reliably for almost a year.

Not in the job description was a demand for love, affection and friendship. And yet Veronica offered those things, too. To know Veronica is to like her. Veronica, who only four years ago immigrated to the US from Kenya, has a charm and grace that make you feel like you’ve known her forever. And her voice and laughter are music.

I will also say that we have no doubt that Betty’s life was not only extended but enhanced by Veronica’s constant attention. They went shopping, they went out to eat and they played along with “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” on TV. Betty’s blood pressure dropped from astronomical to normal in the year that Veronica was caring for her. Toprol helps; but it’s hard to beat the healing power of love.

On the day Betty passed away, Veronica had a premonition that something was going to happen. Instead of going home at 5, she stayed until nine. She told us she would have stayed all night but Vicky, who worked with Betty on Sundays, agreed to take over. On any other night, Betty would have been alone. But on the night she died, Betty wasn’t. And at 2 am, when Veronica heard that Betty had passed away, Veronica came back to Betty’s house to be with her friend.

I just looked up “angel” in the dictionary and the first definition describes an angel as “a spiritual being . . . who acts as an agent or messenger of God.” Only God knows if that is true of Veronica. However, the second definition says that an angel is “a person of exemplary conduct or virtue.” And our family certainly knows that this is true of Veronica.

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