The Surprise Visit



Detroit/Wayne County Metropolitan Airport

Neighborhood: Uncategorized

Where do I begin? On Christmas Eve 1999, I was doing the usual stuff… Following my family’s long tradition of going from one home to the next, delivering Christmas presents and cookies, eating and eating some more, singing carols, and sharing midnight mass together downtown. This year, my brother needed a ride back to his in-laws, so we us drove him there.

At the last minute, a decision was made to go to my place for a quick restroom stop. As fate would have it, I elected to check my answering machine. A friend, who I had met in 1995 on a religious pilgrimage, had left a message. She had decided that she did not want to be home alone for Christmas, so she figured that I would open my home to her. What an unexpected surprise! Her message simply stated that she was scheduled to arrive at 11:15 p.m. She left an arrival time and flight number, but no airline information.

I was frantic! My sisters said to act like I never received the message, but I knew that I could not do that. I frantically called the airport, trying to determine what airline had a flight leaving from Miami and arriving at Detroit Metro Airport at the designated time.

After some time, I discovered the essential information and then drove to the airport. I live about 35 miles from the airport. It was very cold and snowy night, and the airport was a zoo! The plane was delayed about a half-hour. My dear friend was so excited when she saw me. She had one grocery bag with her belongings in it. She was like a kid in a candy store. Seeing her reaction made me happy. She has bad legs, so the airline loaned me a wheelchair to get her my car. She was so tired and frail. I turned on a Christmas tape, and she slept most of the way to my place –about an hour’s journey because of the snow.

When we arrived, she asked me to turn on EWTN (Mother Angelica’s station), to turn on my tree lights, and to let her sleep in my living room. She was too fatigued to go upstairs to the room I had ready for her, so I fixed her up on my pullout sofa. She talked about 20 minutes, mainly about how happy she was to be spending Christmas with me. After I told her about my sister’s traditional Christmas gathering, she fell fast asleep.

When I went downstairs to wake her up for 10 a.m. mass, she was laying on her back with her eyes open. Her face and hands were cold. I called 911, and the fire truck came almost immediately. The firemen pronounced her dead, and told me that she had been dead about four hours. The police came. Then, the men from the morgue came and removed her body. It was an unbelievable experience! My dear friend had died during the night of cardiac arrest. She was 78 years young. Thank God she died in a nice warm home, and not at home by herself.

Be kind to one another!

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