Was the lovely young woman who seemed to float toward the altar at the memorial service for real, or had Hayesville just been touched by an angel? The mystery took months to solve.
The tiny town of Hayesville, North Carolina is a place where people make miracles happen. No, nobody is parting the red sea or making wine from water. But, for a town of under 400 people, Hayesville has seen a lot.
Meeting 'The Angel'
Hattie Sheehy has lived in the charming small town of Hayesville for nine years. She has seen kind acts, “too many to count,” like the time a stranger chased her down to let her know a hubcap fell off her car or the way the community comes together at Sunday night potlucks. But nothing got to her, or the town, the way “the angel” did after her husband’s death.
Jim Haines left his home on his motor scooter in January 2012, never to return. It was an accident on the nearby highway—nobody knows exactly what went wrong.
“The night of the accident, while Jim fought for his life at a trauma center, flown by helicopter to Memphis, there was a knock at the door,” Sheehy remembers. “In came Father John, our then beloved priest, who put his arms around me and said, simply, ‘Hattie, I love you.’”
At Jim’s funeral, the church filled with townspeople as “Be Still My Soul” was played on the organ. Then it went quiet. Down the center aisle, seeming to float, came a lovely young woman with long blonde hair. She climbed the two steps up toward the altar and turned to face the assembled.
She spoke: “I had to be here today; I cannot stay, my newborn is waiting at home. But all of you had to hear that Jim did not lay on that road alone. He was surrounded by caring strangers and it happened as if it had been ordained. Our car was not far back from the first car when everything came to a standstill. We saw a woman crying hard, standing at her car, the motor scooter had run right into it. No one knew why, maybe brakes. Jim lay there, very still. Cell phones came out. Then, quietly, about 20 people moved close and, taking the crying woman into us, we all formed a circle around him and clasped hands. We bowed our heads and someone began a prayer. Then another. We enclosed that poor man with love and prayer, not moving until the ambulance and sheriff’s car arrived. I feel like I was sent here today to let all you folks who knew and loved him know, that he was not there alone.”
“I was sent here today to let all you folks who knew and loved him know, that he was not there alone.”
And then she was gone.
After the funeral, desperate to know who the angel was, Hattie put a letter in the local paper, asked everyone she knew—and some she didn’t—who was that angel. Months later, at another funeral service, Hattie’s best friend sat in a pew, reaching for the hymnal at the same moment the woman next to her did. She looked, then gasped, “YOU’RE the Angel!” The woman’s name is Renee Bebe. “But for me,” says Hattie, “she will always be what she was and is: The Angel.”