Farewell to The Black Guy

I was blessed to have a few more encounters with my guardian angel, The Black Guy, before we moved to West Virginia in July…

In March, I met up with him as we walked our usual route at the park. He asked how I was feeling, and when I told him I was doing very well, he knowingly exclaimed, “I told you so!” Of course. My guardian angel knew I would be!

As we chatted, I kept thinking, “This is a holy, sacred moment. I need to pay attention.” He shared several stories that really touched my heart, as usual with his very colorful language. One was a modern-day parable of people who are too busy “waiting for the Lord” that they pay no attention when he comes to them. (“He DOES come- as the poor, the hungry, or as one who hopes to help a friend in need.”) Another was his idea that our heads are here for four reasons: to think; to let the sun shine on us when we’re feeling blessed; to also allow the rain to fall on us; and sometimes for birds to ‘s—‘ on us!

When he said that we are all here for a reason, I was finally able to tell him, “This sounds corny, but I consider you my guardian angel!” He readily agreed to what I was saying:

K: “You have yet to tell me your name-”

TBG: -“The Black Guy!”

K: “You show up at random times to bless me-”

TBG: “-like the time at Kroger- you didn’t expect to see me there!”

He humbly shared a brief summary of his time as an orphan. He was actually taken in by mobsters, who taught him ways to survive and who truly cared for him. “They’re better people than those suits on Wall Street!” he exclaimed. He showed me his gold chain and watch- treasured symbols, I believe, of his young life with this group, the feeling of being part of a family.

My heart was profoundly touched by his last story.  The Black Guy has PTSD from serving in the Viet Nam War. He had recently told his psychologist that all of those struggling with PTSD have faced death. Death was not the fear they carried, not the problem they faced. None of them are afraid of dying. They are afraid of living!

Eventually we went our separate ways, but when I returned to the spot where we had talked, I made the sign of the cross and thanked God for my guardian angel, The Black Guy.

In April, I ran into him again! This time, I told him that we would be moving to West Virginia to be near our daughter and her family. I thanked him for blessing me. He simply said, “Tell your daughter about The Black Guy.” I asked him how he was doing. I suspected that something was amiss, but he just shrugged and said he felt as if he was here “to bless others by taking on their pain.” He’s a selfless man, my guardian angel. As we parted, he said he wouldn’t say good bye, but “Vaya con Dios” (God go with you!)

Our final farewell was early in May. The Black Guy was wearing a scarf, and as we passed each other, he pointed to his head and said, “It’s coming back!” I learned later that he was referring to MY hair, but as I walked further I became concerned that he’d had a reccurence of his cancer. I turned back to check on him. He admitted that there were white blood cells in his urine but assured me that he wasn’t going to worry. “If I go, I go,” he said. I quietly replied, “Well, if you do, just know… ” He looked at me and repeated, “Be sure to tell your daughter about The Black Guy.” We nodded in silent recognition and understanding. That was the last I saw him. Vaya con dios, my friend.

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