From the Flight Deck

I prayed on the way to pick up my lunch date,

Please God, give me the emotional strength to wheel her in a wheelchair.


I arrived at her house.  Lasso-ing her 40-foot in-home oxygen line, she looked beautiful as she secured herself to the portable oxygen machine. Her hair looked freshly fixed and her makeup impeccable.

She gathered her supplies.

1 portable oxygen tank

1 car power adaptor for the oxygen

1 extra battery for the oxygen tank

1 long cord for the oxygen tank

1 handicap parking placard

1 bottle of water

And her purse.

Without mentioning her newly rented wheelchair, she said, let’s go.

The captain had spoken.

I didn’t question her, and we took off – wheelchair-less.

We drove to the first restaurant, and I pulled my car up to the valet, so she’d have a short walk into the courtyard to sit. An easel holding a sign, Closed Until 4 saved us from the rigamarole of car-exiting and restaurant-entering. We discussed other lunch place options and quickly decided, Lon’s, a hotel restaurant with a patio to enjoy the day’s sunshine.

I drove a few minutes in the direction from which we’d just come and pulled into the hotel’s parking lot.  The valet, busy with other customers, didn’t help us, so we sat in a holding pattern, watching and waiting.  We didn’t want to exit without knowing we had an easy way to enter.

I parked and exited my car, but left the car running – we were dependent on the car to power the cord charging her portable oxygen tank. I approached the valet, questioning if they were open.  He asked, hotel or restaurant?

Restaurant, but we need effortless access -the shortest distance to the outdoor seating. The valet pointed toward the valet parking lot and directed us: Go in there, park your car and take the side entrance to the restaurant.

So that’s what we did.

We gathered all of her belongings, and we walked side/side, slowly into the patio area, about 10 feet. Out of breath, she looked at me with the look I’ve become so familiar – that’s all I’ve got.

I told her to sit down in the nearest seat, and I left her to check-in.  Finding the hostess, I asked if it was ok for us to sit at the table where my friend sat. The hostess said,

Of course –

The valet called ahead and told us that you were arriving.

Sit wherever you’d like.

The hostess led me out to the patio where my friend sat and gave us two menus.

The crew looked out for us.

We ate lunch while the mesquite tree overhead sprinkled its leaves on our table.  She blew her nose, she coughed, and she checked her oxygen.

She requested a to-go box for her leftovers, and we sat in silence. We both surveyed the beauty that surrounded us. The sun began to shine over the top of our table’s umbrella, illuminating her face and making her eyes twinkle.

She said to me,

“Know that I plan to visit you when I’m gone, a lot.”

“I know you will. That’s why I’m creating our place where you will visit.”


An eternal gift, from the flight deck, announcing she’s at ease making her final approach,

and I need not worry.

I can rest assured, she’ll be using her wings with no need for pre-board, and most definitely, be wheelchair-less with wheels-up in the garden that I’m preparing for her landings and take-offs.



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Good Hands

While walking on a treadmill at a gym in January 2015, Julie Jo Jamison Jones (J⁴) lost the feeling in her foot. Two days later, after symptoms persisted, she checked herself into Barrows Neurological Institute.

J⁴ called me from the hospital, “ come here now.”

J⁴ had a brain tumor, and according to the neurologists, the tumor metastasized from cancer in her lung. The diagnosis – stage IV lung cancer.

The following April, my daughter and I set out on a long-anticipated 5-week trip to South America to celebrate my daughter’s college graduation. I felt terrible leaving J⁴ who I’d promised to be by her side during cancer treatment.

My daughter and I contemplated how we could include  J⁴ in our travels.  I asked my mother if she had any ideas.

Two days before our departure, at 11 PM, my mother called with an idea. 

Years before, my mother had purchased colorful wooden angels from an artist at a Chautauqua art fair.  My mother suggested we contact the artist and see if we could order the angels for our trip.

I phoned the artist, Cheryl, owner of Louise’s Daughter.

Last minute, but it was worth a try.

Cheryl answered my call from the other side of the country while she grocery shopped.  I asked if I could purchase 60 angels and if the angels could arrive by the following evening. Unable to guarantee, Cheryl assured me she’d try.

The next night, on the eve of our departure, the angels arrived.

And what’s followed, has been miraculous. 

The angels, now known as J⁴ Angels, are spreading across the world. Handcrafted by Louise’s Daughter, the J⁴ Angels arrive at our hands via a FedEx package, and as life happens, find their way into the hands of warm-hearted, supportive, and deserving people.

Together, we’ve become a choir – 

A choir of angels sent out into our world one person at a time, lifting each other to a higher ground and rejoicing with gratitude for all that’s good.

When a J⁴ Angel makes it into your hands, please know that someone somewhere sees the Light in you. You are a beacon of hope.

In the name of eternal friendship, you, too, are a messenger in our growing circle of kindness and support.

Hopefully, your J⁴ Angel will remind you to rejoice –

For you are in Good Hands and good company!