On September 8th, Albert was taken to the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital. The past twenty days have been an unimaginable nightmare, but we are all at peace now. I want to share an experience that plays over and over in my mind.
On the 27th I was sitting in an area that connects two buildings. Floor-to-ceiling glass was on both sides of the skywalk. Twenty or more chairs were lined up on one side, all facing the skyline. I sat on the fourth from the right chair with my phone plastered to my ear, talking to Robbie in Kansas City, while watching a storm move toward me. I remember thinking it was so like the bank of fog I once watched in Galveston. It seemed like the hand of God was pushing it out to sea, and this bank of clouds with dense rain was being pushed toward me.
Robbie and I talked for quite a while, remembering the past. He told funny and sad stories about him and Uncle Al. We cried and laughed and cried again.
A young, tall man, with a mass of braids piled on top of his head, nodded to me and sat down on the end chair that was turned toward me. I remember moving my head slightly so I could see him within my peripheral view. With over fifteen chairs to my left, it was just odd to sit so close to someone that was visibly upset. He nodded slightly when I glanced toward him. As close as he was, I didn’t feel like my space had been violated. I somehow felt warmer, or safer, and I continued my conversation with Robbie for another fifteen minutes without any more consideration of the tall, handsome man dressed in maroon-colored scrubs that the transport people wear.
When we finally finished our conversation, I stood with tears in my eyes and nodded to the stranger. He didn’t stand or straighten up. He simply raised his chin and crinkled his eyes in concern, then asked if I had troubles. I choked out “Yes, my husband isn’t expected to live.” His smile and the kindness in his eyes were heartwarming as he nodded confidently and replied, “You’ll be okay.”
It wasn’t at all what I expected to hear, and although it took my breath away and left me speechless, it strengthened me to the core. I knew in that moment I could handle whatever came my way.
Al’s three sisters were in his room waiting for me to return. When I told them of the odd experience, Carolyn stammered through tears of her own that angels walk among us and I had just met one. She was right. I will forever believe that. I’ve tried to rationalize what happened, that he was just a caring employee of the hospital, but in my heart, I know better.
My husband of 11 years passed peacefully the following day. Albert M. Cowen was 79 years old.
I will miss you forever Snow Eagle.