An Ode to Angelic Women

Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to reconnect with the things in life that have brought me joy, peace, and comfort. Angelic women — or women in general — is one of them.

These women are “angelic” because, at various times in my life, they’ve arrived unexpectedly and uplifted me through radiant compassion and kindness — particularly in times of need.

The Nurse

While I was hospitalized a year ago, I encountered several angelic women. The first one was a nurse — one of many — who was assigned to me for several night shifts.

Almost all the nursing staff were friendly, but this woman showed a deeper warmth. Aside from asking how I was doing, she’d provide me with additional ways to ease my discomfort: “If you elevate your feet, it should help with the swelling” and “would you like more pillows?” Her job only required her to dispense medicine, not tailored advice or friendly conversation — and yet she did anyway.

There were few moments of joy during my stay in that wing, but she was one of them. Whenever she reappeared, I found myself breaking into a smile, overjoyed. “Oh hey, it’s you,” I would exclaim. “You’re back!” She was masked, so I never saw her entire face. But it didn’t matter: Whenever I saw her, I knew I was in the presence of beauty.

Yet, it’s important to note that she wasn’t classically, angelically picturesque. I didn’t know her well, but there was a softness or flatness to her voice — as if she was fighting back the tides of some emotional and/or physical exhaustion. From what I can gather, the nursing staff worked long hours, darting from patient to patient like frenzied honeybees and stymying their perpetual tiredness with caffeine. It’s possible that she, too, was weary. I’ll never know for sure. But if anything, her ability to channel such compassion amidst presumed exhaustion only makes her more special, more angelic.

The Doctor

The second angelic woman I met during my hospital stay was one of the doctors responsible for saving my life.

As a trauma surgeon, she was among the first to treat and stabilize my injuries. And weeks after operating on me, she visited me — seemingly voluntarily — while I was recovering in the non-emergency wing.

Even though she was masked, I’ll never forget the warmth of her eyes or her voice. With a radiant, compassionate aura, she told me point-blank that I would have a very good quality of life. It was an audacious statement, but it likely stemmed from her confidence in her and her coworkers’ work than blind, baseless optimism. And from a functional healing perspective, she wasn’t wrong: It’s been almost a year, and my quality of life is great. It’s not great from an existential perspective — but bone plates and sutures can only fix so much.

The Case Manager

The third woman is the medical professional I’ve easily spent the most time with — probably a dozen hours by now. I’m provincially obligated to speak with her, but I won’t pretend I don’t enjoy aspects of our time together.

As a mental health clinician, she prioritizes emotional wellbeing. This means we often talk about feelings and how to navigate the emotional world: Planning to feel better, changing thinking to feel better, and these sorts of things.

She’s well-intentioned and well-informed, but we don’t always see eye-to-eye: She’s more emotionally driven (tact over truth, feelings over logic) while I’m more thought driven (truth over tact, logic over feelings). Occasionally, it seems that disparity frustrates her. All she wants to do is help, and that communication gap complicates her efforts.

But if it does frustrate her, she hardly shows it: In spite of these challenges, all I see is seemingly boundless, genuine compassion and concern. And that, to me, is angelic.

My Ex-Partner

Finally, there’s my ex-partner: The woman who knows me better than anyone in the world — although it’s possible that forming that understanding has brought her more pain than pleasure.

Obviously, of all the women on this list, I had the deepest and most candid relationship with her. Such a level of familiarity and vulnerability doesn’t usually lend itself to appearing angelic in the “otherworldly” sense. But when I reflect on our relationship as a whole rather than the tumultuous bits and pieces of yesteryear, “angelic” feels fitting.

Before I met my partner, I met a girl who was strikingly similar: Short-statured, but outspoken; Masculine and occasionally imposing, but unmistakably beautiful; And full of sardonic wit, but good-natured and compassionate beneath it all. Within minutes of meeting her, I knew that I liked her. I also knew that if I ever met another woman like her, I’d have to seize the opportunity to date her.

A year or so later, I met a woman like her — my ex-partner — and she asked me out. While I don’t believe in god or greater cosmic significance, I try to take hints when I get them. I took the hint, and we were together for almost seven years.

Things didn’t work out. But I’ll always admire her courage and bravery in the face of everything I put her through. Few women are as loyal, as dedicated — and it was that purity of heart that made her angelic. Ultimately, someone else is far more deserving of it. But if you’re reading this, Lilli, I’ll always love you.

Photo by Tomas Trajan on Unsplash

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