The Angels Were Waiting

July 24, 2016angel feather1

By Joy Ross Davis

I felt at first like I was dreaming. When I received the message from the International Women Writers Guild (IWWG) that they wanted me to be a presenter at their upcoming conference, I could hardly believe it. It isn’t often that a small-town Southern writer is asked to do such a thing, especially in Pennsylvania, far from my home in Alabama. I’d dreamed of this for three years, submitting several proposals in hopes of garnering a spot. And now, I was to be the presenter of two workshops at the IWWG conference at Muhlenberg College in Allentown!

Once I arrived, I felt that familiar sense of place, a college campus buzzing with activity. I walked around the Commons relishing memories of the campus in my hometown where I’d taught for many years. The first workshop went even better than I could have imagined. I shared a part of my life with those in attendance, and every day thereafter, we shared, we talked, we cried, we laughed, and we healed.

On my fourth night there, I was laughing with my roommates, all of us gathered in my room, when my phone rang.

“Mama,” the voice on the other end sobbed, “she’s dead, Mama. Rachael died.”

I thought I must be dreaming again. No, this couldn’t be true. Rachael, my son Matthew’s fiancée, was only thirty-six years old.

“Mama,” he struggled again amidst his sobs. “She’s dead. Rachael died tonight. Do you think she will go to Heaven?”

My heart broken and shock setting in, I remember very little about the rest of that night. But what I do remember is this: I dreamed that Rachael and I were standing on an immense, glimmering white sidewalk. I tried to pull her forward, but she resisted. I reached for her again, and she relaxed. We walked together up that shining white sidewalk. At the end of the sidewalk, a shimmering—almost blinding—white light glowed, and in the background, I thought I could see two immense white wings. Rachael looked over at me and I nodded. She stepped forward, off the sidewalk, and into the light.

I left the conference early to be with my family. And with that dream in my mind, now I could answer Matthew’s question.

“Yes, honey, she did go to Heaven, and the angels were waiting for her.”

In loving memory of Rachael Headrick, a young woman tortured by demons: a mother, a daughter, and a loving partner now safely home in the loving arms of angels.


Joy Ross Davis is of Irish descent and a student of the lore and magic found in the hills of Tennessee. After a twenty-five year career as a college English professor, she traveled to Ireland and worked as a writer and photographer, publishing numerous travel articles and photos for an Irish travel agency. She has been a contributing feature writer for a local newspaper and has published articles in Southern literary magazines. She lives in Alabama with her son and beloved dogs. She loves to speak at conferences, book club meetings, and events to share her connection with angels and the stories behind her books. To learn more click here.


On the 34th anniversary of our brother’s death.

Updated: August 8, 2017Mom's text on 30th anniv. of Larry's death


Mom’s early morning text four years ago jolted me awake. I pictured all five of us kids getting her message at the same time. Her words caused us to stop and remember and to never forget.  We lost our little brother, Larry Lynn Doran, thirty-four years ago today. He was driving home from fishing at Navajo Lake up in northern New Mexico when his ’67 powder blue Mustang left the road and changed our lives forever. We will never know why.

Larry was eleven days away from turning twenty-one. Our hope is that he didn’t suffer. He had a caring soul and a quiet sense of humor. Shy as a boy, he was just coming out of his shell and finding his way in the world. Seems like yesterday all six of us kids were together – cheaper by the half dozen – opening Christmas presents or fidgeting and teasing each other unmercifully in church.

Larry - Version 2At Dad’s funeral in May 2013, I heard lots of sniffles during the slideshow whenever Larry’s photo appeared. Although his physical presence has been gone from this earth for thirty-four years, I feel him sometimes late at night when the wind blows through the trees. Dad and Larry are together now, and our family takes comfort in that.