Psalm 91:11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
Barb Oshman is an angel. I didn’t know it at the time, but from the first day we met, February 5, 2019, she has ministered to me. I’ve been intravenously fed liquid love by this angel.
Barb tagged along with her step daughter-in-law to visit me. The visit was a brief getting to know you time. When they left, I gave them each a bottle of wine for coming over to see me. I told them as they left, “Now ladies, no open bottles on the way home!” Barb said she’d be back. And it wasn’t even for another bottle! It was for me.
Her visits became longer. She cried with me over my health limitations and my dying father. My heart was breaking because I used to be a caretaker for my dad, and now, I am the one in need of being taken care of. I hadn’t seen dad in a month, and after expressing my lament, Barb said, “Well, what if I take you?”
It was an offer difficult to accept for many reasons:
1) No one but Mark knew all the details of how to get me down the wheelchair ramp and into the car.
2) The wheelchair is heavy and awkward to load into and out of the car.
3) My pain is unpredictable and we may have to turn around and leave at any moment.
4) The drive to the assisted living facility was 45 minutes.
5) It was unpredictable how many hours we’d be there, depending on his needs.
6) Lunch was uncertain – if we’d even have time to get any.
Barb agreed to all these things, picked me up, and she spent numerous hours helping me to be with my dad to help make the end of his life more comfortable. Barb made it easier on me by saying, “Now what day this week shall we plan for next. You let me know.” This was so much easier than me asking her for yet another favor after she had already outdone herself. She offered it. She offered herself.
The first time Barb met Dad, he was writhing and moaning in his sleep. We cleaned his room, waiting for him to awake. Eventually, I tried to awaken him, but he wasn’t coming to. An ambulance came to take him away.
Dad was close to death, and if Barb hadn’t taken me to see Dad that day, he would have died. The assisted living facility should have caught his blood sugar being that low – but they didn’t. God did, and he sent his angel Barb at just the right time on just the right day.
Twice a week, Barb picked me up to see and help dad at various hospitals, rehabilitation centers, his assisted living facility, and finally, at a 24-hour care facility.
Barb is Norwegian like me, and her father’s name also happened to be Roger. She adopted my dad, and Dad pseudo-adopted another daughter. He’s done this for close friends of his kids.
Barb stepped in as a daughter to Dad, and lovingly helped care for him. She’d fetch this and that, helped wash Dad’s encrusted eyes, cleaned his glasses, bought him diet coke, and held straws for him to sip. She moved furniture, cleaned his place, fed him, consoled me, brought him gifts, kissed his forehead, and spoke lovingly to him up until two days before he died. Dad lit up when he saw her, and he signed one of his drawings of Jesus and gave it to her as a gift of love and an expression of his appreciation.
The last meal dad ate, Barb fed to him. My sisters and I had a meeting with the hospice team, and Dad hadn’t eaten all day, again. And he couldn’t talk anymore. He could, however, understand, so we asked him yes or no questions, and he nodded a yes to chicken noodle soup.
While Barb fed him soup, she lovingly spoke to him and rubbed his bony back. He wanted ice cream, which was the norm. After the meeting, I met Dad and Barb in the dining hall and took over the spoon-feeding. Barb handed me napkin after napkin to catch dad’s dribbles as I spoon-fed him his last ever dish of ice cream. His favorite food.
Barb knew my dad for only a few months, but her love for him will last me a lifetime. This angel ministered to him, and me. Barb and her husband, Bob, came to his viewing and celebration of life and even financially helped my daughter fly home to be with the family and say good-bye to her grandpa.
God sends ministering angels to his people (Hebrews 1:14).
Hebrews 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
We usually don’t physically see angels, although the Bible states that some come to us recognizable as human beings (Hebrews 13:2).
Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
Barb continues to minister mercy, love, and care for me. She picks me up and helps carry me forward.
She has been my personal, “Good Samaritan.” She stopped to care for me instead of passing me by to move on with her own busy life. She let herself be inconvenienced. She took the time to love and care for Dad and me. To all of us, she is an example of a good neighbor.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered; “ ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”