The Problem with Guardian Angels: A Very Short and Steep Comedy

Madelleine Elizabeth Fitzroy, my client, so to speak, died on May 12th, 2021. The obituary in the Seneca Falls newspaper was thin, but not inaccurate. “Madelleine E. Fitzroy (Sherman) died peacefully in her sleep on May 12th. She was pre-deceased 12 years by her husband Harold Mackinack “Mack” Fitzroy. They had two children, Phillip (Jenner) and Maureen (Johnson), and three grandchildren, Elizabeth, Benjamin and Dwyer. She loved to cook and enjoyed playing cards with her friend.”

That was published this morning, two days since she died.

She loved to cook and enjoyed playing cards with her friends (it should have been plural). Otherwise, that’s about it. I couldn’t have added too much more without delving into private matters. I know so much because I’m her guardian angel, and she was my “better half” as we quip up here sometimes, while waiting.

There wasn’t much else to do but wait, because she didn’t live a very dangerous life. Oh, I had to step in a few times, once when she got stung by bees, and then when she almost choked on a liverwurst sandwich while arguing with her husband. I also steered her away from courting Gene Abbott, although Mack Fitzroy wasn’t much better.

You call us guardian angels but I’m more like her reflection in a higher dimension, so our fates are tied. Tomorrow, on the third day since her bodily death — on what you call “judgement day”, but which we know as True Death — she’ll either rise like a feather or sink like a stone. But up or down my fate is tied to hers.

My job is to convince her to rid herself of all her attachments, because any extra weight will cause a soul to sink, and there are all kinds of rumors about what happens down there.

OK, I’m off to meet Maddy in the “flesh” so to speak. And I’ll write these notes as I go, hovering as it were above myself (and a little to the left), which is a skill reserved for those of us in this dimension, sorry.

There she is, already standing in line, holding the memory of her old suitcase.

Damn it, next to her are 4 or 5 elderly ladies and gents of a similar constitution, all yakkety-yakking away as if they were waiting for a bus to Vegas.

The other guardian angels already look frustrated

“… and so I said to her, ‘you think you’re the only one with troubles like that, I got a son in law who won’t even talk to me until I tap him on the head and say “what’s up, buddy?” and then he only says ‘nothin’’ and goes back to playing with his phone. It wasn’t like this when we were young”

“Excuse me, Maddy,” I interrupt.

“Oh, are you my escort? See, I got one now too, even more handsome than yours Lizzy.”

I’m rolling my eyes at the other “escorts”.

“Maddy, I need to explain what’s going to happen next.”

“I’m listening,” she says. “But let me show you a picture of my grandson.”

She shares the picture with the others in the group.

“Maddy, I need to talk to you about what’s happening here.”

“Sure, you seem like such a nice young man.”

“Well, I’m older than Methuselah, but thank you. So, you know you died, right?”

“That’s what everybody is saying, but I went to church almost every Sunday for years and this is what it gets me? Kind of burns my ass, excuse my French. All those rosaries for nothing.”

They start showing pictures again.

“Maddy, I need to help you prepare for what’s coming.”

“Ok, fine, what’s this all about?”

“Maddy, you’re approaching the moment of judgement. You need to prepare.”

“Oh, I’m not afraid of dying, my father used to say “just live for the moment, Maddy, because you never know what happens.”

“But you’re already dead, Maddy.”

“Well, if I’m dead then it’s already too late,” and she’s grinning past my shoulder at the old man just ahead and he’s trying to flirt with her. “But I know you’re trying to help. What can I do for you?”

“Thank you Maddy, you’re waiting in line for your turn to step off into an abyss. You can’t carry anything with you or you’ll be too heavy to rise towards heaven. Do you understand?”

“Message received loud and clear.”

But she’s not dropping her suitcase.

“You can’t take your suitcase either,” I say.

“Oh, it’s just some pictures,” she says. “I left all my good stuff behind already. I’m all set.”

“No,” I’m saying. “You can’t even bring any pictures.”

“OK, but speaking of heaven, look at this drawing of God my daughter did when she was only 12. She had a real talent, but then she met that boy.”

We’re not far from the end of the line now. Just ahead of us a writer is carrying an unfinished manuscript. I hear him pleading as he plunges — “but it’s about transcendence!”

“You can’t take any pictures,” I’m saying.

“Not even this one? I didn’t look too bad in a bathing suit till I had my second child.”

I watch the old man three places ahead of us approach the abyss. His guardian angel is yelling at him to drop the wrench. But it’s too late, they’re plunging.

Maddy is rummaging through her suitcase. “Oh, I forgot about this one”.

“Leave them all,” I’m yelling

“Oh, this is my father in the army, wasn’t he handsome?”

The lady two places ahead of us is trying to get a look at Maddy’s father, and her guardian angel is looking at me with horror as they plunge, while holding tightly to the mortgage of her old house, almost paid off.

Maddy leaves the suitcase on the ground and pulls out two pictures of her children. “These don’t weigh anything,” she said.

“Maddy that’s still too much weight!”

The flirting man ahead of us gives me a dirty look. “Your children are so bea….” But he plunges, holding tightly to a picture of a pony he had as a child.

“Maddy, it’s our turn, drop the pictures!”

Falling, falling, even though she did manage to drop the pictures at the last moment. But now I realize it was me that brought us down, holding Maddy too tightly.

8 thoughts on “The Problem with Guardian Angels: A Very Short and Steep Comedy

  1. 👍
    This reminds me of a story! After my Dad’s funeral, his second wife gave me a battered old suitcase. Full of his own precious memories and now mine.

    “Not much to show for A Life” she said, disparagingly, to the Living Proof 😊

    That’s the thing about Guardian Angels and feathers. They just seem to drift about. Light as air. What you might call “Travelling Light”.

    End of Story 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love it, thanks for sharing. Yes! GK Chesterton: “Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.” Thank you for realizing that despite my focus on “negative” forces, it’s only because I think we’re all on the verge of flight in some sense. If we can survive this bottleneck of stupidity. Talk soon.


  3. Yes 👆

    PS I thought after I posted about the old Cliff Richard Song Travelling Light and came across Leonard Cohen (😍) as well and this one (Neither of which I’d heard before):

    It caught my eye because:
    1. Our family name is Groves
    2. Our family home was by the riverside (River Thames)
    3. It was my 65th birthday yesterday.
    4. I was sharing about him yesterday with a friend who is grieving over a dying Friend.

    Not that I believe in coincidences or any of that stuff 😂 Just off to find a white feather in the garden 🤣

    Catch you soon

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Think of the guardian angel as our own voice in our head who thinks he is superior and protective of his “self.” We work on ourselves as if we were above us. But in the end we discover to our shock that the voice, the guardian within us, was holding too tight to its image and can’t rise above the morass of life.
    This is what k meant by “the thinker is the thought.” It’s a reminder that the voice is not real.

    Liked by 1 person

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