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The Late-Night Prompting That Came to One Man in a Hospital Waiting Room

After years of fighting one kind of illness after another, my wife finally met a doctor who diagnosed her with Cushing’s disease. We found out that she had a tumor growing in her brain and that the only hope for recovery was considered, at best, a long shot. She would have to undergo brain surgery, and, if she survived, she would be bedridden for at least a year.

This was devastating news, as my wife and I had recently adopted our eighth child, making ten children in all. And our newest baby, as were most of our other children, was handicapped.

We fasted and prayed to know what to do, and after a time it became clear that there really was no other option. The tumor would continue to grow if we did not try to stop it. Our family needed a mother, and I couldn’t bear the thought of losing my dearest friend, so we felt our best hope was to undergo this delicate surgery.

The day came, and amid many prayers from family and friends, a priesthood blessing, and fervent faith in our hearts, we entered the hospital. She told me that her first goal was simply to wake up in the recovery room—that is, to survive the surgery. If she even woke up after the surgery, there would be hope. As she was wheeled away, I prayed quietly for my wife to wake up in the recovery room, where I could hold her hand and help her through whatever awaited her.

I waited for hours. Night came. My wife, still breathing, was finally wheeled into the recovery room. I wanted to go to her, but hospital rules forbade visitors right after surgery. I went back to the waiting room, and as the hours passed and night deepened, I fell asleep on the couch.

Suddenly, something woke me. A strong feeling came over me that my wife needed me. Now! I quietly got up and walked down the hall. No one was in sight, and I simply opened the door to the recovery room and went in.

My wife lay there swathed in head bandages with many tubes and machines surrounding her. I placed her hand in mine, and her eyes opened.

“How did you know I needed you?” she whispered.

“I was sleeping deeply outside in the waiting room when, suddenly, I awoke and felt strongly that I needed to come to you.”

“I am in so much pain,” she whispered. “I have been pleading in prayer, Please send Doug to me. Hold my hand. Please, just hold my hand.”

We held hands, and I knew she was taking strength just from my being there beside her. Although she had been heavily medicated, this kind of brain surgery was very delicate, and they had probed deeply. The pain was still intense despite all the nurses were allowed to do. But as long as I could hold her hand, she could endure it. I stayed for about twenty minutes and then slipped away again, hoping the nurses wouldn’t notice.

I went back to the waiting room, and this time I dozed lightly. Suddenly, the feeling came again, and I quickly returned to my wife’s room. Her pain was worse. I stayed for as long as I dared and again slipped out.

This happened three more times during the night. Each time I went back to sleep, but when my wife needed me, I awoke immediately and went to her.

We knew Heavenly Father was blessing me in this way to help and sustain my wonderful companion during one of the longest and most pain-filled nights she would ever suffer through.

Slowly, my wife recovered from that surgery. More surgeries followed, and after more years of patient suffering, she finally began to heal. Every day we have together is a great blessing, and we continue to care for our large family with gratitude that her life was spared. We feel a special appreciation that the Lord opened the way for me to bring comfort to her that one terrible night. I know that Father in Heaven is there to help us through our darkest trials.

Lead image from Getty Images

Doug Marley works as a flight mechanic for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Seattle, Washington. He and his wife often take their large family camping, sailing, and kayaking.


For more touching, true stores, check out Angels Round About: True Stories of the Lord's Tender Mercies.

This engaging volume is a collection of true stories shared by Latter-day Saints who have experienced the Lord’s tender mercies in the midst of trying circumstances. The vignettes vary from accounts of heartfelt supplications answered to sweet whisperings of knowledge and comfort to kind understandings that bring hope and peace. Woven into each are profound lessons that demonstrate how, under the direction of the Father and the Son and through the power of the Holy Ghost, we can be protected, inspired, converted, healed, and taught. Together, these chapters beautifully confirm the glorious truth that there are, indeed, angels round about us.

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