To our loving and caring TCC Family from Bob and Carol Sturtevant

We cannot thank you enough for your outpouring of prayers, love, and concern following my surgery and the news of the loss of our youngest daughter, Sheryl.  Your cards and notes have been so warm, caring, compassionate and respectful of the privacy that we needed during this difficult time.

At this time I would like to share my experience with my “Angel of Mercy”.   There is no doubt in my mind that God sent her to me to help us through this painful and difficult time.   The last 5 years have been a very difficult journey with our daughter.   Though this journey is over physically, emotionally it will take a good deal of time.   Sheryl relocated to AZ 16 months ago in hopes of finding a better life.  In doing so she left her 15 yr old son behind with his dad with the hopes of being reunited when she was in a better place.  Recently, she realized that her problems just followed her and this could not realistically happen.  At that low point, she made the decision to end her pain and suffering having given up hope for better days ahead.

Dec. 26th:  Early in the morning, when I was between sleep and wakefulness the words—“Angel of Mercy” kept going through my mind over and over again.  It was so persistent that when I got up the first thing I did was go on line to see what I could find about “Angel of Mercy” in Phoenix, AZ.
I immediately called my sister who had been unable to reach Sheryl for several days and who had been our liaison during the last few years when I had to “Let Go and Let God” for my own mental health.  She had just called the manager of the place Sheryl had been living for the last 2-3 months to demand that someone check on her.  There  had not been any response to her texts or calls and my sister was very concerned for Sheryl’s safety due to medical and mental health issues.    Also at my request, my sister called the Angel of Mercy number that I found on line hoping that someone could help.   Hanna Murray said she would find out what she could and call me directly.   Not long after, my sister received the call from the manager that Sheryl had passed and the police had been notified.  I was devastated that she was alone with her little dog, Pepper, at her side.

I still did not understand why I received the early morning message: “Angel of Mercy”.   However, Ginny D was here checking on my medical situation and she had a different perspective of that term.  1st she said, you must know that Sheryl was never alone as God is with each of his children at all times and 2nd she firmly believed that the “Angel of Mercy” was for me and not for Sheryl as she was beyond the need for help, but I was not.

During the next few days, I learned that God had sent me this “Angel of Mercy” named Hanna who called me and told me things that were important in my daughter’s situation.   I said to her you are truly my “angel of mercy” and I knew that God had connected us for a purpose.

As of now, the two major things that weighed so heavily on my mind that I could not do from afar have been accomplished.   Though the 1st task was most difficult, it is done as Hanna, filled with compassion and God’s love, with the help of a police escort and a friend has Sheryl’s personal belongings and is getting them ready to be transported to us.  She had also found a loving home for Pepper and Pepper is no longer caged at the Humane Society.   Pepper actually ran to the family who came to adopt her and licked their faces as if she had already been part of the family.   Our daughter is smiling from afar knowing that her constant companion of 9 yrs is in a home that will love and cherish her as she did.

There is no doubt in my mind that God has been working here and though we do not know his full plan I do feel that someday his purpose will be made known.   Many of you have asked, “What can I do?”   This is what makes the most sense to help in our situation.  Bob & I have chosen “Angel of Mercy, Shelter of Hope (Hanna’s budding organization for victims of domestic violence)” as the place for donations in memory of our daughter, Sheryl Spencer.  Please visit the website: www.angelofmercyshelter.org  to better understand what our “Angel of Mercy” is working toward after having survived a violent domestic act against herself.  It is her life’s journey to help others and we plan to support her in this journey even though Sheryl was not a victim of domestic violence.   No one else could have accomplished what she has done for us in such a loving and caring way.   She worked tirelessly to do what was needed to reduce our burden and heartache from afar.   If this organization is not your choice and you feel strongly about donating in some way, we would suggest either LTLC or Place of Promise, two local and TCC supported agencies.

Do you believe in Angels or Divine Intervention?  Perhaps something happened to you at an unexpected moment of your life.   I have had unexpected experiences at different times in my life, but nothing as powerful as what happened to me a little over a year ago.

My home is in New England far from Phoenix, Arizona—a place I have never visited.  Our estranged daughter relocated there with the help of an old friend about 3 years ago.  She had been a New Hampshire resident raising her son as a single mom for about 11 years.  Unfortunately in less than 2 years her life fell apart, due to poor choices and other issues.  She lost her job, her home, her car and most importantly custody of her son.   She moved from place to place seeking financial and medical assistance.  My husband and I, as well as other friends and family helped for a time, but she had her own ideas about what she wanted or needed.   Resources and other suggestions were rejected.   Her friend from the Phoenix area helped her find a place to live and assisted with the move and transportation.  Also, my sister from FL kept in touch with her when we could not and provided assistance when she felt it was necessary.

Her father and I had hoped and prayed she would seek the help and treatment she needed to improve her life.  It saddened us watching her make the same poor decisions over and over again  From what we understand, she did find some medical help and made some new acquaintances, but nothing seemed to last.  Although she did receive SSDI, she was discouraged and angry that she could not get all of the financial and medical assistance she felt that she was entitled to receive due to her physical & mental disabilities.  Her old patterns continued, but she could not see that she herself needed to change, or the need for long term medical and mental health treatment.

According to my sister, her life pattern, living quarters and health continued to deteriorate in the late fall of 2014.  She desperately wanted to return to the east and her son, but it was difficult to find housing.  My sister had offered to help find living quarters near her in FL after the holidays.   At this time, I just had a cancer diagnosis and was scheduled for major surgery just prior to Christmas.  Emotionally I could not be in direct conversation with my daughter, but my sister kept her informed and she was pleased that my surgery had gone well.

The day after I returned home from the hospital, my sister called to tell me that our daughter was talking suicide.  This had happened before several times, but never was acted upon.  She had attempted once while in NH and stated she would never again frighten her son in that way.  My sister felt this time it sounded more serious.   However, there was nothing I could do from afar except call the crisis center in the area where she lived.  When my sister explained to her what I would and could do, she screamed, “What good would that do!” and hung up the phone.  My sister felt she, too, had to let it go and trust she would rethink the consequences of her action and what it would do to her son.

The next day my sister called our daughter and left a message to please call immediately, as she was very concerned.   The following day, she called again with no response and therefore contacted the manager of the extended stay residence and asked for someone to check on her.  My sister was told that it was against policy to intrude.  The next day was Christmas Day and my sister had not heard anything.  She was, by this time extremely concerned about her niece and attempted another call with no response.  By early the next morning, December 26th , she was frantic and demanded the manager check on her.  She stated that she would involve the police if no one would at least check on her or verify that she had been seen in the last 2 days.  The manager finally agreed to send someone up and would return a call to my sister.

That same morning, I awoke with clear words swirling in my head as if someone next to me was whispering them over and over in my ear—“Angel of Mercy, Angel of Mercy” again and again.   I sat up fully awake but the words kept repeating over and over again—“Angel of Mercy, Angel of Mercy.”  The message was so strong that I did something out of the ordinary for me– and immediately booted my computer to search the meaning of these words.   With no word from my sister and concern for our daughter, my instinct was to type in those two words Angel of Mercy with Phoenix, AZ.  I discovered two websites with similar wording and one included a phone number.  I had no idea what it might mean at that time, but jotted down the contact number.  Less than five minutes later, my sister called me and explained her concern and her demand to the manager.   I told her about the words in my head and my research and asked her to call the phone number I wrote down.  We knew no one in the area but perhaps there was someone who could help or guide us to resources for assistance.

Awhile later, my sister called and said she had spoken to a woman named Hanna on the Angel of Mercy website.   Hanna was in the beginning stages of fundraising for a planned shelter for abused women.  She listened to my sister and said she would do what she could to get information for her.   Sometime later, a call came from a police detective describing what he had found in our daughter’s room and that it appeared our daughter had taken her own life.  He needed information from us and said there would be a complete investigation.   He also said her dog was present and seemed okay.  He said that the dog would be cared for at a local animal shelter.  He asked many questions and I answered the best I could before falling apart hardly taking in what I was told.  He said how sorry he was to bring this news and gave me his phone number in case I had further questions.  After the investigation he would be in contact.

Later, I talked to my sister thanking her for all she had done and tried to do.  Fortunately, she had her husband with her and I had my husband and a nurse friend who had come to check on me.  The rest of the day was a total blur.

The next day, I had a call from Hanna as she had heard the terrible news.  She was saddened by this situation and was sorry she was too late to be of assistance.  She gave me her home number and encouraged me to call if there was something she could do to help.

Several days later, we realized that we would need to get our daughter’s personal possessions out of the room and back here but there was no way I could travel that distance.  I knew in my heart even if I was well enough to travel, that I would be unable emotionally to step inside that room.  Nor could I imagine strangers going through and touching my daughter’s belongings.  I immediately thought of Hanna and called and explained my concern.  Being a mother herself, she fully understood my concern and would find a way to accomplish what was needed.  Little did I know at that time, what she had been through during her life as a young mother.  Hanna, my Angel of Mercy, did for me what no one else could have done.  I explained that clothing and daily living items were not important, but would want papers, documents, and anything she felt was personal. They could be put in our daughter’s suitcases and we would figure out a way to get them shipped home.  Hanna also had heard about our concern for our daughter’s small companion dog and offered to find a home for it as well.   Fortunately, she had a friend help & support her during a task that I cannot imagine.   She alone went through and sorted out what she as a mother would have packed had it been her own daughter.  Words could never express our gratitude.   What she accomplished for us was above and beyond and was something I could never have done myself even if I had family support.   She even found a home with children to adopt our daughter’s loyal and ever-present companion.  We later learned about the tragic situation in her life as a young mother—she is truly a survivor and her life experience has made her the strong and compassionate woman she is today.  Later, I learned more by reading the book she recently published titled “Live to Tell It”.   This book explains why she is fundraising to build a safe haven for women, their children and pets in abusive situations.   I recommend you read her book so you also can appreciate the reason for her compassionate care for others, especially those in need.  Hanna will always be “Our Angel of Mercy” and we know in our hearts that GOD had a part in this as well.  How else could this unknown person living so far away have become a part of our lives?