The Christmas Visitor

When my parents divorced, it was decided that they would rotate the holidays.  If my sister and I spent Thanksgiving with our mother, we would spend Christmas with our father and visa-versa. The year I turned 12, we spent Christmas with our Dad. I was always excited to spend Christmas with him.  I only saw him on vacations as he lived in NY and my sister and I lived with our mother in Massachusetts.  My Dad was a big kid when it came to Christmas.  He and my step-mother always made the house look beautiful.  The tree lights burned brightly, including my favorite: old-fashioned bubble lights where the heat of the lights would make the liquid inside bubble-like water on the stove.  Somehow it made the tree seem alive.  Holly berry lights decorated the entrance from the living room into the dining room. A Christmas “town” was laid out under the tree, each little building emitting its own glow.

The days leading up to Christmas were spent making cookies, watching movies, playing games and if we could brave the cold, taking walks along the beach.

Depending on where Christmas fell during the week, we’d usually have a day or two in Long Island before Christmas day.  My step-mother’s birthday fell on the 23rd and I loved when we actually had the chance to celebrate with her in person. The days leading up to Christmas were spent making cookies, watching movies, playing games and if we could brave the cold, taking walks along the beach. Winter in Long Island had a completely different vibe from the summer.  It was extremely quiet.  Back then very few people lived in the community all year long. After Labor Day, what used to be a bustling community of families enjoying summer vacation, turned into a virtual ghost town. With most of the houses left empty, it was actually a bit eerie.

On Christmas Eve Day I could feel my breathing getting more and more shallow.  I had been living with asthma since I was about 8 years old, although at the time it was not properly diagnosed. The medicines I was given didn’t work and I coughed all night, every night.  When I caught colds it was even worse and was downright dangerous. I struggled to breathe and it was terrifying.

My parents, not really understanding the severity never took me to the hospital.  There were many times when I would silently scream “please, take me to the emergency room.” To this day I don’t know why I didn’t. I guess I didn’t want to be seen as causing drama.  I’m sure my mother thought I was trying to get attention and I remember her saying once, “you won’t die from it.”   She had no idea that this was not true and that in fact, children died from asthma attacks every year. I think this was her way of trying to calm me down and it actually worked to a point, because any time I was afraid I would die, I would think of that, and it would literally help me breathe a little easier.

By bedtime, I was wheezing badly. I remember being so upset because I didn’t want my Christmas ruined. Even more upsetting, I didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s Christmas.

My sister and I put on the new nightgowns our mother had bought for us and said our goodnights.  My Dad and step-mother took turns checking on me.  Even the cat, who I had “rescued” the previous summer by leaving a trail of bologna to entice her out from under a bush, came to sit with me.  It was clear to me that she was worried as well.  There’s something very comforting about having an animal display so much love.

At some point during the night, everyone went to bed. My sister slept soundly in the twin bed next to me.  I could hear my Dad snoring in the next room.  I was wide awake, struggling to get air into my lungs. Again, I wanted to go into my Dad’s room and have him call 9-1-1.  But I didn’t even have the energy to get up.  Then I thought about yelling but I couldn’t. Suddenly, an icy feeling of dread crept up my spine.  For the first time ever, I had a very real fear that I was going to die.  I was going to die on Christmas.

If you’ve ever had trouble breathing, then you know how scary it is. It induces feelings of panic that only exacerbates the problem. But the panic I felt at that moment was something that I can’t put into words.  I KNEW this was the end.  I started to feel faint and there was this feeling of letting go.  Suddenly I heard a woman’s voice in the direction of the bedroom door.  I looked up and saw a small figure glowing in the space between the door molding and the ceiling, maybe about 6 or 7 inches high. She looked familiar but I didn’t know why.  She was wearing a light blue robe and what looked to me like a white scarf, draped over her head.  She had long brown hair.  I couldn’t see the details of her face.

She was talking but I wasn’t catching what she was saying. I was afraid at first.  Was I dreaming?  Then I heard very clearly “Carol, you will be alright.  It’s not your time. I’m watching over you.”  Her words wrapped around me like a warm blanket and I could feel my breathing start to improve.  I squinted to get a better look at her. It was then that I recognized her.  It was Mother Mary! Or at least, she looked like all the images of Mother Mary I had seen throughout my 12 years.  I lay frozen in my bed as I watched her image slowly dissolve, just the way it looks in the movies, her words still with me.  Then she was gone. The room was dark again.  My sister was still sound asleep.  A little while later I fell asleep myself.

In the morning, my Dad came to check on me.  I was still not breathing well, but it was about 50% better than it had been during the night.  Even though I wasn’t back to normal, the fear of dying was gone.  I didn’t tell anyone what happened.  I didn’t think they’d believe me. I wasn’t even sure that what I had experienced was real.  But the words Mother Mary spoke stayed with me. Today I choose to believe the experience was real.  It’s still the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.


Carol Campos
Carol Campos
Like many, I struggled for years wondering what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I had been working in the corporate world for over 20 years, most recently in a leadership role with a Fortune 5 company. Although I was consistently recognized and promoted throughout my career, I somehow knew that I was meant to do something different. I felt stuck in a life that didn’t fit, yet I had created it. What was my purpose? I had no idea. Finally, I left my corporate job and made the leap into the unknown. After doing months of self-discovery work (actually, play!), reconnecting to my higher wisdom, and re-remembering who I was at my core, I realized I didn’t have to fix myself. I also realized that I didn’t have to worry about “finding my purpose.” What I found was that I’m multi-passionate and didn’t want to be boxed into one thing. I didn’t HAVE to be boxed into one thing. I started a podcast and a blog where I explored the human experience—including my own beautiful, messy, but perfect road. This blog later became my column on BizCatalyst 360°. I became a mentor and a wayshower for others. I became a consultant to help improve company culture and improve client relationships. These are things I couldn’t have imagined a few years ago. But as often is the case, the Universe had an even bigger plan for me than I had for myself. My Soul knew what I would be doing long before I did, and I’m grateful that I followed the Divine map that was laid out before me! I love traveling, exploring new cultures, being in nature, and helping people on their own paths. I hold a B.A. in Communications from Hofstra University. I live in Massachusetts with my rambunctious and hilarious cats, Petey, and Emmett.

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  1. Carol,

    As you know being part of my group, I absolutely believe this. Thank God, it was not your time and thank you for this amazing tale of resilience, the unexpected, and inexplicable. I have heard these stories before from others. I learn from clients, and one shared the following with me several years ago. I will paraphrase: For those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice. For those who do, one is not necessary.

    I am most behind. I know Dennis posted this in my group. Not only will I comment, but I will highlight it tomorrow in my Facebook Live.

    With a smile,


    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Darlene. I truly believe she’s always with me.
      I’m not very active on FB, but I so appreciate you sharing my essay.
      Merry Christmas,

  2. Dear Carol,

    This is such a moving account of your childhood experience and beyond. It proves that you were earmarked to be of help to others in the future. For Divinity knows no time barriers; from 2000 years in the past to the present day and visualizing the future. There is no such thing as coincidence.

    For example, I prayed again for my brother to email me or ‘phone. I have only seen him once in about 20 years. This morning I received an email from him where he opened up his heart. I have to admit to having tears in my eyes. Coincidence?

    Some people are worthy of a visitation to calm the heart and provide a gentle degree of optimism and ultimately a way forward and your way forward has has manifested itself into a reality. I have said this many times, Carol. You are a giver. You spread your acquired knowledge and life experience for the benefit of others and consequently you gain the feeling you are giving something back. This is a tangible aspect of your persona; plus you enjoy what you do, and that stands out like a beacon of welcome and empathy. To you the visitation was a reality and the reality is who you are now. God bless you Carol.

    Simon (

    • I completely agree, Simon–no such thing as coincidence! I am so, SO happy to know that your brother reached out to you. So special!
      I believe we are all worthy of a visitation and I think it happens most often when we are in a state of surrender. Thank you so much for the kind words. I’m so grateful for our friendship–almost 2 years and going strong! 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Paula. I truly believe she appeared “small” so as not to frighten me. My asthma has been under control since high school. In fact, now that I eat a more whole foods diet, it’s almost non-existent! 🙂

  3. Blessings Carol, without probing into your faith, but the mere mention of Our Blessed Mother, Mary allows me to share this with you. First, I do beleive you. I had a similar experience. You heard Her right and you are here today to share that experience. I have taken time throughout several years to study not only the Apartions of the Blessed Mother, but Her visiting, as you and I will say, She actually does and there is so much more. Thank you for sharing this. I have a confession, when I look through the posts shared by the writers on Bizcatlylist, I am attracted to the titles, and I was attracted to yours. Merry Christmas, God bless and may our Holy Mother’s Mantel remain over you.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words, Lynn. I don’t mind sharing about my religious background. Both my parents were raised Catholic, but once they were grown they didn’t go to church. But my maternal & paternal grandmothers made sure I made my First Communion, my Confirmation, etc. As an adult I drifted away from the church but retained my connection to Mother Mary and Jesus (and of course I’m a big believer in Angels and Guides). I’m so glad the title caught your attention. Merry Christmas to you as well!

  4. Thank you so much for the kind words, Randy. As you know, I’m definitely a believer–not religious per se-but I definitely believe in a Source, Force–whatever you want to call it. When I experienced this event, I didn’t know what to think. It was hard to wrap my head around it. Now, I feel that it was real. Either way, grateful to be here and to have friends like you.

  5. What a powerful story, Carol. Thank you so much for the gift of sharing it. And not just the thought-provoking way it wraps up, but all of the details before that, about your parents’ divorce and your asthma and your experience of Christmas. Whether the visit from Mother Mary was an external or internal phenomenon, it’s clear to say that it was most certainly “real” … if only because the outcome was real. I’m a bit of an agnostic and can even be a bit of a skeptic. But I have no patience for hardcore atheists and skeptics who feel the need to belittle people who believe in things that they find silly. Because I certainly don’t have the answers about what’s “real” or “not real” in this world. Only my own personal beliefs and theories. But I know positive outcomes when I see them. And the fact that we’re still graced with your company and insight and this wonderful story this many years later tells me that something very real and important happened that night.