By Amaris Castillo
Not everyone believes in miracles. But too much has happened to Estelle Falardeau for her not to believe.
The Dracut resident said she has experienced several miracles in her 76 years of life.
When she was 17, for instance, Falardeau said she reluctantly rode with some friends in a car through a hilly area of Westford. She recalled having a premonition that something bad would happen. The driver of the vehicle was speeding and ended up crashing into a pole. Falardeau said she and the other passengers had to crawl out of the car's back window.
"A miracle is something strange that happens that is unbelievable, that you would never think would happen to you. Like me in that car crash," Falardeau said. "All of us should have been dead, and all of us survived."
There have been other miracles, Falardeau said. When she was 12, Falardeau said she was roughed by a group of boys who bullied her while on her newspaper delivery route in Lowell, and a stranger intervened and walked her home.
She said he knew her name. In 2003, a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital saved her life after she suffered a heart attack. Falardeau said another doctor before him told her nothing could be done for her.
These experiences have inspired Falardeau, who was raised Catholic, to seek others who claim to have also witnessed miracles. Last fall, the retired real-estate agent self-published "Angels Among Us," a book featuring a collection of miracles.
In "Angels Among Us," available on Amazon and Kindle, one miracle story centers on Pat, a woman whose husband, Peter, was found to have an inoperable brain tumor in 1985. The couple began to struggle financially. Peter wished for the best Christmas the family has ever had before he died, according to the story. A week before Christmas, two women knocked on the family's door and brought them gifts, and returned on Christmas Eve with a big basket of fruit and groceries -- what Pat will later call their "Christmas miracle." Peter died a few days later, on New Year's Eve, Falardeau wrote.
Falardeau said she is now working on her second miracle book and has collected 15 miracles so far.
"How can I not believe?. I'm just happy to see that so many people have gotten them," she said of miracles.
One of the miracles in her forthcoming book belongs to Paul Demers, a fellow Dracut resident whose family thought he would die after he suffered an aneurysm. Even after a priest administered the last rites, Demers said he later awoke from his coma-like state.
"When they did another CAT-scan, they saw that there was nothing there," he said.
Demers, 67, said he believes what he went through was a miracle.
"Other people need their stories to be believed," he says. "Miracles can happen."
Falardeau's daughter, Deborah Hammond, was present when the Massachusetts General Hospital doctor stepped in to help Falardeau 15 years ago. Hammond calls her mother a miracle. She said Falardeau's writings are inspirational.
"You don't have to believe in God," Hammond said. "You don't have to believe in a lot of things, but I think you just have to believe in something that's bigger than you. I think that these miracles happen for a reason -- so people can share them."
Follow Amaris Castilllo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.