Byrne can have a clear premonition relating to a person’s imminent death, but she says she would never reveal what she knows.
“I would never tell anyone because that person still has their life to live. If a person comes to me with cancer, for example, I would pray for a remission, and it would be granted sometimes, and I would tell them to live life to the full. One thing that the angels have told me is that I’m dealing with people’s emotions and to be very careful.”
In the 1970s, at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Byrne worked in Penney’s Department store in Dublin. She was then in her early twenties.
One day she noticed an angel was gently cradling the young man who worked in the baggage department, although he was completely unaware of what was happening to him. Looking closer, Byrne saw that the angel was unlike any she had ever seen before. It didn’t glow or shine, but it had immense beauty and a deeply compassionate face.
This angel, she was told, was the angel of death, but it wasn’t the terrifying angel from the books and movies -- and this angel was actually working tirelessly to prevent people from dying, not carrying them off.
Byrne understood that the young man she was looking at was in danger of dying soon.
“But imagine if I had gone up and said that to him?” she says. “Would that have made any difference if his life was still going to end? The most important thing was that he continued to live his life as well as he could, and I could tell that the love in his life was so important to him.”
The young man was seeing a Protestant girl in Northern Ireland. Weeks later he was shot dead on a Dublin street. That his death had been foretold was no comfort to Byrne whatsoever, because like her own husband, the man died young.
“At times I don’t know how I got through my husband’s passing,” Byrne says. “I was aware all my life that it was going to happen and that it couldn’t be changed because it was meant to be.
“I find it hard to describe to the emotion. But now that his body has died he’s perfect and there is no more suffering, and that’s a comfort to me.”
A bestseller in the U.S. could change Byrne's life financially, but you get no sense from her that she’s bothered about what it might mean. For Byrne the point is to get the book published so that people can hear her message. “Loads of people are looking for me but I’m just not able to see them. What I’m being told now is that I have to write and give all the possible information I can out there. In a sense the world has to play its part as well,” she says.
“I’m already inundated, I get loads of letters. One of the most common responses I get is that my book has given people back hope, and that’s wonderful.”