Callie sat on the worn sofa in the staff lounge and slowly lifted the pink lid. No effort was made to squelch the tears threatening to escape her eyes. She took out a small pink receiving blanket and laid it in her lap, absently running a hand over the soft flannel. There was a certificate listing the baby’s birth date and imprinted with tiny footprints. A clear bag held a lock of downy hair secured with a pink ribbon. These items would be a physical link to the memory of their daughter. The last item in the box was a small photo album.
Callie leafed through the pages, her eyes overflowing. The baby, wrapped in the pink blanket with the enclosed ribbon in her hair, had been staged among several nursery props and photographed. Such a beautiful baby, a tiny sleeping angel. Some had called the photos gruesome or morbid. She’d seen the gratitude on the faces of too many parents to allow those words to sting her too much..
She wiped her eyes and carefully repacked the box. She stopped outside room four thirty eight, bowing her head in a quick, silent prayer. Father, none of us can understand Your will at times like this. Please grant me wisdom and words of comfort. I know that Missy and Jeff are Christians. Help them remember that they can lean on You through this.
Callie pushed through the door and quietly approached the bed. The closed blinds kept the room shadowed. The form in the bed was absolutely still. Missy lay there, alone, eyes closed, her face wet with tears. Callie placed the box on the bedside table, sat down on the edge of the mattress and took Missy’s cold hand in hers.
“Missy, I’m so sorry.”
Missy’s eyes remained closed. “Have you seen her, Callie? She’s so beautiful, so perfect.” Missy sat up suddenly and enveloped Callie in a desperate embrace.“Annie. Her name is Annie.” She dissolved into fresh tears.
Callie closed her eyes and rocked her gently as they cried together over a shared pain.
***The story the last few weeks has been dedicated to a job that Callie performs, despite the personal pain and bad memories it brings her. Have you used a painful experience to help others?****