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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: Number Our Days
By Chely Roach
03/03/08


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Kaycie called upon her Creator, ‘Number our days’—but Lord, my baby girl only had minutes…


Eighty-seven minutes she dwelt here before she entered the Kingdom of Heaven. Upon her arrival, Jesus held her up for all to see, and triumphantly announced, “It’s a girl.” The angels danced around the throne.


***


On the fifth floor of Memorial Hospital, in a dated room with pink floral wallpaper and a flickering fluorescent light, it was difficult to rejoice in Reagan’s heavenly coronation. Their hearts were hollow; evacuated of their contents and swept away like a crumbled soil levee.


The inevitability of this day could not diminish the agony of it. They had fought this outcome with every ounce of prayer and blind optimism they could muster; even throwing themselves at the mercy of the in utero surgeon. With all medical interventions exhausted, and prayers to heal unanswered, Kaycie clung to her motionless gray baby; swaddled in a purple quilt, with a white bow in her hair. The bed quaked from the rhythmic ripples of sobs that erupted every few breaths. Charley, broken but stoic, tenderly stroked his wife’s hair while she clutched their first born to her chest. They didn’t get to hold Reagan while she was still alive; only seeing her big blue eyes open for a second before she was whisked away. Kaycie longed desperately to see those eyes again.


‘Defects inconsistent with life’…I have to see it myself.


Kaycie gently placed Reagan in the cradled fold of her legs, hidden beneath the white, waffle weave blanket, and slowly began to unwrap the quilt. Charley reached for her hand.


“No,” she insisted, “I need to know…”


She wore a crisp white dress with delicate pink embroidery. Her left hand was crumpled from the inadequate amount of amniotic fluid. Her belly was distended; her external openings were smooth—nonexistent. The right leg was clubbed, and her left ankle and foot were missing. As horrific as these sights were, they gave Kaycie peace.


We did everything we could for you, sweet Reagan.


She re-swaddled her, and gingerly placed her in Charley’s arms. He melted into the chair by the bed, where slow warm tears crescendoed into violent convulsions. Kaycie, blinded again by her own water filled eyes, stretched her sore torso towards him to grasp his trembling leg. He fumbled for her hand to clutch in his.


There was a barely audible knock, followed by the doctor’s entrance. He somberly drank in the scene, and then sat on the foot of the bed.


He whispered, “I wish we could’ve done more for her, kiddos. Grieve however you need to so you can get better. You have a wonderful family, right down that hall...” choking back the lump in his throat, he pointed to the door, “…that’s ready to see you. Bask in the glory of the family that God did give you…let that love ease your pain. When you are ready, we can try again.”


He was interrupted by a hesitant tap on the door; it opened just enough for Maria, Kaycie’s mom, to show her face, swollen from crying.


“May we come in?”


Charley nodded to Kaycie, and she waved them in.


“I’ll check on you tomorrow Kiddo.” Dr. Turner excused himself and quietly closed the door behind him.


Charley gave Reagan to Maria and helped ease her into the chair. All their siblings trickled into the room, each holding Reagan. At four a.m., the nurse took her to the morgue. By four fifteen, Kaycie and Charley were passed out from exhaustion.


***


When the midmorning sun awoke her, Kaycie laid in bed, marinating in the numbness of grief from yesterday, mixed with anticipation of today. There’s so much to do.


Charley found a wheelchair, and they began to navigate the bleached corridors. The buzzer summoned the nurse, who recognized them from yesterday. She gave them a sympathetic smile as she led them in. She prepared them for what was next, and then pushed Kaycie into another room. As they approached the glass cube, the heavy emotion began to swell in her chest—then her eyes.


“Would you like to hold her, Mom?”


“Of course…” Kaycie beamed.


Even with the wires and beeping machines, she could almost hear the angels on high as Addison, born three brief minutes after Reagan, was placed in her gowned arms. The hot but happy tears began to warm her raw cheeks.


“Nice to finally meet you, little sister Addy. Welcome to day number two…




~Psalm 90:12 NIV


Author’s note: I dedicate this to the Burge Family, whose unbreakable faith comforts and sustains them. The names of the characters in this story remain without anonymity, as a memorial to Reagan Dawn Burge, and to honor the survivors who love her, and carry on in the confirmed hope that they will one day see those blue eyes again.







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This article has been read 1063 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld03/07/08
You have woven a masterful tribute. Your vivid writing is filled with compelling description and powerful emotion. What a gracious gift that the parents could take her beautiful twin home.
With writing such as this, I expect to see you moving up rapidly.
Arlene Showalter 03/08/08
this story strikes "close to home" for me. Recently a young couple in our church experience a similar situation. Their faith has been a monumental testimony to their unsaved families.

At the time of their son's death, I had a similar vision of Jesus holding up the baby, showing him off to the angels....

What a story, what a couple and what an Awesome God!
Laury Hubrich 03/10/08
This is a very well-written story. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Lovely, truly lovely.
Laury
Seema Bagai 03/10/08
Powerful writing and vivid descriptions. Your talent shines in this piece. Keep writing.
Jan Ackerson 03/10/08
The best I've read this week. Stunning.
Shirley McClay 03/10/08
I thought I had already commented but guess not! LOL.. I feel for you having 3 preemies of my own... I can't imagine losing one... especially a twin. Beautiful writing, inspiring story!
LauraLee Shaw03/11/08
Wow! Oh my goodness, this left me speechless.
Patrick Whalen03/11/08
I concur with other reviewers here. The words you have written here do much more than anything I could begin to say. Simply wonderful!
Debbie Wistrom03/11/08
Wonderful title and realization of our time has already been allocated. I feel we have a placer here. This is wonderful, I hope the family is blessed by your thought telling of their tale.
Betty Castleberry03/11/08
You do not write like a beginner. This is wonderful. It made me weepy. I like the tribute at the end, too.
Sharlyn Guthrie03/11/08
Huge lump in my throat as I write. Excellent! And it's expecially touching, knowing that it's a true story.
Henry Clemmons03/11/08
This story is so good, it would even play without, hardly any, adjectives. Your a great story teller and conveyer of God's heart. Thank you for sharing.
Mandy White03/11/08
I'm speechless. This could touch so many lives.
Joshua Janoski03/11/08
Wow...Tears have welled up in my eyes as I write this comment. You pulled me in, and you didn't let go. I felt the pain; I felt the hope. Your masterful word use made the story that much more effective. I see you moving up another level Michele.
jodie banner03/12/08
This brought tears to my eyes. Your writing drew me into this story and the accompanying pain and shimmer of hope at the end.
Lyn Churchyard03/12/08
This was absolutely beautiful. So sad but beautifully moving. What a wonderful tribute to faith and love. Well done! Very well done Michelle!
Sara Harricharan 03/12/08
I really hope this does well. It is a heart-wrenching trip to go up and down with life and death. How beautiful and different. You did really well with descriptions, I loved the line with 'marinating in numbness' VERY descriptive. ^_^
Sherry Castelluccio 03/12/08
I don't cry easily but you got me this time. Wow. I can't even find words...awesome writing. I hope you place, sweet lady. This was amazing.
Celeste Ammirata03/12/08
How heartbreaking, and yet uplifting. My eyes watered on this one. Great writing.
Marita Vandertogt03/12/08
I don't think you'll be in beginners long - great writing!
Joanne Sher 03/12/08
This is incredibly masterful - I KNOW you will not be in beginners for long. This is simply amazing. Wonderful, wonderful writing.
Sara Harricharan 03/13/08
Whoo hoo! Awesome writing! Congrats on your win...and head on up to level 2! ^_^ Great job!
Mandy White03/13/08
Congrats, Michele. This was amazing!
Sheri Gordon03/13/08
Congratulations on your 2nd place. This is absolutely wonderful. Very good writing--very heartfelt. Awesome. (I can't come up with anymore words.) Thanks for sharing this, it will minister to many.