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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)

TITLE: To Kiss An Angel's Cheek
By Leola Ogle
01/11/11


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Anguish envelops me at the possibility that Angel may be leaving us. I hang up the phone and call another daughter, Stephanie, a pastor’s wife, telling her to meet us at the hospital.

My daughter, Denise, was five months pregnant when she found out her baby had Down’s and a damaged heart. She was advised to have an abortion. We believe that all life is precious! Her name would be Angel Faith, our gift from God.

After hanging up from Denise, I make the brief trip to the hospital. Three weeks of a daily routine had become a ritual I could do blindfolded. I pull up to the giant arm guarding the hospital’s parking garage, push the red button and take the ticket. The arm rises in welcome…..or surrender.

I park and mechanically walk the familiar path, automatically tapping one of the magically wired trees as I pass, listening again to the melodious chimes. It’s one of the many delightful features at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

As I enter the hospital, I show my green wristband to the security guard. He nods; my lips smile in response but my eyes don’t.

I walk the hallways, observing children of all sizes with various maladies, some traversing the halls in brightly colored wagons, some in wheelchairs, their IV tubes encircling the attached pole. The atmosphere is cheerful and caring - a good combination!

Passing the chapel, I notice a chaplain talking to a couple. It could be good news, bad news, or no news. Another man in the corner is crying as he talks on his phone.

I enter NICU trying not to focus on the couple in the outer room talking with their doctor. Hearing “remove life support,” I shudder. I say a silent prayer for their baby who has been here longer than Angel. Stepping through the glass doors, I nod at the nurse behind the window who smiles in recognition. Turning to the shining metal sink, I push the dispenser, watching thick liquid cover my cupped hands. My foot taps the metal bar, and I roll my hands together under the rushing water.

I can see nurses surrounding Angel; her unit is closest to the door. Above her incubator clearly visible to all is Psalm 139:13-16 on bright rainbow paper that I had hung there.

Entering the final glass doors, I suppress a groan at Angel’s fragile body covered with tubes and wires. Her little hand moves. Relief floods over me; she is alive! I smile in greeting at a young couple as they joyfully exit NICU – their baby is going home. Their eyes shift away from mine. It’s okay, I want to say, don’t feel guilty, I’m happy for you.

This crisis passes. God has given us another day with Angel. We laugh, making nonsensical jokes as we leave; a coping mechanism for our inability to help Angel. We also pray; it is what we always do. We call other family members with the news that Angel is still alive.

Miraculously Angel survives another crisis, but each episode damages her fragile heart more. I cry and pray daily; I do both things well. God breathes his assurance that He is in the midst of it all.

After her four weeks on earth spent entirely in the hospital, Angel went home to be with Jesus. We all gather before dawn that Monday morning, awaiting our pastor’s arrival. A nurse approaches us, telling Denise that Debbie is on the telephone. Debbie’s a NICU nurse that had embraced us, but she was off duty. “Wait for me. I’m on my way,” she tells Denise.

Our pastor arrives, and like sentinels on the battlefield, medical staff surrounds us as we join hands while Pastor John leads in prayer. Our soft weeping entwine with his prayer as the machines keeping our precious baby alive are disconnected. It is Debbie who hands Angel to Denise. Angel’s tiny face is bathed by her mother’s tears; her breath whispers briefly before stopping. We each kiss the lifeless cheek, pouring enough love for a lifetime into that brief moment of touch as our tears fall like gentle rain on her silky hair.

On rare occasions, divine encounters happen in the most unlikely ways. Often our human understanding fails to grasp the profound! God dwells in both joy and sorrow!

Our loving, heavenly Father, who never makes mistakes, always has a purpose! Baby Angel brought our family closer together, touched many hearts, and drew some to the Him.


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This article has been read 291 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Heather MacInnis01/13/11
A sweet reminder of the preciousness of life. A touching story.
Barbara Lynn Culler01/13/11
It's hard to comment through the tears...

Have you ever read "Angel Unaware" by Dale Evans Rogers? Their little girl with Down's lived a couple of years.
diana kay01/13/11
tears in my eyes :-) magical heartfelt writing, I too have had a baby in intensive baby care. my little philippa who was born weighing only 1.6kg.
she spent a month in that unit and they were some of the worst days of my life.
fortunately she is a happy healthy young lady now who will be 17 in a few weeks time.
thank you for sharing what i feel must have been factual not fiction.
Nancy Sullivan 01/13/11
Your writing of this very special event also moved me to tears. Angel's ministry will continue through each life she touched. God bless.
Nanci Rubin01/13/11
Thank you for sharing Angel...you have poured your emotion upon the page, and my tears mingle with yours. I, too, understand the loss of a precious child, and I can in all honesty say it was a privilege to have lived out my McKenna's journey with her while she was upon this earth. Angel will always remain in your hearts and in the hearts of those whom you share her story with. Thank you again. Shalom
Lizzy Ainsworth01/13/11
How beautiful! I'm only 19 but I know about intensive care and babies. I was born very small and it was stressful for Mum and Dad.
I love how you have captured the feel of hospitals, I have spent a lot of time in and around them not just for myself but others.
Brenda Rice 01/13/11
Thanks for sharing this very touching story.
Marita Vandertogt01/14/11
I know the feeling of fear and hope that comes with each day of waiting - it brings tears to my eyes now. You are a writer and won't be in intermediate for long.
Julie Shannon01/14/11
What a beautiful, emotion filled piece of writing. Tears fill my eyes as I am brought back to how God uses everything in this world for our good. Thank you
Glynis Becker 01/16/11
So beautifully described. I was one of the fortunate ones who got to take home my NICU baby, but I have a very soft spot for mommies who don't. Sad, beautiful and hopeful writing. Thank you for sharing!
Mildred Sheldon01/17/11
It is hard for me to comment on this heart wrenching story. It brings back memories of when I worked in the delivery ward and saw precious babies who was passing through and was here for ony a moment, but the impact on my life was life changing. Thank you for sharing such a heart felt tender story. You poured out your heart and did an outstanding job. Thank you and God bless.
Jan Christiansen01/20/11
The tears are flowing here, too, Leola. I remember this event in your lives and what a witness your faith was through it all. I am blessed by your writing and bless to be your friend.