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Angels Are Rare

The fresh-cut pine smell surrounded the room, but I couldn't breathe so I couldn't smell it. The red flashing lights were becoming a distant blur as Richard emerged from our bedroom. He was wearing an untucked polo shirt fastened only in the center; a white, wrinkled t-shirt with the tail hanging out of his shirt; and the jeans we had bought on our honeymoon. He paused only to say he would call me if and when he had some news.

Alone and sure that I should be doing something, I walked to our Christmas tree and removed the Baby's First Christmas ornaments. What was the use to keep them? Megan would never know that they had been there. I held the one that played the music that my son loved to hear. It was silent now. Everything was silent. For the first time in almost nine weeks no one was trying to feed the baby, or rock the baby. I was told to keep the line open, but I called our priest to be with Richard at the hospital. Then, I called Mom.

The family arrived and rushed me to the door of the local emergency room. A collage of people in a variety of uniforms wearing badges, tags and the grave look of all doctors on television met me and took me to where my daughter who only two hours before I thought had been sleeping through the night now lay. She was wearing the rocking horse gown I had dressed her in just before I had sung the Christmas carols that lulled her to sleep. The doctor asked my connection to the child. "The Mother" someone told him. I was unable to speak. I was staring at her. My beautiful, perfect child that God had sent to just me. The doctor handed me a pill with a heart in the middle (valium). I drank what they handed me and took what he gave. I was no longer focusing on the room. I was a million miles away. Somewhere that I still visit in my dreams.

I wanted to ask questions. Why? But my questions were put on hold. I had to answer the questions of the policemen who had been sent to the scene. The corner who asked if I knew she was going to die. My questions have never been answered. They got their answers. Then, they sent me home.

I was alone. December 15, 1989 was bitterly cold. Excited shoppers raced from store to store while I was packing baby clothes still unworn. Snow fell, which in Louisiana is no small affair, while we drove northward to bury Megan. Christmas came and I had no reason to replace the musical ornament with the rocking cradle. While the world celebrated Christ's birth, Heaven opened to receive the hardest gift I could give---my brown-haired Christmas angel.

Kim Smith

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