90: Precious Moments

90: Precious Moments

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings

Precious Moments

Life gives us brief moments with another …
but sometimes in those brief moments,
we get memories that last a lifetime.

~Author Unknown

Sitting by my hospital window, I watched a sparrow hopping from branch to branch. How precious life is, I thought. It was Mother’s Day and I marveled at my beautiful gift—my third child, Kimberly Ann. As I looked at my sleeping baby she made a sucking sound with her lips. Auburn curls on top of her head were highlighted with gold streaks.

“Kim, God gave you a frost job—a heavenly one,” I whispered. Already, I treasured the precious moments spent with my baby, and looked forward to many more. Soon we’d be going home. I had dressed Kim in a pair of pink knit pajamas with small embroidered roses on the collar. She also wore a bib that said, “I love my daddy.”

“Are my girls ready to go home?” I looked up into my husband’s smiling face.

“Yes, we are.”

As the nurse wheeled me out to the car, my son and daughter walked close by. Soon we were all secure in our family car. A short time later, Ted pulled into our driveway and parked. I announced, “We’re home, baby girl.”

As soon as we walked through our front door, Robbie asked, “Mom, can I hold Kim?”

“Yes, be careful to support her head.” Robbie looked adoringly at Kim nestled in his arms.

My daughter, Linda exclaimed, “She is so small.”

“Once upon a time, you were just as small,” I replied.

“Mommy, look. She’s holding onto my finger,” Linda said excitedly. We sat close together on the couch for a few minutes. Then Kim started to cry, and Robbie handed her back to me.

During the next three months life revolved around our youngest member. Robbie loved to hold his sister. He struggled with a speech disorder, but when he held Kim she’d smile as he spoke to her. I overheard Robbie saying to Kim, “When you go to school no one had better tease you.”

Linda loved to help me bathe Kim and pick out her outfits, “Mom,” she’d ask excitedly, “when can we move Kim into my room?”

“Soon,” I replied.

In preparation for that coming event we redecorated Linda’s room—for the girls. We painted, and Linda peeked in and said, “You look funny with yellow paint on your nose.”

“I bet I do. But do you like your room?”

“Yes. I love yellow.”

Linda and I went shopping and bought a new bedspread for her bed, and a baby quilt with the same color scheme for Kim’s crib.

One morning, I felt a deep need to hold Kim. She’d nuzzled close to my neck, and we shared a precious moment. After a busy morning I lay Kim down for her nap. I rubbed her back until she fell asleep. I tiptoed out of the room not realizing that Kim would never wake up from her nap. She died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The following days seemed like a dream that I kept trying to wake up from.

Friends and family surrounded us—food, cards, phone calls, all provided comfort. At Kim’s funeral, beautiful roses lined the front of the church, and I felt comforted by the words in the hymns. Friends tried to comfort us by saying, “Kim’s in a better place,” or “She’s one of God’s angels.”

But I wanted my daughter here with me. I wanted to watch her grow up. I found peace in those who put a value on Kim’s short life. A close friend confided in me, “Kim’s life has made me think about my own life. I want to help others.”

As I stood at my daughter’s graveside, a gentle breeze blew. It felt like someone touched my cheek, and within the breeze, I heard a gentle whisper, “treasure the memories.” I looked around at Ted. My arms went around my children, and the four of us turned and walked away.

Grief was like an ocean tide. It flowed in and out. Its waves sometimes seemed gentle and at other times stormy. Soon Ted returned to work, and my children returned to school. I sat alone at home, wondering how I was supposed to face the future. There were times I thought I heard Kim cry, but her crib remained empty.

When Linda and Robbie came home from school they looked sad, and would go to their rooms. I realized that I needed to help my children grieve and move on.

I told them, “It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to miss Kim.” By giving them permission to show their feelings I noticed that each day they seemed a little stronger, a little happier.

Before Kim had been born I’d run a daycare in my home. I had planned on starting that back up when she turned a year old. But after she died my grief had not allowed me to do this.

A year later, I decided to return to school. Not really knowing what I wanted to take, but needing something new to keep me busy, I signed up for a key punch course. At the end of my six-week course I received a certificate. I placed my certificate in a kitchen drawer and forgot about it. Then at the end of the week my sister called and said, “Karen, a position in our key punch department has opened up. Are you interested?”

“Yes, but first I need someone to watch Robbie and Linda for two hours after school.” I asked my neighbor, Ginny. She agreed, and I decided to go for an interview. To my surprise I was hired.

As it turned out, my skills as a key punch operator were lacking. Eventually, my supervisor moved me to accounts payable. I worked on the book accounts of Corrie ten Boom, an evangelist who had lost her whole family in concentration camps during World War II. Yet, after the war ended, Corrie, at the age of fifty-two, stepped out in faith and traveled the world sharing a message of hope and forgiveness.

Over the next year, I met many evangelists and heard their stories of courage. Stories of people living through tough circumstances, yet who pressed forward—even when it hurt.

Gradually, I realized that I, too, had been moving forward one step at a time.

I found happiness in watching my children grow: Robbie earning his Boy Scout badges. Linda out growing her Barbie’s, experimenting with make-up, becoming a beautiful young woman. Yes, life continued, with its good, bad, and sometimes outrageous moments.

Fifteen years later, I sat next to a hospital window and watched a sparrow pick a berry and fly away. My daughter, Linda smiled as her nurse walked in with a wee-bundle in her arms. She smiled and said, “An angel said this baby girl wants Grandma to hold her.”

As I held my granddaughter, Breanna, I savored the moment. Looking into her sparkling eyes, I smiled and said, “Linda, she’s so beautiful.”

Four years later, I welcomed Breanna’s sister, Staci. I am blessed. And my memories of Kim are like the sweet fragrance of a rose—often returning with a sense of joy.

~Karen Kosman

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