85: Our Little Angel

85: Our Little Angel

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

Our Little Angel

Angels can fly directly into the heart of the matter.

~Author Unknown

I have always believed things happen for a reason. My faith tells me God has a plan. I may not understand at the time what it is, but I know at some point it will be clear. When my husband Ryan and I had our first child, Jenna, we never expected anything bad to happen. When she died three days after her birth we were grief-stricken. Through my tears I kept telling myself there was a reason for this. Later, we would have two more children, Tony and Brittany. As the years passed I found myself repeating “things happen for a reason” whenever life threw me a curveball. It always seemed to make it easier to accept the unexpected.

On November 9, 2009 my faith would be tested. My husband suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm while at work as a firefighter. He was rushed to the hospital. I called our son and daughter. The thirty-minute drive to the hospital was agonizing. Ryan was conscious when I saw him in the ER. He was later moved to the neurosurgical ICU. By this time his assistant chief and good friend, Jake, had arrived. We were told they would try to repair the aneurysm in the morning with a procedure called “coiling” in hopes of avoiding major brain surgery.

We arrived at the hospital early the next morning hoping this procedure would work. Unfortunately it was not successful and Ryan would need surgery to stop the bleeding in his brain. They brought him back to the ICU. We were allowed to see him, but only two to three people at a time. Jake went in with me.

The ICU rooms have glass front walls and doors. There is a nurses’ station outside each room. As I approached Ryan’s room I looked in and saw a nurse by his bed adjusting one of his IVs. I waited a few minutes before going in. Jake was right behind me. As I walked in, I didn’t see the nurse. I scanned the room, but she was gone. I knew she didn’t come out the only door in the room. Jake had seen me looking around. “Where did she go?” he asked. I was stunned. “You saw her too?”

He said he had seen a nurse standing by Ryan’s bed adjusting his IVs. We both described her the same way. We knew it wasn’t a reflection in the window, and there wasn’t a nurse on duty that matched our description. It was then I realized who she was. She was our daughter Jenna, who had died thirty-two years ago. The nurse we saw was about that age and looked like what I would expect Jenna to look like as an adult. Of course Jake knew nothing about this. Very few people except family and close friends knew about Jenna, so I told Jake about her. He also has a deep faith and knew it must have been her. A few hours later they took Ryan into surgery.

I know in my heart that Jenna was there to help her father. Perhaps to ease his pain and comfort him before the surgery. I believe she was sent to look after him. I was comforted knowing that she would be there with him when I could not. After the surgery, Ryan was in a coma for three weeks. I wasn’t sure if he would wake up or if he would remember any of us. When he woke from the coma I asked him if he knew who I was and who his children were. He knew me and our two children but he also talked about Jenna as if she were still alive, which was something he had never done before. I am convinced he also saw her that day, even though he says he doesn’t remember.

On Jenna’s gravestone we had engraved “Our Little Angel.” She was our angel then and still is today.

~Carol Reed

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