At the birth of my fourth child the doctors told me to take him home and love him because we did not know how long we would have him. The doctors could not tell me what was wrong with my precious little Robert. But I had faith in a loving God and would accept whatever time he would give me with my son. So I took him home and loved him. We settled in at home with heart monitors and visits from home nurses and life was gracious, because we counted every day that we had Robert with us. I tried very hard to make things get back to normal for the rest of my children so things went back like before. I started baby sitting my best friends three children. My best friend had a son about the same age as Robert. Josh was healthy beautiful baby. Two months went by and Robert was still very ill, but Josh kept him company and we were happy. Four days before Christmas all of the kids were home for the holidays and we were babysitting my friends kids while she went to work.
After checking in on Robert and reseting his monitor for the day I checked on Josh. But Josh was not breathing. My world fell apart. I dont remember much of the day at least not in any order. It’s such a blur. The ambulance. Crying in the yard while my husband holding me. And the look on the kids faces standing at the window of their room. And my friends face at the hospital as they told her that her son had died of SIDS. How could this have happened. We watched for Robert to die because that is what they told me would happen. I was consumed by the guilt that the wrong child had been taken. We moved from the house because I could not bear to live there any more. Months went by and the depression deepened. Even after the autopsy and the doctors telling us that Josh died of SIDS and there was nothing anyone could have done, I still had a guilt to deep to bear. Why had my child lived and hers died.
One day while the kids were in school I couldn’t stand the quiet any more. I paced the house like a caged animal. So many thoughts ran through my head. Like standing in a croud of screaming people and trying to hear one person talk. I just knew I couldn’t live like this anymore. I wanted to die.
The teachings of my childhood were coming back to me in my hour of need. I knew I needed help. So I drove myself to the local county mental health organization. I sat in a hallway with the clipboard in my hand, crying so hard I couldn’t see the form I was to fill out. I didn’t want to live this life any more, but I didnt want to die.
Then from down the hall an elderly woman came and sat beside me. She just sat and watched me cry for a while. She didnt try to comfort me, she just sat there quietly. And then after a while she spoke and those words are with me still to this day. She said “I know that you must be hurting so badly. But while you are in this valley don’t forget to stop and smell those flowers. Because on the mountain that’s up ahead, flowers don’t grow and you’ll miss it.”
For a moment I was confused and a little irritated that this woman wanted to tell me something that made so little sense. But then she explained that on a mountain top there are no flowers that bloom. Flowers only grow in valleys, and God gives us valleys in the hopes that we will slow down and smell them. And enjoy the little things that He has given us. God does not always give us big blessings so sometimes He has to slow us down in a valley so that we can see them.
I never saw that little lady again, but her words are with me still today, seven years later. Little Robert just made it to second grade and he is as healthy as the Lord will let him be. But he is my angel and God’s miracle. My life has not been a blessed one, and I have had many, many deep valleys since that day in the hallway with that lady. Some valleys even deeper than that one. But I did remember her words and I did stop and smell the flowers. Because they do have a sweet sweet smell. Praise God that I have the rest of my life with my precious children. Growing strong in the Lord every day and I will have eternity with Josh in heaven. God gave me a precious gift that day. A deeper faith. And a deeper love for my children and the timethat I have with them.
by Angela Orr
Used with Permission