Flowers of Faith
The book was hidden way at the back of the shelf, lost behind the scrapbooks and
picture albums of several generations. Elise found it and pulled it out, studying the faded
picture of a tiny baby that graced the front. Inside she found pressed flowers, nothing
more; no words, no pictures, only one flower or small arrangement on each page. A pink
carnation, a setting of wildflowers, a small daisy, a cluster of yellow rose petals, a single
pink rose. Elise ran her fingers over the plastic covers, feeling the slight bumps the dried
flowers made.

"Grandma? What is this?"  She carried it to the woman and leaned against the chair arm.

Her Grandmother Bethany took the book gently. "This is Baby Faith's book."

"Faith? Your first baby?" Elise looked closer, wondering. "Will you tell me about it?"

Bethany closed her eyes and began speaking, remembering like it was yesterday.

                                                     ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thwumpa, thwumpa. The sound of our baby's heartbeat filled the room and I thought I
would overflow with happiness. But the nurse turned abruptly from the ultrasound. "I'll be
right back."

Concerned, I studied the fuzzy image of our baby up on the screen, searching for any
sign of a problem. When the nurse returned with the doctor, Aaron touched my arm and I
realized I was squeezing his hand hard. I tried to relax, but the doctor turned and looked
solemnly at us and I clutched even more tightly.

"It's a girl!"  A bit of a smile glimmered in the doctor's eyes before he sobered. "The left
side of your daughter's heart is abnormally small. We will need to do some more testing,
but it looks like she will have to have open heart surgery shortly after she is born, and
then two more surgeries in the first two years of her life."

I buried my head in Aaron's shoulder and wept.

That day was long. Aaron returned to work, and I paced the house alone. Just me and
the baby. My baby who's heart would fail her.

When Aaron finally arrived home, he came straight to me, a bouquet of pink carnations in
his hands. He held me close and then lifted my chin and kissed me. "We'll get through
this together, Bethany," he told me. "God will see us through."

I touched the frail petals and I voiced the words that had pounded through my head all
day. "Why would He let such a little one have such pain?"  And then the worse question.
"Has He given her to us only to take her away?"

Aaron was quiet for a time. "It could be," he chose his words carefully, "that this baby
needs a special home. A special family to love her for the short time she on earth."  But
then his eyes brightened and he laid a hand on my belly. "Or perhaps God has already
healed her!" Hope filled our empty despair and we smiled into each other's eyes. We did
not understand. But we had faith in The One Who Did.

Five months later ~

I stared at the wildflowers on the hospital windowsill.  Labor had gone on for hours and
my tired eyes could only find a mad swirl of colors. The next thing I remember is a baby's
cry, jerking me back to reality.  I craned, desperate to see beyond the screen hanging
above my waist.

"She's doing fine!" The doctor's voice brought a flood of relief.

The nurse was beaming as she held our baby for us to see.  Aaron touched her cheek,
this child, our Baby Faith. We watched with hearts so mixed with joy and sorrow, love
and pain, as they took her away to monitor the heart struggling so hard to pump.

And still we prayed, prayed for healing.

Two weeks later~

Faith's surgery had not been a success. Her heart was too damaged, they said, too
damaged to fix. The only thing now, was to wait for a heart.  A new heart.  A transplant.

And so the waiting began. We held her tightly, whispering to her and singing. Watching
her body fight the drugs that kept her alive. Every day we prayed, prayed that this would
be the day that brought a new heart. Each day God said, "Hold her close and love this
daughter of Mine. Today is your day with her."

I kissed her head, right next to the daisy that peeked out of her headband.  Faith cooed,
brushing my cheek with her velvet-soft hand.

Six weeks later~

The room rang with silence, the doctors and nurses standing with shoulders drooped,
the machines quiet. Time stopped as we held her one last time, releasing her gently into
arms more loving even than our own.

Then we held each other, Aaron and I.  Although the pain was strong, we rejoiced in
those days we had spent with Faith, touching her, seeing her smile.  We knew that the
day had finally come.  Faith had been healed more fully than any surgery ever could.

Our families were waiting in the hall.  We sat around a plastic table, a bouquet of yellow
roses at its center, and wept together.  Prayed together.

                                                 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"And the pink one?" Elise touched the last flower in the book, her eyes bright with
unshed tears.

Grandma Bethany raised her eyes to the mantle. A single pink rose arched majestically
from a etched glass vase. "Today is the anniversary of her homegoing."  Bethany
smiled.  "Two months we had with her. Two precious months."

                          This fictional story was inspired by the life of
                                                 Faith Harris
                                     (Aug 8, 2005 ~ Oct 6, 2005)
© 2005,  Amy Michelle Wiley
Posted here with author's permission.
Amy writes that recently a family in a church she attended in the past had a baby born with heart trouble.
The baby was unable to get a transplant in time and passed away about a month ago. Amy wrote this short
fiction story based on the baby's life. May you find encouragement and faith in this heartwarming story ~
Rainbow Faith, words of Inspiration, Faith & Hope for the bereaved.
A Christian Grief Ministry
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