CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR.

 

‘An Angel’s Unusual Question.’

 

Ominously green glowing numbers reflect on my skin from the blackened glass of an enormous window. Periodically these numbers gain an audacious momentum of their own, charging suddenly, either up or down. They cause the alarms to scream and medical staff to come running. These numbers, on their own may be insignificant, but since this nightmare began they now represent the precarious balance of a treasured life barely begun.

I can see the refection of Miranda too, as she lies teetering on the edge of a precipice where the odds are stacked against her. At times I feel that a mere breath would send her falling away from us. Falling silently, serenely, just as the snow outside. It’s the first time in my life I have ever seen falling snow and I am in awe at how incredibly beautiful, almost ethereal it appears through the lamp lights below. For the briefest moment I feel a wave of unexpected and quite inappropriate, peacefulness glide over me, or is it the extreme exhaustion that lay in wait beneath the surface of external function, attempting to take over my consciousness?

Miranda has continued to have clusters of dozens of grand mal seizures during each hour. Just when the doctors think they have pumped enough drugs into to her tiny infant blood stream to stop the onslaught, she again is overtaken. There is still 

no diagnosis and as soon as those drugs begin to wear off, another cluster of horrific seizures possess her, wracking her tiny body and stealing her life force, turning her a sickly, deathly dark purple.

After four relentless, mind and soul numbing days and nights the doctors, the specialists, are still no closer to discerning a reason for the seizures. This is not ‘just’ epilepsy I am told. Again I bring up the immunizations but always it is dismissed. I am practically grilled about her weekend activities, despite the fact that I wasn’t home. I mentioned that she may have a fall as per my husband’s indication but all I could do was relay what he had told me. We are assigned a social worker although I have no idea what she’s supposed to do and she certainly isn’t of any help.

I have not left Miranda’s side for a single moment except to use the bathroom six feet from her crib. I sleep against the crib on a blue plastic chair. I miss Harry and the worry about his welfare and emotional state is constant. The poor little guy is probably wondering why Mum isn’t home yet. He has only just started a new school in a new country. He has a whole foreign culture to grapple with. Brian comes in once a day before work. We have no money for me to use for meals and 

 

I’ve had one change of clothes. I have been surviving on free caffeine, crackers,

angst and adrenaline. I haven’t looked in a mirror and have only used the private bathroom to do a quick wash in the sink, but I cannot consider such mundane routine we usually take for granted. So overwhelming is the fear that if I leave Miranda’s side she will start to seize again in one of those insidious invisible seizures I can pick up on before the machines register.... and this time may not come out of it. 

 

I have become expert at interpreting her energy, her breathing aligns itself with her essence. I can tell a full sixty seconds before the alarms go off that she is having one of her dangerous, stealthy seizures where by there is no movement at all. Just the slight opening of her eyes before her blood oxygen content plummets from one hundred down to the teens and and she begins to turn blue. This is the silent killer that prevents me from sleeping. She seems trapped within tar, the weight and density of the thick goo squashing her, burying her alive, slowly. And yet she fights back...with a relentlessness I stand in awe of. 

 

My Step-Mother flew up from Florida to be with me for a day or so and took a room at the nearby hotel. She tried to make me have a break and took me to get something substantial to eat. I just couldn’t swallow though, the food settling like a 

brick beyond digestion, and I was so filled with fear every second I was away from Miranda. But that night she convinced me to go to the hotel for a much needed shower whilst she stayed in the hospital. 

 

A few hours later when I returned to the hospital there was a queue from the desk to the door to check in. Panic took over me and I bolted past the line with security calling out to me. Sure enough when I got upstairs to intensive care, Miranda was on a respirator. Miranda was in a coma. 

 

So now a machine was breathing for her, and she felt so very, very far away.
I just wanted to hold her close to my chest for eternity. And I can’t help but wonder if the human spirit, though not easily extinguished, nor easily tired, is however, infallible?

Not only would I almost immediately receive the answer to that question, I would also be blessed with reason to believe in God. Religion or even a belief in spirit had never been a consideration in my life. But I was about to be presented with undeniable evidence.....

I was resting my aching head in my hands, tentatively flirting with sleep when I sensed a commotion surrounding Miranda. Slowly, almost painfully I lifted my

head to see two nurses fussing about. I figured they had the situation under control, but as I lay my head down and closed my eyes, an electrifying jolt of energy surged through me and I bolted upright. One of the nurses had just called a code. Medics were appearing from everywhere. In the pandemonium I was shoved aside and a crash cart spun in place of where I had stood up. Miranda’s body was stiffened out straight, her legs splayed, her wee little arms reaching for the ceiling, her fingers spread towards the heavens beyond the faces leaning about her. It all happened within seconds.....her tiny heart.....stopped...she flatlined. 

 

A single straight line represented the last breath she drew. I didn't want to believe it held the power to represent mortality. 

 

I slumped back against the wall and slid down to the floor. Suddenly everything went silent and the room began to spin with objects distorting to indiscernible shapes, as shock began to shut my cognition down. Above the foot of Miranda’s crib it appeared before me. 'It' emerged as a shimmer, gradually taking the form of a pearl colored orb. Was it..... an Angel? Or were my sensibilities truly slipping from me, disintegrating like a warm breath as it attempts to fight the chill of a win- ter morning. Silently the fluid outline of a woman, continuously shifting shape, be- came discernible from the surroundings.

 

‘She’ drifted slowly away from the crib, floating as if simultaneously disintegrating. It was then that I knew, just knew intuitively that the bundle held close to her chest was my sweet Miranda. She was suddenly flanked by three other ‘Angels’ and as I looked on in a combination of desperation and disbelief while instantaneously my surroundings became surreal, as if the scene was frozen and blurred into a timeless dimension. 

 

The sound of life disappeared...and in the ethereal silence, before I had time to doubt my sanity I yelled a frightened “NO!!!.....Give her back to me!!!” "Don't take my baby girl!" I thought I had yelled.... but I did not hear my voice...it was a silent scream, that would never be heard. 

 

Looking down at the bundle in her arms, this ‘Angle’, this ‘Orb’ smiled delicately, and looked right through my eyes, into my soul. I was not prepared for any of this, all I felt was panic, an immediate wrenching desperation that Miranda was actually being taken from me. And then...... the ‘Angel”....she questioned, without a woken word, yet intently,..”Are you really prepared to commit yourself? Are you really sure?” I thought to myself..”What a bloody daft question! Of course I’m ‘sure’.... but for what? I want my little girl!” "Take me instead!" I didn't understand her query. Why wouldn’t I be sure? She’s my baby girl, I would die for her. I had no way of knowing then that in a broad definition of the word, I would indeed....end up ‘dying’ for her, in one sense, an essential sense that would eventually lead me to great fortitude but not without significant pain. 

 

So I reply with a stern “Yes!” and the nodding of my head. I watch as she gently slips Miranda gently back into her body, the very spirit of the little girl was glowing in effervescent purity as it sunk into her cold, grey physical form on the contrast of the white hospital sheets. The ‘Angel’ smiled at me.....with a love so intense an in- fusion of peace overwhelmed me, and then she just....disappeared quietly, instantly and beautifully amidst the briefest shimmering, ripple reflection of soft light.

I stood there stunned, in awe, and yet filled, overwhelmed with the most incredible sense of calm and serenity and a knowing that Miranda would.... not... die. Gradually my awareness soaked back into the reality of my circumstances again and I watched the relief on the nurses and doctors faces as Miranda’s little face tenuously became rosy. A blonde lady doctor with a heavy European accent took an audibly deep breath and announced Miranda was "back...and out of the woods.... For now." I looked at her smiled and said “Thank you.” But I knew it wasn’t her I needed to thank. And I knew that from then on, there could be no doubt.... Miranda would live.

When it was just Miranda’s head nurse with us I asked to see the Anglican 

Chaplain. I was in desperate need of assurance that I wasn’t crazy, yet I knew enough not to ask for a psych consult! Whether it was an over-wrought psyche that manifested a fabricated coping mechanism, or whether the experience was purely exhaustion and imagination, either way it occurred. Real or not, the experience was either of me, or through me, but it was still an experience, and just maybe, it really was God.

When the Chaplain arrived, a late middle aged woman with short practical hair and an expected pious quality about her, she noticed immediately that I seemed visibly ‘unsettled’ as she put it. As I started to relay what I thought I had experienced through lots of “Um’s”, “Ah’s”, and more than one...”you probably think I’m crazy...but”, she nodded her head and a compassionate knowing smile slowly formed. She put her hand on my arm and leaned in close to me. Her breath smelling of tea and pastries. Looking directly into my eyes she confirmed my sanity when she said...” I have heard a lot of accounts like these over the years....an awful lot. And I don’t wonder about believing the encounters or not. I don't wonder if they are God... I wonder about NOT believing them, NOT believing they are an act of God."

And when she just….smiled, it was if I had been given permission to release the 

immensely dense, almost oppressive emotion I had soaked up during the experience. A floodgate had been opened and I couldn’t hold back the sobbing that made me tremble to my core. When she put her arms around me I felt an immediate sense of relief, an incredible lightening of my spirit as if the monumental burden of fear for Miranda’s life could be let go.

I decided from that point to accept the experience with a heart wide open. Filled to overflowing with a serene consciousness, the manner in which I now approached this crisis started to shift profoundly. It was as if a chest with my name on it had been opened and the gift of my soul that represented fortitude was chosen as my new identity. God had given me courage.

That night Miranda started to try to breathe on her own and by the morning after, doctors removed the respirator. I was able to hold her to me, to merge physically the warmth of my flesh with hers, for the first time in over ten days. I sat in a rock- ing chair holding Miranda to my chest. I rocked, and rocked, and amongst the sweet soft tones of her favorite song she liked me to sing, I let the tears flow freely and unashamedly. Never before feeling so deep a connection to another soul. Miranda and I were embarking on a journey together that has now become as spiritual as it was emotional. 

 

We both slept, a rejuvenating sleep that bored intensely down to our cores and when I awoke the world seemed brighter and lighter and vibrant. It was as if color and zeal had returned to the environment. I couldn’t help but feel that in surren- dering a need to make sense of the celestial encounter the day before, I was now initiated into a deeper more sensitive life of awareness. A life of trust in the intan- gible source that both births and supports each moment we breathe. 

 

Miranda awoke that morning as the sun bounced gloriously about the room. She opened her eyes and looked at me, all trusting and peaceful. Her nurse came rushing over when I called out that she was waking up. As the nurse was fussing about her little head, and silencing the monitors, Miranda looked at me and said loud and clear for all to hear ...”Harry?” 

 

In asking for her older brother, Miranda had confirmed that she had not sustained the shattering brain damage that had been a strong possibility impressed upon me by the doctors from the onslaught of so many seizures and periods of oxygen deprivation. A well of joy overflowed as I took Miranda into my arms and the tears squeezed through my eyelashes just as I squeezed her tighter than I ever had. Her tiny fingers wrapped around mine and the mischievous spunk returned to her eyes affirmed a love for God I had only just been blessed to know. 

 

Doctors piled around Miranda, soaking up the infectious air of a miraculous recovery. The energy about her was infused with gratitude, relief and joy, and in every way Miranda seemed her to have returned to us, perfect, whole, and complete. I soaked up every morsel of such intense thankfulness and hope. How could I have suspected that her life was destined, pre determined apparently, not to be so...and in time I would come to understand precisely why the ‘Angels’ had asked me if I was ‘sure’.