All in a Day's Work Part 5

Callie knocked on the door of the modest frame house. It was thrown open almost immediately. Jeff Rich stood in the entryway, blond hair sticking out at odd angles, shirt untucked and wrinkled, bare feet poking out from under frayed hem of his jeans.
“I’m so sorry, Ms. Stillman.” He ran his hands through his hair. “I just didn’t know what else to do.”
Callie stepped across the threshold and patted his arm. “Don’t worry about it, Jeff. I told you both to call me if you needed something. I meant it. Where is she?”
He motioned down the short hall. “Still locked in the nursery. I can hear her moving around, but she won’t answer me.”
She dropped her purse to the floor and nudged the door shut. “Tell me what happened.”
Jeff hooked his thumbs in his pockets and stared at his feet. “This has been the hardest week. I thought that looking at the nursery every time she walked down the hall was only making things worse. I told her I thought I should take down the baby bed.” His hands went back in his hair. “I swear I was only trying to make things easier on Missy, but… she just snapped. Started crying, told me I was glad our baby died.” Jeff looked up, barely controlled tears in his eyes. “That’s not true…”
“Of course it isn’t. I know that and so does Missy.” Callie gave him a gentle push towards the living room. “Go take a break. Let me see if I can get her to talk to me.”

***I hope you're enjoying this visit into Callie's life. While you're here, please check out the sidebar tabs. There is a new offering on Karla's Coming Soon page, and an interview with Cathy West, along with a review of her book, Yesterday's Tomorrow. And Pam has a new recipe to share. Leave a comment on any page and you'll be entered to win the book. If you had a good time in Garfield, please consider becoming a member of the site.***

All in a Day's Work, PART 4

Callie took her place in the commercial lane at the bank, waiting patiently for her turn at the window. Her fingers drummed on the steering wheel to the beat of the music pouring from the stereo speakers. With the windows up she sang at the top of her lungs, grateful God didn’t care that she couldn’t carry a tune. She powered the window down as she finally pulled into the stall and smiled at the teller through the thick glass. “Hey, Sally.”
“Morning Callie. You’re running a little late this week, aren’t you?”
Callie tossed the bank bag containing the office deposit into the drawer. “Just a little. I took the day off yesterday, so I’m playing catch up today.”
Sally nodded in understanding. “No rest for the weary.” She took the moneybag out of the drawer. Both women were silent as the cash and checks were justified against the deposit slip. “Looks good Callie. Anything else I can do for you today?”
“Not unless you want to go buy my groceries.”
“Sorry, I’m afraid you’re on your own with that one.” Sally leaned forward to check for cars behind Callie. Finding the lane empty, she toggled the speaker back to life and held up two chocolate bars. “I need a little break, got a few minutes to visit?”
“I’ll sit here all day if you bribe me with chocolate.”
Sally laughed and sent one of the bars out in the drawer. “Has Dr. Rayburn got any open appointments next week?”
Callie’s nose wrinkled in concentration. “Oh, gee, I’m not sure. What’s up?”
Sally shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ve just been feeling a little off the last couple of weeks.” She leaned closer to the microphone and lowered her voice. “Female off…I think I need to see someone. My doctor retired a few months ago but I’ve heard good things about yours.”
“He’s the best.”
“I need to do something soon.” Sally held up the remains of her candy bar. “I can’t keep fixing it with chocolate.”
Callie glanced in her rearview mirror as another car pulled in line behind her. “Call me Monday morning. I’ll see what we have available.”
“Will do. Thanks Callie.”
Callie saluted her friend with her own half eaten treat. “Thank you.” She pulled her car out into the light Saturday traffic, fumbling for her cell phone when it rang.
“Hello.” She listened to her caller for a few seconds with a steadily growing frown.
“No, you’re fine. I can be there in just a few minutes. Just keep talking to her.” Callie disconnected the call, turned at the next corner, and headed in the opposite direction. The groceries would have to wait.
***I hope you're enjoying this visit into Callie's life. While you're here, please check out the sidebar tabs. There is a new offering on Karla's Coming Soon page, and an interview with Cathy West, along with a review of her book, Yesterday's Tomorrow. Leave a comment on any page and you'll be entered to win the book. If you had a good time in Garfield, please consider becoming a member of the site.***

Coming Soon

In my continuing effort to produce a blog for readers,I am excited to announce a new feature for our blog. Karla's Korner has a new title and a new purpose.

Karla's Korner--Coming Soon will feature authors with upcoming book releases. Some will be debut authors, some well loved favorites. I invite you to stop by and get to know each of them.

To find Karla's first offering, check out her page tab in the sidebar.


All in A Day's Work PART 3

Callie sat on the worn sofa in the staff lounge and slowly lifted the pink lid. No effort was made to squelch the tears threatening to escape her eyes. She took out a small pink receiving blanket and laid it in her lap, absently running a hand over the soft flannel. There was a certificate listing the baby’s birth date and imprinted with tiny footprints. A clear bag held a lock of downy hair secured with a pink ribbon. These items would be a physical link to the memory of their daughter. The last item in the box was a small photo album.
            Callie leafed through the pages, her eyes overflowing. The baby, wrapped in the pink blanket with the enclosed ribbon in her hair, had been staged among several nursery props and photographed. Such a beautiful baby, a tiny sleeping angel. Some had called the photos gruesome or morbid. She’d seen the gratitude on the faces of too many parents to allow those words to sting her too much..
She wiped her eyes and carefully repacked the box. She stopped outside room four thirty eight, bowing her head in a quick, silent prayer. Father, none of us can understand Your will at times like this. Please grant me wisdom and words of comfort. I know that Missy and Jeff are Christians. Help them remember that they can lean on You through this.
Callie pushed through the door and quietly approached the bed. The closed blinds kept the room shadowed. The form in the bed was absolutely still. Missy lay there, alone, eyes closed, her face wet with tears. Callie placed the box on the bedside table, sat down on the edge of the mattress and took Missy’s cold hand in hers.
“Missy, I’m so sorry.”
Missy’s eyes remained closed. “Have you seen her, Callie? She’s so beautiful, so perfect.” Missy sat up suddenly and enveloped Callie in a desperate embrace.“Annie. Her name is Annie.” She dissolved into fresh tears.
Callie closed her eyes and rocked her gently as they cried together over a shared pain.

***The story the last few weeks has been dedicated to a job that Callie performs, despite the personal pain and bad memories it brings her. Have you used a painful experience to help others?****

All in a Day's Work Part 2

Callie stepped out of the elevator onto the maternity floor of the hospital. Everywhere she looked there were signs of new beginnings and cheerful expectations. It broke her heart to be here under such grim circumstances.
One of the jobs Callie had taken on over the years was grief counselor for their practice. She’d enrolled in some specialized courses and learned, mainly, what not to say to bereft parents. Personal experience had taught her how much some of those well-intentioned words could hurt. When Gavin died during that first year of her marriage, if she’d heard “He’s in a better place” Or  “God must have needed a special angel for his garden” one more time she would have screamed. Gavin’s place was here with her, playing in her garden. Period. Callie had accepted God’s will in Gavin’s death years ago, but it still hurt. If she could do something to ease the pain of another parent in similar circumstances, she would.

             A miscarriage, even in the earliest stages of pregnancy, could be devastating. Stillbirths like this were the hardest, and thankfully, the rarest. Hardest because the parents spent nine months forming an emotional attachment to their unborn child. Missy and Jeff’s dreams of a family had been yanked from their fingertips in the cruelest possible fashion.
For these parents, there was a little more that could be done to provide some comfort in the months ahead. Callie was so thankful that the medical community had realized the importance of allowing these families to say hello to their child before they were forced to say good-bye. Her thoughts grew wistful. Things had changed a lot in the last thirty-five years. She shook it off.
            Dr. Rayburn had standing orders in these cases. Callie was grateful they didn’t have to use them very often. She stopped at the nurse’s station.
            “Hi, Callie,” the nurse greeted her. “We’ve been expecting you.”
            “How is she this morning?”
            “Like I expect any of us would be. It’s just so sad.”
            Callie nodded her agreement. “Do you have the box ready?”
            The nurse reached under the counter and pulled out a small pink box. “Here you go. They’re in room four thirty eight. Good luck.”

            Callie took the box into the staff lounge. When one of their patients miscarried, the most she could

offer was a shoulder to lean on and a support group. For Missy and Jeff it would be taken a step further.