The Lily of My Valley

The youngest of my four children had Down syndrome. He died because of  inoperable heart defects.  I remember holding him and looking at his sweet little face after the doctor had told me that he had DS.  I asked the Lord, “How will I explain to him about God?” I felt God answered back, “He will be teaching you!”

Caleb developed pulmonary hypertension and other complications and his health really began to fail when he was three years old.  One day, after losing a lot of sleep, I just had to go outside and take a break. While sitting on a riverbank,  I had a vision of Caleb falling over a cliff. He just kept tumbling down the bank and I couldn’t reach him. Then, in my vision,  I heard water splashing and I caught a glimpse of Jesus in a pool at the bottom of the cliff.  He was smiling and splashing the water playfully. Caleb LOVED the water and was a champion bath splasher! I realized that Caleb was eager to go to Jesus.

A few weeks later, when Caleb died, I remembered the vision and I knew that he had gone straight from our arms into the waiting arms of a smiling fun-loving Jesus. Then I had visions of him and Jesus dancing together and Caleb waving to me as if to say, “You just go on now; I’m going to stay and play.”

Here is a poem I wrote:

The Lily of My Valley

I ran a good race.

I fought long and hard

For such a tiny little boy.

In spite of disabilities and weakness

People saw my courage and joy.

But one day I had a feeling

That soon I would be at rest.

I would cross life’s finish line

And lay my head on Jesus’ breast.

But as I reached the end of the way

A precipice lay before me.

It seemed to be a treacherous cliff

I had to descend alone.

Mom held on as long as she could;

then others gave me a hand.

So many people prayed for me;

They knew God had a plan.

Then Jesus reached out big strong hands

And took me from your embrace.

There was healing in His hands

and a smile upon His face.

At the bottom of that long descent

Was a pool where we could play

And the SON-light danced on the water

as the sun set you that day.

Jesus placed the crown of life

Upon my platinum hair.

But I slid it right off and placed it

On Jesus’ head to wear.

I ran my fingers through His hair,

I laughed and Heard Him say,

“I love you!” and the very first time

I said it back that day: January 28, 1996



  1. Mildred said

    We sure miss that wispy-haired little fellow but can’t you just see him now with Mawmaw and PaPa! Love you sister!

  2. Susan said

    That is a beautiful, bittersweet recollection of your precious son’s life. It’s also a great testimony of Christ’s love for each of us. I could actually “see” Jesus splashing the water ready to play. Thank you for so much for sharing. Blessings, Susan

  3. Lanny said

    Oh my. First your sister makes me laugh with a silly grin and then you make me cry buckets. Thank you for that lovely post. I can’t imagine a better gift from God, than the comfort he gave you.

  4. Lanny said

    Okay, I am slow. My mother’s favorite flower was Lily of the Valley and so it has always been part of my life. But just now as I was just staring at your blog and the title of you post I finally got it. I get what the flower really is and represents. Thanks again.

  5. Susie said

    Hi Karen, Mildred sent me over. I’m so sorry about Caleb but you know he is so happy now. I love how open your heart is to God and how you knew exactly what he was telling you. I enjoyed your post much!

  6. Daisy said

    Hello! I came over after reading about your new blog on Mildred’s blog.

    Your poem is very moving and this is a touching tribute to your son and the love you felt for him and him for you. It is so reassuring to know that Jesus was there to catch him, as he is to catch us all. Enjoy your day today. 🙂

  7. Becky said

    I came over from Mildred’s blog. I sure love that sister of yours….she is a jewel! I’m so glad you started a blog….my sister Susie also has a blog! I must warn you blogging is addicting.

    What a wonderful tribute to you son.

  8. Sandy said

    What a precious post! I came over from Mildred’s to welcome you to the blogging community.

    I love that God comforted your heart and prepared you for His plan as well as the beautiful tribute to your darling little boy.

  9. Miss Linda said

    What a lovely post. I am so very sorry for your loss, but can you imagine the joy of the reunion in Heaven one day?

  10. Miss Linda said

    Good morning, Karen. I have nominated you for a blog award. If you would like, please stop by my blog to pick it up. I really am enjoying your lovely blog. I’m so glad Mildred at Nalley Valley told me about your blog. Have a blessed day!

  11. That is a beautiful poem! What a lovely tribute to your son and to your faith:)

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