An Angel Named Amber
by Jeff Osborne
There she was racing around the nurses station on a Little Tykes cycle. Going a hundred miles per hour. She stopped abruptly and said, "Hey, who are you?" I told her my name and she squinted her little nose at me. I asked what her name was and she quickly said, "Amber" and took off riding once again. It was clear from the very first encounter that this little girl was a fireball. Amber was playing with a big rubber ball. A ball nearly as big as her 4 year old frame. Pam began bouncing the ball back and forth with her as if they had known each other forever. It was clear who owned the hearts of everyone on the second floor of the Children's Hospital, Amber. Amber often cruised around the floor holding her IV pole as it were simply a walking stick or some sort of gizmo on wheels. If it didn't have a line connecting the Chemo to her arm you would have no idea it was anything more than a new friend that Amber was dragging around as she made her rounds. Amber was on a mission...a mission to find a new buddy to talk to or a new adventure to begin.
At least twice a day Amber would make it down the hall to Hailey's room to make a surprise visit. She would plop down in the guest chair and begin talking as if she had known Hailey for a life-time. It became part of daily therapy to get Hailey to take her walker and hobble down to Amber's room to get a lift. Funny thing was Hailey never went alone. There was usually two or three of us adults that would tag along with her so we could get a glimpse of Amber's beautiful eyes and hear what precious statements she would make. Even though she was only four years old, her wit and spark far surpassed many adults.
Amber was full of energy and full of life. She was a magnet pulling in anyone within her reach. One interaction with her and you were hooked. You would find yourself going out of your way to have an "Amber Encounter". If it was not for the loss of hair you would have no idea this little angel was fighting an uphill battle with cancer. Cancer did not shadow her zest for life nor did it stop her from finding adventure in each new day.
Her dad and I talked briefly in the hallway. He asked how I was doing and I asked the same of him. He told me the little bump on top of Amber's head was the cancer making its way through the bone. The cancer was not responding as hoped to the chemo treatment. I continued walking down the hall thinking to myself, "What are we doing here? We are fathers of two beautiful little girls. We should be at home pushing them on the swing, teaching them to ride bikes without training wheels, finding their ticklish spots and making blow fish kisses on their tummies." Somehow it just didn't seem right.
Two days later Amber checked out of the hospital. She was headed home for a few weeks. That evening the cancer floor of the Children's Hospital was extremely quiet. There was no more Amber Encounters, no more trips down the hall to see what movie she was watching in her room. No more squinting her little nose at me as we exchanged hellos in the hallway. Amber emitting a hope and an energy that was noticeably absent. I looked forward to the day our paths would cross again at the outpatient clinic.
It is amazing the impact a little person like Amber can have on those she meets.
I knew when I first began writing these Glimpses I would write one about this precious little girl who sprinkled sunshine all around. Several weeks ago I named the title for her Glimpse, "An Angel Named Amber." What I didn't realize was that God had a reservation for Amber in heaven and it was time for her to go. This week Pam and I learned that heaven became much richer as an angel named Amber entered its gates.