A tear streamed down Maria’s cheek as she read her ad over before hitting submit.
“For Sale: baby shoes, never worn,” she read with a sob. It was the last item that she had to get rid of.
“You’ll feel better ones they’re gone,” Selena, Maria’s sister, said as she hugged Maria around the shoulder. “They just remind you of the accident.”
“They’re both gone,” Maria sobbed. “I’ll never be happy again.”
Selena held Maria closer. “Don’t say that,” she said. “I know it seems like you’ll never be happy again right now, but life will get better. You’ll see.”
“My baby girl will never grow up,” Maria said. “We never even got to bring her home from the hospital. She was taken from me before we got here.”
“I know,” Selena said. “I’m so sorry. But Ryan still needs his mom.”
Maria sobbed harder. “My boy will never see his daddy again,” she wailed.
“Maria,” Selena said. “Josh is watching you. He’s taking care of Hayden.”
“No!” Maria cried. “That accident was senseless. My husband and my daughter are gone because some asshole was driving too fast on an icy road. Why would God allow that?”
Selena was taken aback. “God had his reasons,” Selena replied. “Trust God, he knows what he’s doing.”
“He took a newborn baby from her mother!” Maria cried. “Why should I trust the God that would take my child away like that?”
“What are you saying?” Selena demanded.
“There is no God!” Maria cried. “Nobody took Josh and Hayden except the guy driving that truck. Nobody is looking out for my son now but me. I will not trust God. God doesn’t exist.”
“Don’t say that,” Selena said sadly. “Don’t say it. Everything happens for a reason. We just don’t know what that reason is yet. Come to church with me tomorrow, you’ll see what I mean.”
“I won’t be going back there,” Maria replied. “Now, if you’ll excuse me. I would like to get some rest.”
Maria walked up the stares to her bedroom and lay down.
A bright light sped towards her. It hadn’t been there a moment ago, but now she was blinded by the white. Josh disappeared from her vision as the light grew closer. He went from being clearly visible to a silhouette to a mere shadow in seconds. Maria could hear herself scream, but it was like listening to someone else.
“No!” she cried as she sat up in bed.
She could hear Ryan crying in his crib. Maria got up and rushed into her son’s bedroom.
“There, there,” she said shakily. “Are you hungry?” Maria picked Ryan up and carried him into the kitchen.
As Ryan fed himself the oatmeal that Maria gave him, she sat down and began to weep.
Selena walked through the door to see her sister crying.
“Maria,” Selena said, worried. “You can’t keep doing this. Please, come to church with me. You’ll feel better.”
“I can’t get it out of my head,” Maria cried. “The lights are burned into my skull. Why did they have to go?”
Selena looked at Maria sadly. “I don’t know,” she said. “But they’re gone now. Please, let us help you.”
“You can’t help me,” Maria said. “No one can. My life has been destroyed.”
“You still have Ryan,” Selena said. “Focus on that. Be happy for him.”
“How?” Maria asked. “How can I ever be happy again?”
“Come with me,” Selena said. “Get back into the world. Socialize again.”
“How could anyone possibly understand?” Maria asked.
“We can’t,” Selena said. “But we can help. Come with me. Everyone misses you.”
Maria sighed. “Fine,” she said. “But if it doesn’t help, I’m never going back.”
Selena shrugged. “Alright,” she said.