Their baby died. The child was beautiful. Large head, blue eyes, ribbons in her hair.
It was a few days before Christmas when it happened. Her family was in town. The house was alive with people.
Her husband placed their almost one-year-old beside him in bed for a nap. He didn’t mean to fall into a deep sleep. But he did. It was the worst mistake of his life.
They found the child wedged between the wall and the bed.
The funeral was a blur. The following days were hell on earth. She and her husband hollered at one another. She placed blame. He said hurtful things.
Sometimes, good people act ugly.
They separated. He moved into his brother’s. She moved back to Virginia. They put their house up for sale.
The house sat vacant for a year, and they didn’t speak for that long. No calls, no emails. Silence.
Until a realtor called to say they’d received an offer.
They arrived at the vacant home together one evening to sign papers. It was just him. Just her. They’d changed. She’d cut her hair. He’d lost weight. They almost didn’t recognize each other.
A body can change a lot in a year.
They embraced. They kissed. They apologized. They talked about their late child.
They cried. They laid together on the living-room floor and spent the night in one another’s arms. No words. Just quiet.
The next morning, they woke with stiff backs and crusty eyes. Her face was serious.
“What is it?” he said.
Her first words were: “I had this dream.”
She spoke of a girl in her dream, with blonde hair, blue eyes, running through an open field, chasing other children. The little girl ran with arms outstretched, smiling, laughing.
The child in the dream laughed, then collapsed to lie down. She stared at a sky above her and sang in a childlike hum.
And that was it. It was a brief dream, but it was vivid.
Her husband didn’t make a sound. His face went white, he breathed heavy, like he was having trouble catching his breath.
“What is it?” she said. “You look terrified.”
“I had the same dream,” he answered.
And they pressed their foreheads together and cried themselves dry.
Listen. I don’t know why people suffer. And I don’t know why bad things happen, and I’m betting you don’t either.
Even so, there is something you know just as well as I do. You know it even though you can’t see it. And even though it is invisible, it’s there, in the air.
And I believe in it.
I believe it’s the same thing that makes dreams. The same thing that makes a grieving girl and a broken boy move back into their old house, and try it all over again.
It is what made the couple pregnant for a second time. And it lives inside their new child—who will turn seven this Christmas season. I believe it is where all beautiful souls go when they leave us.
I believe it is what will cause the sun to make its climb above the trees tomorrow. I believe it will save this world.
I really do.