I learned this lesson twenty-two years ago.
When I saw the fleeting look of panic in the nurse’s eyes.
When her hasty retreat from the room shattered my picture perfect pregnancy.
When Warren returned from his business call, and my voice quivered out, “I think something’s wrong with the baby.”
When I felt the gush of fluids after the doctor broke my water.
“Looks like pea soup in there.”
When the room became a flurry of people barking orders and poking me with needles.
When the nurse said to my hubby, “We need you to sign these release papers.”
When I woke from the foggy haze and choked out a whisper.
“Where’s my baby?”
When someone responded.
“I’m sorry. He didn’t make it.”
Everything changed in a second.
When I screamed out for Warren, just before everything went black, again.
I had never really experienced death.
My parents had to put our dog to sleep when I was away at college.
I cried myself to sleep for days.
But no cousins, brothers, sisters, or friends had ever passed away.
Even my grandparents were living.
A few years prior, the mother of a new co-worker had died.
I didn’t want to go to her funeral, but my boss wouldn’t take no for an answer.
I left the funeral home, as gracefully as I could, when I saw people draped over the corpse in the coffin.
They are touching and kissing a dead body.
I hid behind an ancient oak, sobbing and gasping for air.
My fear changed in an instant.
“Where is he? I want to see him,” I informed the staff even before the anesthesia wore off.
When they delivered him into my arms the first time, I couldn’t even open my eyes.
“I can’t see him! Warren, I can’t see him!”
But later, when I was more alert, and the medical team agreed to bring him to me once more, I drank in every ounce of my firstborn.
I caressed his rose-petal-soft skin.
I marveled at his ten tiny fingers and counted his ten tiny toes.
I stroked his thin layer of black hair.
I kissed him.
His puffy blue lips.
Everything changed in an instant.
“It’s time,” the nurse said for the second time.
“It’s time to say goodbye.”
Twenty-five years ago, nineteen-year-old Lisette Torres left home on New Year’s Eve.
Never to return.
Her murder unsolved for two-and-a-half decades.
Her family wondering, waiting for good news.
Everything changes in an instant.
I stumbled upon this news piece today.
The killer has been caught.
The family’s life altered in an entirely new way.