In Canton? My hometown? Just a few miles away from where my children play in the park?
My ten-year-old daughter said, "Mama, why would somebody abduct a little girl?"
And I said, "Well, sometimes it's because one birth parent wants to prevent the other birth parent from seeing their child. Sometimes it's because people can't have children of their own, and they become so crazy with desperation that they steal someone else's child. And sometimes it's because there are bad people in this world who want to hurt other people."
Bailey said, "But who would hurt a seven-year-old little girl?"
And I just gave her a hug.
Because I don't have an answer. I don't know what kind of monster could hurt a child.
I look at my own children and I don't want them to hurt in any way. I cry when Drew gets shots at the doctor's office or when Bailey gets hurt in a softball game. I would give my life to save either of their lives in a heartbeat. They are my reason for living after all.
About an hour ago, I read a news report that authorities found Jorelys' body in a dumpster near her home this afternoon. She was badly beaten and sexually assaulted.
Jorelys' last moments on Earth were filled with unimaginable horror and pain. Was she crying for her Mom? Did she wonder why nobody came to save her?
Tears stream down my face as I type this now. It's hard to explain how you can cry for somebody you have never met.
This sounds so small-town of me, but it's difficult to imagine such a disgusting act of violence could happen in a place like Canton. It reminds me that there is darkness everywhere.
Now my children will understand why I don't let them go to the toy section in Target ahead of me. Or why I don't let them walk to a neighbor's house after school. And why I might hug them a little tighter and read two bedtime stories before turning out the light.
As a mother, there is no greater pain than the pain of your child.
My baby sister died when I was fifteen years old. My family was heartbroken. Months later, I remember looking at my Mom and thinking but you have three other children who need you. We need you.
Eleven years later when my daughter was two months old, I said to my Mom,
I want to apologize to you for something that I thought but I never said. She was my sister, but she was your baby. And now that I hold my own daughter in my arms, I know that if something happened to her, I would crawl in the grave beside her.
More tears stream down my face now as I imagine the guilt, despair and heartbreak that Jorelys' mother must be experiencing today. I can only pray that she feels the peace that only our Lord can provide.
So today, I will pray for peace and I will hope for justice.