That first year after their bodies were found, as I lit a candle for each of the children I knew or knew of who could be considered such on that day-Holy Innocent's Day, I added two more, one for Ashley, and one for Miranda.
Someday I will be able to tell someone the whole story, until then all that I can say is that day, one by one, sadly, each candle burned out and finally faded.
Except Miranda's. The candle I lit for her stayed lit. Impossibly, long past the time the flame should have sputtered out, it flickered on.
Four years ago today, two families learned their worst nightmare had become reality.
Please pray for them today, those loved ones Ashley and Miranda left behind. Pray they find strength and healing and courage and faith.
Two little girls. Two candles.
And one that finally had to be blown out because I was afraid I would fall asleep and the house would burn down.
A year or so earlier, on 7 Nov 2001, Fox and his roommate fell asleep on the living room floor of their apartment, leaving a candle burning.
How they made it out of the building, and how they were in a fully engulfed apartment fire without any injury beyond a small spot on Fox's nose that healed within a week, can only be a gift-from God. Fox said he heard someone calling his name, felt someone standing over him and pulling him to his feet...but he and his roommate were the only people in the apartment, and he said when he realized what was going on and woke his roommate, they were alone-so who...? When they raced door to door to get their neighbours out, they saw no-one else-so who...?
"Be careful how you entertain strangers, for some have done for angels, unawares..."
When Miranda's candle refused to go out, it did something to me that I still cannot articulate. Like most caring Americans, I watched the news magazine segments about these two lost children; I saw Miranda's eirie interview done just before she was taken, and from the interview it is clear this was a young woman full of love and fight, and righteous anger for her friend.
So I wasn't really surprised when the candle I lit for her refused to go out, but I don't believe she is an angel now-angels are a different sort of being altogether.
I believe in angels-I feel one saved my son and his friend from certain death in a toxic smoke filled and burning apartment.
I believe Ashley and Miranda's angels were with them throughout their horrific ordeals; I believe the consumate evil of Ward Weaver snuffed out their lives because he refused to hear the pleading of those angels God sent to plead His cause-"Stop! This is wrong-let these little ones go!"
And I believe Ashley and Miranda are finally safe. I wish we could have made them safe while they were still here...
Two candles, for two little girls.
And one that refused to go out...