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Angels in the Night

A grieving mother is plagued by sleeplessness, until a little earth angel steps in.

Earth angels come in the night

I tossed and turned in bed next to my husband.

I hadn’t slept much in the two weeks since our third daughter, Katie, died in a drunk-driving accident. My days were a haze. Painful thoughts consumed me. How could she have done it? Could I have stopped her?

Before the accident, I’d thought my second daughter was the one I had to worry about. She was going through a rough patch and her six-year-old daughter, Alana, stayed with me or her other grandmother most days. Would life ever be alright again? It seemed impossible.

My bedroom door creaked open. Alana, I thought, keeping my eyes shut. She often had bad dreams and came to our room just to make sure her grandfather and I were there. I could hear her gentle breathing. I’d learned if I pretended to be asleep, she’d go back to bed. I listened for retreating footsteps.

Instead, I felt Alana’s soft cheek press against mine. “It’s all alright,” she whispered. “It’s all alright.”

A sweet surprise, a six-year-old’s comfort. But it helped. I drifted off.

The next afternoon, Alana came by after school and joined me, my mom and my sister in my living room. As we chatted, I mentioned Alana’s visit the previous night.

“She told me, ‘It’s all alright,’” I said.

Alana spoke up. “No, I didn’t!”

“You probably forgot, sweetie,” I insisted. “It was late.”

“But, Grandma, I wasn’t here last night,” she reminded me. “I was staying at my other grandma’s house.”

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