Clifford loved Barney – and who could blame him?  Barney is big and purple and – a dinosaur who sings in perfect pitch.  Okay…  maybe I exaggerated the last part a teeny bit.

Little Clifford rode the church bus every Sunday. We met him when he was just 4 years old. He and his older sister, Betty, warmed our hearts and lives for two short years.

I sat with their mother in the hospital if one of the kids was in surgery. Many days I got to enjoy the kids while their mom got a break. I referred to that as my “kid fix” and didn’t mind in the least.

It’s no secret that we would have adopted those kids in a heartbeat. Of course that wasn’t going to happen because their mom was enjoying a nice fat check from the state for having them. That’s how it works, sadly. I don’t think she spent much on them really. She may have fed them, but their clothing was from the thrift store and she skated on the most thin ice she could where their care was concerned. I wish we could have taken them. But it wasn’t meant to be. We borrowed them for a while then had to return them.

Then the mom met a guy and they moved to another city in Kansas. We were heartbroken. Just like that the rug was pulled out from under us. We had to say goodbye and it was one of the worst days of our lives – or so I thought.

I was upstairs folding laundry after a long day at work. My husband was watching the local news downstairs in the basement. Life went on as usual until I heard my husband yell up the stairs, “Clifford died in a fire!” Those five words threw me for a loop. Apparently his Barney lamp was faulty and set the house on fire.

The “what-if’s” and second guessing began. What if we had pushed to adopt them? Would this tragedy have been avoided? That kind of thinking will make you crazy! I had a long talk with God about things. That baby was only seven years old. His life cut short by such a horrible accident.

I pray for Betty every day. According to the news report, she tried to go in and save her little brother. What guilt she must live with. She did her very best. I hope she is alright and finds peace. Clifford is with Jesus. There’s no better place to be.