A writer struggles to hold her family and faith together in the aftermath of a devastating car accident in this debut memoir.
In 1993, Vasquez met her future husband, Johnny; they married three years later and went on to have a son, Elias, and two daughters, Abigail and Zoeí. For many years they lived as a happy family who had strong ties to their local church. In 2012, Vasquez discovered that she was again pregnant with a boy—just eight months before the fateful day that she watched Abigail, Elias, and Johnny drive off to school; she would never see her family all together again. A head-on collision left Johnny in a coma and Abigail in surgery, which she didn’t survive. After Johnny finally regained consciousness, Vasquez learned that she couldn’t inform him of the terrible loss for fear that the shock would negatively affect his recovery. As Johnny struggled in rehab, Vasquez organized her daughter’s funeral on what would have been her 14th birthday, determined to make the grim occasion into a celebration of life and faith: “Now, I’m envious of her. She is experiencing her great mansion in heaven,” Vasquez writes, developing a theme of positivity in the face of unbelievable tragedy. When Johnny finally returned home, the family struggled to return to normal life and sought ways to turn their tragedy into a testimony of faith. The early portions of Vasquez’s memoir feel rushed and choppy. However, she effectively slows her account down when describing the devastating moments after her daughter’s death, allowing their full emotional impact to come through. For instance, when she ultimately reveals to Johnny that their daughter didn’t survive the crash, Vasquez highlights wrenching details that make the moment feel real and powerful, such as the mute Johnny’s concern for his wife: “After a while, he stopped [crying] and looked at me. Is he mad at me for waiting? He mouthed, ‘Are you okay?’ ” Throughout this memoir, the author’s unrelenting faith and hope manage to bring much needed positivity to a tragic story.
An emotional and difficult remembrance that ultimately acts as a reinforcement of Christian readers’ faith.