“Come on, buddy. You can say it. Say ‘bye-bye’ to daddy.”
Colton stares blankly up at his father.
“Annie, don’t push him so hard. He will speak when he’s ready.”
“But he’s 3-years-old, Ian, he should be talking by now.” Annie looks down at Colton with a pouted lip and tears filling her eyes.
“Just give him time. Remember what the therapist told us. He’s just delayed with his speech. Many children are slower at learning and that’s okay. Don’t stress about it. I have to go now, I’ll see you both after work.” He kisses Annie’s cheek and nuzzles Colton’s hair as he walks out the door.
Later that night, Annie gets a phone call from a police officer, double checking that she is his wife. After she assures him that she is married to Ian, they tell her that there was a bad car accident and that Ian was killed in it. Annie has a complete meltdown in front of her son, who just stares at her with no emotion.
A week later, Annie prepares Ian’s funeral. She puts on a black dress and heels and dresses Colton in a little black suit and tie. Many people gathered for his funeral to say their last goodbyes. Annie was heartbroken that her husband had died, but was even more upset that he never got to hear their son talk.
After hours of crying, hugging many people, and hearing the words, “I’m sorry for your loss,” had taken a toll on Annie and she decided it was time to head back home, but she couldn’t find Colton. He was standing next to her a few minutes ago while she was talking to Ian’s mother. Annie looked in the bathrooms, outside, and eventually found Colton standing in front of his father’s casket. She walked slowly up to him, glanced down at Ian’s lifeless body, then took Colton’s hand. As she began walking away with Colton by her side, he turned his head back towards the casket and said,