This evening my husband asked me, what is the worst part? He never knew Michaela. I was divorced after her kidnapping, and remarried six years later. He fumbled for the words he was trying to say. “I mean, I know you miss her, but I can’t imagine really how you feel. Is the worst part not knowing …?”
I fumbled over a few words also, about whether she was suffering, not knowing whether she was suffering, trying to answer his question, what is the worst part?
For all of the last twenty years, she has been my focus. My own feelings have taken a back seat to what she had to go through. She was the victim, after all. She was the one who experienced untold terror and suffered whatever unknown fate. Those of you who are parents know that it is far more difficult to see our children hurting than to be hurt ourselves. I had a hard time giving place to my own grief and sorrow over MY loss from the overwhelming grief and sorrow (and anger and frustration and helplessness) I felt over my daughter’s suffering.
But tonight, I have to tell you, I am feeling my loss, and the worst part is just plain and simply that I miss her, that I long for her, that I want to hold her in my arms, that I want to cry with her, that I want to try to fill her heart with all the love I haven’t been able to give her for the last twenty years. That Jaycee came home alive is a joyful occasion. I am so happy for her, and I am so happy for her family. But if I am to be totally honest, I feel as though there was a deck of cards laid out, each one with a missing child on it, and Jaycee’s card was chosen. And I just scream in my heart, “Why couldn’t it have been Michaela???”
I sat on the porch swing in my back yard tonight, looking at the moon rising in the still-daylit sky, and I softly sang “Somewhere Out There.” It was popular at the time Michaela was kidnapped, that song. She knew it. She sang it. After she was kidnapped, it took on a whole new meaning, as it has for so many parents of missing children.
Tonight, my hope is renewed — and sometimes having hope is the hardest part. The waiting, the getting up in the morning and wondering if today will be the day that I get that magic phone call, if it is the day that I will be reunited with my daughter. Ilene Misheloff’s parents have always said that every day they get up and put their feet on the floor and say, “Today is the day Ilene is coming home.” And I always wondered, did they really do that? Because I’m telling you, living in a state of hope that is never fulfilled is VERY, VERY HARD.
It’s all hard, every bit of it.
God, it’s been long enough! Please end this. Pick Michaela’s card, please. Please, let her come home.