Okay, can I reiterate that this last year has been exceptionally difficult? I’m sure I’ve described it so many times already that nobody wants me to do it again. At the worst of it, I was seeing a therapist who suggested I take anti-depressants. I actually considered it, but ended up deciding against it. It’s not that I want to be miserable, but I want somehow to be real. My problems are not caused by a chemical imbalance in my brain. They are caused by life, and I think it is appropriate to react to life appropriately. Now this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take antidepressants if you feel a need for them, for whatever reason. But for me, I guess I feel that life is not without purpose, that the things that happen are not random, and that somehow we are supposed to learn, to be transformed, to become stronger through what happens to us, and hopefully out of that we will even end up with something to give back to the world.
Nevertheless, I find that the mind does have a built-in failsafe. Over the years, I’ve seen that when I start to reach a point of overload, I shut down without the assistance of any pills. Sometimes it’s better, and sometimes it’s worse. There was a period of time many years ago when I honestly just felt numb. It didn’t last, of course. I ended up getting pregnant with my youngest daughter, which tore those floodgates right open and let it all out! Right now I’m not so much numb as just … well, I guess it’s kind of like having your head in the sand. See no evil, hear no evil, and I’ll get by thank you.
I’m directed outside myself to a great extent. So have I told you about my work? I’m a paralegal, and I work primarily in immigration law. I work directly with the immigrants themselves. I work with people who are trying to bring their family members here legally, and I also work with people who are in removal proceedings and are trying desperately to stay in this country. And I have to tell you, I get very attached to my clients. I really and truly care about them. I am working full-time now, five days a week, with split days off so I never have more than one day at a time off work, so my focus on my work and my clients never really lifts. And that is probably actually really good for me — to think about other people instead of myself.
I have also been doing a lot of astrology, and I don’t mean the sun sign astrology you read in the newspaper. I’ve been doing natal charts, and relationships charts, progressions, transits and returns. It is an endlessly fascinating intellectual exercise, and a great deal of that is for other people as well. And I’ve been thinking about a lot of things, trying to figure out the answers to some of the big questions about things like faith. (I will be posting a blog on that soon and will be asking for input from readers, because I certainly don’t have the answers!) And I’ve been reading. I’ve been listening to books in the car while I commute (that is a couple of hours a day on average), and I’ve got several going at home at any one time as well.
The down side of this is that it’s tapped my creative spark. I need to get back to working on my book. When I began it, it was because I had so much pain inside I was afraid it was going to destroy me if I didn’t get it out somehow, and putting it on paper is a way to do that. Now I just need to do it because I know I am supposed to do it. Sheesh, I think I’ve known this since first grade! It is one of those things I actually need to be obedient and disciplined about, I think, in order to avoid being cornered into it by circumstances. I mentioned anxiety in my previous blog, and I honestly think that part of the reason I feel anxiety is because there are certain things in life I know I should be doing, and I’m not … and one of my basic beliefs is that if we don’t do what we are supposed to be doing, we will get a rude shove to get us back onto the path.
So I need to get going on it. And hey, God, if you want to help me on my way, send large amounts of money so I don’t have to work so many hours! Or get somebody to help me with the house work so I have more free time! I have recently added to my time burden by taking a class, but I need to take it.
With regard to Michaela’s case … well, recently the Hayward Police Department and the FBI engaged in a big operation out of town, which involved numbers of people, and interviews and investigations, and searches and yes, digging. I was told about this in advance, but then I promptly put it out of my head, so I was actually surprised when I got a call from one of the officers at HPD on that day. So I really have to do this, you know? It’s been almost 22 years, and during that time this sort of thing has happened on a number of occasions. Some of those occasions have wrapped me up in them and torn me apart, including that really big occasion last year. Luckily, the media didn’t get involved this time. I mean, the media is great — they are mostly really great people, and I do believe they honestly care about these cases they report on. And we do need them, in order to keep these unsolved cases out there before the public, so that we can solve them. We need our lost children to be remembered, to keep them alive.
But dealing with the media is exhausting. I think that is part of what really wiped me out last year, because the magnitude of the media attention far exceeded even those first days after Michaela was kidnapped. And the media doesn’t allow you to bottle up your feelings. They are always asking you to reach down inside and bring them out. Imagine, if you will, doing anywhere from three to ten interviews a day, and each time you are being asked pretty similar questions — all hard questions about your missing child, and whether you think she is alive or not, and what you feel about the investigation that is going on (like when they are digging in the ground looking for possible gravesites). Each time you have to answer those questions as though you have never answered them before. Each time you have to dig inside into those tender places and lay them bare. Each time, over and over and over, for day after day after week after week. It was worth it, because it did bring Michaela back to the public mind and heart in a huge way, and it has brought in leads and information which could end up leading to the case being solved.
Of course, one of my major reasons for wanting to keep Michaela before the public is because if Michaela is out there, I want her to see it. And I thought, with the magnitude of the media coverage last year that she couldn’t help but have seen it if she was out there. But you know, that’s not true. You know, there are families who only watch children’s programming and some dramas and comedies. If you don’t watch the news, you would have missed it. Probably the best shot we had was a photo of Michaela on the cover of People magazine. But it was a small photo, and it was not a good one. It was a school photograph which we hadn’t even received at the time Michaela was kidnapped, so she had never seen it. We used it originally because it showed certain features well, but now that is not the most important issues. And just in this moment it has occurred to me that in the future it would probably be better to use a photograph Michaela would have seen hanging on the wall at home, one that she would recognize if she was out there somewhere.
But anyway, the whole thing exhausted me … and it depleted me financially as well, since I had to actually take time off my paid job in order to do all that. So I wasn’t wanting to repeat it this time. But the funny thing is that yesterday I actually came down with an infection which required a trip to the doctor and a prescription. What’s funny about that is that I have found in the past whenever I have tried to ignore something like this, I have gotten sick. One year I decided to bypass November 19th, the anniversary of Michaela’s kidnapping. I decided I’d just go to work that day, and I did. And I ended up getting really, really, extremely sick with bronchitis, which laid me out for way more than one day. So now I always take November 19th off work. It’s my own personal holiday. And January 24th, Michaela’s birthday. Even if I don’t do anything, I know that my health and sanity require that I pull my head out of the sand and face the truth that this nightmare of grief and loss in my life was not a bad dream I can try to ignore … it is real. It is a part of my very essence, and if I try to ignore it ever in any way it just comes back and forces me to slow down, stop, and just simply face it.
People often talk about hope. Well, I could tell you things that would make you all think I am crazy! I have true stories for which I’m sure the National Enquirer would pay big bucks! But I’m not telling those stories. I could never completely give up hope on Michaela. I’ve read lots of novels about missing children, and I can tell you that the most common mistake they make is that they have the parents of the missing child holding memorial services based on the slimmest evidence. They find an item of clothing, and assume from that that the child is dead. Baloney! Even an item of clothing with blood is not going to convince the parent of a missing child that she is dead! It could have been a bloody nose for crying out loud. Never, never, ever are any of us going to be holding a memorial service until it is absolutely proven to us that our children are not alive. We will not ever bury them until there is something to bury. Even if someone confesses that they killed our children, unless they can show us the remains, we will always hold that glimmer of hope that they were lying and our children are alive out there somewhere. Hey, it’s happened.
Well, I have AT&T coming today to install U-verse to replace my current cable and internet provider, so I will be offline for a large part of the day, except for what I can get on my phone. But I thank you so much for coming to visit my blog. I have been so blessed to see how many people returned here once I returned here. So God bless you all, and once again, let me end with this ….
Michaela, wherever you are, I love you.