Good morning, Michaela. Today is my birthday. Do you remember? It’s also New Years Eve, and all combined that makes it a day when my heart and soul just fall into reflection. I actually have made some New Years Resolutions this year. One is simply to get out of the house. Anybody who knows me will tell you that on my days off it is really difficult to get me to leave the house. There are a lot of reasons for this and some of them are really excellent reasons, but I know that at least part of it is fear. A few weeks ago I was watching the season finale of Survivor. Of all the places to get a flash of wisdom, right? But an audience member asked Ozzy how he manages superhuman feats like climbing to the top of palm trees to get fruit, or staying underwater an exceptionally long time in order to catch fish. His reply was just that he is able to do these things because he doesn’t have fear — that he learned through the course of his life, and activities like skateboarding, to act and not to let fear hold him back.
This really struck a bell with me. I have tried to be a good mom to your brothers and sisters, but I have really come to recognize the tremendous fear I have and what a terrible influence I have allowed it to have on their lives. It’s not that I didn’t have it before I lost you. I did, hugely! On that morning when you asked me if you could go to the store, you know I didn’t want to let you go. But I did, because at that time I felt that I had to do these things whether I liked it or not. I remembered my own childhood, when I literally walked all over creation, and I just knew that whether I liked it or not I had to free my own children to do the things I’d done as a child. But after you were kidnapped, the only thing I could see is that I had been right, that my fear was justified. I had this idea also that because I hadn’t wanted you to go, because I’d gone so far as to mentally trace the route you would take looking for the sense of danger I felt, that I’d had an intuition of it, and I vowed to try to listen to that intuition in the future.
The problem is that it’s really difficult to sort out the intuition from the fear.
The other problem is that it wasn’t only stranger danger, kidnapping and the like that I feared. One of the things I found myself most afraid of was cars. I could have taken a million day trips with your brothers and sisters that were never taken because staying home was just simply the safer choice. At this point, all of your brothers and sisters drive, and you can’t imagine how difficult an adjustment that has been for me. They are all also now actually adults, your youngest sister having just turned 18 this past month. For the most part I really am not in a position to tell them where and when they can and cannot go. But I do follow them around like an annoying buzzing little fly in their ears suggesting that maybe they don’t really want to go where they want to go, and if they do really want to go I advise them on driving, and on avoiding days/times when there are likely to be a lot of drunks on the road, etc., etc. Yes, I can be a real pain. To their credit, they are very patient with me. They literally never tell me off for behaving this way. And also to their credit, they invariably do whatever it is they intended to do regardless of my nagging.
And here is another legacy of your kidnapping. When they leave, I always try to say “I love you,” because those are words that should never, ever be left unsaid. Remember, Michaela, when you left for the store that day, those were our last words to one another. I remember you had such a bright smile on your face when you said them. But now, because of that, I never, ever allow them to be my last words when I part with someone I love. I always add something afterwards. Often it is “drive carefully.” Also, “see you later.” And I look away before they leave my sight. I watched you on that morning ride your scooter to the end of the block, until you turned the corner out of sight. A time or two else in my life I have watched someone walk away until they were out of sight and have never seen them again, so now I turn away. I release them of my own free will, instead of having them taken from me, because that way they will come back.
So much silliness, I know. Most of these little rituals are unspoken. I doubt any of your brothers or sisters is aware of them. They probably recognize them. They would probably say, “Oh yeah, mom always does say ‘drive carefully’ or ‘see you later’ just before we leave.” But they don’t know what lies behind it, what superstition, what just plain fear.
But here is the thing I know. Fear is bad. Fear is destructive. When you allow fear of loss to control you, you bring loss upon you. When you fail to embrace love because you fear loss, guess what? You have already lost the love you could have had! When you cling too tightly to love because you fear loss, you just might drive it away. There is no doubt about it, loss is a fearsome thing. Sorrow, suffering, the very literal heartache, the bitter, paralyzing grief. Nobody wants to experience this. But we do. We all do. And until such time as we achieve immortality, we always, always will. That grief is another whole subject, one which is so deep and so important, and yet one for which I never seem able to find the words which will convey its depth.
If we allow fear of loss, basically fear of death, to control our lives, we may continue to exist, but we will be losing a lot actual life. And I have come to realize that this is what I have done to myself, and this is what I have done to your brothers and sisters. Well, the loss I experienced when I lost you was so devastating I suppose I can be forgiven for this. Although all the kids have suffered from this in various ways, for the most part they have grown up and gone on, and they don’t stay home all the time or anything. But I have been feeling particularly bad about Johnna, because I know that girl has an adventurer’s soul (she has lots of planets in Sagittarius, as you do yourself), and I know that soul hasn’t been fed what it needs to thrive. Part of my New Years Resolution is for myself, to get out and live more fully, but also for Johnna. I know that as she and her friends get a little bit older, she will embrace this part of herself and seek out the adventuring she needs, but for right now I just want to make sure I give her what I can give her to do that. I need to take her on more adventures, just to show her a little bit of the path that lies outside the door. But most of all, I need to equip her with what she really needs, and that is the freedom to do all this without being afraid of the journey, or of how much the trip is going to cost, or worrying about whether or not I will miss her while she is gone … or if she will miss me, I guess.
Actually, I have done this to my dogs also. You may laugh, but it’s true. And I plan to remedy that as well. I know, Michaela, that you would not ever want to leave a legacy of fear. You would not ever want to take anything away from life. Your true legacy is love and light, and freedom of the heart and soul.
Anyway, on to other things. In my last blog, I posted a song by Adele. In fact, I’m going to post it again here. I have listened to this song over and over and over again, and every time I hear it I cry. Here is the thing about sorrow — it’s just past thought. Libby said she didn’t really see how this song connected to you. Well, actually when I hear this song it makes me feel this for all my children. You know I love them, every one of them, just as deeply and fully as I love you. When any one of them suffers, I suffer, too. It doesn’t matter if their heartaches are caused by minor things, they are still heartaches. It is true for every one of my children that, “When the evening shadows and stars appear, and there is no one there to dry your tears, I could hold you for a million years, to make you feel my love.”
But you know, the fact is that I can’t.
I just remembered that somebody once told me that you shouldn’t cry on your birthday, so I really shouldn’t be writing this blog today, but I guess it’s a little late for that. Oh, and wouldn’t you know it, that song has just now come up to play on my itunes?
I cry every time I hear this song, because I know that there are so many sorrows and terrors that you have faced and I have not been able to be there to physically hold you. And this will be true for all of my children. Love just needs to become something that transcends physical proximity. You know I told you that if ever you were sad and I wasn’t there, to just look in your heart and I’d be there. When my mother lay dying, I told her that I didn’t want her to suffer anymore, that if she wanted to go it was okay because I would have her with me always in my heart. I know she’d worried about that, had even tried to establish me with surrogate mothers because she was concerned that I’d need someone to take care of me after she was gone … as if anybody could ever come even close to her! But within minutes of my telling her that I’d be okay, she let go. Oh, were my words true? Of course she is always here in my heart, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss her.
With you, that has always been the hardest part, that you needed me and I wasn’t able to get to you to help you. I wasn’t able to find you. Some of the lyrics of this song apply only to you: “I know you haven’t made your mind up yet, but I would never do you wrong. I’ve known it from the moment that we met, no doubt in my mind where you belong.” If you are out there, if you read these words, then something holds you back from making contact, from coming home. But whatever it is, just know that I love you, and just as I want the best for your brothers and sisters even when it is something that is difficult for me, even if it is letting them go, I want that for you.
So the other day I listened to this song dozens of times, and I laid down that night to go to sleep with my heart heavy within me. I closed my eyes and tried to stretch my spirit out like a giant hand with a hundred tentacles to reach into all the corners of the earth, to find you. The next morning still those tears wanted to keep coming. I had to put a pretty boring audible book on to still the tears so I could drive to work. I drive across the San Mateo Bridge every day, and that morning there was a mist hanging over the water, and fog caught in pockets between the trees and hills on the far side of the bay, and it pictured the mist which hides you from me. Where are you? I miss you so much.
But 2012 is coming. And if you have read much of what I’ve written, you know that I believe it is perhaps the year that you will be found. (I wrote about this on my other blog: http://thewanderingjourney.blogspot.com/2011/07/will-michaela-be-found-in-2012-charts.html) And I have been trying to prepare my heart for either eventuality. If you are not physically in this world, Michaela, I know that you are with my anyway, that our souls are bound, that we are and will be together.
Wherever you are, whoever you are, my heart and my arms are open to embrace you. I love you, for always and forever.