A knife in the heart

Dear Michaela,

Many days … most days … I manage to bury my feelings deep inside. I talk about things but don’t really think about what I’m saying. That is the only way I have managed to survive for the last 23 years, as you can imagine. Today, however, reality kept just popping up. I walk discussing your case with someone, and I was talking about the lead that said you are in the UAE. Simple to say, maybe Michaela is in the UAE. But behind that, there is another reality. There was the second part to that lead, which was that you are “changed too much to remember.” Then there was the discussion on the web sleuths board in which someone detailed the kind of abuse you would have suffered if you had been alive in those circumstances, and wondered why I would think that was preferable. And the horror of it, the grief and sorrow just filled my heart. Jaycee brought so much hope. Jaycee made me believe that you could be alive and could be okay. But it could be that if you are alive, you are very much not okay, and I cannot stand that thought.

Then on my way home, I drove past the street where we lived when you were born. I do this almost every night, of course. When I started taking this route it really disturbed me, but I do it most of the time now, so I’ve grown more immune to it. But this evening, I looked down the block and saw the playground they have built there since we moved, and I thought how nice that would have been for you … and suddenly I could see your little tiny self. I could feel what it felt like to hold you in my arms. I could see your smile and hear your laughter, and all the promise of life you held that was stolen away. And it sliced through me, a searing hot knife. I still, in all these years, have not found the words to describe how this feels, this sense of betrayal of life itself, this wrenching heartache … the just plain furious anger I feel over this.

I am sorry, Michaela. I am sorry that I wasn’t about to keep you safe from this. I am sorry that I wasn’t able to find you. I know that every second you waited to be rescued, and I am so, so sorry that I couldn’t rescue you. I am so, so sorry, and yet words can never contain what I mean, how I feel.

I love you. I love you forever.


167 thoughts on “A knife in the heart

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  1. I'm glad that she was found lin. Honestly, I consider cell phones to be one of the most important child safety devices around. I have an app on my iPhone called “Find Your Friends,” and I can actually use it to keep track of where my kids are at any time. They all know about it, and they don't mind. If anything it keeps me from bugging them, asking them where they are all the time like I used to. In this day and age though, it takes a particularly stupid kidnapper not to be onto the ability to track cell phones, even without an app.More to the point, the kids are able to call home whenever they need something, which can keep them out of some potentially dangerous situations in the first place.


  2. Missed opportunities to rescue Dugard Police failed to make the connection that Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped in South Lake Tahoe, the same location as Garrido's 1976 kidnapping and rape of Katherine Callaway Hall. On April 22, 1992, less than a year after her kidnapping, a male caller contacted the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department from a gas station in Oakley, California, less than two miles from the Garridos' home in Antioch. The caller reported that he saw Dugard in the gas station staring intently at a missing child poster of herself. The caller then reported seeing her leave in a large yellow van, possibly a Dodge. In 2009, after Dugard's release, an old yellow Dodge van was recovered from the Garrido property, one that matched the description of the van given in the call. The license plate was not reported in the 1992 call; and the caller, the girl, and the van were gone by the time police arrived. The caller never identified himself, and the police did not pursue the matter any further.[41] Jaycee Dugard reported that she never left the Garrido property from the day she was kidnapped until shortly before her first child was born in August 1994.[42]Wasnt this Michaela ?


  3. Do you have any idea how many times people have thought that they saw Michaela somewhere? Only it wasn't her. So this was probably not Jaycee. But it for certain wasn't Michaela. It was four years after Michaela's kidnapping, one year after Jaycee's kidnapping. The only way it could have been Michaela is if they'd had her living in the house instead of the yard, because Jaycee has been interviewed by law enforcement personnel, and she says that there were never, ever any other girls involved. She watched all of Garrido's vile videotapes for the purpose of making certain that the girl in each and every tape was her and not another girl. And if they'd had someone else living in the house, the neighbors would have noticed, and they didn't. There are many, many yellow vans in the world and many, many blonde haired girls.I'm going to tell you once again that the Garridos were exhaustively investigated, and our investigators are satisfied that they did not kidnap Michaela. And I'm also going to say again that if you had heard the stories of the other people who are among the prime suspects, you would be saying, “Oh my God, it must be this one,” about each and every one of them. You are just hanging onto Garrido because he is the only one you know about.


  4. Sorry, but that suggestion does make me angry. You have to really know nothing at all about the case to even say such a thing. You do know, don't you, that Michaela was a CHILD, a little girl?


  5. Sorry Sharon, of the Insensitive comment. And I do care very much about Michaela's kidnapping she haunted me since I was 7 ever since I went to a movie theater to see Oliver and company on that November after Thanksgiving I remember lots if flyers of Michaela flying around the movie theater ever since then I've wondered what happened.


  6. She hadn't thought a lot about college, I don't think. She liked to write, as you can tell, and I have a feeling she would have got into theater like my youngest daughter has. She was supposed to sing a solo in the school Christmas pageant just a couple of weeks after she was kidnapped, and her best friend's family was involved in local community theater, and I'm sure Michaela would have eventually followed suit.


  7. Thank you for sharing this. I haven't cried like this in a long time. I have my own Michaela, she's two years old. When she was a 3 months old I packed a car & drove six hours to live in a new town to keep us safe from an abusive relationship. I started over, and have been very blessed since I made that first leap. Beyond anything I'd imagined. Still, I'm in nursing school now, and there are days I get weary, trying to do so much. And then I read your blog today. Not only am I crying my eyes out, I'm thinking about this mother's love that makes us keep going. Thank you for sharing your story, for somehow you have renewed my spirit to keep on pushing. I'm so sorry that this is your story though. You have my greatest sympathies and my prayers as well. My heart hurts and I don't know how you have managed to carry on. Maybe as I read more of your blog I will find out. Seems like you must have stopped breathing for awhile. I don't know how you did it. My heart is full right now and there are many things I'd like to say to you, but there are no words. I know you love your daughter fiercely and I pray to God that you find what you seek.


  8. Thanks Jen, and congratulations for making that new start. Believe me, I know all those feelings you spoke of. There have been a number of times in my life when I felt as though I couldn't breathe for extended periods of time … and always over my kids. And I know it is hard to keep pushing yourself also. There have been times in my life I have thought that I have survived the worst that could happen and so I can do whatever else it is I need to do. But the fact is that having survived the worst that could happen doesn't actually lessen the difficulty of all those other things. Sometimes it is even the tiniest things that make me want to just collapse in a puddle. But you can do it, and it will be worthwhile for yourself and for your Michaela.


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