Tonight I received a comment from a reader on my previous blog. She wrote:
I’m sure someone will call me naive, but I’ve been following your blog for awhile, and I’ve been hoping so much for that happy ending. Every time I would check this page, I would hope to hear another Jaycee store where the girl lost all those years is found and brought home. I know it hasn’t been 100% proven that the bone belongs to Michaela, but knowing that there’s eve a possibility is crushing to me. I know it’s more crushing to you, but after all the praying and hoping I did, this news just plain sucks.”
I was going to reply to this comment, but honestly it just made me so sad I had to do more. I had to write a blog about it. I had a moment of difficulty wondering why this made me feel the way it did. My first thought was that I felt as though I had personally disappointed someone … well, more than one someone, I’m sure. And my first reaction is that I have to make you feel better! But I don’t think that was it, really.
I could probably not have got through the last 24 years if I didn’t have a really finely developed ability to find the good in things. In the very first year after Michaela was kidnapped I started to develop a really deeply felt spiritual orientation to life and all these things that happen to us. I don’t actively think about it a lot, but I happened to run across them in a book I was reading late Sunday night when I couldn’t sleep. Funny that would happen the day before I found out about this bone … such a coincidence. I believe that this life is not an accident, and the things that happen in this life are not accidents. As terrible and horrible as it is that this happened to Michaela, I believe that it was something she had come into this life agreeing to do. I have written about this before, and I have gone through the various events in her life that make me believe this. But the question is, why would she do this? Why would she enter into life and take on this horrible fate? The answer lies in her own soul’s growth and desire to evolve and find its way home, but I believe it also lies in YOU, in me, in us.
I knew Michaela. Of course, I was her mother, and I loved her. But she was just so full of light, and I believe with every fiber of my being that she still sheds a light on the world. Exactly how, exactly where it shines or why, who needs it and how they may be touched by it … well, those things I can’t say. I think it is one of the reasons I am driven to write about her. It is one of the reasons why I want to finish this book that I haven’t been able to bring myself to write, because somehow through what happened to her there is a message of healing and a guiding light to shine into the world. There is just too much that I have seen, that I have felt, too much of what Carl Jung calls synchronicity, for it all to be meaningless.
And I think the reason this comment makes me sad is because I don’t want to see someone feeling crushed because of Michaela. I just want to reach out and take your hand and tell you that Michaela’s spirit could not ever be extinguished by the likes of someone like Herzog. While I know that the world has poured itself out to Michaela, what I have felt being poured out has not been sorrow so much as it has been just plain love. Michaela has inspired love in so many hearts. Love that completely and totally transcends the heartbreak that always, somehow, some way, some day, accompanies love, love that is the promise of life everlasting, and not death.
Perhaps also this comment makes me so sad because it assumes Michaela is dead, and she is not. Even if Herzog, or anyone else, killed her body, I do not believe she is dead. She lives now, and forever … in my heart, in yours, in the wind and the rain and the stars and the sky, and not just metaphorically, but in a very real way. I’m sure many of you have read the poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye that say,
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Whether Michaela comes home alive, or whether we find out that she has passed on from this small life, feel the love and life of her spirit. Cry, mourn, grieve, but don’t let it crush you. Don’t let it destroy your faith.
So yes, I am sure many will consider me a crazy person, pat me on the head and try to be understanding because they know it is difficult to experience this kind of horrible grief and live, and I must just be overcompensating. So let’s just bring it back to the real world sort of level. (Okay, no, this will probably not help to establish my sanity.) My daughter Libby watches a show called “The Walking Dead.” Yes, it’s about zombies. But coincidentally, she watched an episode the day after we found out about this bone fragment that made her think of Michaela. Apparently the community of non-zombies had been missing a child, and they had been looking all over for her. Then one day they found her. She had been locked in a barn, with a bunch of zombies, and was of course a zombie herself. (For those of you who are not aware, zombies are people who are no longer alive.) My daughter played the scene for me last night, and it was very touching, for a show about zombies. Later, the mom was reflecting on it, and what she said was, “My Sophia was lost in the woods all this time, I thought. But she didn’t go hungry. She didn’t cry herself to sleep. She didn’t try to find her way back. Sophia died a long time ago.”
So there is that. We all know that. We have always known that. For goodness’ sake I have had people question why on earth I would think it was better for my daughter to have lived in sexual slavery and abuse in the UAE than to have died. The tragedy happened in that moment on November 19, 1988, when she was kidnapped. After that moment, all roads had to lead through one level or another of hell. But if, if this turns out to be Michaela, we can figure that her suffering wasn’t long, that she didn’t cry herself to sleep, that her heart didn’t ache for home, because she was home.
We have to honor her, her person, her life, and her death if that is what happened, and let her continue to inspire love and faith and hope in our hearts.
Someone shared a song on my facebook page today. It is called “Beam Me Up” by Pink. Doesn’t sound like it would be an inspirational song, but it was. I thought I’d share it with you.