|Jamie and Libby|
Dear Michaela, today your baby sister Libby left home. Well, she has left home before, has lived in various apartments with various friends, but always within a few miles of home. Today she packed up her stuff, loaded it in a truck and a trailer, and moved to Oregon.
It’s not the ends of the earth, I know. She will be back to visit, I know also. One of her friends is getting married and she will be down here at least once a month for the next few months for wedding stuff. And the world these days is so small. We have the internet, email and facebook. We have cell phones, text messages, and facetime. We have photos and videos that can be sent from there to here in seconds. It’s not like it was when my mother moved to the United States from England to marry my father back in the 1950’s. Back then most of those things didn’t even exist, and a transatlantic phone call was so expensive they were only made for emergencies. There was only the mail, and that took a couple of weeks each way. I have thought so often how awful a thing that was.
Also, Libby is going to a good place. She has a good life waiting for her in Oregon, good people, a really nice guy who loves her and will take care of her, a good job, things she richly deserves, and I am very, very, very happy for her.
But still, when she left I cried. I couldn’t help it. In those last minutes before she left, her entire life played over in my mind. I saw that little girl she used to be, with her little fountain pony tail on top of her head, that sweet smile. That’s the Libby you remember. I saw the exquisitely beautiful young woman she has grown to be, both inside and out. She is like the light without the shadows, just pure sunshine. Mmm, a little stubborn sometimes, and she takes way too long in the shower, but she is so lighthearted and funny, even in the hard times. She has a gift for making everyone around her feel comfortable, even me.
I will miss her.
But as she left, I couldn’t help but think about when you left. I know Libby is going to something good, and I know I will see her again. But you, my sweet child, were swallowed up by the darkness. I cannot find you. I cannot see you. You cannot come home to me.
The other thing about Libby is that she never stopped loving you, Michaela. You remember how you would get annoyed with her because she always wanted to be with you, a little three year old following you everywhere you went? Well, in her heart she still follows you. Next to me, she is the person who holds you most dearly, who invests her heart and soul most deeply in you.
Sometimes this blog is hard to keep. Sometimes it is hard to keep finding words to say to you. Sometimes I am slapped in the face with the realization that probably, most likely, you will never see my words to you. But I have to find a way to keep reaching out to you. I am a paralegal and I work in an immigration law office, so I see people from all over the world. The other day a man came in who was from Dubai, in the UAE. I thought about launching into a discussion of how I had a missing child and how a few people from around the world had told me that she was in the UAE. But I didn’t. Instead I just said, “Oh, I hear it’s beautiful there.” “No, it’s not,” he said. He told me that it was hot, like 120 degrees, and asked me how I would like to live in a place that was that hot. I thought about my stay in Las Vegas a few years ago, and how when I walked outside the air conditioned buildings I felt as though all the moisture was sucked out of my skin. And I thought about you, about the remote possibility that you could be there, and I felt this pressing need to find you and save you from, of all things, the oppressive heat.
Oh, Michaela, I don’t know what to say, except that I love you, today, tomorrow and always, wherever you and and wherever you have been. I want to tell you that as much as I miss that little girl I lost, and as much as I grieve over missing the last 25 years with you (oh my Lord, how could it possibly be so long?), you need to know that as much as I have loved each of my children when they were little, I love them even more now that they are adults, and the same is true for you.
I am here. I am waiting for you, always. You have a wonderful family, warm and funny. If you came home, I guarantee you would be smiling and laughing in pretty short order.
Meanwhile, I will just keep saying these things, as many times as I have to, unless and until the day comes when I don’t need to anymore.
Love you forever, baby girl.