Last week, Michaela, I was at church and someone told me she had been praying for me, for us, for years. She said that she had prayed I would receive the answers I need.
That statement kept coming back to me during the week, like there was something in it for me to figure out, and it finally dawned on me that maybe that prayer hadn’t been answered because maybe I don’t really want answers. It is, after all, an established fact that every single time it seemed as though I might find out that you were dead, when the lead fell through I did not feel any disappointment that the case did not get solved. I just felt pure relief that it wasn’t true.
I have to tell you also that there is another feeling I have recognized lately. People have asked me a number of times if I felt guilty over what happened to you, like maybe I shouldn’t have let you go to the store that day. And I have always said no, I don’t. I honestly don’t think I did anything wrong by allowing my daughter, who was almost ten years old, go two blocks to the neighborhood market with a friend.
But on a deeper level, I have come to see that I do feel guilty, terribly, horribly guilty and unworthy. I have also said that yes, life goes on, and it should, and I am pretty sure you would have wanted that for me as I would have wanted it for you. Yet deep down inside I feel guilty for every moment of life I have enjoyed since you have been gone. I feel guilty for every minute that I spent doing something else besides looking for you, reaching out to you. I have talked before about how children who have been kidnapped, or even who have run away, are often reluctant to come home because they feel ashamed and unworthy because of what they have had to endure. Well, that is probably no match for the feelings of shame and unworthiness I feel for not having found you, for not having saved you.
The human mind and heart are such complex things. So often we have no idea what is really going on in them. So often we have no idea why we do the things we do. One thing seems completely unrelated to another, and yet they are not.
Just know, Michaela, wherever you are, that I love you. There has never been a human being on the earth who was more loved, more adored, more wanted, than you were … than you are. I know that we will see each other again, one way or another, here or there. And in that day, the love we have for each other will be so bright it will forever burn away the shame, the fear, the sorrow, and we will know that we are worthy of that love.
God bless you, baby girl. I love you forever.