Today I received the call from our detective, letting me know that the site was finally investigated yesterday, and nothing was found there.
What do I say to that? What I wanted to say is, how deep did you dig? How wide? Are you positive it was the exact right spot? In the end, however, I was left mute. There are some things in life there is no point in questioning, I have learned. The FBI, which conducted the dig, is one of them. So I just said, “Thank you for letting me know.”
It has been less than an hour since I heard that news, so it is still settling in with me. It is just at this very second that the tears are starting to fill my eyes. This is a first for me. There have been a number of times when it seemed possible Michaela’s remains might be found, and every single time I received the news that this hadn’t happened, I had been overcome by relief and elation. But that is not the case this time. It will probably take me awhile to sort out how I am really feeling, but honestly I had been hoping for an answer, for some resolution, for some relief from this exquisite torture.
Awhile back I found a meme on Facebook that gave me an aha moment. It depicts the stages of grief in a horseshoe, the stages leading down to the bottom and then the ones on the climb back up. I looked at it and saw myself stuck, like a marble rolling back and forth in the bottom of the curve, between searchings, guilt, loneliness, isolation and depression. I posted the meme with this statement and as one of my friends said, this is pretty obviously due to the fact that I have been robbed of the opportunity to process my grief, because Michaela is still missing. I cannot go through the stages and move on. Sometimes the marble bounces higher. Sometimes I move back up to numbness, anger, fear. I try to claw my way up to helping others, and occasionally an upswing will lift me there. But always that marble settles somewhere near the lowest point.
I cannot think of Michaela dying. Those thoughts are just too awful. I cannot think of Michaela living. There are too many awful thoughts there as well. I can think of Michaela as the little girl I knew and held in my arms, but accompanying that is a sensation that is difficult to describe. It is a sense of the injustice, although that word doesn’t begin to encompass the magnitude of it all. I was given the gift of this beautiful child to care for. Michaela was given the gift of life. But it was all a lie in the end. It was all something that could be stolen away in a moment. The other day I saw a lightbulb fall against a wall, and when it hit it exploded, shattered, the light instantly extinguished. That is kind of like what this was like, the moment of impact on November 19, 1988. Well, for me anyway. The awful truth is that moment on November 19th might have been the least of it for Michaela.
And again, the torture of those thoughts. Even hope is not really hope. Hope exists only in the midst of a huge bundle of fear.
So I don’t know what to think right now. I don’t know how to feel. I’m just going to let these tears rise for awhile until they turn into that wet cement feeling I am so familiar with. The only thing I can really say is to you, Michaela, if you are out there somewhere. I am the mother. You are the child. It is my place to save you from suffering, even when it causes suffering for me. I have acknowledged that it could be possible that you might be alive out there somewhere and be unable or unwilling to come home for any number of perfectly valid reasons. But my heart is in a vise, Michaela. If you are there, if you are reading this, if you could please please please just let me know. You can post a comment here, and nobody will ever see it except for me, because I have to approve all comments before they are published. If you can identify yourself by our family code word or by something that nobody else would have a way of knowing, and let me know you are alive, I would be so grateful. If you are in another country and unable to leave because you don’t want to leave your children perhaps, tell me. I just need to know that you are okay. Please. Please. Please. When you were kidnapped, along with your own fear and terror, I know you thought about me, and how it would hurt me, because that is just the kind of person you were. Please, Michaela. I am hurting. Please.
Love you forever, baby girl.