Happy Birthday, Michaela

Tomorrow you will be 38 years old, and we will be celebrating your birthday for the 29th time since you were taken away from me. I’m writing today, though, because I am restless today but may be tired tomorrow, since I am currently recovering from surgery.

Last night I fell asleep for an hour or two, then woke up, reached over and picked up my phone, and ordered two of your favorite movies from Amazon prime video. Sleep shopping, not recommended, but they just came to me. An American Tail and The Boy Who Could Fly. Perhaps tomorrow I will watch them. Or perhaps I will not have the courage. An American Tail became almost a symbol for you after you were kidnapped, with the song, “Somewhere Out There.” The Boy Who Could Fly is more foggy in my memory, except for the fact that you loved it, and that we met the boy who could fly, Jay Underwood, when he was shopping at a local grocery store when he came home to spend Easter with his family. I looked him up on the internet by the way. He is now nearing 50 years of age, still nice looking, but a bald, middle-aged man nonetheless!

Michaela, I have some news, which I have mentioned it here, and then I think I took it off again. I have another blog where I have been talking about it, but the fact is that I have breast cancer. Nana had breast cancer, years after you were kidnapped. I think I never really took the whole thing seriously myself. First of all, I figured I would be immune having breastfed so many babies for so long, and second, Nana misled me I guess. She made breast cancer look like a walk through the park. A lumpectomy and a few weeks of radiation therapy and it was gone. Because of all those things, it was something I took into consideration, and I had my mammograms, but perhaps not quite as often as I should have.

So now it turns out I have Stage III breast cancer. Let’s put it this way, they found the cancer, and then every time they did a test they found more. They did an MRI and found it was much larger than what they had been able to see in the mammogram and ultrasound, and that moved it to Stage II. I had a mastectomy, and they found it in the sentinal lymph node during surgery, so they removed eleven more lymph nodes, and they found cancer in every single one. Next I see a medical oncologist, who will probably do a PET scan, and I have to admit, I am a little afraid. It’s begun to feel like cancer is playing hide and seek with me, that whenever I catch up with it, it runs farther ahead and hides around another corner.

The type of cancer is invasive lobular carcinoma. This means that it originates in the lobules, which is where the breast milk is actually manufactured. It is the thing in me that nourished and nurtured my children that is trying to kill me. What is it I want to say here? It has a familiar feel. My love for my children has tried to kill me before, hasn’t it? When I lost you, all that was so good and precious and treasured rose up and became something from which I could die.

But I didn’t. And I don’t plan to now, either. I remember when Nana was diagnosed with breast cancer, she thought it meant she would die, and what she told that her first thought was, “At least I will get to find out what happened to Michaela,” although I know it was really more like, “At least I will get to see Michaela again,” because really she thought it most likely that you were no longer alive. Me, I believe nothing, none of the above, except that there are things in this world yet for me to do. There is love to tend to, and love yet to welcome into the world. I am ready to fight for those things.

*****
Well, it is your birthday now. This blog has been hard to write. I stopped and walked away and it took more than 24 hours to walk back to it. This morning I did watch The Boy Who Could Fly. How you loved that movie. It is a poignant little fantasy. I remember the tears and hope this movie brought you. In was a story of loss, and of the gifts loss can bring you. At the moment Eric’s parents are killed in an airplane crash, he spreads his arms and pretends to fly … only it’s not pretend, When Milly loses her father, she moves in next door to Eric and he takes her hand and shows her how to fly. In the end, Eric is lost as well, the loss of an extraordinary person who leaves in his wake the gifts of courage and hopeto people whose hearts had been limping along before he touched them. And yet he is not dead, not as far as we know. He is simply gone, missing . As a mom who hangs onto the real world I wonder where he could be, how he could have survived on his own, but in the promise he left with Milly is the hope yet that he will return.
It is so much you, Michaela. I am so glad I watched it today. An American Tail I will wait to watch with your little nephew, Theo, once we are able to hang out again. I’m not able to pick him up while I am recovering from this surgery, which is really difficult because he lives with me so the temptation is constantly there.

There have been so many birthdays that have come and gone since I lost you. I think every word that could be said has been said, dozens of times. Do the words I love you or I miss you mean any less because they have been repeated so often? More than that, Michaela, I ache and grieve for the suffering you have experienced, and my helplessness to save you. The thing I have wanted from the moment you disappeared to this moment is just to hold you in my arms and whisper in your ear, “It’s okay. You are safe.” That I have not been able to do that has been like a death to a part of my heart and soul.

If it means anything to you, you have left a legacy of courage. When I face the hard things in life, I think about you. I think, if Michaela can face fear and pain, I can face fear and pain.

I love you, my child, forever and ever. I love you to a depth I cannot begin to reach. I will see you again one day, I know. Until then, I will just say it one more time.

I love you forever,
I’ll like you for always (no matter what!)
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be

mom

p.s. If you want to keep up on the news regarding my breast cancer, you can find it at www.sharonnemethmurch.com. I started keeping another blog because I decided I wanted to keep this one dedicated solely to you. I sometimes post about my opinions or other things that some people may like and others may not, and I just don’t want those things clouding anybody’s image of you in any way. 

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70 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Michaela

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  1. WOW! I just saw your FB post and the 100 comments! COUNT ME IN TOO!! “For Michaela's birthday tomorrow, one of my friends suggested that 35 people in various places each release one balloon in her honor (it's her 35th birthday). So far we have 15 people releasing 15 balloons. Are there 20 more who will do this?” https://www.facebook.com/MichaelaJoyGarecht

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  2. ¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday dear Michaela ♪♫¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*We Love You from Thelma Mandera & Family

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  3. Aw, Happy Birthday Michaela! I hope you have a good day where ever you are.Michaela actually shares a birthday with missing child Jenna Ray Robbins. (Does Jenna have any relatives actively searching for her?) I hope both cases are solved soon.

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  4. Thank you Sharon for always sharing Michaela with all of us here on facebook and around the world. I'm still praying and believing for a miracle for Michaela and your family. I will not lose hope. My heart goes out to you and your family in a great way. Happy Birthday MichaelaI pray for God to hold you very close to His heart and you will feel the warmth of His great love for you, and I pray you will sense and feel the great love, warmth, and care of your Mom and family today. I'm praying and believing for you to come home to your Mom and family and I would love to meet you. Michaela, there are lots and lots of people all over the world who are praying for you and love you so much.Love and Prayers alwaysfrom Thelma Mandera & family

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  5. Why do children have to be victims of kidnappings or presumed kidnappings? When a child goes missing in the U.S, whether it was witnessed or not, the family always start to fear the worst. And that is every parents' worst nightmare. And they can stay missing for years and years. And those cases may touch more people than others.Why do some of the innocent children end up being pulled in a car and then maybe killed and buried in a backyard? Why steal their lives from them? Michaela is one example, she was just a little girl who had still so much to learn and do in her life. And one guy just took her away and to this day somehow has been able to stay unknown. With that been said, I felt sad on Michaela's birthday, in a spot of my mind, but now I just feel bitter. She should be among us, should've always been. This shouldn't be the case.

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  6. ((Sharon))I bought a cupcake on Michaela's birthday. When I blew out the candle, my wish was that she is at peace wherever she maybe & that one day her family may have answers and some sense of closure. Hugs,Megan

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  7. It is indeed heartbreaking to see grieving families of stolen children….I was trying to find some discussion sites on Jenna Robbins, when I was directed to this quite sad but strong message from Michaela's mom….forgive me, but this is kind of new to me, but as I was reading the minute accounts concerning Jenna's disappearance, I realized that there had to be two men involved…..one in his 40's – the alpha, and the other in his 20's……the younger men is a passer-by, meaning he was visiting in the area, whereas the older man is the resident, someone well established within the community near or large…there is a relationship between the two – the younger man is the brother of the older man's wife!!!….the younger man should be deceased by now – cancer, but the old man is still alive, has probably moved on, but tragically, he has already marked out his 'hunting grounds'….there should be more disappearances over the years in Texas….if I was there in the USA, I would definitely find this old man – 'it' is a predator in your midst which needs immediate expulsion and incineration…kind regards….

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  8. I'm so so so so sorry! It's so unfathomable that one person's selfishness caused so much pain for you, for Michaela, for your family! It's the mystery of iniquity! I want so much to say words of comfort, but only God can do this for you. I pray he does bring a peaceful resolution to you in this lifetime! I pray for you often. God Bless you! Happy Birthday Michaela!

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  9. Dear God, I pray you will hear the cries of Sharon's heart and You will answer her and give her the desires of her heart.God you see how the not knowing, the endless imagining, has become more than Sharon can take. I pray God that you will come into this situation and do what no other power can do and we will start seeing answers to this precious Moms prayers and bring Michaela home. God she needs answers now, and I believe that You are hearing and You will answer Sharon, and our prayers.Love and Prayers always to you, Michaela and all of your family.from Thelma Mandera ❤

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  10. praying for closure soon ! If this man did assault and kill her , then she is already at peace…I so desperately want this man caught and to face justice…you dont know how much I want this man caught , I want him to suffer so much.I pray everyday if there is a god that this man suffers unendurably and will die at maximum pain without any peace. God I hope hayward police solve this case

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  11. From a resolution point of view, is there no records at all of blonde pock marked man who was slender in hayward 1988 with a tannish gold car ? This was random and this man could very well be a local. The car could very well be a 1988 chevrolet cougar or ford as most of these were boxy sedans …There has to be some DL records of such a man and car….if the car had cement splatters it could very well have been some worker either construction or repair or a drug junkie…did the police enquire all nearby businesses of such a man ? if this creep was 18 now he would be 45 if he is alive , if he was 24 he would be 51.Michaela met the devil, a horrible human that day and I know that god has the worst hell waiting for this horrible man

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  12. Since it was an older car and it happened in 1988, in guessing it wasn't a 1988 model. There are actually an amazing number of people who look like the kidnapper, and the description of the car us vague snd would fit many, many models, the investigators also received more than 15,000 leads in the first year and did not have the time and resources to investigate all of them as thoroughly as they would like. However, they do have a short list of suspects, which ultimately doesn't do anybody any good.

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  13. I've been following your story and reading your blog for awhile. As the time has gone by, my oldest daughter is now 9. The other day, I panicked momentarily, when she went out of my sight at a store. It's almost beyond my comprehension having some stranger snatch her up. Michaela's story really hits closer to home, now that I have a 9 year old daughter. I try to be more patient with my daughter and hold her closer. I pray that Michaela's case is solved soon. The kind of torture that a parent is put through with an indefinitely missing child is some of the worst horror that a parent can be put through.

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  14. I still remember the day when she went missing. I was 8 at the time. I also live in Hayward. I still always think about her here and there and I hope and pray that she will still come up or that her case will be solved. Praying for your family!!! Felice

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  15. Sharon, you have said many times that the investigators are going through so much information and that it's not a cold case. But why is this taking so long? (I'm venting this with frustration!) At what point are they actually making progress versus going around in circles? Do they think this will be solved? Is there anything that the public can do to help with this? I'm not asking for confidential details from the police, but when public resources are used for such a laborious investigation, doesn't the public have a right to some sort of update? I guess the bigger question is who is monitoring her case that they are doing a good job and being thorough in their investigation. I remember her kidnapping. I am almost 40. We lived in San Jose and with your daughter's kidnapping my Mom changed her parenting to us always being escorted everywhere we went.

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  16. The short answer: who knows? The fact is that the investigators are not answerable to anyone, at least not me or you. They don't have to tell even me anything. And they sure don't have to do anything because I want them to. You can ask me do I believe they will solve it, and that answer is probably no. It appears to me that their commitment to the case has waned over the last few years. Our detective had a room where all the files and evidence was kept, and the powers that be apparently decided that was a waste and so he had to try to jam things into his cubicle and God knows where. If the powers that be aren't willing to make the commitment of time, space and resources to it then it is not going to get solved, and at this point I just don't feel that is there.

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  17. Your response truly makes me so sad. It feels like there is a chasm that with reduced commitment just seems to widen. For you and for the people that have come to care about your daughter and what she had (has?) to endure. I'm sorry the resources are not as robust as they once were. In addition to the inspiration your story and Michaela's has provided people, please know there are people that would mobilize to help if there is a way that it makes sense. So I guess what I'm saying is that it feels hopeless at times, but if something turns up where you need support, I think there are many of us around that would step up. I'm not talking about something specific, it could be a search team, it could be a funding drive to follow a warm lead, or writing to the police department. Many of us who remember your daughter's (and Amber's) kidnappings are now adults with children of our own and perhaps can carry through with vigor the next generation of supporting the search. I would like to offer my Prayers to God for your daughter and your family.

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  18. Thank you so much for your offer. If there was anything I could mobilize I would. But rest assured that there are non-police officers working behind the scenes as well. I honestly get so weary it is hard to pick up my foot and take another step, but I thank God there are a couple of people who keep going, keep working, and give me the opportunity to go along with them. Not sure it will lead to anything, and I really wish it didn't have to be this way, but it is what it is.I do very much appreciate your words, though. Thanks.

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  19. Im so sorry.. I understand how you feel its not fair for something that u love so deeply and care for be taken from you and I pray that she someday returns in you arms and until then i know people all over the world will be hoping that the beautiful and strong michaela returns home or is in a better place with no more pain. God Bless and Happy Birthday Michaela!

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  20. Are you kidding me? Pity party? Bitter? You are a cruel person to say this to someone who has endured more pain than any of us could even imagine! I pray for your soul.

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  21. She's a mother looking for her child. Where is your compassion? What is wrong with you as a person? Why would you leave a commit like this? Until you walked in someone else's shoes, you have no right to judge. Or better off keep your nasty commits to yourself.

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  22. I'm rarely at a loss for words. Maybe it's a genetic disorder, maybe you lack empathy, or maybe your some misguided, smart alec teenager with nothing else to do. Bottom line: ridiculous, callous comment. Perhaps your time would be better spent reading someone else's blog.

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  23. You are an idiot,and obviously don't pay attention to what's going on, you are obviously not a parent, and unless you've gone through what she's gone through keep your rude comments to yourself, she has gone on to be a great mother and grandmother to the rest of her children and grandchildren, and if she wants to use her blog to vent how she is feeling it's none of your business if u don't like it then your welcome to unfollow.She doesn't need negative/rude people like u in her life, she's gone through more than most of us have in our lives. So unless you have had a child kidnapped and never knew what happened to them shut up

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  24. She's not looking for a pity party. She don't want your sympathy nor your rude negative comments. Put yourself in her shoes,What would you do if you had a child go missing and had no answers for decades? All she wants is her baby back.Have a little bit of respect.

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  25. You have shown a new level of ignorance. I cannot imagine what kind of people raised a person has low and heartless as you, and I pray I never come across them. Sharon has never asked for pity, nor has she shown any bitterness. She has only asked for information that might lead to her missing daughter, and to keep her name and the memory of her out there, so that maybe some day, she might be found.This is her page. If you do not like what she has to say, move along. Go someplace where your dark soul can rot without causing mental anguish to people. When I pray for Sharon and Michaela, I will pray for your dark soul. I will pray that you learn love and compassion, and that you never have to find the strength to go through anything like this.

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  26. I cannot even imagine what type of people raised you. You have shown me how ignorant some people can be. Sharon has never asked for pity, nor has she shown bitterness. All she has done is ask people to keep Michaela's name and her memory out there, in hopes that somebody will remember something that will help her to find her daughter. I cannot believe that your soul is so dark that you would even attack her for doing that. I will pray that your dark soul will learn compassion and love, and that you will never have to find the strength to live through what Sharon has been through. Yes, I will add you to my nightly prayers, right behind Sharon and Michaela

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  27. It's not a “pity-party.” She experienced something few could even imagine, and she is hurt and looking for answers. This is SHARON'S page, and you have to right to tell her what to do or how to feel! Michaela deserves to be remembered, whether she may be. I hope you NEVER experience the hell Sharon and her family have endured over the past 27 years. Have a heart and get a life!

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  28. What a sad, pathetic life you must lead if the only way you can find joy is by trying to amplify the heartache of someone to whom life has already dealt a hand of incomprehensible pain! The subject matter of this blog is quite clear at the outset. If it doesn't interest you (or offends you in some way), you're perfectly free to find a different one that's more to your taste. The fact that you did not do so and instead chose to stay here and spew venom at this loving, compassionate woman speaks volumes about who and what you are.You are nothing but a BOTTOM-FEEDER.I'd like to cordially invite you to return to where bottom-feeders like yourself can wallow in the sludge of their own misery – and even flourish. If you aren't sure where that is, then here's a great use of the internet while you're hunkered down there, all alone in your Mommy's basement: LOOK IT UP. On that note, I will leave you to it. Well, that… and three more words in parting -HOW. DARE. YOU?!?

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  29. Well, it was removed by the author of the comment, not by me. I went back through my emails and found it, and it was actually a very nice comment, so I don't know why she chose to remove it. But there was no bitterness involved, anonymous. Sorry.

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  30. Thanks Sharon, I chose to remove it, because it didn't make a lot of sense. I read the wrong post at the time, and I was upset that someone would be so rude to you, but I responding to the wrong person. I'm not bitter at all, @Annoymous, I am not bitter at all, in fact I went to school with Michaela. I get really angry when people play with Sharon's emotions, or makes nasty comments, she has been through enough and doesn't need the extra drama. However, I was lashing out at the wrong person which was wrong. That is why I deleted it, I am sorry for the misunderstanding.

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  31. Hi Sharon,I'm from Scotland and I first read about your daughter and many other cases back in December 2014. When I read the case of Kevin Collins who disappeared from San Francisco four years before Michaela, it said he was seen talking to a young, tall and blonde man who had a big and black dog with him. That made me wonder if it was the same man who took Michaela because apart from the similar descriptions of each men, Hayward and San Francisco are only about 27 miles apart. I appreciate that this possible connection may have already been looked into, but I thought I would bring it up just in case it is of any help. Thanks

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  32. Kevin's case is very close to my heart. He shares the same birthday with Michaela, and I consider both his mother and his father to be valued friends. The Foundation they started in his honor, The Kevin Collins Foundation, was first on the scene to help after Michaela was kidnapped, and provided invaluable assistance. My impression is that there are strong suspicions as to what happened to Kevin, although it's never been proven. I don't recall any time in which it was suggested that it was likely that the two cases might be related, except in that they were both among a number of children who went missing or were abducted here in the Bay Area within a period of just a few years. Obviously I have no idea of everything the investigators considered over the years. If ever either of these cases was solved, perhaps there might be some consideration of whether it seems likely that there might be a connection. There are an awful lot of tall blonde men in the Bay Area, though!

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  33. Thanks for responding to my last post. Yes, the cases of other missing or abducted children in the Bay Area around that time such as Amber Swartz-Garcia and Ilene Misheloff also make me think about possible connections and if Michaela's kidnapper and others were working together. Michaela's scooter being moved and Ilene's bag being placed in an area previously searched make me think that it's similar tactics being used. You and Michaela are often in my thoughts and I will keep looking to see if I can come up with other possible connections or any other information that might be of help. Thanks again Sharon

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  34. Michaela's scooter was moved in order to lure her to the kidnapper's car. Ilene's bag was abandoned after the fact of her kidnapping. I don't think there is any relationship indicated by those things.

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  35. Continued prayers for a Miracle for you Sweet Sharon and, for Precious Michaela ❤ Love, Hugs, and Prayers for You and all of Your Familyfrom Thelma

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