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


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. 

70 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Michaela

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  1. My thoughts are with you Sharon and still praying for a miracle. You may recall we spoke on your website a few years ago. I am from England and you said you had English roots. Your story struck a chord many years ago as my twin sons will be 38 too in March. x


  2. My heart aches for you today. I'm praying and hoping for a miracle for you and your family and for Michaela. I know miracles exist and I pray for one for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you today and always. Happy birthday, Michaela.


  3. Dear, SharonMay this year be the year that showers you with blessings,just like the rain falling from the clouds. Sharon it made me cry reading what you wrote for sweet Michaela on her birthday. I pray that you fight this battle and that you are victorious you are an amazing mom and a strong lady. You are a survivor Sharon. Hopefully Michaela reads your message to her on her birthday. The fact that you have a appointment on her birthday makes me to believe that where she may be she is also thinking of her sweet beautiful mother. Michaela happy birthday. Michaela if you are reading this blog just get the courage contact your mother please and always know that moms will never put there children in harms way don't believe what any body tells you. Sincerely Zahra


  4. Thinking and praying for you, Sharon, and Michaela today. Michaela is never far from my thoughts. We still live near the neighborhood where she was taken…and still have hope that she may be found.


  5. Those were great movies, I remember them well as a kid. I am happy that memories have been able to keep you both connected. Happy Birthday Michaela! Sharon I hope you rest easy and heal steadily. You are in my thoughts and I am wishing you the best and think of you and your family often.


  6. Praying for God's healing of your body and of your heart. I have followed you for awhile now and my heart aches for you. You have the strength of 10 women combined. I was born to a woman who wasn't capable of loving her children and I see how much you love your Michaela. She is blessed to have you for a Mother as you are to have her for a daughter. I pray that one day you are given the answers you spent years seeking as you surely are deserving.


  7. Happy Birthday Michaela, sweet girl you deserve happiness, as much as the love your mom has for you. Wishing you the best wherever you are. Sharon best wishes in your recovery, you are a strong lady and a wonderful mom.


  8. I lived in the area when Michaela was taken. I was 17 and my boyfriend lived on mission Blvd just between rainbow market and Charlie's liquor. I remember the day it happened. I have never seen this blog. I have thought of her many times over the years. Especially since my daughters were born. I wish she would come home too. I've always felt afraid for her. Wherever she is I hope she has peace. You are a really strong woman and I know you can beat this. I will be praying for you. Take care.


  9. I pray that Michaela feels you with her…. wherever she may be. I know there are many questions when it comes to what happened to her all those years ago. But one thing is certain; she knew, knows, how deeply you love her. There is no way she couldn't.


  10. Dear, Sharon I just lit a candle and prayed, for your recovery and for michaela's safe return to you. I believe that one day god will answer our prayers. Hopefully she is somewhere whitin California. May this year be the year her kidnapper makes a mistake and gets caught. Michaela is very lucky to have you as a mother. You celebrate her birthday even in her absence that's so heart warming. If Michaela is reading this blog she knows that no matter what took place in her life this past 28 years she has a mother who never gave up on her and is still searching for her just like the day it just happened. Sincerely Zahra


  11. Dear Sharon,Your writing never ceases to amaze! I do follow your other blog, keeping you in our prayers. I love your philosophy and take on so many of the things you write here,keep up your spirits.Love SR Mom


  12. While thinking of you tonight I saw my friend posted this on her Facebook page. She had a devastating shock happen to her family very recently. As soon as I saw her post, I prayed for you, and thought to post it. “Every time I woke up through the night last night, I heard this song in my head:”Hold it all togetherEverybody needs you strongBut life hits you out of nowhereAnd barely leaves you holding onAnd when you're tired of fightingChained by your controlThere's freedom in surrenderLay it down and let it goSo when you're on your knees and answers seem so far awayYou're not alone, stop holding on and just be heldYour world's not falling apart, it's falling into placeI'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be heldJust be held, just be heldIf your eyes are on the stormYou'll wonder if I love you stillBut if your eyes are on the crossYou'll know I always have and I always willAnd not a tear is wastedIn time, you'll understandI'm painting beauty with the ashesYour life is in My handsSo when you're on your knees and answers seem so far awayYou're not alone, stop holding on and just be heldYour worlds not falling apart, its falling into placeI'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be heldJust be held, just be heldLift your hands, lift your eyesIn the storm is where you'll find MeAnd where you are, I'll hold your heartI'll hold your heartCome to Me, find your restIn the arms of the God who won't let goSo when you're on your knees and answers seem so far awayYou're not alone, stop holding on and just be heldYour worlds not falling apart, its falling into placeI'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held (stop holding on and just be held)Just be held, just be held, just be held, just be held Praying for you Sharon, Corey (girl)


  13. Dear, Sharon Hello, Sharon I'm checking this blog like 10 times a day in hopes of good news. I wish I was close to Dublin ca tonight is the Ilene misheloff walk it's been 28 years since her disappearance. I wonder if the same kidnapper took these girls like the Cleveland three. Someone got to know who this person was that snatched Michaela. I don't know where on the internet I read that could it possibly be the brazen east area rapist/serial killer. It's driving me crazy what do the police need to solve this 28 year mystery.


  14. Dear, Sharon Hello Sharon, how are doing? I was looking through this blog at all of the beautiful things written for Michaela some how I feel as though all the prayers and things you write on this blog helps Michaela a lot. Sharon I wish I lived in Northern California and possibly be your neighbor you are an amazing lady words can't describe. Their is not one day that goes by that I don't think of you and your sweet Michaela.I told my mom about you and Michaela and she also has you on her list of people to pray for. I don't know why but I feel like I know you for a very very long time even though I have never met you or Michaela in person. Your courage has touched me deep deep in my heart ❤️ and always know that you are in our prayers always.Sincerely Zahra


  15. Dear Sharon,I am the same age as Michaela and lived in San Lorenzo at the time of her disappearance. My view of the world has never been the same since that day.I want you know she is not forgotten. I remember her often. I know I'm a total stranger, but I remember her. I remember watching you on television over the years and crying for your pain. Now, as a mother myself, I cry for you in a different way.I'm sorry you are now dealing with cancer. I hate that f****** disease. I've seen first-hand what it does. No matter what the outcome of your battle, please know Michaela will not be forgotten.


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