You will always bring me joy

Introducing Jamie and Libby, as husband and wife.

As I have done over the years, Michaela, I want to keep you updated with family news. I wonder sometimes about it, about whether seeing the family in happy occasions might make you sad. That is not the kind of person I know you to be. The Michaela I know possessed the kindest and most generous of spirits, and is always happy for other people’s happiness. But who knows what might have happened to you over the years. Who knows what might have happened to crush your spirit. So I just want you to know, I hope to never bring you sorrow. I just want you to feel a part of the family still, wherever you are, to feel like you are here with us, as we feel you are.

I just returned late last night from Libby’s wedding. Libby moved to Oregon several years ago, after she met Jamie, the love of her life. I was heartbroken when she left to go so far away, of course, but it also gave my heart rest, because I knew she would be happy. I knew Jamie would love her and take care of her, and I knew she loved him. And that is what is important. That is how children should leave home, to go off to join someone they love, or to go on their own adventures. The sorrow of losing them is always overwhelmed by the joy in knowing that they are happy. It should never be as it was with you, Michaela. It should never be that a child is stolen from her home.

Your baby sister, the one who used to
follow you around everywhere!

The wedding was beautiful, and it was especially nice because it is the first time that all your brothers and sisters have been together in one place in as long as I can remember. I did an amazingly bad job at taking pictures. The wedding photographer was busy taking photos of everybody, and I somehow did not manage to take any with my cellphone. As I gather some and find a way to get them on my computer, I will post them for you. But for now, here are some of the bride and groom.

I have told you that you are always present in our hearts at holidays and special occasions, Michaela. And next to me, Libby is probably the one who keeps you closest in her heart. So you were definitely there. But you ended up being there in conversation as well.

The hotel we stayed at had a breakfast room where Jeff, your stepdad, and I went every morning for waffles. Waffles are not something I usually eat. I don’t have a waffle maker, and I never order them when I go out to breakfast, but man were these good!

Anyway, one morning a man walked in carrying his three year old daughter. She had just woken up, still sleepy eyed, hair tousled, wearing Peppa Pig pajamas, carrying a well loved baby doll. She was just adorable. Later her grandpa came down and joined them, along with an older sister. We got to talking to the dad and the grandpa, and somehow the conversation turned to the fact that the dad had lost one daughter, who had been in between the two who were with him. I think when we said we were from the San Francisco Bay Area, he mentioned that his daughter had been treated at a hospital there. She had a cancer in the brain stem. The doctors had finally said there was nothing more they could do for her, and sent her home with her parents. She died when she was three years old. The grandpa also had lost two children, both before the age of one, from a congenital condition that made them unable to breathe properly.

And of course, I told them about you. They could not imagine how terrible it was for you never to have been found, and I could not imagine how terrible it was to watch your child suffer and die day by day. They mentioned someone they knew whose daughter had been missing a long time, and how she couldn’t let it go, and I told them, well you can’t. I know, I said, that the odds are that my daughter is no longer alive, but until I know that for sure, I have to keep looking, keep reaching out, because if she is alive, she needs me. You need me. How would it be, I said, if my daughter did come home one day, and all she could see is that we had given up on her. Missing is still missing, however long it might be, whatever the odds.

I was struck by another thing as we were talking to this dad and grandpa. They looked like such average kind of people, on vacation with the family. They were in town, the dad said, for his brother’s 40th birthday. There is a speedboat that goes up and down the Rogue River there, and they’d been on that as a family, on a dinner cruise that stopped halfway back for a dinner, then picked them up and brought them the rest of the way. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it, Michaela? But even though these people look as normal as can be, suntanned, healthy, happy, they are not, because each of them carries within them the loss of a child, the loss of a grandchild. And that is an experience that does not leave you the same. You are changed deeply. You grieve, but you cherish more deeply, you love with knowledge of how precious it is, because you know the cost of love. You have paid it with the shredded flesh of your heart.

The grandpa, who had himself lost two children may years ago, asked me, do you ever get to a place where you can be happy again? Oh yes, I said. I have a lot of happiness in my life. These photos here in this blog entry, are photos of my happiness. My children, my grandchildren. This is the thing: their happiness is my happiness. It is equally true that their sorrow is my sorrow, and yet there is still something that all the sorrow in the world cannot eclipse. You, Michaela, still bring me joy. For all the fear and grief I have felt over you and for you, you are joy to me, my daughter, my first child, the first baby I held in my arms, the one who taught me to be a mommy.

It does my heart good to see my children happy. I enjoyed Libby’s wedding very much. Her husband, Jamie, is a wonderful guy, and as beautiful as Libby looked in her dress, I think that the thing that touched me most at the wedding was the look on Jamie’s face as he took my daughter to be his wife. But the joy of the very existence of my children just cannot be destroyed, even in the saddest and most difficult of circumstances.

Wherever you are, Michaela, I pray you have found happiness. If you have passed from this life, I know you have found peace. If you are still here, perhaps still you have found joy in life wherever you are. Do you have children? I would love to hear about it. And if you have found no happiness, it is never too late. You can’t wait for rescue, my child. The world is so large, and your case is so huge with so many leads, finding you would be like finding a needle in a haystack. But you can break free, somehow. If you are in this country, call 911 and tell them, “I am Michaela Garecht and I was kidnapped from Hayward, California, in 1988.” If you are in another country, contact the U.S. Embassy there, go to a women’s shelter, go to the local police, and tell them this.

I just want you to know that I love you forever, baby girl. Nothing will ever change that. You are always welcome here, no matter what. You are always a joy to me.

17 thoughts on “You will always bring me joy

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  1. Dear, Sharon Congratulations on your daughter's wedding she looks gorgeous. I was in tears Sharon after I read this blog. Michaela congratulations to you also sweet heart on your baby sister's wedding. Sweet Michaela your mom loves and misses you so much as you can see she always remembers you in ever family event that takes place and keeps you updated. Michaela it's your return that can put a smile wide as a sea on your moms lovely face.If indeed you are reading this Michaela and you are in states dial 911 and watch how your life will change for the best. You belong at home with your family who ever has you does not deserve you. You were born free and you deserve to live free, help your mother find you. Sincerely Zahra


  2. I'am sure you heard of the recent Emery Brothers investigation, I seen a picture of Charles Emery and it hit me right away the man's eyes are “fox like” as was described of the man who took Michaela. Now I know these guys are OLD…but 30 years ago, they woudl have been late 40s, early 50s…to a child that could have looked 20's especially if the guy had long hair. I am scrolling down the article and see a car, like the one mentioned Michaela was taken in…HOWEVER the color is different. But its said they had a bunch of junked cars on their property. I think they should be looking if anything is connected to Michaela. Yes I know the areas are very far apart, but that doesn't mean anything at all. The guy could have been in the area, and drove back to where he came from with her.


  3. The trial is cancelled due to the perp admitting guilt to avoid the death penalty. This is so wrong! There is numerous evidence that he kidnapped and killed these two little girls. But yet he can make the decision to avoid a trial and get death. What rights does he have!!! There is something totally wrong with our justice system. HE SHOULD HAVE NO RIGHTS. Did the poor sisters have the chance to decide whether they should be raped and killed and then burned in a fire pit? WHY DOES HE HAVE A SAY IN THIS. He kidnapped two beautiful little girls, held them for weeks, raped and killed them. Then burned them up. He should get death or worse.


  4. I am not a believer in the death penalty myself. I know that this would be tested if we ever found out Michaela had been killed and who did it, and how. But I am just opposed to the ending of life, and it's not as though there is any justice in it, because the only justice would be to undo the crimes they committed, and that is impossible. I think that life in prison is a pretty bad sentence myself. I'm not sure I wouldn't rather be dead than to spend my entire life in prison. The main thing is that he will be off the streets so he will not be able to hurt anyone else. That, to me, is the most important thing.


  5. If it were my child I would want him dead or to suffer just like she/he did. I am not a mean person in any way. If these kidnapping child molesters were put to death than maybe the next one that decides to do this wouldn't. People that do this to a child do not any right to be on this earth. I am surprised Sharon at your comment. Justice? Did Michaela see justice. Did all the other little children get a chance for justice. If the system would put these creeps to death than maybe they would think twice. Justice is not the issue here. Preventing little kids from being kidnapped and killed is the issue. People in prison get 3 meals a day, an education, entertainment and protected against other inmates. As an upstanding person Sharon with a normal mind, yes you may see prison as hell. But these pieces of garbage see prison as way off the streets a way to avoid death. They should have no choice. How is putting someone in prison any comparison to what they may have done to Michaela or any other child. They are still eating, breathing, waking up to new day. They still have hope and dreams. They can have access to their family and friend. Michaela and the other poor kids can never have that. You say you are opposed to the ending of life. In my opinion, these monsters aren't worth the life they were given. Why just lock them up and let them live. The murdered children never had a choice. They aren't waking up each day, eating meals, hugging their parents, or living and breathing. These pieces of crap are regardless where they are.


  6. PS Sharon, he has been off the streets for years in prison for raping little girls. Like I said living and breathing and living life unlike the Lyon sisters and all the other children that have been murdered.


  7. There is no justice possible for Michaela. There is nothing in the world that can make up for what happened to her. I could pull the toenails of the kidnapper and it would not lessen Michaela's suffering. I could kill him and it would not bring her back if she is not alive. NOTHING ELSE IS JUSTICE.In all the years that Michaela has been missing, my only focus has been on Michaela, on what happened to her, on what possible way I could help her. I have given very little thought or energy to the kidnapper except as a way to find out what happened to Michaela. Only Michaela matters to me. My only concern about the kidnapper is that he not be allowed to do to any other child and any other family what he has done to Michaela, and to our family. Other than that, he is nothing to me. He can answer to God.


  8. Sharon, I admire you for your good nature. I believe in An eye for an eye. Especially when its a child, animal or someone so innocent. I feel that people should be punished to the max for their wrong doings. Especially when they take a life. If it were my child I would want him off of this earth. That would be justice for me and my child. After all the kidnapper wasn't thinking about justice when he decided to take a childs life.


  9. Sharon, It's me again. I have been posting about the Lyon sisters. Well, today was the trial. Lloyd Lee Welch pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murder but still states he did not kill them. The facts state that he did. I really do not believe that he should have had a choice as to what kind of trial he had. He did not want a jury trial because he could have gotten the death penalty but in reality people on death row just sit there in prison for years anyway. Instead he got 40 years for each girl. He is 60 so he will never see the light of day again. I live about an hour from where the girls lived and remember the day they were kidnapped 42 years ago. I have followed the case from the beginning but there were many many years of nothing until 2013. I was 19 years old when they went missing and I will be 61 this month. I look at the parents photos and they were so very young when this happened. Now they look so old, worn and tired. I feel so bad for them. In a sense I know they wanted a trial so they could at least find out some of the details of what happened even though it would be devastating to hear. I was hoping so much that they would have found something in the search to bury so the parents could have closure. In a sense bring them home. My point here is this monster kidnapped, tortured, raped and killed these little girls who had NO choice (after keeping them alive for 3 weeks) but yet he got to choose what type of trial he had to avoid the death penalty. There is something very wrong here. As you know from experience, not only the children suffered and lost life but also the parents, brothers and all other friends and family for 42 years now. Many many lives have been ruined thanks to this persons wrong doings.


  10. And all this just dragged the family back into it. What do you think it would have done to them to have to sit through a trial day after day? I know I absolutely don't want to have to do that. The man entered a guilty plea. Justice has been done. Don't let it tear you up. Be at peace.


  11. Honestly Sharon I don't know how you have survived all these years without being angry for what happened to Michaela. I get angry for bad things in my life but you have suffered for many years. Just like the Lyon sisters family. They look so beaten and worn. It is so very sad. They have spent 42 years of Hell and they look like the most gentle people on earth. You have spent a good portion of that with Michaela being gone and you don't seem angry at all. I just don't know how you do it. How do you go on living a normal life without being mad and angry. I really don't know how you went on taking care of other children and making a normal life for them. Continuing to be a mother, wife, working and taking of care of everything.


  12. I have been finishing up cancer treatment. And awhile ago I started another blog where I talk about things not directly related to Michaela, like my cancer journey, and other things. It seemed that people on this blog really wanted to hear about Michaela and perhaps not all the other things. I have been thinking about combining the blogs, but not sure. And not sure where to do it. Google is always threatening to shut this blog down because they once again can't find my payment information.


  13. I just have this feeling that she is still alive and will reach out to you when the time is right. You are so incredibly strong and this blog is beautiful, she will see this one day and realise how much she is loved and welcomed back home with her family. The police will continue to look for her and I truly do believe she is out there and will come home eventually. Your patience is admirable and so is your strength. Perhaps if you could try to get her case on more TV shows this would raise awareness and refresh peoples memories, and hopefully she might see it or someone who knows her might. Hugs and kisses from Australia, keep your head up and don't give up on her, she will return one day, I can feel it.


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