This morning, before I was really awake, at the trailing end of a dream, the thought came to me that I should finish writing my book, Missing Michaela. Now I did finish this manuscript once, 25 years ago. But I look back on the world and myself then, and, well, it’s like looking back on childhood. There is an innocence necessarily lost when your child is kidnapped, but it is nothing compared to living with a missing child for 31 years. When I originally wrote this book, I had an agent who sent it to some publishers, and they liked it, but they wanted a resolution. Well, I still don’t have perhaps the resolution they wanted, which is an answer to what happened to Michaela. But there are other resolutions I do have. And there are other resolutions I badly need.
I was reading an article recently on the psychology of cancer. It described the cancer personality type, which fit me to a T. And it described the etiology of cancer, in unresolved trauma and repressed feelings. And that also is me. Repressed feelings. I have a number of traumas in my life I haven’t dealt with, but losing Michaela is, well, a monolith that reaches from earth to sky. Honestly, I don’t see how you can do anything else with feelings that are just SO HUGE besides repress them. I can’t even imagine what they might do if they were set free. Distract and deny, that has been my coping mechanism. What’s more, I have no idea anymore how to set them free. I have no idea how to unearth them from the gigantic pile of denial it has taken to keep them underground in order to survive.
But perhaps now I need to do that. Because perhaps now repressing them does not contribute to my survival. In fact, if the psychological oncology has anything to it, it might be leading to my death.
I have written Michaela’s story a million times, or so it seems. And I have told it probably even more often. It has become almost rote. I remember after Jaycee Dugard was found, and I was doing numerous interviews each and every day for a month, how hard it was to answer the same questions over and over again. Exhaustion, both physical and emotional, set in so that I kept wanting to say, “I already answered that question a dozen times today.” I wanted to sit there with glazed eyes and slip into a monotone of not feeling it, but I couldn’t. I had to dredge it all up fresh, each and every time. It was a special type of torture. But it seemed worth it. Michaela’s name was everywhere. Particularly with the internet, her case got more publicity, I think, even than it had when she first went missing. And that was when I believed publicity could help.
When I think about telling it all again, one more time, I feel like I am standing at the bottom of a tall, steep mountain I need to climb. But perhaps now is the time, not because I have built up the necessary strength, but because I have become so weak I need to do it to build my muscles before they waste away to nothing.
And anyway, we ignore our waking thoughts at our peril.
I have more to say on a lot of these things, particularly on the psychology of cancer. I’m setting off on many paths from this starting point. I have a lot of things to resolve, a lot of forgiveness to spread around. I have to stop trying to destroy myself basically. But apparently one of the things I am going to do is start rewriting Missing Michaela. This will be difficult. Please pray for me.