Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fall brings many feels

This morning I had to turn the heat on in my home for one of the first times in many months. The feel of it warming the air brings with it those change of season feelings, like walking through streets filled with fallen leaves used to. Excuse me for a second, because even writing that chokes me up a little. I don’t have streets full of fallen leaves where I live now, but I did once, and I used to walk my children to school through them every morning in the crisp Fall air. It was so beautiful, and the memory of it is even more beautiful and poignant, because one of the children I walked to school then was Michaela. (To read the rest, please see full post at Seeker's Road.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Seeker's Road

Michaela, this is your family at Libby's wedding.
Left to right, Ariel holding Theo, Johnna, me, Libby's husband Jamie, Libby, your stepdad Jeff, your nieces Kalia and Shylah, Alex (with the big bushy beard), his wife Karina, your niece Raina, baby Robbie all grown up, and his wife Alexa (and their baby, expected in mid-December)

A long time ago I when I started this website, it was known as the Wondering Heart blog, and I used it to post about anything and everything that crossed my mind, including Michaela. I started writing letters to Michaela in my blog, and soon after changed the name to Dear Michaela. Since then I have felt constrained to write pretty much only about Michaela here, and have spread my other wanderings and wonderings far and wide.

This has become kind of difficult for me, and as you have probably noticed, I haven't posted as much on this page recently. There hasn't been a lot going on in Michaela's case -- that I know of, anyway, since the investigators that are currently on the case don't communicate with me like our last investigator did. This could mean that they go by the book, and don't discuss the investigations with the people involved, and I have a feeling that would be the case if there was something going on. But I have a feeling it is more likely that they just aren't investigating. And while it might seem that I should be able to do something about that, it has not been my experience that I can. But anyway, there is not much to discuss regarding the case. There have been a few things going on behind the scenes with volunteers, and if it ever yields results you will hear about it, but until then it's better left under wraps.

I have also been heavily distracted by my own battle with breast cancer. Just last week I finished my last radiation treatment, and I'm currently sitting here nursing some wicked burns. Now five years of hormone therapy and hopes and prayers that the cancer will stay gone. It was at a very advanced stage when they caught it (and yes, I'd had my mammograms on time, and did catch it through a mammogram), and I have made several friends over the last few months whose initial diagnosis had been a far earlier stage whose cancer had returned as Stage IV. One of these friends, who became my "chemo buddy," died while I was still in treatment. So this is a worry for me, a kind of weight on my shoulders. I am working on changing my attitude from worry to being pro-active and focusing on healthy living. I'm hoping this becomes a little less of a challenge as I move out of the active treatment phase and start to heal and gain strength.

Meanwhile, cancer has kind of decimated the family finances. My disability insurance ran out before I finished treatment, and I guess I was lucky enough to be old enough to "retire." That doesn't pay enough to keep up with expenses, though, so I have been trying to earn a little extra money on the side. I have become a dōTERRA Wellness Advocate (essential oils and other health products), and also, shockingly enough, I make available medical marijuana through an online website, as well as medical verifications for California residents. And I hope one day to be able to make money through my writing. What else may lay in store I'm not certain, as I have another major surgery ahead of me early next year, but for the moment I am trying a little bit of commercialism, because it is what fits in best with my life and my abilities at the moment.

So what I have done is I have taken all these various things, including Michaela, and have combined them under one umbrella. When I was contemplating this move, I was looking for a name, a "brand." I had a friend who had several businesses, including essential oils, under the umbrella of Sanctuary. I just fell in love with this. It made me feel so safe. As I was searching for my own "brand," someone suggested I think about my identity, my life path, and that one became easy. I am a seeker. I have always been a seeker, seeking God, faith, answers, questions, and of course life has had the final word in this by giving me the seemingly endless task of seeking my missing child. Almost three decades now it has been. This year will be the 29 year anniversary.

So I have created a new website, SeekersRoad.com, in which you will find (eventually) all of the above, and more. I say eventually because I only actually opened the website yesterday, with just the basics and one blog post, about Michaela. I find already that this is a positive venue for writing about Michaela. Just about everything I have to say I have said here, in this blog, and most of the things I have said numerous times, so now I have a brand new canvas on which to paint some of the same pictures, only in a new light. I hope that most of you will follow my posts over to Seeker's Road, so you may get to read the same things again, but I am hoping also to expand my readership in this new venue. Meanwhile, there is a link to Dear Michaela in the menu on the new website, and I will put a link to Seeker's Road in the menu for this website, so the two will be linked.

I may still use Dear Michaela from time to time, but I will absolutely be using Seeker's Road regularly. All the blog posts are categorized, so you can just seek out all the posts about Michaela if you don't want to read about everything else.

Michaela, I hope you will follow also, if you are there. One of the things I have tried to do with this blog is to give you a sense of your family. Going to do this one more time here, with the photo above, of our family at Libby's wedding. We have a very interesting family, I have to tell you, but for some reason they don't seem to like all their personal business spread over the internet, and I have to respect their privacy. So there is not much to tell about them in blogs, except that they are some pretty awesome people you would love to know better. In the new website, perhaps you will get a chance to know me a little better as well.

And remember always, Michaela, I love you no matter what has happened, and I will do everything I can to protect you if you are out there and you would like to come home. I know it may seem like an empty promise, having been so completely unable to help you in the past, but you have my promise.

I love you forever, baby girl.
mom

p.s. The new website can be found at www.SeekersRoad.com. See you there.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

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.
mom

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Facing into the dark

This post was originally published on my other blog, www.sharonnemethmurch.com, where I have moved entries about things not directly for Michaela. But I think this is an important subject, and tied so deeply in with my loss of my daughter, that I wanted to cross post it here as well.

In nine days I will have finished chemotherapy. It has not been nearly what I'd feared it would be. The side effects were subtle. The nausea was fairly easily controlled with medication. I got one mouth sore, and my fingertips cracked and peeled. I have a tiny bit of nerve damage in three fingertips on one hand. I had a lot of weariness, and a huge amount of paranoia, but I was okay. Soon I will get a vacation, and then radiation for five weeks, and then reconstruction.

I know a number of people with cancer, however, and for many of them, treatment for the disease has itself been a trip through hell. I know people who have been on the same drugs I have been on who were unable to continue them because the side effects were so severe: muscle aches, fevers, inability to even get out of bed, bleeding. A friend's nephew experienced severe mouth sores and numerous apparent brain bleeds (small strokes they think) that had him living in another world, and had those who loved him thinking he might be preparing to leave this one. I have known of people whose bones were so brittle from the treatments that sitting on them caused them to fracture. From the treatment, and from the cancer itself, there has been unremitting pain.

You call me brave? You call me a warrior? I have not been in those trenches. If I am in the war against cancer, I am one of the people sitting in the air conditioned office. I am not on those front lines.

Beyond that, however, is the deepest darkness of cancer, and that is death. This is something I have not even really considered for myself. I know I am not going to die at this time, at least not from cancer. I know that at this moment I am cancer free and I am undergoing aggressive treatment in order to try to prevent its return. I know it can return. There is a 20 to 40 percent chance of that, and if it does, it returns as metastatic breast cancer, Stage 4, considered incurable. Treatable, but incurable. I'm not sure exactly what that means, to tell you the truth. But I have a friend who had Stage 3A breast cancer, went through treatment and was in remission. Her doctors told her she would not die of breast cancer, that she would likely die of something else. But then the cancer returned, metastasized to her liver this time. She was fighting it, was receiving treatment with Taxol, the drug I am currently on. We had many conversations about breast cancer, but then I didn't hear from her for awhile. People always seem to want to encourage me. Nobody ever wants to tell me that they are not doing well. I just read yesterday from her sister that she had been admitted to the hospital. Her sister asked for prayers for my friend's adult children, for her husband, for her siblings. But she did not ask for prayers for my friend, which told me that she had probably gone to the hospital to die.

Another woman I know, a delightful human being, who hired me for my first job back in the work force after having been a stay at home mom for a number of years, recently lost her battle against cancer as well. She'd fought a particularly aggressive form of thyroid cancer for a couple of years, and had well outlived her original prognosis. She encouraged me in my own battle, gave me helpful hints for dealing with some side effects of treatment. She was always positive, and when asked never really said she was not doing well. Recently she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer as well and underwent a lumpectomy. That doesn't sound like someone who was facing a terminal diagnosis for another condition, does it? Then I heard she had gone to the hospital, and then released to home. Her mother came, her sister was there, and they stayed with her all day and all night. Perhaps it could be assumed, but nobody said she was dying, and I didn't believe it, until the message came that she was gone.

It is so difficult to grasp how people can be so alive one day, and gone so soon after. It is so difficult for the body to be here without the animating spirit, never to speak again, never to hold the ones they love again.

It also brings home to me the fact that this disease I am fighting is not a trivial matter. It is deadly. I remember feeling so blasé about it all when I was asked to return for a second mammogram and ultrasound. Oh, it's nothing, I thought. I remember walking from my car into the clinic, through the shaded tunnel, along the sidewalk with the squiggly path paved into it, and thinking, "Oh, wait, this might be an important moment," and being both shocked by that thought and unable to really internalize it. I think I have carried that with me through this whole thing. Deny it and it will be okay.
I finally picked up a book I'd had on my shelf since before my diagnosis: When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi. This is the memoir of a doctor who died of lung cancer. I hadn't been able to read it before, because I was not willing to look into that darkness. Then for some reason I decided it was time. The darkness had touched me, in friends who had been fellow warriors in this battle dying on the field. I began to feel a need to look into that place, to assess whether I would have the courage to face it if that time came.

Kalanithi was a neurologist, who had a fascination with the juxtaposition of the physical and the spiritual. He wanted in particular to understand death. He had obtained a masters degree in English literature from Stanford University. For his thesis he wrote about Walt Whitman's quest to understand "the physiological-spiritual man." He found no answers there, however, and decided to go to medical school. "It would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the questions of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay." To this end, he chose the field of neurology. He witnessed much, but if he came up with "the" answers, I didn't grasp them from this book. He knows now, of course. But he can no longer tell us.

What he did convey was how we might live life in the face of our dying. "Grand illnesses are supposed to be life-clarifying," he wrote. "Instead, I knew I was going to die -- but I'd known that before. My state of knowledge was the same, but my ability to make lunch plans had been shot to hell." What do we do from day to day when we know there are not an inexhaustible number of them left? "Maybe," he concluded, "in the absence of any certainty, we should just assume that we're going to live a long time. Maybe that's the only way forward."

The book also teaches us a lot about the real essence of life and death, and that is love. Those we love, and those who love us. It's the theme I return to over and over again in the face of my own loss of my nine-year old daughter to a kidnapping that remains unsolved almost 29 years later. Once we understand the actual fact of loss, we understand what an act of outrageous courage it is to love. But at the same time we can see the beauty of love in a way we couldn't before. During the course of his illness, Kalanithi and his wife decided to have a child together. The last words he penned here were for his daughter:


IMG_1876

Oh, what an ache in those words. His daughter will not know what she is missing, but here she will find it. But they capture the essence of love, and the essence of loss. I have though many times that I am not afraid to die. I know I cannot say that until I face death myself. But if there is a fear, if there is a reluctance, it is here. His joy is sated? Does not hunger for more? But how can that be? How can your heart not grasp at that joy, at that love, desire an ever-deepening infilling? How can you not be unwilling to stop, to ever let go?

The last part of the book was written by Kalanithi's wife, Lucy, after his death. In many ways, this is my favorite part of the book. She wrote of Kalanithi's purpose in writing this book: "He wanted to help people understand death and face their mortality.... 'That's what I'm aiming for, I think,'" she quotes him as saying, "'Not the sensationalism of dying, and not exhortations to gather rosebuds, but: Here's what lies up ahead on the road.'" Did he fulfill that purpose? Well, yes and no. I don't think any of us can be prepared for this journey until we are on it ourselves. But it helps to know that others have gone through it before us, and have found courage along the way.

His wife spoke of their love. The marriage had been a bit rocky before the diagnosis. They were both medical interns with very stressful schedules. But they pulled together. She wrote, "At home in bed a few weeks before he died, I asked him, 'Can you breathe okay with my head on your chest like this?' His answer was, 'It's the only way I know how to breathe.'"

And she wrote of the impact of living with life and death.

IMG_1877

This is a special gift, honestly. For those of us who are living who have been touched by death, life assumes a different color and texture. We see it through the stained glass prism of having experienced loss and death. If there is a gift, an understanding, that I could pass on to my children, this would be it. I have two daughters who tell me I have to live forever, but regardless of when or where or how, I know I won't. When I do leave, I want them to be strong. I don't want to leave until they have all that they need in life to survive, and having that, I want them to be able to see through the best colors in the stained glass story of our love. It is possible to cave in the face of death and loss. It is possible to turn that prism into something dark, comprised of fear, anger, hurt. But in the natural course of events, that prism actually brings a new beauty to life. You know if a sunset lasted forever, you would not be drawn to it as you are. It is because you know it will be gone quickly that your desire is to soak it in, make it a part of yourself. In that way, its fleeting beauty will become eternal within your heart.
Lucy Kalanithi also spoke of her husband's courage:

IMG_1878

This is where I think I fail. I do not cry. I did not cry when I was diagnosed. My youngest daughter was with me, and her eyes filled with tears, but mine didn't. Somehow I think perhaps I am not fully alive, as Kalanithi was. Many years ago I told my therapist, "I feel dead inside." "Well, how did you feel when you were feeling?" she asked. "Like hell," I replied. "That's what the problem is," she told me. "When we feel bad enough for long enough, we shut down our feelings."

It's self defense. It's helpful. When I had my mastectomy, a number of nerves were severed in the surgery. I still have numbness, and it bothers me just a little bit. Funny enough, places that are numb can itch, but then can't feel the scratch. For the most part, however, I have been really grateful for it. My post operative pain was far less than I'd thought it would be, and I am sure this is why. "Can you please sever the nerves?" will be my standing request whenever facing surgery, and I will only be half joking. I don't like pain. People are always telling me how brave I am, but it's not true. If I was brave, I would be able to embrace the pain. I wouldn't spend my life running from it. Before the day comes when I do die, my desire is to make that journey into the storm of love and grief in the center of my heart, and set it free. I want to do this for myself. I want to do this to fulfill my purposes here on earth. I want to do this for my children. I want to do this to teach my children the most important lessons in life:
How to live.
How to love.
How to let go.
How to die. 

Life is horrendously fearful. Life is gloriously beautiful. It is not to be wasted. It is not to be squandered. It is not to be hidden under a rock. We need to let our spirits do what they want to do, and that is to shine. That way we will have a light when we wander through the dark places, for ourselves, and for others we may help guide. I am not pretending to be there. I am not pretending to have the answers. But what little I have, I will share.

On the inside cover of When Breath Becomes Air, I scribbled a couple of lines. Whether they came from the pages of this book or elsewhere I don't remember. But for my friend, for each and every one of us, on one near or far day, I speak these words:

In peace may you leave the shore.
In love may you find the next.

Blessings to you all, my friends.

p.s. Just as I was publishing this blog, I received news that my friend had passed on. God bless you, Carla. I will miss you.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Another seashell for you, Michaela

Well, Michaela, in ten days I will have finished chemotherapy, 20 long weeks of it. The second round of chemo has not been as bad as the first, and I am already starting to feel more human, and I am doing happy dances inside at the thought of being a regular person again! I still have five weeks of radiation therapy to do, and I will admit that I don't yet know a lot about it, but aside from the fact that I have to show up for it every single day, I think it will be a lot easier.

Then I just have to focus on taking care of myself, because there are still things I need to do here, and there are still people (and even dogs) who need me. Perhaps even you, Michaela. I asked the doctor recently about my prognosis, mostly because Libby was asking. I am actually cancer free right now, although that is technically characterized as being in remission rather than being cured. Because of the aggressive nature of the cancer and its advanced stage, there is a 40 percent chance of it reoccurring. The chemo and radiation cut that chance in half. I can't remember the exact statistics, but the good news is that the odds are in my favor for surviving another five or ten years. I plan to help those statistics along by following a vegan diet (yes, even my doctor said that there is some evidence that a diet free of animal products helps prevent breast cancer), and living a healthy lifestyle. So if you are out there somewhere, I will continue to be here for you.

In other news, Michaela, Libby is getting married next month. I drove to Oregon a few weeks ago to help her pick out a wedding dress. It was so much fun, and I really wanted to post at least a picture of the dress she didn't pick, but she said no, not until the wedding. I did, however, get some other photos of her, including this one, next to the yellow ribbon she keeps tied outside her house, for you. You remember that little girl who used to be so annoying, wanting to follow you around everywhere? She still loves you, Michaela. She still keeps you in her heart, and waits for you to come home.

And a final piece of news, Robbie and his wife are expecting a baby in December. We are so excited to have a new baby in the family, and so excited for Robbie and Alexa to be able to hold their baby in their arms. It's a magical thing, holding your first baby. I was thinking the other day about when Theo was born, about being in the labor and delivery suite, and seeing the baby table there ready to take care of him, and it made real the fact that we were soon going to meet this mysterious little person, who at a year and a half is growing into this exceptional little boy who brings so much joy to our lives! I think about you, my own firstborn. In that moment when you were born, you transformed me, transformed my life. Nothing was ever the same.

And I have to wonder about you again, if you are out there somewhere, and if you have children, and once again, if your children might be the reason that you cannot come home. If that is true, Michaela, believe me I understand. I would not ever in a million years put my need to know what happened to you, not even my need to see you and hold you again, above your need to care for your own children. I just don't want you, or them, to be suffering abuse or to be in danger, and if that is the case, I just hope and pray for a way for you all to break free. I have told you before, if you can do that, contact the nearest U.S. embassy, and I have a page in this blog that I created for you about how to get help, with detailed instructions regarding the country where I have heard several times you might be located.

I will post pictures from Libby's wedding for you. I will do this because I want to include you in our family activities and milestones. It has been so long, perhaps you feel you don't know who we are anymore. Would you recognize us if we walked down the street next to you? Whether you are with us, or whether you are far away, I want you to feel safe and loved in your family, to know that you belong here whether you are physically present or not. These are all just seashells laid out to guide you home, in your heart if not in your body.

I love you forever, baby girl, and remember: You are strong. You are brave. You are good, and nothing can ever change that fact. You are loved.

mom

Monday, July 10, 2017

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Laying out seashells

I am just here to write a brief entry. I have a longer one that I have been working on for a few weeks now, but I am having technology problems. I have switched from using a computer to using an ipad, and I find that once a blog on blogger reaches a certain length, the page starts dancing around, making it impossible to type on it any longer! Blogger also doesn't seem to be able to access my photos after 2014! I have another blog on Wordpress which doesn't have these problems, and I wish I could move this whole thing over there, but I don't know that is a good idea. I will have to track down my computer and see if I can figure these things out.

Meanwhile, I just wanted to say hello. My grandson Theo, (your nephew, Michaela) is in love with the movie Finding Dory. I think I have watched it dozens of times in the last month! The story is about a fish who has "short term remembory loss," who at a very young age gets caught in an undertow and is separated from her family. She can't find her way home because she can't remember where that is, or even who her parents are. She just knows that she misses them. Through her childhood and into adulthood she searches for her family, finally finding them when she gets enough of a glimmer in her memory to pinpoint a location.

What touches me in this movie is that when Dory was a baby fish, her family came up with the idea of laying out a row of shells she could use to find her home, since she couldn't remember the way. When she found her parents, they appeared with fins full of shells, because even all those years later they were laying out rows of shells in every direction to help her find her way home. They had never given up on her, as she had never given up on them.

These blog entries, Michaela, are my shells, and I need to never stop laying them in the sand, not until I know you are home, whether here in this life or beyond it. And perhaps you need to remember, like Dory did. Perhaps seeing these shells will trigger a memory for you, as it did for her. Regardless of technology, cancer, or all the many things that go on in the world, I need to remember to keep putting these shells down for you, Michaela. However many I have laid in the past, I never know when I might put down the right one that will get your attention.

I love you forever, baby girl. ❤️
mom