Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dear Michaela,

Okay, here is the answer to how many photos of you I have in my cubicle at work.  Four.  There is a big one on the right hand wall, a ghostly one, in shades of grey.  It may be kind of hard to see.  There is also a little business card size one just to the right of the big yellow calendar.  On the book shelf there is a card that we made for your anniversary a couple of years ago.  And under my desk, there is a picture of you on my tote bag.  There are also cards in the waiting room, and a missing flyer on the front door of the office.  Last year after the anniversary, I came back to work and there were about six missing flyers hanging all over the front window! 

I have tomorrow off work, so I will have some extra time, and maybe I'll post my last Where's Michaela puzzle for the moment, of family photos in the house.  I think the real Michaela, or maybe Libby, would be the only one who could identify which pics are Michaela.  Besides me, of course. 

So I wanted to tell you about your friends.  It's one of the little gifts you have left to me, these friends of yours.  Because you are gone, they are my friends.   There is Trina, of course.  We lost touch for a lot of years, but then we finally found each other on myspace.  She lives in another state, although I'm not going to say which one because I know she values her privacy.  She has two little children, a boy and a girl.  She has had her share of struggles in life, and in the last couple of years.  She feels guilty, you know, because you were taken and she was left.  I tell her that she shouldn't, and she knows that.  Maybe what she really feels isn't so much guilty as just a sadness that is so deep she doesn't even really know what it is. 

Kara, you remember her -- we used to babysit her at the time you were kidnapped.  She had her problems also.  She also lives in another state, and has a little girl.  And Terrah, although I talk to her sister Cherise more.  Then there is John.  He's married and has three little boys.  His wife's name is Michelle and she has blonde hair and blue eyes.  She's very sweet, and she reminds me a lot of you.  She's become a good friend to me.  I actually ran into them when I gave a talk to my church about you, and they came.  Afterwards, this man came up to me and said, "I don't know if you remember me, but I'm the boy in the picture."  He was talking about that photo of you in the blue sweatshirt.  We usually cut him out of the photo, but he was in the original. 

There are a lot of people I never knew, people who were friends of yours at school.  If you were to go through all my friends on facebook and myspace (which would be a BIG job), you'd probably come across a lot of your friends.  But I'm going to just put out an open invitation, that if any of your friends want to write to you and send it to me at, I might print some Dear Michaela letters from other people as well.  No promises, but I might! 

I have been very proud of you because so many of the people who have gotten in touch with me have said that when they were kids they felt kind of like outsiders, and they always liked you because you were always nice to them, even when the other kids weren't.  Yes, that's you, loving and kind.  I could just see that after awhile you'd probably come to love someone who had you captive, just because you are such a loving person. 

Just remember, you love me also.  Remember, I was your first love, and you were my first also, in so many ways.  You were the one who taught me the real meaning of love, it's depth and its richness ... and its cost.  Loving you is worth any price.  The only price it may not have been worth is the suffering you had to go through. 

I love you, Michaela.



  1. hi sharon,
    i know how it is to lose sumthing so precious so suddenly.
    nobody can tell u how it feels unless they have been there...
    i once heard a mother cat mewing away when she lost her kittens..the pain n anguish she must have felt..only GOD knows.. - i read yr blog n news abt michaela everyday..i wish u the best.

  2. Hi sharon

    I wrote this request to Michaela but as I've never known her, you/she might not appreciate me talking to her this directly but its just me, as an outsider, trying to tell her not to be afraid and to build her courage up. Doesn't need to be posted or you can post the words on your behalf....

    Michaela- I agree wih your mother about the window stopping the insect from freeing itself because they are too small to lift the window open and too weak to smash through it.

    But I know if your reading this and you therefore have access to the internet then I would say that maybe the window is already open for you. Or it at least has a small hole in it? But I realise building up the courage must be so hard its probably like crossing one of those rickety old rope bridges. It has gaps in it and it swings when you move on it and your sure theres no way you can make it across with out it snapping or you falling through.

    But Michaela that bridge is a lot stronger than you think. So many people have walked across it - Jaycee just did and shes so happy to be on this side and its where you belong too. If your reading this page then your standing in front of that bridge and you can see your mum on the other side waiting for you right? She would come over and get you herself but unfortunatly she can't see you like you can see her. But all you need to do is walk. The hardest thing is building up the courage to do that but just a few steps and as soon as you get to the last part your mum will grab your hand and never let go and you'll be home.

    So just pick up the phone. Remember the person who has you is not powerful and strong. They have just been lucky. What they did was wrong and they have to be punished. Even if you like this person think about it like this- If your kidnapper is caught imagine how many other childrens lives you will have saved by dettering any other potential kidnappers who are thinking about doing the same to another child. You may have accepted your fate but can you accept the same thing happening to another little girl? No right? The more victims who are found and kidnappers who are punished the less victims there will be in the future. So if not for yourself do it for them.

    I'mot trying to belittle your battle, I know it is alot more than windows and bridges. We know it must be the hardest thing in the world. But just imagine your not doing it for yourself, imagine your doing it for all the little children out there who might have to go through the same thing as you. Everytime a victim is found the legal system is made stronger, the police are more vigilent, the mistakes are rectified and the whole world becomes more alert meaning the chance of it happening to another child is reduced significantly. Philip Gradido was caught and as a result parole officers will be a lot more strict and vigilent with there parolees and the whole parole system will be a lot more thorough in deciding who gets parole in the first place. Meaning they are going to make sure what happened to Jaycee will NEVER happen again to another little girl, so you understand it does make a difference right? And whatever happened to you and whatever mistakes were made in your case will also hopefully never happen again once we find out what those mistakes were, they can only do that when you come forward. So heres wishing you all the courage in the world to do so. All the best.