Thursday, October 11, 2012

Michaela's light

Tonight I received a comment from a reader on my previous blog. She wrote:
I'm sure someone will call me naive, but I've been following your blog for awhile, and I've been hoping so much for that happy ending. Every time I would check this page, I would hope to hear another Jaycee store where the girl lost all those years is found and brought home. I know it hasn't been 100% proven that the bone belongs to Michaela, but knowing that there's eve a possibility is crushing to me. I know it's more crushing to you, but after all the praying and hoping I did, this news just plain sucks."
I was going to reply to this comment, but honestly it just made me so sad I had to do more. I had to write a blog about it. I had a moment of difficulty wondering why this made me feel the way it did. My first thought was that I felt as though I had personally disappointed someone ... well, more than one someone, I'm sure. And my first reaction is that I have to make you feel better! But I don't think that was it, really.

I could probably not have got through the last 24 years if I didn't have a really finely developed ability to find the good in things. In the very first year after Michaela was kidnapped I started to develop a really deeply felt spiritual orientation to life and all these things that happen to us. I don't actively think about it a lot, but I happened to run across them in a book I was reading late Sunday night when I couldn't sleep. Funny that would happen the day before I found out about this bone ... such a coincidence. I believe that this life is not an accident, and the things that happen in this life are not accidents. As terrible and horrible as it is that this happened to Michaela, I believe that it was something she had come into this life agreeing to do. I have written about this before, and I have gone through the various events in her life that make me believe this. But the question is, why would she do this? Why would she enter into life and take on this horrible fate? The answer lies in her own soul's growth and desire to evolve and find its way home, but I believe it also lies in YOU, in me, in us.

I knew Michaela. Of course, I was her mother, and I loved her. But she was just so full of light, and I believe with every fiber of my being that she still sheds a light on the world. Exactly how, exactly where it shines or why, who needs it and how they may be touched by it ... well, those things I can't say. I think it is one of the reasons I am driven to write about her. It is one of the reasons why I want to finish this book that I haven't been able to bring myself to write, because somehow through what happened to her there is a message of healing and a guiding light to shine into the world. There is just too much that I have seen, that I have felt, too much of what Carl Jung calls synchronicity, for it all to be meaningless.

And I think the reason this comment makes me sad is because I don't want to see someone feeling crushed because of Michaela. I just want to reach out and take your hand and tell you that Michaela's spirit could not ever be extinguished by the likes of someone like Herzog. While I know that the world has poured itself out to Michaela, what I have felt being poured out has not been sorrow so much as it has been just plain love. Michaela has inspired love in so many hearts. Love that completely and totally transcends the heartbreak that always, somehow, some way, some day, accompanies love, love that is the promise of life everlasting, and not death.

Perhaps also this comment makes me so sad because it assumes Michaela is dead, and she is not. Even if Herzog, or anyone else, killed her body, I do not believe she is dead. She lives now, and forever ... in my heart, in yours, in the wind and the rain and the stars and the sky, and not just metaphorically, but in a very real way. I'm sure many of you have read the poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye that say,
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die. 
Whether Michaela comes home alive, or whether we find out that she has passed on from this small life,  feel the love and life of her spirit. Cry, mourn, grieve, but don't let it crush you. Don't let it destroy your faith.

So yes, I am sure many will consider me a crazy person, pat me on the head and try to be understanding because they know it is difficult to experience this kind of horrible grief and live, and I must just be overcompensating. So let's just bring it back to the real world sort of level. (Okay, no, this will probably not help to establish my sanity.) My daughter Libby watches a show called "The Walking Dead." Yes, it's about zombies. But coincidentally, she watched an episode the day after we found out about this bone fragment that made her think of Michaela. Apparently the community of non-zombies had been missing a child, and they had been looking all over for her. Then one day they found her. She had been locked in a barn, with a bunch of zombies, and was of course a zombie herself. (For those of you who are not aware, zombies are people who are no longer alive.)  My daughter played the scene for me last night, and it was very touching, for a show about zombies. Later, the mom was reflecting on it, and what she said was, "My Sophia was lost in the woods all this time, I thought. But she didn't go hungry. She didn't cry herself to sleep. She didn't try to find her way back. Sophia died a long time ago."

So there is that. We all know that. We have always known that. For goodness' sake I have had people question why on earth I would think it was better for my daughter to have lived in sexual slavery and abuse in the UAE than to have died. The tragedy happened in that moment on November 19, 1988, when she was kidnapped. After that moment, all roads had to lead through one level or another of hell. But if, if this turns out to be Michaela, we can figure that her suffering wasn't long, that she didn't cry herself to sleep, that her heart didn't ache for home, because she was home.

We have to honor her, her person, her life, and her death if that is what happened, and let her continue to inspire love and faith and hope in our hearts.

Someone shared a song on my facebook page today. It is called "Beam Me Up" by Pink. Doesn't sound like it would be an inspirational song, but it was. I thought I'd share it with you.


50 comments:

  1. Sharon, couldn't seem to get you and Michaela off my mind today while I was at work. Whether this is Michaela or not she has been a inspiration to my life and many others. It's hard to explain the feeling in one way I'm hoping for the closure but in the other way I want closure but I want her to be alive too. Michaela has become so much of my life, and as a child who went to school with her, I've carried this with me my whole life.
    But the fact is if she is gone she is not suffering, and she has surely made a impact on so many, and so have you... Hang in there you guys are in my prayers.

    Jen

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    1. I know exactly what you mean, Jen. Thanks.

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  2. Sharon, I lit a candle last night and another tonight, praying for you, for your family...and for Michaela. I pray that if this is Michaela, you can finally bring her home and remember her with a sense of peace and the white healing light of God's love that surrounds all of you - especially Michaela.
    If this is not Michaela, I pray that you can remain strong and hold onto hope because I truly believe that one way or another, Michaela will be back with her family again very soon. Her light will never be extinguished, no matter which answer this test will bring.

    ~~~Beth T.

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  3. Sharon I kept trying to post this morning and I hope it works this time. I had just turned 7 when michaela was taken. I've gone my whole life like Libby, she's been missing. I don't want to think about anything other than that, I just hope and pray for you that you get answers and I hope that michaela didn't suffer, wherever she is. I remember michaela, amber and Ilene so vividly. I grew up afraid. I feel so fortunate to have gotten a chance to know you through your blog and Facebook. You have been such an inspiration to me with your strength and positivity. You're not crazy. Not by a long shot. You're an amazing mother and woman and I thank you so much for sharing your journey with me.

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    1. Amber, the comments on the blog are moderated, which means that once you post them they come to my e-mail and I have to approve them before they appear on the blog. Maybe that is the problem you had posting?

      Thanks for your message, and thank you for sharing my journey.

      God bless.

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    2. Ahhhh I'm doing it from my phone and I posted on the other blog just now that must be why. Sorry if they keep posting :( I just keep thinking about you and michaela and your family and wish there was something I could do.

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  4. I think you are crazy in all the good ways Sharon. I remember that scene in the Walking Dead (our favorite show!). As a mother it actually makes perfect sense. Michaela is never far from my mind and always in my heart. Everytime I say or write Lauren's full name I think of her. I love the way you say she agreed to come to this life knowing what she would have to be put through. It is so profound and such a different way of thinking that I had never thought of in that way before. But it is so clear when you say it like that. You are an amazing woman Sharon. After everything you have been through the fact that you can still look for the positive in things is nothing short of a miricle in itself. I am honored to know you and have been lucky enough to know Michaela as well. The positive light she always had was clearly inherited from her wonderful mother and from what you have said about your own mom it sounds like a family trait passed down through the generations. Love you!

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    1. Actually I think of myself as more the bearer of Michaela's light. Maybe that's my job, to make sure her light keeps shining in this world?

      Kara, you knew my mom didn't you?

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    2. I think I remember meeting her before. I remember her being very well put together and very proper. So many years ago but I think so.

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  5. I never got to meet her and it's hard to explain, and I probably sound crazy saying this sat on the other side of the world, but I can honestly say I love Michaela. I really do with all my heart, ever since I learnt about her about 3 years ago, I just can't forget her.

    She was just so special, like Heaven's child, I am so lucky to have been graced by her presence just by learning about her through you Sharon. This little child is such an inspiration to me. You really have let her light shine on my life Sharon in so many ways, more than I can explain.

    I always remember her, I love her and I will NEVER forget her.

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  6. As I read your blog post, I thought of the song, "Ordinary Miracle," by Sarah McLachlan. I love the video too, it is on youtube. It celebrates all the things we marvel at in day to day life, things that you mentioned in your post. This song has been very inspirational to me, as well as her other song, "I Will Remember You." It is interesting how sometimes a well timed song can be so comforting and healing, so fitting. I hope these two songs bring some level of peace to your soul.
    Sharon

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  7. Sharon,
    You should publish a compilation of these blog entries- the raw outpourings of your heart over many sleepless nights -they make it so real for your readers here-a testimony of the life you're living and the great gift of writing you have. And do it without any edits-
    Hugs!
    SR Mom

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    1. Haha, thanks. I should perhaps use them for inspiration for the book I'm supposed to be writing?

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  8. Hi Sharon. I've been following your blog for quite a while now but have never written. You are an amazing, strong woman and I hope you get some answers from this DNA testing. I'm curious to know how long it will take before you find out?? Thanks and God bless you.

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    1. Thanks, and we don't know how long. Our police department has been trying to get a time frame but haven't been able to find out anything other than a few weeks yet.

      But November 19th is coming up. I don't know if it will take that long, but there would be a sense of synchronicity to that timing.

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  9. Dear Sharon,

    I've been following your blog pretty regularly and find myself thinking of Michaela often. I think the fact that Michaela and I are close in age (only a little over a year apart) makes me feel particularly connected to her. She and I were little girls at the same time and that really resonates with me. Also, in looking through the pictures of her that you've posted, I realized that she and I had a couple of the same items of clothing when we were little (the blue nightgown with the penguin and the pink sweatshirt she's wearing in the picture of her with her brother and sister on the bed). She obviuosly had a superior sense of style which just confirms that she and I totally would have been friends ;).

    I hope that you and your family get answers soon so that you can finally put an end to the wondering. Just know that Michaela's soul did what it set out to do- her light has shone on so many hearts; mine included.

    Wishing you peace,
    Amy


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    1. Amy, thanks for the chuckle? And did you like to wear brightly colored mismatched socks? That was Michaela's signature style!

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    2. Sorry, didn't mean to put a question mark after that first sentence!

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  10. Its amazing how many people love Michaela. Today i had a visitor from my companies English site in my cubicle, and he looked at the poster i have of Michaela and knew who she was. When i told him about the latest news you could see the sorrow in his face. She has touched so many of us.

    Thank you Sharon for letting us get to know Michaela through you, and thank you for letting us tag along on this journey. We learned more about this little Angel through this blog and i think it has made us better people.
    If this is Michaela they have found, hopefully it puts a big spot light on this case so many more victims can be found and returned to their families.

    God bless you both
    - Rod

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    1. Thanks, Rod. I actually get visitors to my blog from all over the world. The British press picked up on Michaela's story after Jaycee was found, and they actually called me about the Herzog lead earlier this year, so they have maintained an interest in the story over there. That's nice for me, because I was born in England, and that's where my family lives.

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  11. Sharon,I have to agree with Amy. I too was the same age as Michaela. I think that's why she has touched me so much. I turned 9 November 20,1988. And now,that date has a different meaning to me. I used to wear brightly colored mismatched socks and I laugh as I say that now because my daughters do too. After reading the new information blog,a wave of sadness came over me,emotional letdown. But then I was not sad because I realized Michaela has been with us all along. She has been in the most beautiful place and her light has not been forgotten or lost. I pray that you get the answers and peace that you need. Much.love to you and your family.

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    1. Thanks, Holly. That's how I felt. When they said they had found a child's bone, this huge lump of sadness welled up in my throat. But ... well, it would mean that Michaela had not been suffering for these long, long years now. And if it's the truth, I want to know it.

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  12. Sharon, Thank you for sharing your story with us. No matter the outcome from the DNA testing Michaela will always be here with you, standing by your side, loving, caring and looking over you. If she's alive in an incomprehensible situation she is very much thinking of you, loving you, holding you in her heart and missing you terribly. There's an unbreakable bond that's made between a Mother and Daughter the instant they meet, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can break this bond, not a kidnapping, certainly not death. I look at the photos and into the eyes of your Daughter and see such a innocent carefree little girl, I see you, I see me, I see all of us and so many other things. From the day your Daughter was taken from you until today you've kept her beautiful memory alive with your voice. Your strength and determination speak volumes about your character and you've helped countless people and will continue to do so. I am thinking of you, your family and Michaela during these next couple of weeks.

    A Mother's treasure is her Daughter, a Daughter's treasure is her Mother. You are Michaela's bridge and her life.

    Elizabeth W.

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  13. Hi Sharon,

    Just like always you are there lifting all of us up when you and your family have been so deeply hurt and went through more than anyone should ever have to go through. You are an inspiration to me in so many ways and I thank you for that. Through so many of your stories I have learned to love more and be careful what I say to others.

    You truly are a friend even though I have never met you. I have followed Michaela's story ever since my Aunt Mary (Katrina's Grandma) called my mom and family about this horrible news. I've always felt a special closeness to your family and I always will.

    I wish there was something I could do for you, Michaela, and all of your family. I've cried lots of tears for all of you but I can't imagine all the tears you've cried.

    I pray for God's peace and love to surround you and your family.

    Thanks again Sharon for your love and inspiration to all of us. I will continue to have faith and pray for Michaela to come home.

    Love and Prayers

    from Thelma Mandera

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  14. How long will take to estimate if it matches Michaela?

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    1. We don't know. Some weeks yet.

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    2. Sharon, do you think your daughter and Ilene Misheloff where victims of Herzog?

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    3. With regard to Michaela, I think I've answered this question. I haven't heard Ilene Misheloff mentioned in connection with Herzog, but it is certainly not impossible.

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  15. If the bone matches Michaela will you tell us immediately , or wait for November 19, 2012

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    1. I will let you know as soon as I know.

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  16. Sharon, your words always make me feel alive and connected to something so much more than this world. I think that Michaela is such a light in this dim world. There is something more to her life and all of our lives here in this world. I think the messages that she left were signs and symbols of something that gives us faith in the unseen. This is the test of this world is believing in the spiritual world. So many have voids and emptiness and a lack of faith. Michaela did possess so much insight as evident by her premonition and her sweet little notes about heven. Thanks for sharing your feelings and Michaela. She will always be a part of so many, she gives us courage to endure the unthinkable. She is alive in my heart also, this will not change no matter the outcome of the DNA test.

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    1. Thanks, Gina. That's one of the best things I could hope for from my writing.

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  17. Kostenko family in WIOctober 12, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Sharon we are keeping you in our prayers and will continue wish you and your family to be wrapped in love and peace. You are such a strong woman and an inspiration. I imagine that when the bone was found and picked up that a ray of sunshine came out with it. That is Michaela's spirit and light which will continue to shine! Love and hugs the Kostenko family in WI

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  18. On the off hand chance it is her can we somehow help with any funeral cost? If you even have a funeral?

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    1. If it was her, I think I would have a memorial service within the fairly near future. As far as an actual funeral goes, that would probably have to wait until somebody or another was able to retrieve the rest of her remains.

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  19. Dear Sharon,

    This post is so touching in so many ways.

    "We have to honor her, her person, her life, and her death if that is what happened, and let her continue to inspire love and faith and hope in our hearts."

    The work that you do, your writing on this blog, and your daily efforts all of these years to make sure that Michaela is remembered, are in themselves a source of love and light.

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    1. Thank you, Michelle.

      Everyone else, you should click on Michelle's name and go to her page. I've read a lot of novels about missing children, but Michelle's novel "The Year of Fog" was the only one that made me reach out to the author afterwards, and Michelle is so gracious, she reached back, and has continued to do so over the years.

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  20. Sharon,

    This is Lyn who went to Israel with a prayer for Michaela and your precious family. I want to speak out on this post. You and your family have a right to live and look and hope for Michaela. You've carried your faith right in the open where Michaela can see it, and the world has seen it. Your love is incredible. My prayer for you this morning is that you don't dare spend your time worrying about everyone else's faith. Just get through this time, most of all. I realize that supporting you guys in faith means knowing what I have faith in. Not in fairy tales. My faith is in truth, as it is or what God will make it if things are at a point where they can be changed.

    Personally, I always pray to "let Michaela be found." If Michaela is alive, I believe He will bring her home to you. If she is not, I believe He will move heaven and earth to bring her home to you in knowledge of where she is. As we pray we have responsibility to pray both in hope and in terms that truth will be known. If we don't pray responsibly, we may be even more crushed--because we want something that may not be true or can't be changed. We can hope it, we can wish it, and we can pray for it (without the sovereign knowledge of God of what already is), but it may not make it true.

    But don't you dare try to worry about all of our faith--we are here to love and support YOU. I know you have an intelligent brain, and a caring heart. You know we voluntarily ride the rollercoaster with you because we care. With God's help, truth will be known--eventually. But I hope you won't spend too much time worrying about all the millions of reactions to whatever the truth comes out to be! That's too many people to worry about or carry on your shoulders. You work through this the way you believe is best. There is no perfect way to walk this road you've been on. Thank you for sharing your journey will us, and please don't worry about us (mother hen) :-). Take care of yourself.

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    1. Thank you, Lyn, and thank you for giving me credit for this, but honestly it is Michaela's gift that I am concerned about. I just want to make sure that people know that if we find out that she was murdered, that does not extinguish her light, or even dim it.

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  21. When I posted that comment, I didn't mean it to sound as if I was assuming Michaela is dead. I'm sorry it came across that way. I meant that just the chance of that bone being hers made me really sad. Sorry about that, Sharron. I should have been more clear.

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    1. There is no need to apologize, Ceara. I did understand what you meant. It wasn't that you said anything wrong at all. It's just that ... well, I was just overwhelmed by a feeling that I wanted people to know that even if we find out that she is not physically alive in this world, she is still alive, if that makes sense.

      I in turn apologize if I said anything unclear. It was all meant in love. You did not upset me personally. I appreciate the fact that you care so deeply.

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  22. Truth: “Michaela has inspired love in so many hearts. Love that completely and totally transcends the heartbreak that always, somehow, some way, some day, accompanies love, love that is the promise of life everlasting, and not death.”

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  23. Dear Sharon,

    I have been reading your blog for over a year now but have not found the right words. In a recent post you wrote that life can change in an instant, and until there is no other option I pray that instant will be a true miracle, the sudden return of Michaela - not only alive but also well. As of now, this is still in realm of possibility.

    But whatever unfolds, if instead that instant brings information about a reality that can no longer be changed, I wanted to say that your post reminds me so much of the famous editorial written over a hundred years ago in a New York Newspaper, The Sun, which is no longer in print. I bet you've read it before but I wanted to post it here. Where it says "Virginia", I am also hearing "Michaela"...

    Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

    "DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
    "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
    "Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
    "Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

    "VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
    "115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."

    VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

    Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

    Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

    You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

    No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

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