Friday, October 12, 2012

Waiting ...

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet   

I'm beginning to second guess myself now. I think that part of it is that I don't really believe that the answers, which have eluded me for so long, could now come within reach. But part of it is also that I am aware of the fact that if you show me a limb, I will climb right out on it and hang by my fingernails if necessary, at least when it comes to Michaela. Perhaps that is all this is.

The weather here has suddenly turned from summer to fall. There is a chill in the air; there are dark clouds in the sky. Rain falls, although it somehow manages to hide itself from me, leaving only the hint of its presence on the sidewalks. Night comes early and unexpected, and the darkness seems to be exceptionally dark. I feel a little lost, like I'm not sure who I am, or where I'm going.

But I do keep going. I prepare myself. In the real world, I am busy at work, organizing my cases, making lists of my deadlines in case for some reason I am unable to be there, to make it easy for someone else who might have to pick up a few pieces for me. Meanwhile, I try to get the work done, to finish those things that have deadlines coming up. This is good, very good. My work is good work, and I feel as though I am doing something positive, helping people. Getting things finished makes me feel I am accomplishing something. Most of all, it keeps my mind occupied.

I prepare myself emotionally. I steel myself for both possibilities, because the answer, whatever it is, will be hard.

It may all be nothing. I know that now, can see that clearly now from the end of the limb. But that's not quite true, because even if it turns out that we don't find out what happened to Michaela, it has been something, because it has caused her light to shine a little brighter, to be seen a little farther. And that is something. I have been absolutely inundated with the most wonderful messages from people. The love and the kindness toward Michaela's family are deeply felt and appreciated, but what brings me the greatest joy is not just the love shown for Michaela, but the fact that so many people tell me that she is so real to them, that they feel as though they know her, that they can feel her warmth, see her light. Whoever kidnapped her may have been able to physically conceal her, but he could not hide her.

To answer a question someone asked, of course when I get the answer I will tell you. I have talked to the police department, and whether the answer is yes or no, they will call a press conference and let everyone know the results. I will be at the conference. And yes, I will most certainly post it myself, on facebook as well as this blog. You have all given of yourselves to me so generously, how could I forget you, or fail to give back to you what I can, when I can?

One other thing, and I think this is actually directed toward my police department more than anybody else: I want you to know that it's okay. Times like these are okay. I know that my investigators didn't really want to tell me about this. They wanted to wait until all the testing had been done, and then tell me. Perhaps if it turns out that this isn't Michaela, they wouldn't have told me at all, who knows? This isn't because they don't want to share information with me. It's because they want to protect me. But they knew that this was going to come out in the press, and they wanted me to hear it from them first. So they told me, gave me at least a few days head start to let it settle in my heart before people started asking me questions about it. As much as I really appreciate their sincere concern for my well being, I don't really need to be protected. I'm not actually a weak person. Certainly what I have been called on to endure in all this is far less than what Michaela had to take. If she can do it, I can do it. And honestly, sometimes it's good to just be reminded that it is actually possible that the answer could be out there, that this case could actually be solved one day, even if it turns out that it isn't this day.

And it gets Michaela's story out there, which always holds a possibility of getting that additional information we need to find her, if this isn't her. It gets Michaela's story out there, so that in the event she might still be alive, there is one more chance for her to see that we are still looking for her. And that is good.

Thank you all, again, and again, and again, for everything.

And Michaela ... I love you forever.


39 comments:

  1. Michaela will always shine, Sharon. She and you, have touched the hearts of millions of people. The answers are out there. I hope one day they will come to you. I wish your heart to find peace. I will always do anything I ever can to help. You name it, you've got it. God Bless you,
    Cris

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  2. You're an amazing woman, Sharon. I'm not sure if handed the same cards that I would be able to conduct myself like you have. I have only a few memories of Michaela when we were children. My whole life has been built around the events of that day. Shortly after she was kidnapped my step-father put in for a transfer to Chicago because he didn't think Hayward was a safe place to raise a family. Just know that whatever the outcome is you will always have people in your corner sending you love.

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    1. I couldn't help chuckling over that, Lindsey. My husband just said the other day that Chicago wouldn't be a good place for our daughter to go because there is too much crime! But thank you, and I hope you enjoyed it there.

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  3. I used to play with her as a child and she was always filled with joy and was never stricken with a mean streak in her body, I really do hope justice comes thru for your family so that yoou may have that closer you need to move on to the next chapter of the healing process.. Wether this is it or not she is still out there waiting to be found and when that day comes i really do believe that the sun will shine brighter than ever and knowing that I have an exceptional ANGEL watching over me gives me a feeling that things will get better.. I wish you the best during this difficult time and GOD BLESS

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    1. That's Michaela. She was a sweet, kind soul. Thanks.

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  4. You're a beautiful mother Sharon, just beautiful...

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  5. Miss Sharon,Do you believe Michaela is still alive?

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    1. I think what I've said before is that it isn't that I believe Michaela is alive, but that I believe it is possible, and IF she is alive then she needs me -- she needs my help. So that is the assumption on which I have to act unless it is proven that she is not. I have to keep searching for her and reaching out to her. Kay, I have always had to recognize that there is at least an equal possibility that she is not alive.

      I think, I dream, I wish, I hope, but I don't know or believe anything.

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  6. Sharon you are a brave woman. I have been following Michaela's story for at least a few years now (It was brought to my attention by a friend of mine that knew her), and it breaks my heart. I hope you can get some answers soon. You and your family are in my thoughts...

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  7. I've always prayed for a much different outcome than this. But you and Michaela are always in my prayers and in my heart.

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  8. Sharon, since this came to light, I've thought in the back of my mind that Michaela's kidnapping was too "planned out" (I.e., moving the scooter) for a couple drug addicted monsters like Herzog and Shermantine to pull off. Only time will tell. The waiting must be so difficult for you. I'm glad you have the important work that you do to keep yourself busy.

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    1. I don't think there was any heavy duty planning here. Just a spur of the moment opportunity to use a simple lure. Herzog and Shermsntine were certainly capable in that department or they wouldn't have been able to kill so many people.

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  9. Thinking of you and checking this site regularly. Keeping you and Michaela in my heart and mind. Your ability to reflect and write and love in spite of it all have been an inspiration to me as a mother, writer, and person. Your daughter's sweet spirit is evident here on your blog.

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    1. Thank you, but I have the sweetest inspiration.

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  10. Sharon, your loving, spirit felt words warm my heart at the same time to try and understand yours and what you must have gone through all these years. I do pray for you at my end for you to have closure weather you hold her in your arms no matter how and that yours and hers spirits will rest calmly one day. I must say you write so well and if you have not thought already to write some kind of book one day. Weather it is inspirational, a memoir or something. Sharon you do have a great writing talent no matter how it was inspired. God bless you and the rest of the family! Your distant cousin southern family!

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    1. I have written a book about Michaela's kidnapping, basically because I didn't want to invade the privacy of my family. But I have started writing a novel about a mother whose daughter has been kidnapped, and then she has another daughter. I went back and forth and then decided that the kidnapped daughter couldn't be anything but based fully on Michaela. But having the freedom to create a fictional story after that gave me the opportunity to illustrate the emotional and spiritual concepts I feel in a far more dramatic and entertaining way than in a memoir. However, I have not had a lot of time to work on it because I have a very demanding job, and weekends are so short!

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    2. And I have to know, what distant southern cousin are you?

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  11. Please keep you blog If Michaela matches the bone, I think your a great person that gives wonderful tips.

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    1. There is one thing I can assure you, anonymous, and that is I will never stop writing, because that is a compulsion with me. I'm sure that will include this blog, and I have two others as well.

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  12. Sharon,

    I think all of your readers are heartbroken over this new development as many of us have adopted Michaela in our hearts through your sincerely beautiful words about her. You've taken us on this emotional rollercoaster ride with you- so many violent ups and downs over the years... through hope and despair, but you still stay standing. You give me hope that I can make it through even the worst of times with my dignity and spirit still intact.

    I hope you don't take offense to this question...but I always think about Trina (the eyewitness and Michaela's friend that day) when I think about this case. Did she ever look at pictures of a younger Herzog and feel that he could have been the one or felt anything at all towards him? Have you spoken to her since these new developments?

    My prayers are with you and your family.

    Jessica

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    1. Of course, I love Trina and I stay in touch with her. I called her after I heard the news, and told her about it for the same reason that the police department told me. And yes, she was shown photos of Herzog years ago, when he was first arrested. Rest assured that our police department is on top of things.

      Thanks.

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  13. I came across a few videos, didnt watch it yet though. They are from 98/99, thats only 10 years after the kidnapping. Maybe they would help the eyewitness to jog her memory. If this turns out to be Michaela maybe it does not matter, but I just wanted you to know...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5NWviKsP7k&feature=relmfu
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uox-QTDgPU&feature=relmfu

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    1. Her memory has already been jogged, but thank you.

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  14. Dear Sharon, I was very shocked when I signed on today and saw the update. I haven't been on for a few days as I have been following the Jessica Ridgeway story. My heart goes out to her family.
    I am hoping like everyone else that the bone is not Michaelas. In my heart I feel that it's not. I am no expert but Herzog and Shermantine were killers of woman and older teens. I think that it would be unlikely for them to take interest in a child. From my understanding of serial killers they tend to have a pattern. (some like boys, some little girls, some women, prostitutes etc) To my understanding these two have not been suspected of killing any children. This is just a thought.

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    1. That is what I always thought, but actually they have senselessly killed men as well as women, and there is apparently some indication that Herzog might have liked children. So we shall see.

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    2. Do you have any idea how long the bone id will take?

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    3. All they told me was a few weeks.

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  15. As you well know Sharon until concrete proof is placed before you there is no answer. Body watch never gets easier and it is something the public rarely realizes the families of the missing go through many times over and over again. I've been there and I've stood body watch with many families over the years, it is what it is and it can't be explained. All you can do is wait for the rule in, or rule out. Hope stays alive during the wait. Here for you Sharon and praying.

    Maureen
    Founder
    Peace for Missing and Unidentified Persons
    http://missing.ning.com

    NamUs Volunteer Victim Advocate - Kansas

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  16. You've previously mentioned that, over the years, there's been plenty of solid leads, and plenty of men that matched the sketch of the kidnapper...what makes this lead so certain to you and to Hayward?

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    1. Well, if indeed this is a child's bone, then there is a pretty limited circle of missing children from this area from that era. Plus he does look like our kidnapper, and Shermantine did mention Michaela even though he did backpedal later. There are apparently a couple of other people whose statements would link Herzog to Michaela, although that in itself is not evidence that would sway me because people can be mistaken, and some people have been known to say things just for the sake of saying things.

      But I think I indicated in this blog entry that I realize that this may be nothing more than another lead. Just have to wait and see.

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    2. There could be unknown missing children. There are many refugee children here in Atlanta that go missing, but their parents can not be the voice for them that you are for Michaela as they are foreigners and can not navigate the system.

      I certainly hope it is just another lead that is wrong. Do they think Herzog may have had a similar car to the one described by Trina? I guess it could have been stolen. It is a shame that the investigators did not use more caution when digging for these bones. I am sure the task seemed enormous, but it seems critical to be careful as it is a crime scene and they could uncover more information - like these bones that were not JoAnn's. And a horrible offense to families longing to find their loved ones and at least provide a proper burial.

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  17. Hi Sharon, you have always impressed me with your strength and how you have dealt with Michaela's kidnapping all these years. I hope you know how much all of us at work support you and have sat many times with tears in our eyes feeling your pain. This latest development has us waiting too.... We all feel as if we know her too---thank you for sharing her with us. My prayers are with you and the family beyond the results of the tests...There is a lot to learn from you. Best wishes, Jennifer

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  18. I know one of your other daughters, Johnna, and she is an absolutely wonderful, beautiful individual. I feel like Johnna also has that light that Michaela does, I believe your whole family has it. I admire the way you go about all of this and I admire that you will never give up. Good luck Sharon, keep us updated. <3

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    1. Thank you, Anonymous. Who are you? I see that same light in Johnna also. In fact, she is the inspiration for the second daughter in the book I am writing.

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