I am not sure I even understood how deep my love would be for you, Michaela. But I learned fast. When I was pregnant I'd paid lip service to the notion of going back to work after you were born, but once I held you in my arms, I knew I could not do that. No paycheck, no money, no things, could ever be worth it. To leave you and go to work would be like ripping out a piece of my heart and leaving it behind every day. And you were so innocent, and so completely vulnerable. It was my job to take care of you. Nobody else could give you what I could give you: just plain love.
I sometimes drive by the house we lived in when you were born, Michaela. I am not blessed with an excellent memory, but I remember your infancy and toddlerhood very well. When these memories pass through my mind, they are often followed by an involuntary shake of the head. All that sweetness, innocence, all the good times, all the promise.... It feels like we were cheated, like a bad joke was played on us ... haha, fooled you. You thought you had happiness and love in the palm of your hand, but look! It is an illusion, something that can be snatched away in a moment by some stranger with long greasy hair and a pock marked face, who for some reason believed he had the right to take you. He didn't! He did not have that right! You were not some wild flower to be picked. You were mine to love and care for.
But he took you anyway, away to somewhere I could not see, I could not find, to somewhere where I could not hear your cries, I could not come to your side. When you were a baby, there was not ever once a time when I let you cry yourself to sleep. When you cried, I always held you and comforted you. Always. So how could this man come along and take you away where I could not comfort you?
Now ... so much time has passed. Where are you now? Did you ever just stop seeking comfort because you knew it wouldn't come? Or did comfort come from somewhere else? This morning when I was praying, I prayed for God to heal my broken heart ... broken in ways beyond sadness and grief, in ways even I can't grasp. They tell me to have hope, but for what am I to hope? Am I to hope that you spent the last 27 years suffering, in order that I might perhaps be able to see you again in this life? When people tell me that, to have hope, to believe that you will come home again, do they really understand what they are expecting me to believe? They think that it is somehow not hope to think it would be better for you to have spent the last 27 years in peace, in paradise. Is it not the best I can hope for, that when I was not able to help you, that our God stepped in and put his arms around you and carried you to a safe, happy place where there were no tears or suffering? I do not have to hope that I will see you again. I know that I will see you again.
But I don't know where you are. And for that reason I have to keep searching, reaching out to you. For that reason my mind and heart can never, ever just rest peacefully. As long as I don't know where you are, always in the back of my mind you will be crying out for help, for comfort, that I cannot give you. If that is true, Michaela. If you are alive somewhere, please let me know. Please let me know if you are okay, if you have made a life for yourself, or if you are not. If you are crying out for comfort, let me hear your cries! Let me comfort you. I want only to hold you in my arms and rock you until you are at peace.
And if you are not alive in this world, Michaela, I just pray that someone who knows what happened to you will tell us, and tell us where to find you. I think maybe I am ready to hear that now, if it is the truth. The not knowing, the endless imagining, has become more than I can take.
Wherever you are, Michaela, I celebrate your birth. You were one of the best gifts I have ever received in this life, and nothing that happened to you could ever change that. Not all the grief in the world could make a dent in the strength of my love for you, or the joy that you brought to me.
Love you forever, baby girl.