Sunday, January 24, 2016

Happy Birthday, Michaela

At this moment 37 years ago, Michaela, you were an hour old. All of the years of infertility, the difficulties in pregnancy and in labor, had melted away in that hour, as I was finally able to hold you in my arms. There has never been a child born on this earth who was more wanted, and more loved, than you. I had no idea of what the future would hold. I was young then, and there was so much I didn't know. I had never lost anybody I had really loved. Loss and death were shadows that haunted the dark edges of my conscious. Had I understood their absolute reality, would I have had the courage to enter a love like this?

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.
mom

38 comments:

  1. I'm so so so so sorry! It's so unfathomable that one person's selfishness caused so much pain for you, for Michaela, for your family! It's the mystery of iniquity! I want so much to say words of comfort, but only God can do this for you. I pray he does bring a peaceful resolution to you in this lifetime! I pray for you often. God Bless you! Happy Birthday Michaela!

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    1. Im so sorry.. I understand how you feel its not fair for something that u love so deeply and care for be taken from you and I pray that she someday returns in you arms and until then i know people all over the world will be hoping that the beautiful and strong michaela returns home or is in a better place with no more pain. God Bless and Happy Birthday Michaela!

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  2. I pray for peace in your heart and in your soul. I pray the same for your precious girl. ♡

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  3. Dear God,
    I pray you will hear the cries of Sharon's heart and You will answer her and give her the desires of her heart.
    God you see how the not knowing, the endless imagining, has become more than Sharon can take. I pray God that you will come into this situation and do what no other power can do and we will start seeing answers to this precious Moms prayers and bring Michaela home. God she needs answers now, and I believe that You are hearing and You will answer Sharon, and our prayers.
    Love and Prayers always to you, Michaela and all of your family.
    from Thelma Mandera <3

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  4. praying for closure soon ! If this man did assault and kill her , then she is already at peace...I so desperately want this man caught and to face justice...you dont know how much I want this man caught , I want him to suffer so much.I pray everyday if there is a god that this man suffers unendurably and will die at maximum pain without any peace. God I hope hayward police solve this case

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  5. praying for you Sharon, I am heartbroken over this kidnapping and will never understand why it is taken so long to solve this case.

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  6. From a resolution point of view, is there no records at all of blonde pock marked man who was slender in hayward 1988 with a tannish gold car ? This was random and this man could very well be a local. The car could very well be a 1988 chevrolet cougar or ford as most of these were boxy sedans ...There has to be some DL records of such a man and car....if the car had cement splatters it could very well have been some worker either construction or repair or a drug junkie...did the police enquire all nearby businesses of such a man ? if this creep was 18 now he would be 45 if he is alive , if he was 24 he would be 51.
    Michaela met the devil, a horrible human that day and I know that god has the worst hell waiting for this horrible man

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    1. Since it was an older car and it happened in 1988, in guessing it wasn't a 1988 model. There are actually an amazing number of people who look like the kidnapper, and the description of the car us vague snd would fit many, many models, the investigators also received more than 15,000 leads in the first year and did not have the time and resources to investigate all of them as thoroughly as they would like. However, they do have a short list of suspects, which ultimately doesn't do anybody any good.

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  7. I've been following your story and reading your blog for awhile. As the time has gone by, my oldest daughter is now 9. The other day, I panicked momentarily, when she went out of my sight at a store. It's almost beyond my comprehension having some stranger snatch her up. Michaela's story really hits closer to home, now that I have a 9 year old daughter. I try to be more patient with my daughter and hold her closer.

    I pray that Michaela's case is solved soon. The kind of torture that a parent is put through with an indefinitely missing child is some of the worst horror that a parent can be put through.

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  8. I still remember the day when she went missing. I was 8 at the time. I also live in Hayward. I still always think about her here and there and I hope and pray that she will still come up or that her case will be solved. Praying for your family!!!

    Felice

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  9. Sharon, you have said many times that the investigators are going through so much information and that it's not a cold case. But why is this taking so long? (I'm venting this with frustration!) At what point are they actually making progress versus going around in circles? Do they think this will be solved? Is there anything that the public can do to help with this? I'm not asking for confidential details from the police, but when public resources are used for such a laborious investigation, doesn't the public have a right to some sort of update? I guess the bigger question is who is monitoring her case that they are doing a good job and being thorough in their investigation. I remember her kidnapping. I am almost 40. We lived in San Jose and with your daughter's kidnapping my Mom changed her parenting to us always being escorted everywhere we went.

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    1. The short answer: who knows? The fact is that the investigators are not answerable to anyone, at least not me or you. They don't have to tell even me anything. And they sure don't have to do anything because I want them to. You can ask me do I believe they will solve it, and that answer is probably no. It appears to me that their commitment to the case has waned over the last few years. Our detective had a room where all the files and evidence was kept, and the powers that be apparently decided that was a waste and so he had to try to jam things into his cubicle and God knows where. If the powers that be aren't willing to make the commitment of time, space and resources to it then it is not going to get solved, and at this point I just don't feel that is there.

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  10. Your response truly makes me so sad. It feels like there is a chasm that with reduced commitment just seems to widen. For you and for the people that have come to care about your daughter and what she had (has?) to endure. I'm sorry the resources are not as robust as they once were. In addition to the inspiration your story and Michaela's has provided people, please know there are people that would mobilize to help if there is a way that it makes sense. So I guess what I'm saying is that it feels hopeless at times, but if something turns up where you need support, I think there are many of us around that would step up. I'm not talking about something specific, it could be a search team, it could be a funding drive to follow a warm lead, or writing to the police department. Many of us who remember your daughter's (and Amber's) kidnappings are now adults with children of our own and perhaps can carry through with vigor the next generation of supporting the search. I would like to offer my Prayers to God for your daughter and your family.

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    1. Thank you so much for your offer. If there was anything I could mobilize I would. But rest assured that there are non-police officers working behind the scenes as well. I honestly get so weary it is hard to pick up my foot and take another step, but I thank God there are a couple of people who keep going, keep working, and give me the opportunity to go along with them. Not sure it will lead to anything, and I really wish it didn't have to be this way, but it is what it is.

      I do very much appreciate your words, though. Thanks.

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  11. I'm so sorry for everything you've gone through. I pray for God's peace and love to surround you.

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  12. Sharon, stop being bitter, and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Enough of the pity party!!!!

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    1. I'm rarely at a loss for words. Maybe it's a genetic disorder, maybe you lack empathy, or maybe your some misguided, smart alec teenager with nothing else to do. Bottom line: ridiculous, callous comment. Perhaps your time would be better spent reading someone else's blog.

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    2. You are an idiot,and obviously don't pay attention to what's going on, you are obviously not a parent, and unless you've gone through what she's gone through keep your rude comments to yourself, she has gone on to be a great mother and grandmother to the rest of her children and grandchildren, and if she wants to use her blog to vent how she is feeling it's none of your business if u don't like it then your welcome to unfollow.She doesn't need negative/rude people like u in her life, she's gone through more than most of us have in our lives. So unless you have had a child kidnapped and never knew what happened to them shut up

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    3. She's not looking for a pity party. She don't want your sympathy nor your rude negative comments. Put yourself in her shoes,What would you do if you had a child go missing and had no answers for decades? All she wants is her baby back.Have a little bit of respect.

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    4. You have shown a new level of ignorance. I cannot imagine what kind of people raised a person has low and heartless as you, and I pray I never come across them.
      Sharon has never asked for pity, nor has she shown any bitterness. She has only asked for information that might lead to her missing daughter, and to keep her name and the memory of her out there, so that maybe some day, she might be found.
      This is her page. If you do not like what she has to say, move along. Go someplace where your dark soul can rot without causing mental anguish to people. When I pray for Sharon and Michaela, I will pray for your dark soul. I will pray that you learn love and compassion, and that you never have to find the strength to go through anything like this.

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    5. It's not a "pity-party." She experienced something few could even imagine, and she is hurt and looking for answers. This is SHARON'S page, and you have to right to tell her what to do or how to feel! Michaela deserves to be remembered, whether she may be. I hope you NEVER experience the hell Sharon and her family have endured over the past 27 years. Have a heart and get a life!

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    6. What a sad, pathetic life you must lead if the only way you can find joy is by trying to amplify the heartache of someone to whom life has already dealt a hand of incomprehensible pain! The subject matter of this blog is quite clear at the outset. If it doesn't interest you (or offends you in some way), you're perfectly free to find a different one that's more to your taste. The fact that you did not do so and instead chose to stay here and spew venom at this loving, compassionate woman speaks volumes about who and what you are.

      You are nothing but a BOTTOM-FEEDER.I'd like to cordially invite you to return to where bottom-feeders like yourself can wallow in the sludge of their own misery - and even flourish. If you aren't sure where that is, then here's a great use of the internet while you're hunkered down there, all alone in your Mommy's basement: LOOK IT UP. On that note, I will leave you to it. Well, that... and three more words in parting -

      HOW. DARE. YOU?!?

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    7. I'd say you should find yourself a party! Why hang out here Anonymous?

      SR Mom

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  13. Patty ann MaureenMay 11, 2016 at 2:14 PM

    Are you kidding me? Pity party? Bitter? You are a cruel person to say this to someone who has endured more pain than any of us could even imagine! I pray for your soul.

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  14. She's a mother looking for her child. Where is your compassion? What is wrong with you as a person? Why would you leave a commit like this? Until you walked in someone else's shoes, you have no right to judge. Or better off keep your nasty commits to yourself.

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  15. I cannot even imagine what type of people raised you. You have shown me how ignorant some people can be.
    Sharon has never asked for pity, nor has she shown bitterness. All she has done is ask people to keep Michaela's name and her memory out there, in hopes that somebody will remember something that will help her to find her daughter.
    I cannot believe that your soul is so dark that you would even attack her for doing that. I will pray that your dark soul will learn compassion and love, and that you will never have to find the strength to live through what Sharon has been through. Yes, I will add you to my nightly prayers, right behind Sharon and Michaela

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  16. If you ever happen to disappear, you would be blessed to have someone keeping a vigil for you in such a way.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Lol, I wonder why this comment was removed and what it said. Bitter woman!!!

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    2. Well, it was removed by the author of the comment, not by me. I went back through my emails and found it, and it was actually a very nice comment, so I don't know why she chose to remove it. But there was no bitterness involved, anonymous. Sorry.

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    3. Thanks Sharon, I chose to remove it, because it didn't make a lot of sense. I read the wrong post at the time, and I was upset that someone would be so rude to you, but I responding to the wrong person. I'm not bitter at all, @Annoymous, I am not bitter at all, in fact I went to school with Michaela. I get really angry when people play with Sharon's emotions, or makes nasty comments, she has been through enough and doesn't need the extra drama. However, I was lashing out at the wrong person which was wrong. That is why I deleted it, I am sorry for the misunderstanding.

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  18. You are a very strong person. I don't know what I would do in a similar situation.

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  19. Hi Sharon,

    I'm from Scotland and I first read about your daughter and many other cases back in December 2014. When I read the case of Kevin Collins who disappeared from San Francisco four years before Michaela, it said he was seen talking to a young, tall and blonde man who had a big and black dog with him. That made me wonder if it was the same man who took Michaela because apart from the similar descriptions of each men, Hayward and San Francisco are only about 27 miles apart. I appreciate that this possible connection may have already been looked into, but I thought I would bring it up just in case it is of any help.

    Thanks

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    1. Kevin's case is very close to my heart. He shares the same birthday with Michaela, and I consider both his mother and his father to be valued friends. The Foundation they started in his honor, The Kevin Collins Foundation, was first on the scene to help after Michaela was kidnapped, and provided invaluable assistance. My impression is that there are strong suspicions as to what happened to Kevin, although it's never been proven. I don't recall any time in which it was suggested that it was likely that the two cases might be related, except in that they were both among a number of children who went missing or were abducted here in the Bay Area within a period of just a few years. Obviously I have no idea of everything the investigators considered over the years. If ever either of these cases was solved, perhaps there might be some consideration of whether it seems likely that there might be a connection. There are an awful lot of tall blonde men in the Bay Area, though!

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  20. Thanks for responding to my last post. Yes, the cases of other missing or abducted children in the Bay Area around that time such as Amber Swartz-Garcia and Ilene Misheloff also make me think about possible connections and if Michaela's kidnapper and others were working together. Michaela's scooter being moved and Ilene's bag being placed in an area previously searched make me think that it's similar tactics being used. You and Michaela are often in my thoughts and I will keep looking to see if I can come up with other possible connections or any other information that might be of help.

    Thanks again Sharon

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    1. Michaela's scooter was moved in order to lure her to the kidnapper's car. Ilene's bag was abandoned after the fact of her kidnapping. I don't think there is any relationship indicated by those things.

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