I have been thinking and planning for a while now to do a little series of posts on missing children, whose families I have come into contact with in various ways, through grief networks and suchlike.
The first is the family of Michaela Joy Garecht, who was taken in a witnessed stranger abduction when she was nine years old in 1988…
Michaela’s mother Sharon writes the blog Dear Michaela http://www.dearmichaela.com which she writes as a kind of diary and message to Michaela in the hope that she might, somewhere, be able to read it and get the message that she is still loved and missed and welcome home if it were possible for her to return.
Sharon also wrote a book on personal safety for parents to read to their children, called “Listen to Your Smart Voice” It is available on Amazon UK here and is also available on kindle as a download.
Sharon’s big heart, faith and kindness has been an inspiration to me, and there is nothing that would make me happier than for Michaela to be found safe and well.
I really like this age progressed artist’s impression of what she might look like now, and I really hope that she is alive somewhere, perhaps unaware of who she really is.
Leads have suggested various ideas including that she might be in Saudi Arabia. The case is still ongoing, and neither Michaela’s mother or the police have given up on finding her.
Of course until she is found, there is no way to know for sure where Michaela is, or whether she is still alive, and this is a very different grief from my own – I know that my babies are gone and as awful as that is, I can mourn and try to move on. But for parents of missing children (and when you start looking at this, there is a huge number), there is always hope at the same time as the fear and the longing. They cannot mourn or move on. In that sense it is an ongoing torture that seems even more cruel that the original abduction.
Michaela came to my attention when another little girl who had gone missing, Jaycee Lee Dugard, was miraculously found alive and returned to her family after an 18 year ordeal.
Jaycee’s return gave families like Michaela’s renewed hope that it was possible even after so many years that their children could be alive and come home.
It is a horrendous thought, almost incomprehensible, that there are people in the world like those who kidnapped and abused Jaycee (I won’t mention their names as they really don’t deserve to be mentioned.)
But likewise there are many, many people in the world who are good and kind and who would do anything they could to help.
Since Jaycee has been home, she has written about her ordeal, and started a foundation, the Jayc Foundation (http://thejaycfoundation.org/about-us/ pronounced “Jayce”) to help and encourage families who have been traumatised and separated by tragedy of any kind including abduction, and the Foundation’s motto is “Just ask yourself to care”.
Would you care enough to keep Michaela in the public eye? Tweet, retweet, facebook, reblog or share Michaela’s story…
…And in the coming days and weeks I will share stories of other dear families who need to get the word out about their missing children, in the hope that somebody, somewhere will know something, remember something and tell what they know so they can be found and returned to them.