Why do we do what we do? Why do we search and ‘hope’ for the return of our missing family member?
My son is out there somewhere and until I find him and bring him home I will continue to hope and search for any and every clue I can. I won’t give up. He needs me now more than he ever needed me and I won’t give up. We have been doing this for 16 years.
People ask me what I hope to accomplish after all these years or is there a time to move on and get some closure? I am always a little frustrated with these questions. Why would anyone wonder why I am still looking or what I hope to accomplish? Surely everyone would be doing what I am doing if they were in my shoes? Right? There is no such thing as moving on or finding closure, as one is not an option and the other is not a word that reflects the prospect of finding my son, regardless of how he is found. My son is not a lost puppy, he is not a case number and he is not a poster and he is not disposable, he is a son, brother, cousin, friend. He is missed. He was full of life and promise and he is a human being with rights. He deserves to come home to his family.
There is, unfortunately, a large international community of families like mine who are searching for missing loved ones. I have met some incredibly strong people in this circle who, like me, also are not giving up the search. We are not alone or unusual in what we are doing. We are members of this exclusive community and membership is not something anyone would desire. The first 48hours are the most important in the recovery of a missing person. If the police delay searching, then crucial evidence will be lost which will ultimately impact the recovery of the missing person.
Last week three young women were found alive after being held captive for 10 + years. I remember seeing two of these girls photo’s on posters for several years in the missing circle. Two faces among hundreds of others that are shown by families and organizations dedicated to finding missing loved ones. Their families and friends of these young women never gave up looking and that faith was rewarded last week when their daughters came home. One mother did not live long enough to celebrate the return of her child, and my heart hurts that she never got to see her daughter return. There were several lost opportunities by the authorities to find these young women and questions have been raised which will need to be answered to learn from this case.
That is why we do what we do – we hope for answers no matter where that may take us.
The missing issue has suddenly become the news story of the week. Families of the missing are on prime time television and everybody wants to help find a missing loved one. For a moment our families are the focus of the world and we hang onto the hope that this issue will stay in the public eye. But as time moves on, other stories are covered and inevitably we will see the interest slowly diminish. We often see this flurry of interest when someone goes missing or less often when someone is found. It also depends on gender and race as males and people of color are seldom seem to rate in the public eye. Soon this subject will be just an uncomfortable prospect in the back of parent’s minds as they reassure themselves it won’t happen to their child. It happened to my child, so it can happen to anyone.
If there is any lesson to be learned from this case it has to be this – listen, be vigilant, listen to your inner voice and trust your instincts. Teach your children safety measures for when they are out on their own and to trust their instincts. If something does not feel right, then it is probably not so listen to that inner voice. Stay away from drugs and alcohol as this makes you vulnerable. If you see something that does not look right, be the one to make the call and report what you are seeing or hearing. Be involved. Watch out for each other.