A child in my community is gone.
What started out as a local missing child, with a community that rallied to try to bring her home; turned into a case that captured attention across the nation. Today, we learned that all the hope and prayers were not going to bring her home.
In my heart, I knew that when a body was found on Wednesday that it was not going to end the way we all had hoped. I, like many others, held onto the hope of an abandoned station wagon thousands of miles away. Then that hope faded and we were back to the feelings of sadness as we waited for a proper identification.
Five and a half years ago I became a mom. They handed me this beautiful little child and with all my heart I knew that I was going to love, care for and protect this tiny little being at any cost. It was one of the most natural and fulfilling feelings I have ever felt. However, the events of this week affected me in a way that was so new, so different, so raw.
This afternoon the police gave the news that I knew was coming, but when I heard the actual words, I could only put my face in my hands and sob - and I couldn't get the tears to stop, and I couldn't stop asking myself how I was going to protect my child in a world where someone would dispose of a child in such a matter...much less, in my own community where there is a predator on the loose. How do you get a five year old to understand that their little tiny karate chop is not going to be enough, and they have to run, and scream and yell in a stranger danger situation? How do you teach a candy loving, puppy loving, kitty loving, child that an adult, asking if you want ______, may be a murderer trying to lure them away? How do you know they understand?
At some point, while going through the motions that got me from work to home, with a grocery store stop in between, I started thinking about teeth. Not too surprising considering that The Mayor lost his first tooth yesterday, and the tooth fairy left him some loot last night, but what I kept thinking about was when toddlers get their molars. Oh, that developmental milestone where they are in agony - but in the end, a whole world of new foods and textures greets them. The pain subsides and they move along to the next milestone. And then, there was a connection to how I was feeling.
Today, I got my mommy molars. The pain is subsiding, and now, whats in front of me is different. What's in front of a lot of moms who have been touched by Jessica Ridgeway, is different. I am not naive, and I know that the world around us is not perfect; but a little piece of the evil "out there" has gotten in. It's gotten in to our community, and I don't know that it will ever feel the same as it did a mere eight days ago. I'm assuming that the grieving moms like me will figure it out - the same way that other moms, who have felt this way, who have been touched this way, have figured it out before. Life in Westminster will return to normal...or whatever the new normal is going to be.
We have a sleepover guest tonight, the daughter of one of my very best friends. Well Hubby and I enjoyed our evening with The Mayor and Ms. B. and probably spoiled them a little more then we should have. Not for them, I think it was for us. And, when I tucked them into bed I kissed and hugged them each an extra few times.
While I was cleaning up from dinner though, there went the mind again. Of course as soon as I was alone my mind was racing and thoughts of the day, of the week, came back. My mind was going to thoughts of Jessica's mom - how is she getting out of bed? how is she breathing? how is she going to get through what's ahead of her? I started thinking about how much hurt I felt when I heard the news - pain in my soul - that scared me and even confused me because it was not like anything I had felt before. Then I couldn't stop thinking about Jessica's Mom.
Now, anyone who knows me can tell you that I am an advocate for moms taking care of one another, for moms helping and supporting one another. I often say that my own girlfriends are as important as the air that I breathe. Well maybe there's something more to that. Maybe, our pain, the pain felt by many, many other moms tonight, is a way for Jessica's mom to have a tiny bit of strength. The ultimate way for moms to take care of one another; to subconsciously channel our will to the one who needs it the most. It's just a thought, but I would unselfishly give her more of my strength if I could.
Tonight, I am sending strength to Sarah Ridgeway, a mom who needs it the most. My prayers go out to all of Jessica's family, friends and loved ones.
RIP Little Angel Jessica, RIP.
Be kind and hold your loved ones close!