A Year Ago We Lost a Child, and I Was Among Those That Found Her
I can’t turn away from the national tragedy of America’s murdered children
The girl that had gone missing was between the ages of my two daughters. The school sent out an alert, and I was out the door within ten minutes of getting the news. I took my dog with me. He’s an eighty pound lab and he would provide me with a tremendous amount of comfort in the days that followed.
As I left my home, I was burdened by a sense of responsibility. There was something awful in the atmosphere. I felt I owed it to the community to go and join the search even though I had little hope of finding the missing girl.
I didn’t think I would find her, but I was wrong.
The impulse to help is constantly on the periphery of our thoughts. Deep down, we want to help each other. We want the opportunity to protect children. We all want that. We just get confused by nonsense and tend to push our awareness of that shared belief to the side. We become fixated on the unimportant.
We’re rendered impotent. That’s the word that describes how I felt that day: impotent. You don’t want to read about little girls going missing. That never ends well. We know that terrible things exist, but we can’t allow ourselves to become fixated on them.
The thought paralyzes us, but sometimes you don’t have a choice in the matter. On that day, my emotions changed like the flick of a switch. I went from rage to sadness to terror to numbness and started the sequence again. I didn’t leave my house expecting to find her, but I did. She was gone.
I was alerted by screaming in the woods. I was the third person on the scene. Somebody else called the police. When they finally arrived, I was the one who showed the officers where to go. They pushed passed me grim and determined and unable to fix anything.
I was numb throughout. The pressing reality of the moment was too much. People walked by. My dog brushed against my leg and kept me grounded. I gave a statement to a terrified police detective. I felt tremendous compassion for him. Everybody there was hurting and there wasn’t any time for hurt.