If you are a family member of a missing person needing assistance, please contact me. If you know something about a missing person, please call your nearest law enforcement agency.

Monday, January 7, 2008

For The Families of the Missing - My New Year's Prayer

A year ago I lost my best friend. His death was unexpected and it was sudden. I wasn't prepared nor was his family. I didn't personally know his wife or his daughters or his brothers or sister. At least we'd never met. But I knew them through his words, his stories and his love for them. He was a "stand up" guy, honest, forthright, tough and sensitive. And he could make me laugh - not an easy task. Oh, did I mention he was stubborn? He wasn't perfect and there were times when I shook my head in dismay at his antics, but his heart was always good. He made me laugh, he made me cry, he made me a better person for having known him. And when he died, too young and too soon, his family grieved together. I grieved alone...finding out too late about his death which came as Christmas weekend was upon us.

A year later - I find myself grieving still. Less often, perhaps, but with a pain just as intense when it strikes, and I am forever mindful that I never told him things I should have said: that he was my rock, my supporter, and my best friend. Or at least I never told him often enough. Besides, he was way too busy trying to fix all the things that were broken in me to worry about being appreciated for his efforts - although I truly believe I was a challenge that he actually enjoyed. At least I hope so. I know I wasn't the easiest person to have for a friend.

His death left a huge unfillable void in my heart and in my soul. My life has been forever changed.

I went to the cemetery once - a few days after his death. The grave site was piled high with flowers from his family and his friends. Beloved husband and father, loving brother and uncle. He was all of those and more. He was a beloved friend. I alternately screamed and cried, and ultimately laughed when I thought of what he would say to me if he could only do so. I had the cemetery to myself that day, thankfully.

I haven't gone back because I don't really believe he's there. He's in the hearts of his family, watching over them with love and perhaps a little consternation when someone is doing something that he might have 'suggested' be done differently.

So in the whole grand scheme of this awful grief I've felt this Christmas - on the first anniversary of his death - I found myself wishing I could somehow erase this same pain that I know the family members of our missing persons must feel every day that their loved one is gone. My friends death was sudden; bringing the raw, indescribable and undeniable pain that follows the death of someone you care about. It wasn't tangible, but it was real and it was final and it was over. But for the families of the missing - it's worse. They alternate between deep despair and sorrow yet clinging to unfulfilled hope...and they pray, but as every day passes, the wait gets harder and hope becomes a little more distant. It is for them, at the beginning of this New Year, that I pray that their wait will be over soon....that their loved ones will return or be returned into their loving arms.