Heartbreak Over Jessica Ridgeway & Children Gone too Soon.
I was going through some old files of mine and came across this one.
Still breaks my heart.
October 2012: Like so many of you, I have been a complete mess since hearing the news yesterday about Jessica Ridgeway.
One of the first things people tell you when you’re expecting a child is “get sleep now while you can!” followed by, “It gets easier, you’ll be able to sleep when they are a little older…” but that’s just not true. It’s the furthest thing from the truth. Once you become a parent, you will never have a carefree comfortable night of sleep ever again. You learn to sleep with your eyes and ears open and some nights, because of how crazy the world is, you can’t sleep at all.
I’ve been anxiously waiting for a week to see the proofs of Josh’s very first ever school pictures. I finally got them yesterday and they came out so incredibly cute. You see a big smile, big cheeks, baby teeth, happy hopeful eyes and a big bright future with endless possibilities and adventures.
A few hours later I found myself staring at another school picture. You see a big smile, big cheeks, baby teeth and happy eyes. But the similarities end there. There is no future, no more possibilities…no more adventures for Jessica Ridgeway and for her parents, there will be no more school pictures. The caption reads “The mission has changed from a search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica.” You find yourself sobbing for someone you don’t even know.
As a parent, when you hear about a child who is stricken with an illness, involved in an accident, bullied, or just inflicted with any form of pain, you can’t help but feel an immediate rage of frustration, sadness, and anger deep inside you, even just as an outsider looking in. What you feel is only an ounce of the tremendous numbing heartache the parents must be going through. Then there’s the different kind of rage that comes with the news that someone’s child was murdered.
Your mind goes blank and all you see is red. Article after article there are excerpt’s telling readers: “Positive identification, however, was delayed until now because the body was badly dismembered and “not intact”, police said Thursday. What kind of human beings made up of the same flesh and bones as you and I, do such unthinkable things?
A sinister horror movie come to life, fiction turned into non-fiction, another senseless tragedy at the hands of a fellow man or woman who wakes up, eats food, uses the toilet and sleep like we all do. “It could be your boss, it could be your friend and, ultimately, it could be your family member,” FBI spokesman said.
Then you GO THERE. For a moment, you replace that child with the face of your child and the thought of “what ifs” paralyzes and cripples you down a path no mother or father should ever have to go through but is forced to kicking and screaming. What guarantee do you have in life that your child’s school picture won’t end up in the newspaper or splashed on the internet so tragically for the whole world to see? I can guarantee you that Sarah Ridgeway and Jeremiah Bryant never thought that something like this could ever happen to their family. I’m sure they’ve sat down together in front of the TV watching news of kidnapping and murders and have said out loud to each other “That poor family, that poor child” never thinking that it could ever happen to them. We all have. No one is immune to it. Doesn’t matter how rich or how above everyone you think you are, so many of life’s tragedies have no preference when it comes to choosing its next big headliners.
I didn’t sleep much last night, couldn’t get Jessica’s smiling face out of my mind and I know a lot of my friends couldn’t rest easy either. 1am, 2am, 3am…I kept thinking what it must be like for her parents, what were they doing at this very moment? Were they in their daughter’s room waiting for her to just walk in? What do you do with her clothes, her things? Do you put them away or do you just leave it all there just as she left it. Do you make a mental note of the last time you hugged and kissed each other, what it felt like? Do you sleep hoping that when you wake up she’ll be under the covers snuggling with you? Do you pray to God thanking him for letting you have and love her for 10 years or do you become angry with God asking him why this had to happen. That struggle has just begun for them and at the same time, the fear of something horrible happening to your own child grows along with the paranoia that comes into existence the moment they hand you your brand new baby.
In life, we struggle and fight to be part of the game, to be an insider, an active player in all things life. But as a parent, you learn quickly that there are acts in life you don’t want any part of. You want to remain an outsider looking in…you never want to be the star of that show. The flowers and gatherings after that event is not the kind you dream of…it’s the kind nightmares are made of.
Like many other kidnapping stories, a lot of them occur while the kid is walking to school or walking home from school. So the debate goes on, is it the parents fault for not walking her to school? Could it have been prevented? Maybe? I honestly don’t know. What I do know for sure is that I don’t care if it is 0.4 miles away or 1.5 miles away, my boys are never walking to school without me or Mike. I hear people saying all the time that the world is the same it’s always been and that you can’t coddle your kids or try and shelter them from everything and anyone you think is bad but I completely disagree. Anything and everything can be taken away from you in a second. A moment of “stuff like that only happens to other people or in the movies” can come to bite you in the ass and anyone who’s lived long enough knows that life is full of shocking turns and events. So you go ahead and raise your own kids the way you want and I’ll raise mine the way I see fit. Does this mean I think it’s guaranteed that nothing bad will happen? No, not at all but if it’s going to put my mind at ease and help me sleep better at night, you bet your life I’m going to do whatever I feel necessary to keep my life and my families life at peace.
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
Isn’t that the truth.
Peace and love,