Voice Platform and Support Network for Families of Missing and Victims of Crime
"Body watch" is it a taboo subject? Almost all families of the missing go through it. I did. And, now I sit this watch with other families of the missing. But why does it seem to be so hush-hush?
Some families I know don't want to know when body watch is taking place and that is their prerogative so we don't hear from them too much. Others very much want to be a part of it and that is also their prerogative yet they don't seem to talk about what they went through on body watch.
Many aspects of what the families of the missing face are rarely discussed in public, but body watch seems to be the least talked about even though it is what is on the minds of all families every time a body or bones are found anywhere.
Body watch to me is Purgatory. How many people have had to search for a loved one, hoping they are alive but knowing they have to search for bones too? Bones are found and then you have to bounce between wanting your answer and not wanting your answer all in the same breath...Purgatory.
I'm writing this blog for many reasons but the main goal is to get the families talking about this in the open. If you've been on body watch how did you cope? There is absolutely no right or wrong answer but your explanation of how you coped might help another family cope.
What led me to write this blog today?
Today started out in it's normal rush. Wednesday's for me is a publisher deadline day. Of all days a parishioner who has entered the seminary showed up to do work for us while he is on summer vacation. This man, who had been a business man before he got the calling, showed up on fire so ready to do the mundane work we were throwing at him. He was so excited to be there and all I could think was "I have a deadline!" As I was checking Facebook to make sure I hadn't missed out on any major announcements for my publication I saw that I had a private message. My friend and a person I so admire, Carolyn Johnson, had sent a message asking if I'd seen an article. I knew it must be important so I clicked over. Bones had been found. I checked how far the location was from where her son had gone missing and knew instantly the possibility exists that this is Clinton. We had been through this before not too long ago and needless to say those prior remains found were not her Clinton. We got the ball rolling to make sure Clinton is compared to these new bones that were found.
Something about this today made me cry. I listened to the seminarian out at the receptionist desk so on fire as I sat in my office and tears rolled down my cheeks on to my desk. So many times in the past that has happened the hearing joy all around as I silently cry. Such a reminder of how my life changed 7 years ago. Yep, new normal. Those around me have not had to search for bones like I did for my own missing loved one. Those around me have not climbed up and down river banks, scoured deserts and walked through snake and spider infested vegetation so dense you couldn't see the searcher next to you just to find someone's missing loved one like I have. None of them have been on body watch. What coworkers or parishioners get upset about can be such trivial things. I want to yell "get a grip!" New normal sometimes means having to look back and see the things that once mattered were so very unimportant but in the present are still important to those that don't live a new normal! I sometimes have to yell at myself to "get a grip!"
Body watch. I got home from work and literally paced up and down my deck for hours before sitting down to write this. Normally I'm not a pacer unless I have a crying baby in my arms. Something about this body watch got to me today. I wanted Carolyn to know I'd be writing this blog but my intent was not to use her or Clinton's names.....but the amazing person she is she let me know it would be okay with her if I used their names. Thanks Carolyn! But why today? Why is it this body watch that drove me to write this blog? Thus the pacing.
Why? I'm not new to this so that can't be the reason. After all that I went through for years in my own case and I've sat on watch with Glendene Grant and Rick Morse and so many other families over the years you would think that another body watch wouldn't effect me. This one did and does.
Maybe it's because I've been questioning lately if what I'm doing is making a difference. Sure I've brought down some pretty evil people that were preying on the families but no sooner than I do that 100 pop up in their place or they pop up as a 100 different people....so what difference did I make? Maybe it was this org war taking place on Facebook over money and acknowledgments, so trivial and shouldn't be a priority in this world of the missing that made me question if I shouldn't just throw my hands in the air and walk away from it all, so tired of that brand of drama. But then a wonderful woman, the mom of a missing son, finds an article about bones and questions if it could be her son and reaches out to me for help and in doing so reminds me that just maybe I am doing exactly what I should be doing ... working with the families in the background and striving to try and make this hell a little easier for them.
I so wanted a CSI TV moment today where this find would have been over in an hour. I know it will be a long wait, body watch. The unsung heroes of this world of the missing are quietly behind the scenes working their asses off together so a family can get their answer...UNT, NamUs, various law enforcement agencies .... all those good people fighting to give back a name to those bones and reunite them with their family. Quietly, methodically putting the answer together. I have the easy part I shed tears and standby the families through the answer and beyond and jump with them between Purgatory and Hell. My part during body watch is small compared to what the professionals are doing.
I wanted a CSI TV moment today for Carolyn. I wanted an answer for her. I wanted Clinton to come home to his Mom. If I could move heaven and earth to make this happen I would. But all I can do is cry and standby if Carolyn needs me....my part is easy.
Here is a link to the article, if this isn't Clinton it is someone's loved one and as I pray for Carolyn I pray for you too: http://www.athensreview.com/local/x1561302549/Human-remains-found-n...
YOU are RIGHT ON!
Fortunately,there are people like you ,me and many many others who do and will MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
You bring up VALID points.Something for others to ponder.Just let yourself be BLESSED ,ACCEPT IT when GOD sends you somreone to HELP.
UNFORTUNATELY,EVERYDAY someone new is MISSING,and New Families start searching and need help.I PRAISE GOD for my calling,and for your calling.You make a major difference to the Families and you can test assured that whatever the outcome ,that you did your very best to help.GOD BLESS YOU .THANK YOU for posting this .
WE NETWORK because we are needed .One PERSON CANNOT do oit all,but one person can bring MAJOR Changes!
DeDe...how do you cope? Are there times when going on body watch effects you differently than normal? For me on this case it is because Carolyn is my friend and because of my own reevaluation of what I'm doing or not doing for the families. I want to hear how families cope and how orgs and advocates such as yourself cope.
All of you make a difference. If I didn't have you and the search team, there wouldn't be anyone left to talk to. Body watch is just one of the many "new" things that have taken over my way of life. Driving any where I find myself looking in ditches for signs of Venus, although I live nowhere near where she is missing from. All the things psycics have put in my head, (water, trees, a curve in the road, ect...), all of this will be there forever. It is now just normal for me. People get tired of hearing me obsess over searching. I've become self-taught in how to read a cell tower degree, what to look for when a body is missing, how to search for a body, murderer's habits, and of course the never ending law. THANK YOU for everything!
Thank you Maureen, this is very important for people to read, especially those who have never been on a body watch :(
I will tell you how I cope with all the body watches I have been on since Jessie has been missing - and not just for her ... also for all the friends I have made over the years.
When I hear about a body that could possibly be Jessie - I usually hear from friends on my social networking sites or in an email someone sends me, but sometimes I will see an online article and read about it.
First: I try to contact the reporter who wrote the story for them to put me in touch with the police and coroner in that area. I do that for a reason ... I always try to get Jessie more media attention and I want this attention all over, not just in the area she went missing, as we all know that human trafficking victims are moved all over.
Second: I contact the police in that area (if I did not get the info from the reporter, I get it online) and tell them about Jessie so they can get her case info, just in case.
Third: I call the local coroner's office where the body/bones were found, and tell them about Jessie. I do that for a reason, too. It makes Jessie a person and it prompts them to want to find out for her mother if this is her or not. And at times, Jessie has been among the first they checked, making my wait time a bit shorter.
And another thing I do, between the calls and waiting - is posting. I post about the remains that have been found and I let all my wonderful friends and Jessie supporters hold me up during that time. It is important to me that I share things with everyone, as people have been there for us during this time and they want to know just as much as the rest of us.
PS: old normal?? I usually cannot even remember old normal. Sad as it is, after over 6 years, I sometimes cannot even remember what it is like to NOT have a missing child :(
Great comment....thank you Glendene. Those were all actions I also used in my own body watches. So glad you posted what you do as it is probably something many families have never thought about doing and can be so helpful to their cases.
Been thru a few of these, I sat in a chicago hotel room while police fished a body from the river just behind us. Wasn't Jesse, but someone got the bad news. Some sit by the side of a dying loved one, others pray for a loved one serving somewhere in the military. We must nurture or faith in the good in life, so we can face our trials and help others. There is strength to be found in numbers. We join hands and hearts across the miles.
You have the strong SPIRIT and a Comfort to so many.Words mean nothing unless there is feeling,hope and love behind them.You are full of all those and more.GOD BLESS you and your family.You are in our daily prayers.
Hello Maureen and yes I am a body watcher too. we have so many body parts and human remains found around here where Alicia could possibly bve that it is so much more than difficult torture is more the term I would use. I don't get many calls and I suffer alone most of the time. However nightmares are my way of life after every event. Wanting to know but fearing the knock on the door. very stressful. I have to commend you on your work. I cdouldn't do it. I hav several illnesses that I fight daily knowing that if I don't take care of myself who is going to be there searching for her. we have so many our morge's are over filled and we aqre getting help from a university near by but the waithis 6 to 9 month long for autopoyies spelled wrong. sorry can't think well with this illness. i am with you, you are not alone. it has been so long she could be anywhere by now. So please remmember that there are many others who have a new normal that bear this burden with you and stand behind and beside you while you wait and worry and fear the worse and hope for the best. because we all know that if it isn't ours then it is someone else's loved one and they have been waiting who knows how long for the peace of finally knowing finally where they are so they can bring them home and bless there poor souls one last time. here's a hug for you wishing I could help us all suffer less who go through such a unholy thing waiting for the day when our loved one finally comes home safe or not but knowing that they can rest having there family know where they are finally. Pam Digna Mother of Mising Alicia Digna /4 years gone now in her 5th year of being in a unknown place. God Bless her and all the others may they all be found as soon as posible.
SO MUCH SADNESS and TORMENT.I AM PRAYING FOR PAM,I AM SO SORRY for what you are enduring.GOD be with you.
HUGS in CHRIST JESUS
dede & dale
You are awesome... If Robin's bones are ever found, and if worse, I ever find them myself, I don't know that I'll be able to take it...afraid I'll be overcome.... been that way for 42 years now...knowing I probably won't be able to take it...
But if I am able, should that time come--and I hope she's alive and that that time need not come--you people will have been part of my strength, reading about your stories... Thank you....