I have always believed that persons who leave their vessels (bodies) manage to be in many places at many times. When they first leave, their spirit hangs around to make sure everyone left behind is doing OK. As the time goes by the spirit makes the transition for the living easier by enabling the loved ones to remember times that were once only a fleeting memory in a subconscious. These long buried memories help the living to remember and move the forgotten memories into the forefront of the minds of the living. It seems, at first, to be counterproductive for the living, but in reality it’s cocooning the living in a warmth only to be given by the one they’ve lost.
As the time goes on, the living, with the cocoon of remembrances, feel the warmth and laughter they thought they’d never feel or hear again. That’s when healing starts…It’s a slow process, but a needed process. The spirit is always near at this time, waiting to see what to do to help the living adjust. When the spirit feels the time is right, it lifts itself to a higher plain, still watching and listening, but allowing the living to get on with their life making sure the living is still cocooned in the memories and remembrances of the loved one they can no longer feel. The spirit then allows the remembrances and memories to become lodged in the heart of the living and no longer in the subconscious of the brain.
When the living puts their hand over their heart they can feel the essence of the loved one they lost and a calming will come over the living, telling them that “it’s alright, I’m still here and I’ll never be gone as long as you remember me”.
The time had come for the long trip. The trip to find himself. The trip to understand the why’s and what’s of his life. He needed to go. His yearning for answers could no longer be held in check. He loved the ones left behind, but his pursuit of his truth was more than he could bear.
His car was packed, his survival gear categorized He was ready for the journey. Mapping out his route he started on his quest. It would be long, and arduous, but it was his time to complete this trip of a lifetime.
His pain was intense, both physical and psychological, but he was ready. His friends and family tried to stop this seemingly disastrous journey stating it should not be done alone, it wasn’t the right time to be making this pilgrimage, and there were things to do at home and not the time to be going away. None of that mattered to him. He was on a mission to accomplish something that few would attempt. He was a broken man physically. A man who had always been the strongest, the most thoughtful and wise of his cadre. This brokenness bothered him, it put him into a depression of sorts that could only be assuaged by doing the undoable. He was driven.
His thoughts were to camp in remote places where he could commune with all he loved, the trees, the soil, the land the fresh air, the waters, the nights and days, alone, with only his own thoughts and prayer.
His love for God and his need to show God he was a man of faith, further lent fuel to the desire to make this journey. He was in God’s country, the unknown to him. He was going to make sure he was one with the elements and come out a better person.
That was not to be…maybe.
Those left behind were worried when he didn’t contact them, but they knew he was on a silent quest and it wasn’t the first time he had followed his heart to seek out the answers to the questions in his mind. He needed the time to think and “get back on track”. They weren’t aware that he was “ on track” just not the one they felt he should be on.
Time went by, still on contact. What to do? Where to look? Should we look? Would we be intruding on a personal quest? We sat and wondered if we were doing the right thing. Should we have taken things into our own hands and stopped this journey? I said, “No, this is a personal journey we should not interfere. Let him have this time but let’s give ourselves a date to start another phase”. Our decision was to “Let go, Let God”, hand it to a higher power knowing we were really unable to control anything at this point and to keep swirling around in a whirlpool of worry was not helping any of us… We gave it up. We sat back and waited for a higher power to take over to lead us to our next step. It wasn’t easy to sit back and let the chips fall where they would, but it was the only thing and the right thing to do.
We would wait just 12 hours when the phone call came from a Detective in Iowa. He told us his car was found in a semi remote area, but they didn’t find him. A trail camera was installed to see if there would be any activity in the next few days. It was obvious to the Detective that he had been camping on private property, a farmers land far into an area the farmer didn’t plant. His car was in the open. The farmer saw it and watched for a few days before calling it in to the authorities. The farmer was worried about the person who was camping since he hadn’t seen anyone near the car. He wasn’t angry at the person camping, he just thought someone should check on him.
The trail camera saw no activity after three days, so the searches were started in earnest. We had to make missing persons reports in order for more intense searches could be made. There were helicopters, dogs, volunteers, people we didn’t know nor maybe never would know looking in earnest for signs of him. Two of his friends flew in to the area to help with the searches knowing they were more knowledgeable about him than the multitudes of strangers who had taken up the job of trying to find an unknown person.
Rocks were turned over, camps were checked for signs of him, stored boats were flipped over, posters and flyers made and were given to everyone they encountered. Some had seen him days before walking and riding his bicycle. Some had spoken to him and thought him to be a “really nice guy”. He had been all around, but now was gone.
The river was high, higher than usual. The rains had swelled the river to rise above its normal height. The search was now on the banks of the swollen, raging river. Signs of him were there: his water purifying kit, a boot print, and water bottles. Where was he? Did he fall into the river? The search extended down the river slopes to the edges of the raging river.
On the other side of one area was an old quarry, still, dark, deep and cold, oh so cold. The search and rescue changed to a search and recovery. There are certain protocols that are adhered to in any kind of searches.
The Detective overseeing this search was more than helpful in helping his two friends searching for him. He was a compassionate and caring man who was willing to give leeway to these two friends, he had never seen before this time in his life. He felt the pain the friends were in and knew their friend was someone who was loved. He let the friends do what they needed to do and didn’t try to stop them, just guide them.
The two friends along with the Detective came up with a scenario which could explain what had happened. There was no proof other than what experience had taught the Detective and armed with the only physical evidence they found it was probably, not completely, but probable, accurate.
They found a boot print near the river and the water supplies. There was a slide mark close by. The edges of the river were steep and muddy. He slid into the raging river was the thought. It fit. The river claimed even the strongest at times and swept bodies down towards the great Mississippi, we may never again see him. That was the thought, but they didn’t give up the search…The friends had to return to their lives and the search would go on.
We waited, and waited. Worry over came any other thoughts in our minds. We wondered how we could go on not knowing where he was. How could we ever get closure? I knew he was gone to another dimension. I could feel him around me, but I’d never hug him again. I’d never feel his soft lips giving me a kiss before he left my house. I’d never again hear him utter the words, “love you Mom”. But that was OK, I knew he was no longer in pain. He was no longer searching. He was no longer alone. He was where he needed to be, not where we wanted him to be.
Time marched on. In retrospect, it wasn’t really that long. So much happened during that time that he wasn’t part of at all. It seemed as though he was hovering nearby but unable to get to us, or us to him.
One of the friends went back again to see if anything else had been discovered. The Detective went to the airport to collect the friend. They had become friends during the search and rescue/recovery. He was still an integral part of the case. The Detective gave the friend all the information from the forensic team to read, so the friend would realize the extent of the ongoing investigation. It was an extensive report. They hadn’t just made it into a “cold case”. They were actively still looking and waiting for information to turn up. The farmer was more than generous to the friend and the Detective stating he wanted the car to stay where it was, no need to impound and tow, let it stay, just in case he came back to get it. These were people none of us knew. People who lived in a state far from out home, Iowa.
They were the salt of the Earth types. We didn’t know them but they were instant friends.
Finally, in the night, the phone rang. It was the Detective. A body had surfaced in the quarry. There wasn’t an official identification but there was a probable one. He had a tattoo on his left arm. A tattoo of a Scottish Rampant Lion. I remember being furious that he wanted a tattoo. He came home, said, “Mom, I got a tattoo”. I was angry as he was pulling up his sleeve and I saw it was the Scottish Lion….My birthplace’s standard of strength…He had outmaneuvered me again.
That tattoo identified him as my son, my baby, my boy. A new chapter in our lives would now begin.
To be continued…