The Long & Winding Road To Recovery

Polly Klaas

Polly Klaas

The past two years have offered much opportunity for personal reflection. 2013 was the 20th anniversary of Polly’s tragedy, which I wrote about in the last edition of the KlaasKids Foundation newsletter Klaas Action Review. The year 2014 now marks 20 years since the founding of the KlaasKids Foundation. Earlier this year I penned an open letter to Polly on her birthday, reminiscing about that horrible experience two decades ago, and I blogged about being honored by the president of the United States as I battled debilitating grief.

 

This is the first post in a four-part series on the theme of reflection as three other parents, all friends of mine, who lost their children have generously offered to share their stories. Only one has been reunited with their child.

Michaela Garecht

Michaela Garecht

Nine-year-old Michaela Garecht was kidnapped in front of witnesses from a supermarket parking lot in Hayward, California, on November 19, 1988, and hasn’t been seen since. Tomorrow, her mother Sharon Murch, who continues to search for her precious daughter, shares her story with a focus on the endurance of hope and the therapeutic value of writing: How it has helped her to reconcile emotions and define her feelings.

Andrea Brewer

Andrea Brewer

On Friday Rebecca Petty will share a remarkable tale of triumph over tragedy. On May 15, 19999, 12-year-old Andi Brewer was kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Three days later, Karl Roberts led the FBI to her remains. Andi’s mother, Rebecca Petty rose from the ashes of despair and recently graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. She is currently pursuing her vision of ensuring that children grow up safe by running for the Arkansas House of Representatives.

Nathan Slinkard

Nathan Slinkard

Next Monday Steven Slinkard, who was recently reunited with his son Nathan after nearly two decades will share his story. Steven was completely unprepared when his ex-wife failed to return his three children after a court-ordered visitation and then disappeared in October 1995. He spent the next 18-years afraid that he might never see his kids again. Yet that did not stop him from reaching out through his own pain, doubt, and uncertainty to help others in a similar situation. Steven shares the elation he experienced just recently, on February 4, 2014, when he was finally reunited with a son he hadn’t seen on almost 20-years.

 

I thank Sharon, Rebecca, and Steven for sharing their stories. For all of them, it would have been much easier to reject my request. Introspection is difficult at the best of times, but when done in the context of a dead or missing child, the challenges can become debilitating. However, as Sharon Murch says, the redemptive qualities of writing can also be profoundly therapeutic. Their generosity affords us a glimpse into the range of feelings and emotions that can span decades in a parent’s quest for answers.

 

5 thoughts on “The Long & Winding Road To Recovery

  1. Marc,

    I remember the news that awful day when your daughter was taken from your home. So hard to believe it’s been 20 years already. I just wanted to let you know how much admire your strength and your resolve to help other parents who are going through what you went through those 20 years ago.

  2. Mr Klaas, Once again I dreamed of your beloved Polly (& others). Last night I saw a dainty figure, with the same beautiful red patterned dress as last time, standing on a mound of lovely flowers. Her back was to me at first. Then she turned around and radiated the same beautiful smile as in your FB pg picture. Polly then raised her right hand and revealed a symphony conductors baton. As soon as she faced forward again a huge choir of children appeared. They were standing under a floating banner that said
    “When you do this for the least of my brethren you do this for me“
    Polly then started to move her baton and the children’s choir resumed repeatedly singing 1 line from a song. The words were “we are the world, we are the children”—This Youtube song is the tune, lyrics & closest to the youth choir sound I could find “ We are the World, We ARE The Children 2010 ” Warmest regards
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKU-RC1AWsM

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