As this year’s remembrance blog series winds down I am encouraged and optimistic for the future. I lost more than a sister on April 3, 1994 – I lost faith in people, the world, and God. With each minute, hour, day, week, month, and year Heidi was missing I struggled to see the good in the world. Of course, my blurred sense of reality and a warped outlook fueled by insurmountable grief and stress following the loss of my one and only sister.
Earlier I shared some of the tragedy experienced by our family from the evening before Heidi’s kidnapping and through the fall of 1995. As children, we were blessed to travel and spend a lot of time with our cousins. My cousin Missy is the oldest, then myself, my cousin Shawnacy with Heidi as the youngest of our quad. My parents rotated “field trips” with my aunt and Uncle Jim. It was great. We traveled to rodeos, the Adirondacks, or as close as Fort Ontario but always the four girls together – regardless of the brave adults chaperoning. We enjoyed each other’s company yet didn’t realize the true gift until 94’- 95’ when Missy and I each lost our precious younger sister to tragedy.
With the support of our beloved New Haven and surrounding communities, the Heidi Allen Search Center, housed at the fire hall until May of 94 served as the hub. Law enforcement, searchers, volunteers, and family called the banquet hall their “home” for weeks. My cousins, Missy and Shawnacy, were among the many dedicating time, heart, and energy to find Heidi. Instead of a family vacation we came, together to search for our missing fourth, a task never completed.
Fast forward to June 1995, fourteen months after Heidi’s kidnapping. Shawnacy and her fiancé’ decide to take on ride on his motorcycle. It started as a beautiful day yet neither made it home that afternoon. Instead of walking down the aisle to her beloved, she was rushed to the hospital. As I sit in my Gram’s kitchen listening to my family’s banter and joyful teasing, the phone rings. “Shawnacy is dead.”
Only seconds before echoes of laughter greeted those walking by the house yet with the ring of the phone and three words…silence. Another youth denied the chance to walk down the aisle to her groom. More tragedy. More loss. Gram couldn’t take it. Without a word, she stood and retreated to her sanctuary. The door closed quietly behind her with only sounds of prayerful sobs. Some left immediately for the hospital, others stayed with Gram. The family phone tree, once again triggered.
Will we ever call the family with good news, just to say hello? I wonder…
I am pleased to tell you that in spite of the tragedy, loss, and grief God is stronger and more reliable than the curves life might throw at you. God didn’t take my sister. God isn’t responsible for my cousin’s death. God is loving and ever faithful. I do not profess to know “why” Heidi was kidnapped or “why” Shawnacy was killed in a motorcycle accident.
BUT this I do know…God loves me, He loves you, and He is ready to hold you in the palm of His hand and take away the pain and hurts of the world. I pray you seize the opportunity to live and love like Jesus, with the strength only God can give you. We can’t do this on our own. Life will throw you a curve every now and again, and sometimes they keep coming until you can’t take it anymore.
One thing I have learned is sometimes God needs to bring us to our lowest point when we don’t think we can do, be, or handle one more thing because only then are we ready. The truth is…WE CAN’T DO IT ON OUR OWN! God offered me multiple opportunities to accept His hand and love during the first decade of Heidi’s disappearance but my hands and heart were closed.
It wasn’t until I reached my lowest point that I recognized my need for Him – It took me reaching the bottom to realize I couldn’t do it alone. I needed God…we all do! You Do! Will you accept the free gift He is offering you? Peace, love, healing, and a new beginning are only a prayer away.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323