As we packed our bags yesterday in preparation for today’s trip, memories of years past were the topic of discussion. This year, plans have changed. Instead of joining our Ride for Missing Children (RMC) family in the Mohawk Valley, we are traveling with the middle school band to Boston, Massachusetts. The decision to attend was easy yet difficult. Life is about change and one’s choice to do so.
During the first parent’s planning meeting for the band field trip I fought back tears as I realized in order to attend, we must miss the Ride for Missing Children. My precious daughter saw the look in my eyes and with such sweetness, “Mom, you can still go to the ride. I will be okay. I understand. You have to do this for Aunt Heidi.” This is when pain pierced my heart the most.
Ed, Mary, and I all enjoy our time with the families of other missing children, volunteers, and the riders yet the opportunity to spend a weekend with Mary in Boston is a once in a life time situation. Thankfully, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) dedication to increase awareness and keep our children safer, “one child at a time” allows us to join them again in September.
This week I have been a bit on edge and could not figure out the reason. At first, I thought it was anxiety for my role as chaperone on this field trip but then a friend opened my eyes to the hidden stressor. “Lisa, isn’t the Ride for Missing Children the same weekend. You might be a little off because it is the first time you haven’t been at the ride since your initial one. Maybe it is guilt for not being there to keep Heidi’s memory alive?”
Hmm…that was a statement to think about. I walked through the door and tears warmed my eyes as I transitioned down the hall. How do I express to you the turmoil and confusion felt to make the right choice?
I want to be there for my daughter, 110% of the time yet I also want to share my missing sister with others who might not about her case and to keep her memory alive. We also enjoy time with our NCMEC/RMC-MV family. We look forward to time with other family members too, the only people who “get it” without a word spoken. HOWEVER, none of this is more important than our daughter to know she is loved, respected, and our first priority when schedules conflict.
In cases of missing loved ones, it is common for the living to blend into the background. This is not deliberate yet it happens. Events like the RMC provide one on one time with other mothers, fathers, siblings, and extended family to gather and share the joys, pains, and struggles of living life in the unknown.
It is this same reason I know they will understand why we are not with them tonight and tomorrow. We need to live for the living. Our parents, children, aunts, uncles, and community need to know we love and value them as much, if not more than our missing loved ones.
Mags, it is with pure joy and love that I join you on this wonderful field trip. To our RMC family – love, prayers, and hope lifted to God in your name today. If you are on the bicycle, may the wind be on your back tomorrow, with hope in your heart for the thousands of posters you raised with your fundraising.
Life is full of choices. Some will be easy. Others will tear at your heart. Regardless of the level of difficulty, with prayer and guidance from God we will survive.
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323