Days blended into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years, and still Heather was missing, still Gracie was gone, she turned five, six, seven and eight without me, and soon she would be nine. I wondered what she would look like, whether or not she would still like princesses, whether or not she remembered how much I loved her. I wondered if her Mother was with her, and sometimes I wondered if she were even alive, but something in my heart told me she was, these people had fought too hard to get her, only to kill her. I never stopped praying she would be found, and that these monsters would not have made her believe that we didnít want her. I had moved on with my life somehow, I was writing again, everything for those first few months seemed so hard to do, even writing seemed like an unbelievable chore, but I got back to writing somehow, but no matter what I could not let Gracie go, I could never let Gracie go. She was part of my life, I had raised her from infancy until she was taken away, she was my niece, and like daughter to me that was not something I could just forget.
I never gave up hope on finding Gracie, and I would not either, not until I was able to get my niece back, until Gracie was safe at home. The little girl I used to tie pink ribbons into her hair would now be in the fourth grade, in four short years she would be a teenager I was missing all of that and it broke my heart. I tried to move past some things, but I could never move past the fact that someone had taken Gracie away from me, then mocked me about it, saying they had done it because I was in a wheelchair, because I was not worthy to be her parent. Just remembering the words in that phone call I had gotten a few months after Gracie had disappeared angered me to the point of wanting to throw something of wanting to smash something, and I did not usually let me anger out in that way. I usually channeled my emotions into my writing but it was hard putting this into words, hard saying how I felt when the words would not even come. I just wanted to throw something and it was not going to make a difference I knew that. I was going to have to deal with my nieces disappearance like I had been for the past five years, five long years. I was going to press past this somehow, but I was never going to give up hope, I believed Gracie would be found some day, and I held on to that hope like it were a lifeline, a lifeline I did not want to let go of.
Lord itís been five long years, but the pain is still fresh like it happened yesterday, my niece is gone, and I feel as if a large part of my life is gone. I am not giving up hope, but I am going to need your help in bringing her back to me Lord. I know she is out there somewhere, if they had killed her, I would know it, I feel she is alive deep in my heart, Lord I donít believe you would let me have this feeling so strongly if it were not the truth. I love you Lord and I appreciate your help in getting me through this.
I felt better after praying, praying always made me feel better, and I was grateful for that, grateful for the hope that I found in words of prayer. I closed my eyes, as I listened to a CD by one of my favorite Christian singers, and let the feeling of Godís love wash over me. I loved the way listening to an uplifting CD a CD glorifying the Lord made me feel.
I felt best when I was spending time praising the Lord, but I still worried about my niece. wondered whether or not my sister was okay, whether or not Gracie was okay, what lies these people were monsters and you never knew what they would try because they were so confused themselves, I knew the good Lord was intervening but his time was not always our, and I had to face that fact, and somehow push myself through each new day, even after five years that was hard, because I had lost so much when I lost Gracie. She was the link to my sister, but more than that she was the only family who loved me unconditionally, I believed in some ways it was our parents that pushed Heather away, although I did not think they were part of the kidnapping. We barely talked, it had been that way long before Gracie had went missing, all they seemed to want to do with me is pity me, and all they wanted to do with Heather was put her down, and put Gracie down and I could not handle that. Gracie and Heather both deserved better than that. She deserved to be in a home where she felt safe and secure she did not deserve to be stolen away from that home. It broke my heart to think of what might be happening to my niece, the niece I thought of as a daughter.
Lord I know I could not get through any of this without you, I love you and I praise you, and I am grateful for all you have done for me. Itís a blessing to serve you Lord, and to know that even in the hard times you are here for us, I am so grateful for that.
I knew that I was where I was at because of the Lord, if it had not been for my faith I would have given up long ago, but five years may seem like a long time to us, but I rested comforted in what fact knowing that the Lord knew where Gracie was. I knew the Lord would keep watch over her, and that offered me a measure of comfort even though I was not always sure about what was happening to Gracie, and I still wondered whether Heather was alive or not, sometimes I felt she was, sometimes I did not know if I felt anything.
I closed my eyes trying to sleep, but again I found myself restless. It seemed a long time since I had gotten a good night sleep. The dreams of Gracieís kidnapping still haunted me five years later, I wondered if they would ever stop haunting me. I was going to be glad when Gracie was home with me where she belonged, and I still held on to that hope. Gracie was going to be found, and she was going to find her way home. I believed that as surely as I believed I the Lord above, because I did not feel she was gone, that she was dead, but I knew that even if she was the Lord would see me through that.
I tried focusing, but I found that hard as well, as the holidays approached, as I realized what I was missing with Gracie, things became harder to deal with. My sister was gone, my niece was gone, and my parents really werenít helping any. I did not even talk to them often, because they either decided to pity me or treat me as if I did not exist. I had to remind them a hundred times I had not asked to be in the accident, and that I was getting through life fine in the wheelchair, but then they would give me this look that said they didnít believe me, and sometimes I found myself wondering if they blamed me for Gracieís disappearance, not that they had made an appearance in her life when she was alive. I wondered why now all the sudden she was making the impression of actually caring, she had wanted my sister to abort Gracie, something neither Heather or I believed in and Mom knew that, it wasnít as if we had kept our beliefs secret. We had let Mom know from the time we gave our hearts to the Lord, we had stumbled and fell a few times, and when Heather fell the last time she fell hard, but the one thing one of us stood firm on was in our belief that killing an unborn, helpless child was wrong, and neither one of us would do that. Of course I was not sure I would ever be able to have children, the doctors had not confirmed or denied my fears, but after the accident I had my concerns, I do not know how many were rooted in reality and how many were just fears, but I knew that I worried about having a family of my own, maybe that is why Gracie and I had been so close.
Lord keep Gracie safe, and let her come back to me soon. I miss her more with every passing day, she is growing up and I am missing it, and Lord wherever Heather is, bring her back as well, I need my family together. It has been a long time, and I donít know how I have gotten this far, but I know it has been by your grace, I want us to be together again, I miss my sister, and my niece, they were such a part of my life, and now they are gone, and my heart breaks because of it.
I still wrote, because I knew that was my calling, but lately even my writing seemed off, it got that way every year though as I faced another anniversary away from Gracie, beautiful Gracie, who would be nine now, and who would be reading, and talking about school, and learning to grow in the Lord. I prayed that the people she was with did not try to dash those beliefs that had been so grounded in her, she was going to need the Lord through this, just as I needed him and I understood that, I understood too, that all I could do right now was pray for her.
At times I feel as if I am losing faith Lord, and I know I canít afford to do that, I love you Lord, and I praise you. I am so glad you are here to help me through this Lord, because I know that without you I could not do this, and the fact is I need you Lord, more than anything else Lord I need you.
I tried to remain positive and upbeat, but there were times when the fact that my niece was gone, that everything just came at me like a ton of bricks, and all I could do was let the tears flow. I also had the moments when I wondered if I was going to get through this, and I wondered if things would have been different had I not been in a wheelchair, I knew it was far fetched, because she had been taken from the preschool when I was nowhere around, but still I could not help wonder, and I guess in a way I felt a sense of guilt.