There are moments in time marked by special memories, lifetime achievements, the miracle of birth, love .... and death. In those moments, we are found in a heightened state of awareness. It's as if every inch of our being is in a state of feeling. I can remember the first time I saw my husband. I remember the dress I was wearing that day and the look in his eyes. The moment each of my boys took their first breath and I heard their first cry. I will always know the way my heart felt in those moments.
Today will mark one such memory. However, this memory is laced with pain rather than happiness. My heart is not fluttering with joy, it is burdened with sadness.
May 23, 2006, Jorden Sopher walked out of our lives and today we grieve the reason she never returned. For three years, we have hoped for her safe return. Each of our family have looked for her, asked questions about her and tried to find her. It was our hope, our prayer, that she simply chose to leave on her own. That she wanted a life of her own design and making.
Jorden was 18 on the day she disappeared. She left her adoptive father's garage, walked down an alley and was gone. Her purse, cell phone and savings account were left untouched. These facts lead us to believe what we longed to deny. Something wasn't right. I know exactly where I was when my husband and I received the call that Jorden could not be found. I remembering feeling that things were all wrong. Somewhere, somehow she was safe and the missing days could easily be explained away. Those days turned to months and then years. There have been days when I see a young woman resembling Jorden. My husband and I have stopped and watched to see if it's her. We won't do that anymore. In some ways, this day brings closure and peace. In other ways, we are left with more questions than answers. Today, we still do not know how she passed away, who was with her when it happened or why they would hide her body.
For those living near our area, you have most likely heard of her disappearance and of the remains found between Wabash and Miami county. The day we heard of the discovery, we felt in our hearts that it was Jorden. How is it that your heart knows these things?
Our hearts are broken and we ache for the life she could have, should have lived. The news and media are covering her disappearance and the discovery of her body. They claim the body to be "what remains of Jorden Sopher." For me, Jorden Aryne Sopher remains.
Jorden's love remains. Her spunk, zest for life ... her beauty remains. These are the things my heart longs to remain. Jorden loved children and children loved her. She had a perpetual smile on her face and sparkle in her eyes. These things remain in our hearts.
If I have learned something from this experience, it is to love with all your being. If a thought crosses your mind ... like sending someone a card just to say "I love you", stopping by to say they crossed your mind, calling to hear their voice or so they can hear the love in your voice ... Do it. Call them, write that card, stop by and say "I love you." These are things I thought to do but never did. Today, I wish I could go back and tell Jorden that she was special and loved.
We have had three years to prepare for this day. I've thought many times how I would feel if the unthinkable became reality. Today, reality came and we were all unprepared. To those that took her from us, put her body in a hidden place ... no anger, bitterness or hatred could bring her back. There is only forgiveness. Because I fully believe that is what Jorden would want.
I pray that in some moment, those responsible for her death and for the way her body was placed, will feel a burden to come forward. That they will long for the release of admission and forgiveness.
For me, I look on each situation through the faith that has grounded me since my youth. In Ecclesiastes, we are told that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. There is a time to mourn and a time to dance.
On the day my husband and I were married, Jorden wore a sweet white dress all covered in silk and lace. Her hair was sprinkled with baby's breath and she wore a smile that would've melted a heart of stone.
Jorden, I hope that in some far away place ... a place more beautiful and splendid than anything you witnessed on earth ... you are dancing.