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Linnea Lomax: Love Hurts

August 30, 2012

Linnea Lomax has been missing for more than two months now. I can write that without emotion right now and sometimes when I see news stories about her, it feels like she is just another name in the news; another headline of a tragedy that has happened to someone far away from me and my life. There is a feeling of forced numbness. Pain starts to rise up and I shove it down. “Stay down bad feelings; I don’t want you,” I say. “I have a life to get through and you are getting in the way.” I change my focus and read some stupid article about politics or gossip on a celebrity. If you ever want to really numb yourself, read gossip headlines and then maybe stare at your Facebook newsfeed for a while. Everything runs together on Facebook. In seconds, you read about new babies, breakfast choices, weight loss struggles and triumphs, life, death, and potty training. You don’t have to feel anything about any of these updates or you can feel a little if you want or you can just skip to the next until you find one that you want to care about and maybe “like” it or comment. But it is different than when you see a long lost friend and ask how she is and she tells you that she just had a baby and the baby is there and you coo and cuddle the baby and talk and share and connect and feel something for this woman and her new miracle. Facebook is just different than real life and I use it to numb myself from feeling. I am trying to stay off it lately and I feel more, and right now, I am trying not to turn off my feelings. I am not on Facebook or reading gossip headlines. I am writing this, so let’s jump in.

Linnea-Your disappearance makes me hurt in the deepest parts of my being; like deep in my gut and the back of my head and in the parts where I love my daughter and in the hopes I have of a future of happiness with and for her. Because Linnea, you going missing doesn’t affect me on a daily basis like it does your mom. I don’t have to miss the daily chats; having morning coffee with you and talking about that boy you think is cute but your mom’s pain affects me every moment of my day. As much as I want to numb it and ignore it, I am terrified to ever feel what she is feeling. I am so scared that when we went up to Sacramento the day we found out you were missing to help, I stayed away from the base camp. I helped at Rock N Water and went to a park one day while we were there to look for you, but I used the excuse of having young kids to stay clear of the hub of the search efforts. I even had very willing babysitters in my mother and sister-in-law and I clung to my kids as a safety blanket to stay away. Part of this was because I really was suffering a bit of trauma that God would let you go missing and maybe He would let one of mine go missing so I didn’t want to take my eyes off of them. But I was also scared of the pain and reality that your mom, my friend, was in a pain that I never, NEVER, want to feel.

When I had my first born, Joshua, I became instantly terrified. My heart was now outside my body in this little perfect person and the world was no longer a place of adventure. It suddenly became a place where he could get hurt in so many ways and my heart and stomach got that feeling like you are doing the first drop on a roller coaster that is much bigger than you thought it was and you are out of control and scared but unable to do anything except hold on and wait for the feeling to pass; for the ride to stop so you can be in control again. I have had that feeling for five years now. When I had Aurora, I was already an anxious mess so I can’t say having two kids made it worse. All I know is that motherhood has been the most terrifying experience of my life.

To get through this fear, I tell myself that God protects us and He won’t let anything bad happen to my babies.

But then Linnea, you disappeared. God let your mom suffer the worst pain I can imagine.

I love your mom. She is the kindest person I know. She loves God and she loves people. She mentored me when I was dating my husband. She mentored me after we married. She made efforts to connect with me even when I was far away. She is a much better person than I.

She is a better person than I and God let her experience my worst fear.

What chance do I have?

To keep moving forward, I turn off the cascade of emotions that want to pour forth: anger at God for this injustice, fear, tears, heartbreak, and anger at myself for cowardice.

Because I am such a coward. A selfish, horrible coward and a terrible friend.

I didn’t go the base camp and help with the search even though that is what we drove 8 hours to do. When I hugged Maya at the prayer vigil in Placerville, and she asked about me and my kids and told me how blessed she was to have kids at the base camp for the search, I immediately started making excuses for not coming. Maya had not meant to put guilt on me, but I was guilty and I knew it. I should have been there.

© Jose Luis Villegas |

I don’t go up and help now and I make excuses like: Sean just got laid off, we are too poor to travel up there, I need to do my job and school is starting soon, I need to take care of my kids, etc.

These are kind of valid reasons to maybe not go to a BBQ at a friend’s house, but do any of these reasons really hold up when my friend is hurting? Nope. I can’t lie to myself today about that. I could max out a credit card and go. It’s not like I have never used credit cards before and for much stupider reasons than helping someone who lost their daughter.

There are no excuses really.

I am sorry Linnea. I am sorry you are missing. I am sorry your family is hurting and I am sorry that I am not being the person I should be in this.

But there is another one that I don’t want to face because He makes me hurt.

God-What are you seeing in this?

Here is what I see. You made beautiful Maya with her blond hair, blue eyes and vibrant personality. Then You gave her Craig, and then to them together, You gave them their first born: Linnea; a gorgeous girl with hair so blond it is almost white, translucent skin and striking blue eyes. You made her smart and caring. You gave her drive to succeed; did You give her too much drive? Did something go wrong that wasn’t part of the plan? Did something happen that You did not intend that day at the clinic?

I doubt that. Your plans are perfectly laid out, right?

I was just watching a documentary on our universe. It all works too perfectly. I know You control it all from the infinitely large to the infinitely small and that everything happens for a reason. I do believe that.

I can’t even ask why are You letting this happen? I feel like the blaring answer from You is: “I have this under control.”

However, I am pretty well convinced that my comforting idea of: “God will keep anything bad from happening to my kids” is a fairy tale and not one that You even told me; just one that I made up to try and hide from my fear and anxiety.

Ughhhh…..I am numbing again. It’s like I am on the verge of pain and I just numb it out because it is all too much.

The world You gave me is so beautiful. It really is. I know when I am numbing myself to the pain of it, I am also numbing myself to the beauty.

I asked myself earlier today: If I knew God was going to take my daughter from me when she turned 19, would I ask that He not even give her to me so that I never had to love her and feel the pain of her loss?

The answer was not immediate as it should be because the gut wrenching, imagined horror of having her lost is more than I can bear and I really think it might kill me.

But then, I remembered the first time I held her. I had a water birth and she popped out in the water and I grabbed her and saw her face for the first time. The first words out of my mouth were an almost surprised: “I love you!”

And I did. I really, truly loved her; true love at first sight.

I feel that every time I look at her.

I feel love when I look at my kids that I didn’t even know existed before I had kids. My heart is changed; expanded; different.

So if Aurora was to disappear, my heart would break. This broken heart though would still be 100 times larger and more amazing than the heart I had before I first held her in my arms and it would hurt worse for it to be crushed than for my old little heart, a 100 times worse. But this new heart has also loved more, cried more and enjoyed more than my old heart ever did. Expansion makes room for joy and pain and I can’t trade one for the other; they come together.

You can’t go back from that kind of love and I don’t want to.

So God-If somewhere in Your perfect plan, You are going to take my children from  me, I am still so very thankful that You let me have them for now because now is really amazing.

I am pretty sure that Maya would not have paused at that question like I did. She is a much better person than I as I said before. If God told Maya from the start that loving Linnea would break her and asked her if she was willing to take on that pain, she would have said “Yes” because Linnea is so very worth this all.

In trying to wrap this up, I can only say, I want to stop numbing when things get hard. I want to stop being afraid of going to my friends in pain because I don’t know what to say. Maybe just showing up and saying nothing is enough. If I open my heart and let my love for Maya and her family in, it hurts but that pain is worth it because with it comes so much joy.

I love you Maya and I love You God.

And I love this terrifyingly beautiful world that You gave me.

No more numbing. It’s time to live and love and tell you all that what I want most in the world is for Linnea to come home and each moment that she is not in her mother’s arms hurts.



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