A briefly anonymous man was featured on the news up in San Francisco. He’d been found at 170 Pacific Avenue in San Francisco. 6’2″, 350+ lbs.
An acquaintance on Facebook alerted me to the news clip, and when I saw the photo I was convinced my son had been found.
I’ve blown this image up 300% to look for some clue for yea or nay, and his best friend does not think it’s Jake, but I can’t unsee the strong resemblance. It’s difficult because his face is swollen, and I can’t see his eyes, yet his eyebrows, nose, and beard are uncannily similar.
So I contacted his former commander in the National Guard, the officer who has been diligent on his case, the San Francisco hospital contact, the San Francisco Sheriff’s office, and the NamUs database volunteer.
DOJ has identified this man based on his fingerprints; this man’s name is not Jake Furrer. I am not satisfied with this, but I don’t know if this can be pressed much further than what I have already done.
Here is my quandary: I’ve said before that my longing to know where Jake is is not more important than his right to privacy. How loving is it to chase someone to the ends of the earth when they don’t want to be found? What would love do? Would love keep chasing? Some would argue yes. Love does not give up. But if I keep chasing, who am I serving? He was not a child when he disappeared. His mental state has been my chief worry, but what if he simply felt he could not safely be himself here in the Valley?
I’ve been told numerous times that not finding a corpse is unusual. My problem with that is how easy it is to be anonymous if you really want to. It’s easy for a scraggly, smelly person to die unnoticed on the streets anywhere because they are unseen. My son could be one of them.
The words in the email from the hospital spokesperson had a sense of finality to them. I begged that they check for a tattoo or scar, but they’ve got those fingerprints, and they’re very sorry about my missing son.
How very tired and broken I am over this. Despair leaches me. I’m not angry with God, but I wonder why I must bear so much.
I’m not the only person to wonder this. Not the only person to suffer so. I’ve been thinking of moms whose children have killing diseases, dads who can’t see their kids, little ones who are trapped in abusive homes. The weight of the world crushes us. What are we to do about it?
I will tell you how people have helped me: they don’t forget. Oh, maybe for a little while, but they come back and they ask, have you found Jake yet? They tell me they’re praying for all of us, that they think of Jake often.
Today people checked on me.
Nothing assuages the grief, but the connecting comforts me. I will always have an open sore, but people will always be the salve.