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The Blog of Missing: What love looks like

*Jake has not been found.  Thank you for checking.

I’ve spent the morning looking at the NamUs Unidentified Persons System.

Please understand. I don’t start my days with, “Gee, what can I do to skew my day?” I try to avoid thinking of these databases. But I got an email from the site informing me that I needed to update my user info. Trouble is when I get in there I am compelled to poke around.

I did a search with skimpy parameters so as to pull up the most unidentified bodies, and so far I’ve viewed 10-15 records. I checked the coordinates for the entry that flipped me out weeks ago, and discovered that the coordinates and the reported city don’t match. The body was found just north of the rest stop before Felicity, not in Ocotillo. This, however, still does not rule Jake out. I don’t know how they calculated the height or ethnicity.  I so wish they explained the scientific process so I could determine probabilities. Hispanic? How could they know from just the bones? I understand more easily how one could extrapolate height from the femur, but I don’t know that’s what they did, and if one assumption is made, then others are likely. And I can’t tell if they made assumptions because I don’t know their processes.  And this location is a little ways off the I-8, and Jake was on foot….

I’m still awaiting news regarding the DNA samples. Nothing to do but wait.
So why not look at more unidentified body records.

None of the cases I read resembled Jake, but I stayed with each record, paying homage in place of those who don’t know where their loved ones are and for the ones who had no one to mourn them. Someone must see these people besides those who have to catalog the bones and belongings. Someone has to be not detached. Sad. I’m sad anyway. I’ll weep for all of them.

I found a record for Obsbaldo Salto Martinez or for someone connected to him and I clicked over to Facebook to see if anything was there. The NamUs Unidentified Persons System is run by volunteers so it’s possible I could actually help. I thought I could also use my genealogy spook skills if I couldn’t find him or his relatives on Facebook.

But when I got to Facebook, I got sidetracked in a lovely way: I saw a message from my son, Josh. This young man FB-messages, texts, or calls me several times through the week. And I’m telling you, this guy knows how his mom ticks. He sends me think-y distracting things about science, history, or politics, or stuff that’ll get under my skin just to engage me, or something like this:

I appreciate this Italian man and his passion to help children, and I appreciate my son for knowing I would love this.

We are all fighting a hard battle.

Love looks like this man.
It looks like all of you who check on me.

It looks like my son.
Love looks like Josh.



Blog of Missing: Day 22

When I wrote my memoir, I prefaced it with a story called Babes in the Wood, a story about two tiny children who were left by ruffians out in the woods to die. I learned to read on this story and others like it; my mother was big on folk tales.  The abandonment resonated in me because my mother and her sisters had put 5 of us children into foster care. I’ve thought of the story as a harbinger that my mother unconsciously used to warn me of the dangers I would face, and lately I’ve been revisiting this from the standpoint of a mom.

I have been reading a book on Gestalt psychology, and I am struck by the idea of transactional analysis. I don’t know if I created a steadfast narrative of how life is when I was a child, and I don’t know how much weight I will give this theory. But I think it’s interesting that my earliest memory of reading is of a book about abandonment.  And now I wonder what my sons’ narratives are, and how I contributed to them.

I’ve fought all their lives to break the chains of abandonment in our family story. Is Jake’s wandering in the figurative wilderness part of our family narrative?

I’m also reading books about baseball and I’m pretty sure that baseball is saving my sanity.
I went to my very first major league baseball game in April, when the Padres played the Cardinals. Tom, my husband, answered every one of my baffled questions with patience and delight. (I’ve never been interested in baseball, and was only there because I knew how much he would love it.  It was the Cards, after all.)  I asked about acronyms and stats and weird rules. (Dude. The infield fly?)

It was the infield fly that got me. It sounded like a bizarre rule, and it reminded me of English and how wretched its rules can be. English delights me, so of course baseball would, too.  I have to know everything. So: books. heh

So now I’m on a search for my favorite player. Tom wants to get me a jersey, which I have never been remotely attracted to before and now must have. I’m leaning toward Molina, the Cardinals’ catcher. (Has to be Cards; I’m married to a St. Louis guy.)

The stats are my favorite, which is hilarious. Stats=math, and I am accustomed to giving it the stink eye.

So the obsession is engaging a different part of my brain and it helps me not to wallow in grief and fear. I confess, too, that it makes me laugh a little to think of the line, “How ’bout them Dodgers?”