They say it takes 30 days to start or stop a habit. Today is the 30th days since Lamar went missing, and I have found myself adjusting to a jillion new habits. I no longer reach for my ringing phone hoping to hear a funny story or a lighthearted conversation. Instead, I have a knot in my throat with each ring, hoping that it’s news about Lamar. I no longer scroll Facebook to look to get myself all worked up about political races. Now, I comb social media for stories on unidentified people being found. I call random police stations all over the country hoping to hear that it’s him. Gone are the days of internet time warps of online shopping and blogging. Now, I open Safari to search for knowledge about dementia patients and wandering statistics. I no longer wake up to calculate how many times I can hit snooze and still get to work on time with my make-up on. Instead, I wake up and pray for Robin, Katie, Carson, Cindy, and Len to be able to get through the day. (Then I calculate my time. Nobody needs an emotionally drained middle school teacher without concealer!)
I apologize for the 25 day lapse in updates. Every day, I wake up thinking, “Today is the day when we will find him. Today is the day we will know something.” Every day I anticipated updating this blog with good news. I have tears streaming down my face this morning, as I can not have a two word post of, “He’s home.” I do however have a simple message from his family on which I will expound, “We still hope.”
The Putnams are in what I am calling a grief-hope purgatory. They are well aware that the chances of finding our Lamar safe and sound decrease each passing day. But, how can you start truly grieving when you aren’t 100% sure that’s the reaction that is warranted in this situation? They know that their chances are falling, but how can they stop hoping and searching when they have no evidence that they should stop? They can’t. We can’t. I stood beside my sister’s bed in the ICU and kissed her cheeks as we turned the machines off. I know where she is. I still will start to dial her phone number. I still find myself picking up things for her in stores. I still have trouble accepting she is gone, and I saw her leave. We can’t give up on finding Lamar. We won’t give up on finding Lamar. We still hope.
The bulk of the “official” government-funded searching has ceased. That’s a tough pill to swallow. Because of the hearts, compassion, and courage of friends and strangers, the pill has been transformed into a liquid elixir that slides down just a bit easier. Just this weekend, over 80 volunteers combed an area 3 miles from the bridge. It will cold and wet, the terrain is treacherous, and it was a holiday weekend. We still hope.
Lamar wasn’t found this weekend. No clues to his whereabouts. There is more land beyond the 3 mile radius from this weekend. We are starting to look ahead. This weekend will be warmer. The terrain will still be treacherous, but we can cover more. We still hope.
Lamar has dementia. We are looking in the most logical (to us) area, as that is where his car was found. What we know about dementia patients, is their logic is different than ours. He’s now been without medicine for a month. There is no way to know what he is thinking or telling people. We still hope.
We can’t physically comb every square inch of the country. However, we have friends and friends of friends and friends of friends of friends who are sharing his information on social media, putting up flyers, and spreading awareness. We still hope.
Miracles happen every day. We still hope.
We are weary. We still hope.
We are fearful. We still hope.
It would be easier to give up. We still hope.
We are crying together. We still hope.
We are laughing together. We still hope.
MollyROCK was born out of a thought that radical, open conversation desperately needs to occur between adults and adolescents. While that notion has not diminished, the MollyROCK theme is being woven into every dynamic in the family relationship. 2 years ago as I began to breathe life into sharing Molly’s message with the world, I never imagined that the tragic story of the youngest member of our village would be sewn in with the current story of the eldest. (It seems tragic now, but we still hope for a triumphant ending.) The Putnams need us to be radical and open with our support. The conversations over the last 4 weeks have been tough. The kindness has brought us all to our knees in gratitude. We can’t stop. We still hope.
Our hope and love is…
More than meat loves salt,