It was not really this easy then to write about James. Whenever I go back to my journals, profound sorrow leaps out of the pages. Some were smudged with traces of tears.
Those were indeed the darkest days of my life.
Why am I doing this now, you may ask? I'd say, to share the light...
You see, in 2005, it wasn't just my husband who went missing. There were three of them! All three have families of their own. One had four children who were almost the same age as mine; the other left a pregnant girlfriend who was due to give birth the following month.
And they were not the only ones. At that time, the local news feasted on the daily count of missing people or dead bodies in the city. They all formed part of statistics: the death toll.
I was watching the local news on tv one day when I saw this weeping mother who lamented during the interview that her son, who had no crime record, was killed by mistake. He was gunned down in broad daylight. Mistake or not, he was gone forever. She lost a son and she had to explain and clear their name? My heart went out to her. I know that feeling too well.
The modus was all too familiar... one or two perpetrators rode on their motorcycle and freely gunned down people who were SUSPECTED of or previously charged with a crime.
Many died... many went missing... many mothers, wives and children grieved the untimely death of their loved ones... BUT, to this day, not a single motorcycle-riding gunman was ever caught.
I am a litigation lawyer by profession. I prosecuted crimes as a private prosecutor and defended the rights of the accused as defense counsel. But when I myself came face to face with injustice, I was totally helpless. There was no one to prosecute. There was no evidence of a crime. There was no body to bury. That was the irony of it all.
Almost four years later, I have learned to accept the things in life that are beyond my control. My kids and I have long moved on. Yes, we took our time to heal but every single day of those years showed us a new reason and inspiration to appreciate life better.
We have learned to count our blessings. At first, it was just the beautiful yellow butterfly... the food on our table... until we started to see the greater blessings again. Each day was a miracle in itself.
And when my youngest daughter led a prayer before our meal one night by saying: "Thank you Lord for not allowing Mommy to go out with Daddy that evening... Thank you for letting her stay with us..." and the two gave a resounding "AMEN." I was dumbfounded. I couldn't help but smile and think that I must have done something right to deserve these three amazing children.
Ours is a story of hope and faith. Everything happens for a reason. You just have to trust that things always get better. After all, being happy (again) is a matter of choice.