Earlier this fall, a young adult female in Charlottesville, Virginia was abducted. Over the last ten years several young women have gone missing or died at the hands of a local resident in this sleepy college town full of accomplished and talented people. Whether by domestic violence or random abductions, parents can’t help but fear for their daughter’s lives as they experiment with new-found freedom, alcohol, drugs, sexuality, and adventure. During a weekend celebration of hiking and dinners at college with friends for Sarah Austen’s 20th birthday, someone captured this photo. It has become a treasure for me as I witness my baby in the arms of her friends, clinging to each other in celebration, joy and love. There is no greater image for a mother and no better cushion for a daughter than this.
As suffering swirls, there is a calmness inside. I do not worry. I have hope that love makes a difference. I am detached from drama. I find joy in mundane interactions. I do not fear mistakes. I no longer need to be the best. It is a very strange calm. And I wonder if the calm is because life is generally good. Or is life good because of the calm? How would I respond to a family tragedy? What if I became seriously ill, or more difficult, if husband or daughter or sister or brother became ill. I feel like I’m in a zone, able to endure what comes my way.