It’s been a sweet, slow start to classes this trimester. I am taking a handful of chiropractic classes including Radiology Physics & Safety, Radiology of Chest & Abdomen, Cardiopulmonology, Business, and Soft Tissue Phyiotherapeutics. I am also taking 2 classes from the Masters program for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine: Mandarin language and Acupuncture Point Location. I’m proud to say that I’ve already put in a full hour of studying! I’m *so* disciplined! Hah!
I’ve decided to give my extracurricular projects precedence this fall. I have a few books I’m reading, I am studying for boards next year, and I have some writing ideas mapped out. I am also working on a project for Student Senate this year. We are creating Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) documents for each committee. Over the past school year, we worked on SOP’s for each of the Cabinet members. It was hectic because my own Bylaws committee was uncooperative when I asked for their help. Trying to edit and coordinate 8 SOP’s at the same time was so stressful. Ugh.
I’ve also been pulling together all of the syllabi for every single class throughout the chiropractic curriculum. I could say a lot about that. But I won’t.
The discovery of Jacob Wetterling has been mind-blowing and heart-shattering. It was exactly 2 years ago when I first began reading about the case. Until that time, I had willingly turned away from any and all details because they rattled me and made me feel deeply frightened. What got me interested was Joy Baker’s blog and her investigation. She is the woman responsible for pulling together the Paynesville assaults to Jacob Wetterlings’. She is the woman responsible for helping Jared Shierl obtain publicity and eventually, Justice.
It was exactly 2 years from this past Wednesday, when I traveled through St. Joseph and visited the very spot of his abduction. I wept for so long.
There was this gnawing, inexplicable feeling, that things were boiling up to the surface. That something would happen, or be found out soon.
It may seem bizarre that so many people have become so emotional about the disappearance of one child that took place so long ago. But that is the strength of the spirit of Jacob.
I was born in 1988 and he went missing in 1989. So, for my entire life, my ENTIRE life, I have known about Jacob. We have felt his rhythms for 27, very full, long years. He became a fixture in our annual news feeds, a determining factor in how children have been parented, and everywhere in between. He has pervaded our lives.
In many ways, it feels inappropriate to discuss this pain that isn’t even mine. I did not personally know the loss of him. In fact, if tragic life experiences are like sharp knives, then I am surrounded by a bubble—my safe space which has yet to be punctured—and the Wetterling family’s bubble has not just burst, but has crumpled and clung to them like cling wrap. The pain is unavoidable. Patty has made that pain into action. Some people might say that she used this tragedy to make the world a more positive place, but I don’t think that’s realistic. No. She turned the pain into action and began to influence policies. She used the pain to tell the world that pain and hope are not mutually exclusive. She used the pain to fight for what is good and for what is right. She displayed her pain, not as a crutch, but as a Sword of Justice. And that inspires me immensely.
I trust her decision to sign off on a plea deal with Heinrichs. I’m convinced I would have done the same thing.
What I cannot yet grasp, though, is how his lifeless body could have been buried so close to my childhood.
Between some trees, in central Minnesota. Along a busy highway.
How many times have I driven past? How many times did the Wetterling’s drive by, not knowing…or maybe knowing, that their son was close.
I think that’s how the fight for his return lasted so long. It was a trinity of Patty’s pain and action, Jacob’s spirit and love for his family, and the physical closeness of his unbeating heart to that of his mother. A mother can feel these things. I also think that that is one of the reasons he was believed, and hoped, to still be alive–because the vibrating frequencies of his body and soul were felt by the ones he loved.
I also cannot grasp the horror of all the Paynesville assault victims. Of all the boys who had reported their assaults in the few years before Jacobs’, yet never received proper investigations. I think Jacob would still be here if those young boys had been taken seriously. Coulda Woulda Shoulda, though. Right?
Will there be Justice?
Will there not be Justice for these boys and for Jacob? Will the police departments/officers who ignored all the signs not be brought to justice?
With Heinrich as a suspect only months after Jacob’s disappearance, and with matching evidence to suggest that he *was* at the scene, how could it have been okay for investigators to have said, ‘we couldn’t prove that he was *not* at the scene, but we also couldn’t prove that he *was* at the scene?’ No. I want a redo. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Knowing what we know now, I want names of the officers and agents who swept these things under the rugs. Yes. I want a redo. I want, not only Heinrichs to be brought to justice, but I want the horrendous ignorance and oversight by officers and agents of the FBI to be brought to justice as well. Call me angry and vindictive, but seriously. A humbling might do these agencies well.
I had a hard time a few weeks ago when I was home for a family wedding. My cousin married the son of an officer. That officer was one of the first to arrive at the scene of the abduction. He was one of the officers to search the farm of the driveway from where Jacob was taken. They never questioned the farmer. It was a different time back then. A time when you could trust your neighbors. But really? It wasn’t until maybe 2010 that the farmer was finally questioned and the farm was rightly searched. I call bullshit. I knew it wasn’t him. I could look at the farmer and know that it wasn’t him. Single, male farmers do not equal creepy pedophiles. Justice has now been served for him too. I can’t imagine how deep the relief must have settled within that man’s bones.
With a sigh, I confess: I just don’t know. I remember Paynesville from the wrestling and basketball tournaments my brother would have. I didn’t like it there. Too dirty along the streets in the winter. Maybe there was another reason. One which I had never tapped into because my spiritual gifts had yet to be developed.
St. Joseph is another story though. I love the street that runs between the little store fronts and the Catholic school. The flowers grow bright and big. Bold. The co-op is cute. The coffee shop is perfect (a little small for all their eager customers on a Saturday afternoon or a Sunday morning), but perfect and yummy nonetheless. The Wetterling chiropractic office is only a left turn away from the coffee shop. It looks quaint yet sustainable.
In St. Joseph, the lights always seem to be on. And there is an inexplicable lightness and weightlessness in the atmosphere. Though I don’t think this can be witnessed with simple sight. It must be felt with eyes closed and heart wide open.
As a citizen of Minnesota who has left the light on, as a child-at-heart who grew up knowing Jacob’s smile, as a woman who learned to overcome my fear of this case choosing instead to seek understanding of it, and as a brutiful, love-warrior, advocate who is learning to turn pain into action, I echo the courageous whispers of Mother Patty:
“Jacob, I’m so, so sorry that this happened to you.”
Take care, dear reader.