The finality of death is comforting. Seeing a person’s lifeless body confirms without doubt that they have left this world. When grief lessens, because maybe it doesn’t ever go away, you can begin to construct a life without the person. But when someone goes missing, not knowing whether they are alive or dead, safe or in danger is possibly one of the greatest emotional traumas.
Our uncle, aunt and cousin were visiting from another city. A carnival was in town. Plans for an evening with extended family were planned for my two-year-old sister and I, then a six-year old. Our mother dressed us in identical leaf-green knee-length dresses with tiny white polka dots. We waved goodbye thinking of the Ferris wheel we would ride on multiple times and the candy floss we would eat, the pink sugar crystals sticking to the outside of our mouths.
In a dusty expanse, tiny glittering stalls were lined next to each other. Bright lights coupled with the owners’ animated expressions and booming voice lured customers. We weaved through the large crowd. Aunt and cousin went to check out a stall while my uncle and I waited for them outside waiting. A few minutes later they returned. We asked them where my sister was. They exchanged looks. They thought she was with us, they said. We exchanged looks.
Not more than three minutes could have passed during that revelation. And I was very young at the time. But I cannot forget that intense fear. The thought of losing my sister and a life without her flashed through my mind. Just when I was positive that I was going to be sick, a woman tapped me on the shoulder and asked whether the little girl who was wearing the same dress as mine and crying some distance away was with us.
I never did tell the woman how truly thankful I was. Maybe she realized from the way I raced in the direction that she pointed, not even waiting for her to complete her sentence. In the way I grabbed my sister and hugged her, never more happy to see her. Because when I read of cases where young children who go missing are forced into the sex trade or whose organs are harvested, among other atrocities, the woman should know that by helping me find my sister in that crowded carnival, she is an angel who contributed to a miracle.My Story: Miracles