January 29th (A 9-year affair)

Since 2001, the date January 29th has held a significant meaning in my life; it was the date that my brother disappeared.  My family and I suspect it was the date of his actual wrongful death.  I’ll never forget that Superbowl weekend for as long as I live.  An Oklahoma State University plane carrying basketball players and some media personnel went down that Friday killing ten in total.  In Superbowl XXXV The Ravens beat the NY Giants,  34-7.  While watching a rerun of Law & Order, life flung the words “Jeffrey is missing” into the zeitgest of that 2001 weekend.

The commemorative weekend comes every year in the pecking order of “Jeffrey is missing,” Superbowl, and the OSU crash.  It reminds me of one of the birthday cards you get that has all the meaningful events of your birth year listed out in a souvenir manner. 

The first year (2001) I spent in a dreamlike state watching planes, people, cadaver dogs, police officers, horses, and my family searching frantically yelling “Jeffrey” over every inch of a mountain.  The second year (2002), we brought flowers to the site where the truck my brother was driving was planted found.  The third year (2003), we released balloons for him.  The fourth year (2004), we continued our ritual.  A few months after the last year we did that (2006) his skull and less than a handful of bones were retrieved from a remote place (approx. a mile from my uncle’s house) in the mountain.  In our minds, Jeffrey was graduating from missing to dead, while he should have been graduating from college.  In 2007, January 29th officially became the anniversary of his death.

While his presence never leaves, the cyclic mourning of a missing person has subsided and found closure in his death.  Unfortunately, many families do not have the morbid blessing of knowing whether or not their loved one is dead and continue to live in the abysmal cycle of grief and hope, which can be a crippling mixture at times. 

Many families of the missing begin extraordinary journeys in life because of our loved one’s indelible spirit and inexplicit parting from our world.  You can find some of these to the left of this blog posting, and in January 29th, 2010, I will be embarking on mine. 

Jeffrey Ben


2 thoughts on “January 29th (A 9-year affair)

  1. Lisa, this also was a beautiful writing on your blog. Your gift for writing amazes me and takes me into what you are telling as though it is happening. I have a very special friend that I saw at a Missing Person’s convention who I had actually met via the internet prior to attending, Sarah Teague-her dau. became missing many years before Jeffrey and is still missing. Her precious mother has tried everything to find her daughter with little help. I saw a movie the other night “Taken” which reminded me of what Sarah thinks could have happened to her daughter and prays didn’t. Too bad in real life there are not actual people like this man that found his daughter. Altho I understand and wished many times I had been a man with the strength this man had to find my son. Anyway I want you all to remember this lady and her daughter in prayer that she may be found and that Sarah may continue to have the strength she needs to get through each day…I won’t say get over it because I have had that statement directed towards me and it is a very cruel statement because you NEVER get over your children becoming missing or dying…It can’t happen because they are part of your body, mind, and soul. It takes a piece of you with them…what you do is learn to live with this hurt and without this missing piece but you don’t “get over it”. Remember that when you see someone struggling with this because it will be a life long struggle and no amount of counseling can get you over it…our precious savior can give you peace in knowing you will see them again one day but he allows you to grieve and knows your feelings because he to has been there.

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