Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hope Story

My cell phone rang at 4:41 last Friday afternoon. Not an unusual occurrence by any means, but this call was different. On the other end was my friend Christine. Christine lives in St Louis. "They're doing a breaking news story on the news here. They found Ben Ownby, Carolyn. He's alive. And you won't believe this; they found him with Shawn Hornbeck." I can't tell you what I said next. I honestly don't remember. I'm sure I said something to her.

After hanging up with her I'm not sure I believed her. Not that I think she was lying or anything like that. I just needed to see for myself. After logging onto the website for the Fox Station in St Louis, I found a live feed to their news; the news that was showing a story that I was amazed to be watching. And I think it was more than an hour before I moved from that spot again.

Tears. Tears of happiness started. I was so happy for these families. They had a happy ending. Had it been just Ben found after less than a week, I'd have been happy. But FOUND Shawn Hornbeck? He's been missing four and half years! I remember reading the story on the news after our own case was about a year old. A brief conversation with Shawn's mom when they were in the middle of the ground search to find him; hearing the pain in her voice that I had come to know so well. Letting her go so quickly because I knew she needed to be "doing," "looking," not talking to me on the phone. And now this family had resolution. And not the horrific resolution so many families have. SHAWN IS ALIVE!!

Tears. Tears of sadness came. So sad that wasn't us. Wasn't our family having this miracle. But it can still be, can't it?

Christine said it best during our phone call Friday afternoon when she called to tell me the breaking news. "Here is your hope story, Carolyn. Erin will still come home too." This is my hope story. Erin can still come home safely. Our family can still be whole again.

Other families can still be whole again. This breaking in all of our hearts can start to heal again. I need to tell them too! Tell them of this miracle story in Missouri. So I started calling them. Can't say who I called first. Not even sure I remember who all I called.

I called Kelly Jolkowski. "Kelly, you won't believe this story!" Jason can come home too.

I called Jannel Rap. "Jannel, are you sitting down? They found Ben Ownsby. They found Shawn Hornbeck. They found them together! They are both alive. They are alive Jannel!"

I called my friend Gay in Houston. I know their organization has been offering assistance to the Hornbecks over the years. Poor Bob. Gay wasn't home and I practically screamed in the phone at him trying to tell him. I talked myself in a full circle, but I told him! He probably thinks I'm completely insane. I'm not so sure I'm not.

Pretty sure I called my mom. And at least one or two other people. So if your phone rang early evening on Friday and some crazy person on the other end was saying intangibles about kids and bikes and sex offenders and St Louis and tears and you had no idea what was going on? Yeah that was me. Sorry about that.

But it was me who had found my hope again.

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