They found your remains last week, buried just off a country road, scarcely thirty miles from your home. That tiny remnant of hope, a single flickering candle, is now and forever extinguished.
You are dead.
The man who kidnapped you, raped you, killed you – can we even call him a man? He is beyond evil, past the language that I understand. I want him there, far away from what I know, far away from the comfortable familiarity of small-town Minnesota.
In his confession, he said that you asked, “What did I do wrong?” Nothing.
You did nothing wrong.
You are light. You are innocence. You are truth. You are beauty. You are possibility.
I can’t read the rest of the confession or I will be haunted. Your face stays with me, your smiling face. I can conjure your image in my mind more easily than the faces of my cousins. They are changing. You are constant.
Please know that I hold your family in my heart. Let me take a fraction of their pain, some small broken piece of the suffering they carry every day. Help me teach my child strength and compassion, justice and peace, that he may be a gentle, healing presence while he walks this earth.
We love you, Jacob. Rest easy now, rest in the arms of your community, and let us sing you to sleep. You are one of us. We will never forget you.
A Minnesota Mother