Adopted by Satan: Thoughts on Jaycee Lee Dugard
Last week’s news burst about the rescue of kidnapped child Jaycee Lee Dugard has left me stunned and, probably like most of the international audience devouring the details of this sordid tale, utterly confounded. How, we all ask, shaking our heads in absolute disbelief over the morning’s headlines, could this possibly happen? How? How could the authorities monitoring the ex-convict and registered sex offender never, not ever, have gone onto his property far enough to have discovered something amiss? How could a captive teenager live, let alone give birth to two infants, smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood, unbeknownst to anyone? And aside from the obvious questions about Phillip Garrido and his vile, twisted existence, what about his wife? I mean, what about that wife?? The mind reels.
But even with such a deep vat of terrifying thoughts to ponder, the one that keeps floating to the surface for me is of Jaycee’s mother. How does a woman survive such a loss, along with nearly two decades of sorrow and fear? Clearly her marriage did not survive the trauma. And what became of the child left behind, only a year old when her family’s world shattered? Did Shayna’s mother ever let her out of her sight? Did she layer a psychological brick wall around the usual force field of protectiveness we all beam around our offspring from the moment they are born? What version of happiness was she given, if any at all?
And now the missing daughter is back. The phone rings and everything changes, again. What happens for this mother now? Our identities are so intricately shaped around being mothers. I can only imagine that her identity took a definite new form as the mother of a lost child. Now she is the mother of a found child. She will be expected to be overjoyed, restored, touched with such profound blessing that she might very well shimmer like vampire Edward in the sunlight. But what now? How does a mother re-establish a relationship with a 29-year-old woman she last knew as an 11-year-old child? On what foundation is a new bond built?Continued on the next page