Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Oh, mother-in-law, where art thou?

Rebecca, circa 1940s

This is the only image of an adult Rebecca that we have ever seen. Rebecca is my husband's and my sister-in-law's (Sandy of Abandoned in Pasadena) mother. She mysteriously disappeared in 1945 after dropping her two children off at their grandmother's house. They were only about three years old (husband) and 10 months old (sister-in-law) at the time. The story as we have been told is that she allegedly went to shop for furniture and that's the last anybody saw of her. She never came back. The family never heard from her again. Her father hired private detectives to look for her at the time but no trace was ever found.

We have all been looking for Rebecca for many years. None of her family can provide any answers as to what happened to her. With the advent of the home computer, I have spent more than ten years searching online resources hoping against hope for some trace of her or a hint of where to look. Other family members have also looked and searched, but they also have had no luck.

About ten years ago I contacted the Social Security Administration seeking information about Rebecca. After a series of correspondence, I was told that they had no evidence that she was deceased. I took that to mean that she was still alive. I even wrote a letter for them to forward to her if they found a home address. My first mistake was assumption -- the assumption that she was really still alive and the assumption that she would receive my "poignant" letter and feel compelled to contact us immediately. (She never did.) My second mistake was to beg the bureaucrat at the Social Security Administration to have pity on us and give us the information we wanted to know. But, this was not to be. We never did find out if she really was still alive and we never did find out if they delivered my letter. They told me not to write to them anymore and they said they would not deliver a second letter. They said that all information was protected and confidential (because she was not listed as deceased).

There is a painful ache in our hearts because we feel we will never know the answer to the question.

There will never be closure because most everybody who would and should know is dead.

There will never be a final resting place.

Our children will never know her. I wish she could know all the wonderful people who are members of her family.

The worst part is my husband and sister-in-law feeling abandoned and lost all these years. They do not know what their mother was like and they do not know what she looked like. Others may or may not have pictures of her, but they are reluctant to make copies of these pictures. My husband and sister-in-law do not know why their mother really left or if she went on to another life. They do not know if she's planted under a tree in some garden.

Her disappearance is the most profound and painful mystery of our lives.

I wish I could fix this. I wish I could make it all better by finding the answer. I wish I could put my arms around my mother-in-law and say we've missed you terribly.

Rebecca was born on March 31, 1922. If she is still alive, she would now be 85 years old. Rebecca, we wish you a happy birthday. If she was here, we would have a big party for her. We wish we knew where to send the invitation for her to attend her party. I wish I could tell her happy birthday. If she's not alive, maybe she can hear me up in heaven.

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At March 28, 2007 11:06 PM, Blogger Autumn said...

Oh how very sad. I hope one day that your family will find the answers they need to put this to rest.

At March 28, 2007 11:20 PM, Blogger Susie said...

This is truly a heartbreaking mystery.
This may be a silly question, but would a private detective be able to make any more progress with her social security number? I understand your frustration because Bill had a similar thing happen with his grandfather. Disappeared without a trace...

At March 29, 2007 11:34 AM, Blogger Sandy said...

Motherkitty you deserve so much more than I can ever offer you for your efforts in trying to locate my mother. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
The only way that I have been able to live with this is to assume that she died on the day she disappeared or somehow got amnesia. Another compelling factor was the death of my older sister and that my mother might have been so depressed over this, that she just left, unable to handle & cope with such grief.
Perhaps we may never know what took place on that day, but one thing I can say, is that she has missed out on a great family...And a GREAT daughter-in-law...YOU!!!

At March 29, 2007 9:31 PM, Blogger jellyhead said...

Motherkitty, what a terrible, unsolved mystery and heartache for your husband and family. I knew Sandy and your hubby had lost their mother, but didn't know the exact circumstances.

Your mother-in-law's birthday must be a sad day of the year for everyone. I hope wherever she is, she can somehow sense everyone's loving thoughts.

XO Jelly

At March 30, 2007 8:32 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

What a sad story! I know it must be horrible for your husband and sister-in-law to have lost their mother in such a mysterious way and still have no closure after all this time. I hope someone can come up with some answers so that your family can have peace.

At April 01, 2007 12:00 PM, Blogger Smalltown RN said...

What a mystery.....what a know we hear things like this all the time....but you my friend I connection with and feel the sorrow you all must feel about not having any closure to her is all so very strange....

I my wish for you all is peace...peace of heart and mind....

At April 02, 2007 5:50 AM, Blogger susan said...

I started a new book yesterday and thought of you, your husband, and Sandy: Sue Grafton's "S is for Silence" - a daughter is hiring a private detective to find her mother who walked out when she was 7 and never returned, over 30 years ago. It had haunted her for her entire life, and she just needed to KNOW something - dead or alive, anything.

I cannot imagine the torment your family has gone through. I wish it could be resolved for everyone's sake, and if not, I hope they can make peace with this.

At April 02, 2007 7:23 AM, Blogger Motherkitty said...

I want to thank everyone for their kind comments on this post. If only I would win the lottery (have to buy a ticket first), I could hire the best detectives and lawyers in the world to pursue this mystery. But, alas, I don't think it's meant to be. Sometimes some things are best left unsaid and unfound.

At April 02, 2007 7:58 PM, Blogger JunieRose said...

-a very sad story!


At April 06, 2007 7:43 AM, Blogger Kerri said...

Thanks for more details of this very sad mystery MK. What a terrible ordeal for the family. I hope and pray that some day, somehow, more light will be shed on the mystery.
I loved seeing the photo. Sandy looks so much like her mom.


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