A Christmas and Birthday Message for Beverly
"We love you and we miss you so very much each and every day."
"Christmas will not be the same without you. Also, we hope and pray that we will be able to give you a hug and tell you Happy Birthday this year - December 31, 2009."
My daughter, Beverly Meadows, has been missing since December 26, 2008. She was a resident at the Community Care Nursing Home in Marshall, Texas, and it is believed that she walked out of the Nursing Home that evening. We have not had one clue as to her disappearance. No one has seen or heard from her since that date. The last time I saw Beverly was on Christmas Day and the last time I talked to her on the telephone was the day she disappeared. I told her I would see her before her Birthday which was December 31. Beverly and I talked on the phone almost every day of the week. The only place that I believe Beverly would have wanted to go would be to her home which is about twenty miles from the Nursing Home. She didn't make it to her home and we have looked constantly with no leads as to where she could be.
Christmas has always been a very special time for our family. Beverly has one brother and one sister and several nieces and nephews. She has always shown her love to each and every one of them. We would always gather as a family and spend the day together, eating Christmas dinner with special treats (not worrying about the calories - we would count those on another day) and opening gifts from each other. This year we will still get together as a family but there will be a great big hole in our hearts and a silence that Beverly always seemed to fill with her laughter and joy of the simple things of life that lots of people seem to take for granted.
One thing we could always count on was that Beverly would want to go out and look at all the Christmas lights. She loved just going out and driving through the streets and seeing all the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations. We would drive for hours just looking and enjoying them. Now I have already begun to see the Christmas decorations and I have to stop and get control of my feelings before I can continue down the street because I look over at the empty seat in the car and know how much my heart hurts because she is not there. I always tell her right then and there that I love her and miss her.
Beverly still has her home on a rural street in Texas and her brother and his family lives on that same street. When Beverly and I would drive down that street going to her home all of the little animals would actually follow our vehicle and wait for her to get out of the car so she could pet them. They knew the vehicle and who might be in it. Picture this - dogs, cats, and little ducks in a row just following along behind the vehicle just waiting for Beverly to hug them and give them a little special treat that she always had ready and waiting for them. The little horses and goats would be waiting by the neighbor's fence to see Beverly. She always filled the bird feeders as soon as she got home and we would sit on her front porch and watch all the beautiful birds come and get their bird seeds. To this date, the little animals still follow my vehicle down her street but as soon as I open the door they know she is not there. How very sad to know that they miss her, too. It was not unusual for Beverly to receive a bag of bird seed as a Christmas gift or a bag of cat or dog food because she would definitely make sure that all the little animals were fed. Beverly has had many pets during her lifetime, always treating each one so special and giving each one their own special name and in return she received unconditional love from all of them. Now, all of her pets have passed on to Pet Heaven through the years. She only had one sheep left to care for when she went missing so because we couldn't give him the care he needed we gave him to a nice family who promised to care for him.
Beverly always went shopping for Christmas cards early and sent them out early. The first Christmas card to be received in the mail box would be from Beverly and you would know it was meant especially for you and you could open it up and it would be playing Christmas music. Now even to this date, Beverly is still getting cards in her mailboxfor all occasions from friends who do not want to believe that she is really gone. They say when she gets back home she will open them so I put them in a box and save them for her and hope some day she will be able to read them. Even though Beverly was not seeing these friends because she was embarrassed to be in a Nursing Home and she had gained a little weight but they were still sending her cards in the mail and she always looked forward to opening her mail box and finding them. They knew she was a beautiful, kind-hearted, caring person - both inside and out. I always think of Beverly as a good example of how the people in the world should treat each other and it would be a much better place to live.
We have found in our daily search for Beverly that most people want to surround themselves by people who make them feel good so they turn their heads and look the other way. Or, they ask how old she is and as soon as they know she is not a child they lose interest. I always have to say that a daughter is still your child or a son is still your child and the more years you have with them - the more memories that you have to remember. I am sorry but right now I can't pretend to be happy just to make others feel good. Also, I have found that most people do not know what to say when I tell them that my daughter is missing. I understand this because I have thought back to the time before Beverly was missing and tried to think of what I might have said to someone and it is very hard. But the one thing I would have asked if there is any way I can help in your search. I would have followed through by doing something that was helpful. It really hurts when people say they will help and never show up to offer a helping hand.
One thing I do is look at each and every face of the people I meet today. Not only looking for Beverly but for other people who are missing. I saw a girl in a store that looked so much like my daughter, I turned around and talked to her and told her that my daughter is missing and she ended up giving me a hug - which meant a lot to me. One thing that is extremely hard to do is go to Walmarts because that is where Beverly and I would go shopping almost every week for necessities for her and treats for the little animals. It is very difficult to walk down the aisles in the store now without thinking of her and wiping away the tears. I always take a handful of tissues and I usually make my trips to the store short.
My husband and I rented a vehicle for several days and drove over six hundred miles searching for Beverly and handing out posters. Our vehicle is getting a little old and we use it now for shorter trips each week. We went to some major hospitals and we drove to a lot of little towns and told people about Beverly. On a road in Texas, I saw a girl standing outside starting to get in a big truck with a guy and she looked so much like my daughter, same hair, same face, same clothes - just so much resemblance. I drove down the road a short distance and looked at my husband and said, "I have to go back and talk to that girl and see if she is Beverly." After turning around and going back and talking to the girl standing by the truck I knew she wasn't my daughter. She understood and I told her to please tell her family the things she needs to tell them today because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Thank goodness, my husband - Beverly's stepfather - always goes with me no matter where I go and is always there for me. Well, actually, he doesn't go through all the wooded areas I search because he is afraid of snakes. Oh, by the way, I am also afraid of snakes but I have only come face to face with a couple of snakes and they were just as afraid of me as I was of them. I have also spoken to many homeless people living in the edge of the woods in the most unexpected places. I always talk to them and ask their name and where they are from and if they are missing and if there is anyone I can contact for them or is there anything I can do to help them.
This Christmas is going to be the toughest Christmas I have ever lived through but I have to maintain my sanity and realize that I have other family members who need me. We are going to celebrate Christmas at their homes and my husband and I will be there to let them know that we are here for them, also. Beverly's biological Dad passed away on February 19, 2005, and he will be remembered by all the family. It was so extremely hard for Beverly to lose her Dad because she loved him unconditionally and talked about him all the time and missed him so very much.
I can look in every room in my home and see things that Beverly has bought me for past Christmas - especially beautiful pictures and little statues of angels. Beverly always bought Christmas gifts for lots of people but the one special gift that she bought for me was for Mother's Day. It is a balloon that has these words printed on it - Mom, admit it! I am your favorite, aren't I? Signed by Beverly Theresa, Happy Mothers Day - 1987. This balloon is twenty-two years old and still has not lost its shape. I also have a picture of Beverly that was taken on that same Mother's Day in 1987.
This is the first Christmas that Beverly has been missing but it seems like it has been two because she was missing the day after Christmas last year. The shock and trauma that we suffered that day when we found out Beverly was missing has erased the memory of that Christmas. My heart goes out to all of the people who have lived through years and years without their loved ones. Unless you have lived through the agony of not knowing where your loved one is there is no possible way you could understand how heart-wrenching it really is. I can definitely say that time passing does not make it any easier.
The first few months Beverly was missing I couldn't eat because I thought she may be hungry, when I was cold - I wondered if she was out there in the cold. My mind is constantly thinking of where she could be - is she hungry - is someone helping her -is she being held against her will - is she out there taking care of someone else -or is she already in Pet Heaven - taking care of all the little pets that she loved so very much. Yes, when my mind has to go there, I can picture her holding and caring for the little pets.
This Christmas we are planning to release twelve red heart balloons (one for each month that Beverly has been missing) and we will write on each one to express how much we love and miss her. We released balloons at the Cue Center National Road Tour stop in Bossier City, Louisiana, on August 20, 2009, and it was such a lasting memory. It was an amazing feeling just watching them climb higher and higher into the sky. At that time I knew that if Beverly was still missing on Christmas Day, we would be releasing balloons for the one year mark.
I agree, it has been extremely hard writing this because I have to actually put the words on paper of the thoughts that wonder through my mind each and every day. Sometimes I wonder if I were terminally ill if I could actually lay down and die not knowing where my daughter is and if she is ok. As long as I am alive I will be searching for her. For each day that Beverly is missing, I put another penny in a jar. Beverly loved dropping pennies in my path so each time I find one I know she has placed it there. When all is said and done, "Little things really do mean a lot!"
Thank you so very much to Project Jason for giving me the opportunity to put some of my thoughts into writing so that others can have a glimpse into Beverly's life and my life since she has been missing.