Home for the Holidays: Randa Jawhari 1/10/2010
I come from a large family. There are 8 kids in our family, 7 girls and 1 brother. Randa is 3rd from the youngest born, and has a fraternal twin sister. This has been a very difficult year, since Randa has been MISSING since February 11th, 2009. It’s been almost 9 months now, without any clues left behind of her whereabouts.
I’m finding it very hard to celebrate any occasion; I have not celebrated any birthdays, holidays or special days since Randa’s disappearance. Since Randa’s disappearance the days that seem to bring joy to so many people, are the days that bring grief for my family and I.
When Mother’s Day came around, I was weakened by the day. I just couldn’t face my mother or Randa’s daughter. How do you comfort someone, when you need comforting yourself? I called my mother and apologized, but I was grateful to know my mother’s sister’s came from Ohio to spend the day with my mother. My mother still cries every time I see her. I can only imagine what my mother is going through.
Randa’s daughter Mattilyn, turned 7 in April, which is the same month as my birthday. Although my mother did have a birthday gathering with Matty’s friends, I went there to help my mother. It was a very sad day for my mother and me, because we tried hard all day to put our best face on for Matty. Matty’s birthday was considered a huge holiday for Randa. I think Randa thought it should have been declared a national holiday. Randa would immediately start thinking of Matty’s next birthday celebration after Matty’s birthday.
It was difficult on my birthday as well. My family and I agreed not to buy birthday gifts for each other, since our family was increasing. We decided we would only buy gifts for the children in the family, but not the adults. Randa didn’t agree to it, because every time our birthdays came around, Randa would still buy gifts, even though she lived on a minimal income. Randa’s heart was a giving one; that is my sister; that is my friend; that is the person I want to scream to the people that don’t know her.
Easter came around as well. Randa had so much faith. I believe she had more faith than my whole family did. She was a prayer warrior. I have not been back to Church since her disappearance. It’s not that I don’t believe anymore, but I had prayed for Randa the morning of her disappearance, before I had known she had disappeared. I just believe no matter how much you pray for someone, God is still going to allow things to happen anyway. I do know I still love Him, and I don’t want to live without faith, but I can’t understand this. I hear it all the time that everything happens for a reason, and it is always for the best, it is for something we need to learn, but you have to believe. I don’t know what I need to learn, but I do know whatever it is I need to learn, it is not worth the pain, it’s not worth losing my beautiful sister.
We celebrated Randa’s and Ghada’s birthday in June, by having a prayer vigil for Randa. That day just didn’t seem right, a day always meant to be celebrated, and was celebrated by a vigil. It was a good reason, to have the news media come, just to get my sister back in the news. Now we look for reason to get Randa back in the news. We have one billboard in Fenton, on the expressway, and hopefully we’ll have another one up on another expressway. It is the billboard that is still keeping the public aware my sister is still missing. As many times as we have posted and reposted flyers, people still bring them down. The billboard and flyers are difficult for my family and me to see. It feels like a stab in the heart every time we pass them, but it is something necessary when you have a missing loved one disappear.
Holidays are difficult. When someone you’ve loved your whole life is missing. My family and I have not celebrated anything. I don’t want to celebrate anything. I don’t ever want to take another family picture again, I just can’t do it. The prayer vigil for Randa was the first and last time my family has been together in one place. That was appropriate, I could handle that, but I can’t handle a family gathering right now with Randa still missing.
My favorite holiday memory that I have of Randa, is New Years Eve. We had a family member that had been struggling with drug addiction who was in rehab at the time. Randa and I dedicate that night to her, and said we would not drink any alcohol all evening. While everyone in club was drinking and acting stupid, Randa and I stuck to our plan, and had more fun than everyone else in the club. I think we were the only two straight people there. I miss her!!! Randa loved the holidays because she always looked forward for any reason our family would get together. She just loved hanging out with the family.
My favorite present that I had given Randa, and my favorite present Randa has given me, is the love that we had for each other. I love her so much. Randa is a beautiful jewel in the midst of our family. I have had a history of painful events within my lifetime, but if I added all my painful events that have happened in my lifetime, it would not equal to the pain of not knowing where Randa is, or what happened to my sister. This is different than anything I have ever experienced. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Life still continues to go on. Sometimes I wish the world would just stop to catch my breath. I am still working; I just started to go back to school, which I was in the process of doing before Randa’s disappearance. I had to put it on the back burner for a while. I am trying to keep myself as busy as possible, I think being busy is good for me, but no matter how busy I may be, my sister is always on my mind and in everything I do. Sometimes I can do nothing but feel the pain of Randa missing. This is pain that is indescribable, I can’t explain it, I can only feel it.
I know tragedy happens where people don’t always have an opportunity to say good-bye, with sudden deaths, but they have closure in knowing what happened to their loved ones. I consider people to be blessed in having an opportunity to say good-bye to their loved ones. I have a need within me to let Randa how I feel. I have regrets in wanting Randa to know how sorry I am. I miss her voice. I miss her face. I miss hugging her, I miss our talks, and I miss her phone calls, which I received almost every day from her. I miss everything about her, I feel as though there is a void within me that Randa can only fill. I feel as though I’ve contracted an incurable disease, and Randa is the only cure to save me.
Where I find strength to continue to search for Randa is the fact that we haven’t discovered the worst case scenario. She is still missing and anything is possible. I find strength in every time I am doing something in her search. Whether posting a poster, calling on the media, writing this letter, or anything else I can do in helping in the search for my beautiful sister. I don’t feel good in doing nothing. I have to answer to myself, to Matty, my mother, my family and to Randa, to say one day that I have done everything in my power in trying to find Randa. I will never give up, no matter where I go; I’m always looking for my sister.
Yes, the holidays are among us. What do I say about that? I have nothing to say to that, my sister is missing.
To all those that have missing loved ones, I feel your pain. May we all find the answer to the question of what happened to those we’ve loved our whole life. May God give us the strength in knowing the truth!!!