This past Sunday I sat glued to the television as Diane Sawyer interviewed Jaycee Lee Dugard. This remarkable woman and her mother shared their stories and I hoped that others would be as touched as I was by not only what they had endured, but how a mother’s love endures.
Throughout the interview, Jaycee shared that it was often the memory of her mother and the hope of seeing her again that helped her persevere. She talked about remembering the love she felt from her mom and the closeness of their relationship. She talked about how she saw her mom in the eyes and faces of her own children which helped her to love them, even though they were the result of the incredible abuse she endured. As a teen mom with little to no support from the couple that had abducted her, Jaycee focused on being a good mother to her own children. Using television shows and memories of her own upbringing as a guide, she went about the task of raising her children.
Jaycee’s mother continued to search for Jaycee, never giving up hope, believing that Jaycee was “out there somewhere.” During the interview, Jaycee’s mother shared the agony she endured and the guilt she had for not being able to keep her daughter safe. Amidst the relief and happiness she has felt since her daughter’s return there has been anger, too, toward the people who took so much away from her and Jaycee. Through the anger however, Jaycee’s mother’s eyes sparkled as she talked about her granddaughters and how much she cares for them. Jaycee reported that she feared her mother would reject her children due to their connection to her abductor, but it is clear that the love Jaycee remembers from her childhood endures and that her mother’s love extends to her own children.
In an odd way, I think Jaycee, her mother and her daughters are lucky. They have a connection, unconditional love that is real and understood. How many of us have the love of a mother that we know would endure? How many of us make sure to establish a connection with our own children that cannot be broken? At the end of the interview Diane Sawyer asked Jaycee if she had a message to send to her abductor, and she responded by saying that he may have taken a lot from her, but he couldn’t touch the memories and the connection she has with her mother.
Obviously what Jaycee and her mother endured is incredible and traumatic. And though what I know of them is only what was aired on the television, I do think that they send a powerful message and challenge to all of us: no matter how busy we are or how much our kids annoy us, we must ensure that they know the extent of our support and love.