He was 11 years old. So was I.
He was abducted less than 10 miles from where I lived. He was biking home with his brother and a friend. He was biking home from the Tom Thumb where my uncle was a manager. My family regularly drove through Jacob’s small town of St. Joe to visit my grandparents in the next town over. This was in my area. A boy my age. Gone. Taken at gunpoint.
And we all waited for news. We sang “Jacob’s Hope” in school. We didn’t go biking after dark. We didn’t talk about how a kid our age could vanish. We didn’t talk about how it could have been one of us.
I practiced singing because if I was ever taken maybe I would sing so beautiful that he would let me go. I practiced breathing through a straw. Maybe that skill would be helpful if I was taken and trapped. I plotted ways to escape, practiced running as fast as I could. Go for the eyes, fight dirty and get outta there. That would be how I would survive if I was ever taken.
How many weeks, months did I wake up and think, “Today they will find Jacob”? But they didn’t. Then my family moved over an hour away and I didn’t have to think of Jacob. Some days I still did and he was still missing. Now I’m a mom and I feel the loss of Jacob in a new, raw way.
When Jacob was taken, he was 11 years old. So was I. But I wasn’t taken. And I don’t understand why or how to make any sense of it.
On October 22, it will be 25 years since Jacob was taken. We still look for him.