Jewish World Review May 8, 2012/ 17 Iyar, 5772
Her child still missing, a mother soldiers on
By Mitch Albom
I don't know how she does it. I found myself thinking about that phrase -- but in a whole different context -- while standing next to
If Jones' name sounds vaguely familiar, it's because her 2-year-old daughter,
To this day, there is no body.
To this day, Banika believes her baby is still alive, somewhere.
And meanwhile, there we were, on the porch on
Your baby daughter goes missing. You don't know if she's dead or alive.
And they're about to put you in the street.
How does she do it?
"I lost a job last year and I was actively looking for a new one when my daughter disappeared," Jones said. "And as you can image, that derailed my job search."
Banika and her other daughter, Bella, 7, were living in the
She was one day from being homeless.
"I was devastated," she said. "I really didn't know what I was going to do."
As she spoke, I glanced at the front of her house. Taped on the window pane was a flyer with a picture of her missing daughter, and a phone number to call if anyone had any information.
I saw that flyer, then I saw Banika, and I couldn't get that phrase out of my head. I don't know how she does it. If my child were missing, I doubt I could stand up, much less uphold a conversation. If I thought my baby had been murdered, no amount of comfort could bring me to my feet -- let alone to deal with foreclosure or imminent homelessness.
But I realized, especially here in
And yet these brave people speak, they serve you coffee, they say thank you. They soldier on. They face the day.
I don't know how they do it.
"It puts me in a place where I can move forward," she said, "where I can help people too, to make sure that no one ends up where I was about to end up....."
She still has no news on her missing daughter. The flyer remains on her window. There are more court dates involving the accused father.
If you stood next to
But that could be true of anyone you see today. So many people carry private burdens, yet push up a smile and drag through the everyday hours of life. That's worth remembering the next time we think a person is rude or aloof. We never know what they might be wrestling with -- especially in these difficult times. I don't know how she does it. Or some days, how any of us do.
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