Not sure if anyone will remember this, but back in 1984, Laura Bradbury went missing. This girl, Laura Bradbury, was 3-1/2 when her family took her camping in 1984. She had an 8 year old brother and a baby sister. The brother had to go to the bathroom after dark, so the father let him go to the porta-potty by himself, and when Laura wanted to tag along, the father asked the brother to watch out for his sister. When the boy came out of the porta-potty, the little girl, Laura, was gone.
This story is so, so sad, not only because a little girl lost her life at such a young age, but because the 8 year old boy grew up riddled with guilt and turned into an alcoholic and the infant daughter grew up in a house stricken with grief, where nobody talked about Laura. The parents never recovered from the grief, and the father is barely just now getting closure, 26 years later.
This story has sat in the pit of my mother's stomach all of these years. She and my dad took my sister and me camping. THAT.VERY.SAME.WEEKEND. I was 8, my sister, Laura, was 5. We wanted to sleep in our own tent and be all grown-up, and while my parents weren't sure that was the greatest idea, let us do it anyway. We ended up crawling into the van with my parents at probably 11pm, since it was COLD! We had a wonderful camping trip, but came home Sunday evening for my parents to see the Laura Bradbury case on the news. Weeks and months went by searching for this little girl, and she was never found.
They just recently found a skull in the camping area which they believe is Laura's. I read the article on Monday when it came out, but on Wednesday my mom wrote an email to my sister and me, with a heavy weight on her shoulders.
I can't help but be struck by the parallels. Laura my daughter, Laura Bradbury, both camping on the same weekend, with an older sibling, both little girls even looked the same. Why did one family get hit with such a tragedy and another one (us) didn't? How does fate get handed out? We are all just so lucky and don't even know half the time all the reasons WHY we are so lucky. Life gives us happiness that can't even be measured until we hear about someone else's unhappiness and sorrow.
I called her immediately, and started the phone call with, I am going to cry during this phone call, just warning you! As my mom's friend now, and as a mom myself, her email touched on so many of my emotions. The feelings she must have been going through back in the 80's, hearing about everything. And the thought of this happening to my own family? What if Loudoun was in charge of Avalon and she disappeared? Loudoun is so sensitive, I fear he would never get over it. And Rick...how would he and I ever get through a tragedy like that? Naturally, the thought of losing either of my children puts a lump in my throat.
After the phone call, she emailed me again, apologizing for making me cry. Of course that was the last thing on my mind...sometimes a hearty, emotional cry is a good thing. She also explained that since talking about God on our recent vacation in July, she has been questioning who is in charge, why things happen the way they do, and what happens when we die. The Laura Bradbury article resurfaced all of those questions in her mind.
I shared the Gospel with her. I called on God to help me with the Words, and I followed His lead and shared what I know.
What better time, right?
What if one result of the Laura Bradbury tragedy is someone comes to believe in Christ? I pray everyday.