When you first lose someone it is impossible to do anything. You drag yourself through each sad day, hour by miserable hour. It is a struggle than takes time and effort and sadly, sometimes involves spiraling out of control.
Most suffering through deep grief manage to eventually get their lives back on track, and some even find a way to honor their loved ones by turning the pain into power.
I often think about people who have lost children, and feel that would be the worst kind of loss, particularly if it involved murder. So I was struck when I saw a story about Texas EquuSearch and how it was born out of a father’s tragedy.
In 1984 founder Tim Miller lost his daughter, Laura. She was abducted and murdered in Galveston County in Texas. Laura was eventually found dumped in a field.
The group’s vision is to return those missing to their loved ones. Sadly, most of the time it is just their remains, but occasionally there are happy endings when a missing person is found alive.
In an interview, Mr. Miller admitted that his life was a mess for a while after he lost his child. But then he realized, based on his sadness, that he could pull himself up out of the dark tunnel of grief and do something good to help others.
He remembered how the discovery of his daughter’s body enabled him to begin to deal with his excruciating grief. So in 2000, he founded Texas EquuSearch Search and Recovery Team.
The team is comprised of experienced volunteer riders who search on horseback in what is often rough terrain. The group has been called to help with almost 1,400 searches all over the United States and in some foreign countries.
It is difficult enough to deal with death, but when someone you love is missing, everyone remains in a sad state of limbo. The group attempts to give family members some type of closure. When a loved one is found deceased, the family is finally able to give that person a proper burial and funeral.
Funded by donations, the group does not charge for services and the website is filled with e-mails and letters of gratitude.
Even though Texas EquuSearch obviously is not always successful and often cannot provide details about what happened to someone, their work allows families to move forward to find some peace.
Tim Miller is just one example of a person who turned pain into power. Many people have set up scholarship funds, started a charitable organization or even worked to change laws in memory of a lost loved one. I think it is admirable when someone who has suffered a loss is strong enough to take a horrible situation, rise above it and create a positive force that helps others deal with their own losses.
Updated: March 3, 2018