For the past several days, the people of Minnesota have been inconsolable. For almost 27 years, we have been praying for Jacob Wetterling to come home, which is just a handful of miles from where I grew up. After all these years, it became apparent that none of us were prepared for how that moment would feel when he finally did “come home”.
As I followed the court testimony and listened to the news conference following the detailed story of Jacob’s last hours, I sat in my office with tears streaming down my face, shaking my head. We had it all wrong. This will not bring the Wetterlings closure, comfort or peace. This can only bring them anguish.
Listening to Patty Wetterling speak, it struck me that even in her darkest moment of grief, she felt compelled to comfort us, the public, the investigators, the legal team and the media. She knew that all of us felt like Jacob was also our son, our brother, our nephew, our neighbor, our classmate. There was some comfort knowing that Jacob knew her strength and love and I would like to think he felt her with him in his last moments.
Many of us are at a loss for words and feel powerless to do anything, but then I remembered all Patty Wetterling asked of us is the following:
I’ve decided to add one of these things to my commitments each day as a way to continue to leave the Light On for Jacob. And to get more involved with Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.
Rest in peace, dear Jacob.