Few of us can imagine what Terry Probyn, mother to Jaycee Dugard, went through in the 18 years her daughter was missing. But her strength and good mothering are probably what got Jaycee through those horrible times in captivity and has turned Jaycee into the kind of protective, loving mother she had. Even if it was only for 11 years, it made an impression.
Probyn's nightmare must be made so much worse by hearing the details of what her daughter went through. Transcripts released today after kidnapper Phillip Garrido's sentencing revealed that the young girl was struck with a taser prior to being dragged into the home of a pedophile and forced to bear him two children while serving as his sexual slave for 18 years.
Though most parents can't imagine something worse than losing a child to death, there is something worse -- losing a child to the unknown. For 18 years, Probyn had no idea what had become of her baby, something she addressed in her statement on Thursday:
I begged, I pleaded, I cried, I ranted and raved, I went crazy and thought I was going to go insane. My baby was gone and all of my dreams turned to nightmares. Dreadful nightmarish thoughts of her bondage and of her suffering.
As parents, we feel every bump or bruise our child gets on his or her body, so to live with the agony of not knowing all those years would be like pure torture. And now, 20 years later, Probyn is finally getting the chance to protect her child by reading both her own and her daughter's statement to court.
Dugard chose not to come in because she didn't want to be in Garrido's presence. And so, like she couldn't do for 18 years, her mother protected her from the monster. And after so many years in captivity, it's likely she isn't like a typical 31-year-old woman.
And yet, she is protecting her daughters. Perhaps the most amazing part of all this is that Jaycee and now Jaycee's mother haven't rejected the daughters who are half Garrido's. Quite the contrary. Though Probyn was unable to stop Garrido from hurting her daughter, she will not let him hurt her granddaughters. She said:
Her daughters know what you did to their mother. They realize your backyard was a prison and understand your filthy, despicable secret. They are aware that they have been deceived and I am here to tell you that there is no love lost.
There will be years and years of healing for Jaycee and her family, no doubt. But the love and strength this family has for one another is obvious and true in everything they do. Jaycee got that inner strength from her mother, it's clear. And now she is using it to help her be the same kind of mom to her girls.
For them, there are only good things in store. And for Garrido, there will only be a jail cell. It's not the happiest ending ever, but it's so much happier than the visions Probyn was tortured by for 18 years.
Do you think her mother is amazing?
Image via People Magazine