It has been one week since we all heard the news that Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were found alive after more than a decade. The thoughts of their horrific ordeal has filled my mind since the news story of them being found. I can’t even begin to imagine what they had gone through, but now they have to learn how to adapt to a normal life again. A life where no one controls what you do each and every minute of the day. I looked back on my own life over the past few years and can happily remember all of the wonderful memories of birthday’s, anniversaries, celebrating Christmas with loved ones, and everything else in between, and get a sick feeling in my stomach now knowing that these three women have been robbed of a good portion of their life and will never get that back. Even not knowing any of these women, your heart goes out to them. How could it not?
As we drove to the Cleveland APL on Saturday, our heads spun around in shock as we saw the street where they were held for a decade and no one knew. It hit home. On our way back home, we found a place to park and I jumped out with my camera and walked down Seymour Avenue. It was the strangest feeling in the world walking down that street. My eyes darted back and forth, looking at everything. Ariel Castro’s house, the man who kidnapped these three women a decade ago, was just three houses down on the right side of Seymour Avenue off of W. 25th Street. As I approached the barricade on the street, I stopped and looked up and saw the house. Immediately, my eyes welled up with tears. I still cannot believe that no one in the neighborhood ever saw anything as the houses were so close together in the neighborhood. I stood there looking at the house, like a deer in headlights, shocked. This really happened, I thought to myself, and I still can’t believe that they found these women alive after all of this time. It is amazing, it is a miracle. I moved over a little and got a couple more photographs of the house, and I was not the only there. What hit me when I was walking back to the car was that all the people who stood there like I was…..said nothing. It was so quiet. Silence. We were all in shock.
The house was being boarded up and a 10 foot high fence was being erected around the house to protect it. It is a two-story piece of evidence.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Amanda, Gina and Michelle and we hope that they all can recover from this horrific tragedy that they had to endure for more than a decade and start healing and welcome life as we know it back, again.