An Open Letter to You, Who Took Asha
It’s been a long three years. Did you know I started this blog on Asha’s birthday? The evening before, on August 4th, I—for some reason—thought about her, and thought about writing a blog of five or so pages. So, in the morning I told myself not to be the procrastinator I am, and just do it.
As I sat at my laptop, I figured I should start with her stats: height, weight, birth date. It’s true; I didn’t know her birthday, nor did I know it was August 5th! Some things are just meant to be, I suppose.
Right now, I have tons of email, data, messages and pages from lots of good folks in Shelby NC, who confided in me and wish to remain anonymous. Too, lots of little ‘bits’ local, caring people have noticed here and there from seventeen years ago! And I have to acknowledge those all over our Great World from the States to Australia and beyond—they know who they are.
But, that’s not why I’m writing.
I recently read something very unsettling this week about the state of our country—really, the world as we know it. I won’t use Asha to talk politics, but having read such bad news, I look around my home with newfound appreciation, and especially my family with a deeper love, respect and adoration I didn’t think possible. Losing those in my life is unfathomable.
But nothing is forever.
And tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us.
I bet—like me—you have a family of your own to love, or maybe a special sibling, or a Mother you’re extra close to. Right? We all have loved ones; even if it’s a best friend, and a cute bulldog.
I’ll cut to the chase: What if, like any of us, you don’t make it to tomorrow? I’m sure you’ve wondered, too—it’s something all us adults think about, especially if we have children.
Another thing most everyone has, is regret. Without regret, there is no spiritual growth.
Some regret is a heavy, heavy burden, and we’re afraid of its repercussions on Judgement Day. But, we all have lessons we must realize while we’re here on Earth.
And Eternity is a long, long time to shoulder regret. I imagine your secret must be tortuous. Maybe it was a mistake. Or you didn’t mean to do it in the first place.
Whatever happened, it seems a monster had taken the wheel. But sincerely, I don’t see you as a monster with a ‘forever’ of bad Karma. How awful it must be for you with 17 years of wondering when you’ll be found out. Whew.
I really see you as being regretful, and day in and day out, you’ve wanted to say you are truly sorry for seemingly, an eternity.
But, like you, we don’t spend our Eternity here on Earth, and Forgiveness can’t be had for any of us without first admitting our mistakes, truthfully. I urge you to seek clergy and unburden yourself.
Ask how you should approach an admission the proper way, and unbridle your soul by atoning.
I’m starting to write down those things I most regret having done to others: how I must have made them feel, and what I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy at first, but once I got past my heaviest of burdens, things got easier—lighter.
There really aren’t any instructions. You can write a page in a journal, or make a list; whatever works to get right with yourself. We all have work to do on ourselves, and you’re no different.
You simply must acknowledge what happened, honestly and admit it to yourself in full; hold nothing back. Only then, can you work on expressing how truly sorry you are that things happened as they did.
While I’ll collect the information I’ve amassed into a manageable bundle, I’m reminded it’s not mine to keep—I’m a writer (and crime investigator wanna-be). Everything has to go to experts for formal scrutiny. In the meantime, I hope you will see my message and work toward forgiveness.
Truth = Forgiveness.
Without Truth, we have nothing.
A NOTE TO ALL: My letter is not meant to finger-point at one person. That would be very irresponsible and downright mean-spirited, as folks might ‘decide’ wrongly who it is I’m talking about. Please, please DON’T do that to anyone. I bet just about everyone can see at least one thing in my letter that could be YOU (I see myself here and there too!).
Thank you All for your time, energy and even physical effort in keeping Asha’s name and image in the minds of many.
The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office has been diligently working on Asha’s case, particularly since early last year where a team has been meeting weekly to strategize: reviewing each piece of information with fresh eyes, re-interviewing witnesses and more. Apparently, their efforts are paying off, and they could use some help locating this vehicle.
To see Ken Lemon of WSOC-TV’s (May 25, 2016) video and learn more, click the link below.
“There is no greater genius than the collective mind.” ~Wendy Hughes, 2015
Dedicated to Finding Asha Degree and Bringing Her Home.
Are you an intelligent, real-life crime sleuth? Add your feedback and insight to my blog dedicated solely to finding this missing child (now a young woman).
Thanks so much!
If it’s been one year since 9-year-old Asha Jaquilla Degree left her home on February 14, 2000 and went missing, disappeared into the cloak of darkness, it’s been too long. But here we are in 2016–a full sixteen years later–and Asha Degree is still missing.
Despite all the advances in communication and viral videos, and posts and images, there are no answers as to her whereabouts. None.
This is unacceptable.
With this blog I hope to bring credence to the theory, six degrees of separation, where all of us are a mere six people away from Asha Degree’s family, her friends, her teachers, her peers–her.
I firmly believe if we keep her face alive on the internet and in the minds of all, we can find Asha Degree and bring her home where she belongs. We can take Asha away from her current circumstances and Heaven forbid, a monster and return the promise of hope to her family and most joyfully, Asha’s future.
It is my intention to be the go-to source for the most complete and accurate information regarding Asha Degree’s disappearance in an effort to bring her home. But I can’t do it alone; that’s where you come in.
I’ll be updating frequently as I find new facts.
If you are/were a Shelby, NC local: Many folks were asked to volunteer in those first days of Asha Degree’s disappearance. I’d love to hear your story. I’m not fishing for classified material–just interested on your story or comment via an email to findingAsha@gmail.com
See the new section, ‘Friday Posers,’ a fancy way of saying questions worth thinking about. I’ll have a new poser every Friday and would appreciate your insight. You can click on the Friday Posers link above, or on the left menu.
Have you noticed?! There’s a new header image above! Artist, Glenn Cooper created the collage featuring Asha. I love how the brown and greens mirror the rich earth and thick forest that make Cleveland County, NC. I’m touched that Glenn shared his work with all of us. Take a long look at Asha Degree, and carry her image with you. We WILL find her!
What I’d like from you, my readers: There’s power in numbers, power in many minds and if we’re to bring Asha Degree’s case to the forefront–or better yet–bring Asha home and end this 16-year long search for Asha’s family, we need to work together. I believe with your comments and insightful questions we can find ‘that person,’ the one who knows–or suspects they know–who took Asha Degree, and where she is. Perhaps with your thoughts and reflection, along with questions you pose, we can be certain of the who, the why and finally, the where. Let’s pray we can work together–a melding of minds–and become one brilliant force, just this once. For Shelby’s Sweetheart: Asha Degree.