May 06, 2014 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments


Memories are something we all cherish. And yet, there are only so many of these precious “gifts” one may have, especially if a loved one has been taken from us too soon. Such is the case of the story I am about to share.

Some of you might have seen this program a few weeks ago on Dateline. It was the tragic story of a young woman, Brooke Wilberger, who was abducted, raped and killed when she was just nineteen. Although the story was devastating, I found myself inspired by the words and actions of her mother, Cammy Wilberger.

When her daughter was first reported missing, Cammy Wilburger hoped and prayed she would be returned safe and unharmed. After several months had passed, Cammy tried to keep her spirits up.

She kept thinking of another young girl who had been taken – yet, miraculously, returned. Dare her family have the same result the Elizabeth Smart family had?

Even though she never quit hoping, deep down she felt what her heart refused to believe – that she would never see Brooke again.

It would be five long years before the truth finally surfaced. The killer, after trying to abduct yet another young woman, would eventually be caught. He would confess and ultimately reveal the events that led to her daughter’s death.

I found it particularly interesting that the one item found with Brooke’s remains was a watch that Cammy had given her daughter the last Christmas they spent together. This not only confirmed it was Brooke, but proved to be a sign for her mother – signaling that it was time for closure. And, although she truly believes there can never be complete closure when you lose someone, it was time to let the healing begin.

Her strength to truly forgive inspired many; even the police and FBI were amazed, whom Cammy had always praised for their diligence in finding her daughter.

I have always felt the greatest gift we can give to someone is our time. To create memories is not only a gift to others, but to ourselves.

A lesson to be learned from this great lady was to make the most of memories each and every day ….. and to cherish them as if they might be our last.

Until Next Week

Chad Hymas.