Lessons from a Runaway

 After three very long days of suffering, my son and the two friends that had joined him were located.


I recently celebrated a 2-year anniversary of a very painful and life-changing event that brought with it many life lessons.  It is one not often spoken about in my home, but it is worth sharing the lessons it taught.

It was a typical Friday morning in September two years ago while preparing my kids for school in the hustle and bustle of everyday life that my family’s “normal” was shifted into the unknown world of dealing with a runaway. Yes, I am the mom of a runaway and can say this shamelessly.

My morning routine was pretty normal and usually began with waking up my daughter since she took the longest to get ready.  I would then move on to my then 15-year old son, while trying not to bother my oldest son who was now attending college.  The brown paper lunch bags where all lined up and the usual last minute signing of school papers for field-trips and such was taking place.  As I returned home from my first “drop-off” I waited for my then 16-year old son to join me in the kitchen from his bedroom upstairs.  You see, as a high school student, his start time was different then the others, which gave him a bit more “sleep time”.

As time passed and he did not surface, I ventured upstairs into his bedroom.  To my shock it only took about 15 seconds for me to know this was not going to be a normal Friday morning! His usual school backpack lay on the floor empty; his bed was covered in disheveled clothes and a lot of it! His whole bedroom looked like a hurricane had come by and left its mark.  I somehow knew he was gone!  I called his phone…no answer, I yelled out to him…no answer…I went outside and there was still no sign of him anywhere! The empty “sick to my stomach” feeling quickly grew, and as I gathered my thoughts, I went into high gear.  The lessons I learned about desperation, fear, and faith I will leave for another story.  I have outlined several of the practical ones here and hope you never find yourself as I did on that early September morning.


Know who your kids “hang-out” with at all times.

Knowing this saved me very valuable time.  You see, I had recently begun to have attendance issues with him at school and I had begun to do some “PI Mom” investigative work regarding his whereabouts more closely.  Doing this allowed me to know the phone numbers and addresses of his “not so great” friends.  Having this information on my phone allowed me to drive directly to the source I thought would have the most knowledge.  I was right!  The parents of the girl he had run away with were equally as devastated as I was upon my arrival to their home.  Saving time here allowed us to all gather information, which resulted in the detectives being able to do a more thorough job in locating them.

Don’t carry shame.

When something like this happens to others, it’s easy to begin the blame game.  We quickly judge and question that there must be “more to it” and wonder what really happened.  Well, I carried no shame and quickly used all of my social media resources to get help.  Facebook, Instagram, and the like helped in getting friends and family involved in prayer, offering resources and support.  The goal at a time like this is to find your loved one…worry about the “why” later, and don’t allow the fear of shame to slow you down.

Next- Attack Free Zone

Josi Gago
Josi Gago…Traveling Her Yellow Brick Road was born in Coral Gables, Florida to Cuban parents with roots from Spain and Morocco. Living in Haiti as a child was one of her most memorable experiences but returning to South Florida as a teenager, getting married and having 4 children was one of the most fulfilling. During her 25-year “corporate grind” in banking she found herself often lost in her work and saw marriage of 24 years gone. She also found that toxic relationships kill from the inside out and decided to make margaritas out of lemons. She worked on herself teaching yoga/meditation and even owned a juice bar for a while. Today she has 4 amazing adult children, has returned to corporate banking (on her terms) and is a happy empty nester with a cat named Sir Harry.