The Bond of Sibling Loss by Dr. Heather Bish-Martin
Guest Blog By Dr. Heather Bish-Martin
I met Tommy and Rachel through a mutual friend, and was told they were interested in my sister’s story because Tommy had lost a sister too, to murder. I am always interested in meeting families, particularly siblings, as the experience is a bit different for us.
Tommy gave me a call and shared his idea about a new show he wanted to start, called Murder Matters. I thought, “Wow, what an incredible idea and what a different spin on a show.” The idea was for Tommy and Rachel to use his amazing woodworking and carpentry skills to help families of missing and murdered children by providing them a memorial or area in their home or community to honor their lost loved one. I thought maybe they would make a bench for my mother’s garden or something.
Then Tommy and Rachel came out to visit my parents’ home.
My father had had a stroke in 2007 and my mother recently had back surgery, so they had not been able to physically do much to the house. Having led the Molly Bish Foundation for a number of years, the office was located in the basement of my family home, and became overrun with piles of extra stuff, from my mother’s teaching supplies (she had recently retired) to my dad’s bird feeding supplies. The office was out of control!
Tommy and Rachel noticed this, and it became their mission to reinvent the office to a space that was usable for both of my parents at this time of their life. I was shocked! I thought this was a much bigger project than Tommy had talked about, and I thought this would never happen. I couldn’t believe he was willing to take on this HUGE task!
They did though, and over the next few months, Tommy and Rachel cleaned out my parents basement, got my mother to part with items that I never could have persuaded her to part with, designed an area for exercise for them, installed storage for the foundation, and an office made especially accessible for my father.
It was perfect.
Pictures and mementos of my sister and the work my parents had done to help change laws, educate families, and advocate for safety covered the walls and shelves. It was an incredible mix of honoring what they had done for Molly, and what they currently needed due to their health issues.
The most poignant part was in my dad’s office. It had been my sister’s bedroom, and a part of the wall was preserved with her name in marker that she had drawn with designs, her friends phone numbers and pager numbers, and drawings. My sister loved art, and particularly liked to draw on walls from a very early age, so this was a terrific reflection of who Molly was, perfectly preserved in my dad’s new office.
I can’t thank Tommy and Rachel enough for what they have done for my family. There are not adequate words for the gifts of talent and time that they have provided for us. And, the story of Molly, captured in our home, and shared on Tommy’s show to not just tell the story of an abduction and murder, but the legacy of the survivors.
My hope is that Tommy and Rachel continue this work to help other families, capture their loss and legacy, and that every person watches this magnificent show and is impressed with the love and kindness that they share.
Thank you Tommy and Rachel, from the Bish family.
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