It is with deep sadness that I write this update to my February 19th post.
A quick summary: On February 3rd, 2017, my thirty-four year old cousin John Vincent Sciaba went for a winter hike on his own land in rural Newfield, Maine. This is what he did when he needed space to clear his head, and he would often camp out for a few days, even in the cold. But when there was an overnight ice storm and he didn’t return, his common-law wife alerted his family and the police. Friends, family, neighbors and volunteers joined authorities on a massive search of the thickly forested, steep terrain, in snow several feet deep. He was a ruggedly tough guy and a highly experienced outdoorsman, but as the days and then weeks passed, the rescue mission became a recovery mission. Though he had just seemingly vanished, my aunt often sensed his presence, and that he was at peace; others did as well, which was very comforting.
Day before yesterday (March 10th) my aunt got a call from the sheriff’s office: John’s body had been found. She was surprised at her own reaction to the news: she had thought that she had prepared herself, steeled herself, to hear those words. But in the moment, she felt like she completely fell apart, and she realized how much hope she’d still had.
We all did. You had to. You couldn’t help thinking, maybe he’d gone to stay with a friend no one else know, or heck, maybe he’d hitchhiked across the country, people have done stranger things. The search effort had been monumental, with dogs and heat-seeking drones… Where could he be? Maybe… he was somewhere else entirely?
In the early days of the search, family and authorities had combed through John’s contacts, calling any friends and colleagues, desperately seeking any tidbit of information, any lead. One contact was an old friend who also had claimed psychic abilities. She hadn’t known that John was missing, but she offered to use her abilities to help. Are you sure you want to know? she asked. Yes, yes; her offer was accepted.
She called back the next day. She described that she had communicated with John, and that he had passed, but he told her that he was, truly, at peace. He had gotten cold, confused, lost. He’d been overcome with fatigue. He lay down under a tree, and curled up to sleep. That was all. He’d passed on. He didn’t suffer, she reassured.
And that is how he was found. A man hiking with his dog last Friday came upon him, and called the police. The sheriff described: it appeared that John had curled up to sleep under a tree. He was in an area where coyotes and other animals abound, but his body was completely untouched. Not a mark on him. They brought him to the medical examiner’s office, as they must, for an autopsy.
And now, family and friends have closure. It’s not a happy ending, but it’s better than not knowing. People can finally mourn, and try to make sense for themselves, to find their own peace.
Services are planned for this Saturday March 18th, in Biddeford, Maine, at the Hope Memorial Chapel Funeral Home. The time will be announced next week, as well as favorite charities for donations.