one year gone

It has now officially been one year since my friend disappeared into thin air. A long year full of looking, waiting, worrying, crying, missing.

Actually, can I even call her friend? She is so much more.

Mentor.

Teacher.

Leader.

Fan.

Encourager.

Helper.

Even distant family.

All that and more and I miss her so, so, so very much.

I often can’t even think of her anymore, I have to push it all away, or I cry. And when I cry, I will get a bad headache anywhere from immediately to 12 hours later. So when it starts back up, I have to take hold of my brain, my heart, and just shut it all down.  I know it’s not good to bottle it all up but I can hardly just continue to lose it when my little daughter asks me where she is or asks if we are still looking for her.

Even my image here is very emotional.  I took it as a screenshot during a video.  For several minutes in this video, we are goofing off and she is laughing nearly the whole time.  Sometimes I play it just so I can hear her again.  This video is precious to me more than most others.  It’s something only very few people have seen, I am selfish in a way, I want to keep it all to myself.

Just over a year ago on July 4th was the last time I count as when I saw her. I did see her briefly on the 6th and for a second, from a distance, on the 7th. My heart aches with the knowledge I have now, that I obtained about 11 am on the 8th. If only I had known 12 hours earlier, I would have dropped everything to go and stop this from happening.

I won’t ever forget that day.  I was at my laptop when I got the text from my husband that simply said “_____ is missing.”  My first thought was that she was probably off on some adventure that she is known for.  She can’t be gone.  But she is.  It sank in after that and I wanted to just crawl into a hole and pull it in after me.  Such a helpless feeling, knowing there’s something seriously wrong and you can’t do anything about it.  Or talk to anyone about it, either.  Because of my husband’s job, I sometimes find out things I can’t talk about.  

We don’t know exactly what happened, or even to which minute, but they went to bed about midnight, and by 4 am, she was gone. No sign of anything, nothing taken, just disappeared.  We don’t know if she’s out there somewhere, we don’t know if she was taking a walk and someone hit her then took and hid her or if she fell and hurt herself badly somehow, or even if something in her brain caused her to not know who she is anymore.  There have been no clues and searches have yielded nothing.  The police are stumped, especially after a year.

Then, as if that wasn’t bad enough, we’ve had to deal with trolls, haters, and just plain jerks.  People who run their mouths on the internet, though they have no idea what they are even talking about.  These people insisting this can’t happen or that that does always happen, all based on their narrow perceptions of the world and themselves.  Because everyone is the same as everyone else.  Mkay.  One of my “favorites” was from a woman who said it simply wasn’t true that my friend had been on the internet at just before midnight, because women “her age” like their sleep.  Idiot.

A lot of the things that were said would be laughable if they weren’t so downright mean and hateful.  People have accused her husband and family of every heinous crime imaginable, from chopping her up and baling her in hay to feeding her to non-existent hogs.  Then there were the real freaks that were discussing, not so privately, how they were going to search the property on their own secretively and confront family members at church or wherever, all while making sure they carried their guns, etc.  Those guys caused us to have a meeting with police.

One thing that made me very angry was one woman, who is clearly someone who is full of herself and thinks too highly of her own opinions, stated that look how the husband is guilty, “he lost weight and got a tan.”  Of course, I couldn’t refute her to her “face” at the time but I just wanted to scream.  Skin tone is nothing, she was posting a picture that wasn’t recent – farmers spend a lot of time outside year round and photos are deceiving.  But the weight loss?  Yeah, uh, you can’t fake this kind of weight loss.  It’s loss from not eating due to grief and he’s still, a year later, too thin.  Idiots abound.

Oh! Almost totally forgot about the guy who keeps trying to be an elected official who was running around constantly stretching the truth.  He kept going on about land in another state and how because they own this land, that must mean that the husband did something to her.  What kind of logic is that?  He kept going on about how she didn’t know about this land… funny, considering her name is on it.  But what was the funniest, was every time he brought it up, he would increase the value until it was about 5 times its actual worth.  I haven’t heard from him since I shut him down in a public forum, I reminded him that he was not being a very nice guy if he wanted to run for public office.  Moron.

I ended up managing the Facebook page. We started out posting search information.  It was really amazing how everyone pulled together.  We had about 6,000 likes in two days, I’ve never been in charge of something that “viral.”  When the police finally allowed “regular” people to start searching on July 10th, everyone snapped into action.  I got the page going and we had information regarding how to join the search, items that were needed, etc.  It should be noted that no one ever asked for money – food and drink for volunteers was more than welcome as well as things like bug spray and sunscreen – but never money and we did not set up any fund accounts.  Of course, we were accused of just wanting money.  Not sure how that works exactly.  Over time, the searches finally had to stop in the fall when hunting season came around – after all, we couldn’t have anyone getting shot.  Then, of course, we were accused of not caring anymore.  Her husband began posting stories on the Facebook page and it became more of a journal at that point.  We were accused of having a memorial, we must know she was no longer living.

In fact, even I was accused of being one of only four supposed people who know where her body is.  Supposedly, I get lots of monetary kick backs from their organization, so I was keeping my mouth shut.  Out of everything that was posted about me, that was the most upsetting.  Of course, it’s completely and utterly untrue, both that I know where she is and that I am getting any kind of monies.  No amount of money could make me keep my mouth shut if I did know where she is.  I didn’t even have to go looking for this stuff, either.  If I didn’t see it myself, someone else did and showed it to me.  I couldn’t hide.

On the money front, first we were accused of just wanting money, then we were chided for not having a fund.  Interesting.  These were the same people making all of these accusations.  But because we did not set up a fund to have a reward for information, these people who have no connections to the family whatsoever, started their own fund.  They are so stupid that they don’t know that offering a reward actually impedes an investigation.  They didn’t raise much, it was clear that most “donations” were faked numbers and actual amounts didn’t go very high, thankfully they did not deceive anyone who actually knows the family.

So this has been the last year.  So much has changed in the last year.  In this year, I also lost someone else who was precious to both me and my friend (and many other people), who was the reason I saw this friend last July 4th.  People have gotten married and babies have been born, other people we know have also passed away.  People have changed, some just aren’t themselves anymore.

I guess this has sort of been a rant, a rant of things I was never able to post before.  I just want this to end.  But when will it?  Will it ever?