VNO Staff Report
Originally published 10:40 a.m., November 15, 2015
(VNO — Mention the missing to the average person, and he or she will instantly conjure up a vision of someone abducted or taken through violence.
While this is sometimes the case, other times people disappear for reasons unknown to us. Be it mental illness, grief, shame, family problems, personal problems, or other reasons, they feel their leaving is the answer to the issue.
While in the moment these thoughts might make sense, those who are endangered-missing often leave the ones left behind as shells of our former selves.
It is estimated that 25% of the missing are living amongst the homeless population. While traditional searches for the missing are difficult enough, the search effort is much more challenging when the missing person is living a transient, almost invisible life, .
I, as well as others who have lost a loved one, have gone through all the long days and sleepless nights, agonizing over questions to which we may never find answers. Letters and messages were often written and discarded, or just formed as thoughts that might never be expressed out loud.
What follows is a letter to all who are missing and endangered: to those who left to run from the demons of their lives or felt there was no other way. This is a letter on behalf of your loved ones: from those of us who want nothing more than for you to come home:
Dear Loved One,
Perhaps I remember the last time I saw you, or maybe I was too young. Did we exchange harsh words or did you just slip away? For years, I’ve had to juggle the feelings of loss, of mourning, from your leaving. Would you ever come back? Would I ever see you again? Over time, this has turned into more questions than answers, and more empathy than anger.
I know, in your mind, there were reasons to leave. There was something in your life that caused you to believe that the safest and best route would be escape. Was someone after you? Were you running from the past? Or did you just leave? Were you ill and running, because that’s what you thought you had to do?
I never gave up looking for you: following every lead, even when they all ran into dead ends. Sometimes information was scarce, but sometimes a piece of small information popped up on the radar. You remained hidden for so long, so why the little clues? Did you know I was watching and leaving me a bread trail? Was is just a small signal to let me know that you were OK? Are you reaching out for help now in the only way you know how?
Even when I track down the little leads, it seems you were always gone by the time we got to that point, running from the demons again. Please don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of me or the help I can give. Don’t be afraid of the love that has remained un-given all these years, waiting for only you. You are not alone and do not have to be alone any longer.
Please find some way to contact me, to let me know you are OK, and to let me help. The road just gets longer and longer, and we all need a place to rest along the journey. We have all lived with the voids in our hearts for too long, and the time is long past for healing and using what time we have left here to make amends and make up for lost time.
Your loved ones.
Editor’s Note: Victims News Online gives full permission to every family of a missing person to copy and paste the letter included in this piece, and address it directly to your loved one. It may be altered to fit the specifics of your loved one’s disappearance, and posted on your respective website(s), Facebook and Twitter pages, and any other electronic media or social media account dedicated to finding your loved one. However, no for-profit agency or media outlet may re-produce, re-write, or use this letter, without the express consent of Victims News Online’s Publisher.