I am not sure why I have taken so long to write this, it is something that has troubled me for many years, and it just seems to be ever increasing.
Oh, I always understood how very awful it would be to lose a family member, or loved one, who simply disappeared. The concept is so horrible, but, it was always a story I heard on the news, or maybe a TV show I happened to watch. Growing up, I just don't remember ever hearing about someone who just evaporated.
I lived very close to the "Highway of Tears", in fact, when the dark cloud started to descend on this stretch of road, I had neighbours who were Ramona Wilson's close family. That opened my eyes, just a little more..that was just too close for comfort. I have thought of this young girl since that time, her body was found, unlike many others, but..the mystery remains, and so many other families have lost loved ones along this highway.
Many years later, after moving to our present home, a young man just disappeared. He had family locally, it happened very close by, and he was a friend to many young people in town. Just instant, gone..no note, no witnesses, no clue at all. One minute he was surrounded by friends, and enjoying life, and without warning, there was no sign of him at all.
I could not imagine what his family was going through. This was a son, a brother, a friend, and...not a soul had any idea what happened to him. I read letters his mother wrote, I cried, what horror that would be. A child you raised, gone..you would worry for the rest of your life, perhaps they were hurt, perhaps they were lost, perhaps they lost their memory, and wandered about. Perhaps someone kidnapped them? See, children do run away, but, this boy had no reason to run, and , even when they do run away, someone has knowledge, after months of watching the family suffer, one of those friends would feel the compassion to ease their pain, right?
Well, sadly, to truly understand the pain and anguish those who have "missing" feel, one must experience this horror. It is horror! It is a constant life of anticipation. One anticipates every single possibility life holds. The beginning of this, is almost like a state of disbelief. It cannot be happening, there is a mistake, and someone is suddenly going to make it all better, because it was a plan, and, it was just to see if anyone really cared. Maybe they went off partying and it just got a little carried away, the phone is sure to ring in the morning, and you would tell them how worried you were, and get mad, but, only for a moment, the relief of hearing their voice would wipe the worry away. Weeks go by, the weather is terrible, the thought this loved one is perhaps hurt, and trapped, unable to make their way to safety, and is suffering in the cold..can you imagine? I thought I could, but, it is worse than one can imagine.
To try and consider every possibility, to attempt to concentrate on the positive, to keep hope alive, it is almost impossible. There are so many "maybes'. This is someone who you have had in your life , some since the day they were born. This is, in my case, a young child, who I watched grow up. He was there, in every day life, he laughed, he joked, he loved, and was loved. He had children of his own, he had a huge extended family, and everyone of those, held him in their hearts. He was "our" PeeJums, "our" PJ, Perry's son, Perry Jr. Granny Elsie's Grandson. He was a son and a father, and a cousin of many, who grew up, with PJ always a part of their world.
Yes, he made mistakes, who of us has never screwed up? He did things that maybe put him in danger, that most of us do not. He took chances. He was so very naive, and..sadly, so very trusting. He had a huge heart, and again, sadly, did not see some of those he dealt with, were not nice. However, those who love him, do so, because of his laughter, his openness, his trust, his cockiness, the attitude that he is indestructible. See, even trying to tell you, who PeeJums is, I find myself not knowing, do I write in the present tense, or the past?
That is the hardest part of all of this! I work very hard to keep PJ alive. I keep him alive for myself, and those who,like me, miss him, all the time. We don't know..can you fathom what that is like? To not know, if somewhere out there in this enormous world, the person you are missing, is living their life without you? To imagine this family member has decided that they will simply walk away, leaving all those who love him without a word? See, that, that is impossible! They would never do that! They would never allow their Granny to suffer day after day, year after year. They would contact someone, and let them end the agony. They have big hearts, they love, and they would not allow this hurt.
I keep a tiny bit of hope alive, I have one little possibility that I dig out, once in awhile, when I feel the dream he will return, slipping away. I am not foolish, I accept that there is a very good chance, that it is likely our PJ is no longer alive, but...there is a chance.
What I cannot understand, in all of this, in our "missing" and all the other missing people, is, someone knows something!! I am sorry, it is possible that one in 5, may have stumbled about, lost in the bush, and perished. But....day after day, the list of missing grows longer. I live in an area that is not highly populated, how the heck do so many go missing? How do so many, who one moment are with a large group, and then suddenly, they disappear, and not one person has a clue to what happened?
People out there know!! They, unlike PJ, do not have big hearts, or smiles that light up the room. They cannot see how others suffer, or, more likely, they don't care. I personally think they enjoy the pain that they allow. They spend their days, with the knowledge of what happened. They hold the answers, the ability to lift this darkness off the families that spend every moment, wondering, and worrying. They can write a note, leave it in a public washroom, they can drop a card in the mail, there are so many ways they can solve these mysteries, and provide a small comfort, the knowledge if that loved one is still alive, or, if they are not, where a parent, or child, or loved one, can find the resting place. These people are simply evil! To know that evil like this exists, is horrifying. This evil is most frightening, because....you can't see it, it could be anyone, because...like those we are missing, we have no clue who the ones that hold the answers are, we imagine them everywhere, we know they have no hearts, so we may speak to them in a public place, they may live just down the road, they might be on your Facebook.
So, to try and imagine what it is like to have a "missing" loved one, is impossible. Each time I see a posting of someone who has disappeared, I understand that the worlds of those who search, have changed completely.
I admit, as the years go by, it is not constant, like it was in the beginning, the first year... it is better than the second year, but...as the time of the year he left, approaches, I find he returns in my thoughts, more and more. What those who search are looking for, is closure..closure to a constant pain, it may not be the answer we hope for, but the question is simply too much to bear. My heart goes out to all of those who must continue this search.
Please, those who know, let PJ come home!! We miss him dearly.