by SARAH WAYLAND
Imagine for a moment stepping back in to the life you lived a decade ago. You might look quite similar, you know where you came from, who your family are, but your reflection will be tainted and tweaked by the experiences you’ve endured during that time. It’s you, but a different you.
Every fifteen minutes someone is reported missing to a law enforcement agency in Australia. While the majority of those are located within one month; over 1600 people remain missing for longer than six months. These families, at this very moment, are waiting for the knock on the door that tells them they can breathe out.
Across the other side of the world the families of three women, once teens but now in their twenties, will be wading through feelings that even a week ago would have been unimaginable. They will be trying to find a way to reconnect with the life that they lost when they were snatched from the streets as well as beginning to come to terms with the trauma they endured.
The faces of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight flash quickly across our TV screens – they move between the images found on the side of milk cartoons to the faces they have grown into while they have been away – its almost too much to grasp as to how they might learn to live with what’s happened.
From the moment a missing person is reported to the police the families who await their return, and the community who wish for similar outcomes, are invested in their return. We don’t sit well with the concept of missing as it goes against the need for solutions and outcomes that many of us come to expect when life throws us a challenge.
Living with the unresolved loss of a missing person is like being stuck some place between absence and presence. It is impossible to mourn the loss of a person if you don’t have evidence that they have truly gone.
As with many missing persons cases the questions about the three women will begin to circle around how they were taken, how they might have been found sooner and disbelief at the lack of clues especially when the hysteria settles down.
Kym Pasqualini, founder of the National Center for Missing adults in the US explains that ‘we can only speculate what the three Cleveland women and 6 year old child endured over an unimaginable ten year period of captivity, hopefully they will not continue to endure the scrutiny of people asking,