opinion

During the breaking news about Karen Ristevski, there is one person we're thinking about today.

While news feeds are flooded with stories about Karen Ristevski – and the Mount Macedon man who was charged with her disappearance on Tuesday – there’s one person I can’t stop thinking about.

Sarah Ristevski. Karen’s 22-year-old daughter.

While speculation intensifies as to who killed the Avondale Heights woman, and the media carefully poise cameras out the front of the Ristevski family home, Sarah is behind the door, shielding herself from the whirring lights, invisibly grieving the mother who raised her – the mother who inexplicably and mysteriously vanished into the Melbourne daylight on June 29, 2016.

This news story is Sarah Ristevski's life.

One that, before thick black disaster swamped everything, was quiet; the life of any ordinary university student with a mum and a dad and a house in the suburbs. A life that spanned years of buttered sandwiches, school reports, grazed knees and sleepy Christmas mornings.

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What on earth would it feel like to be living Sarah Ristevski's life today?

Listen: What it's like when a loved one goes missing. Loren O'Keeffe shares her story. (Post continues after podcast...)

With every new development and breaking news story, I ache for what she's endured over the past 18 months and what she's set to endure for the years to come. It's a pain I can't possibly imagine, a nightmare so intense it's as if it were written for a horror film, not for a normal millennial from Melbourne's north-west.

I'm so breathlessly angry another woman's life has ended. We all are. But in the midst of our odium, it's worth remembering that Sarah stands to lose not just one parent, but both.

Sarah Ristevski never did anything to deserve this.

It's tempting to indulge in stories like these; to pore over reports and delight in the fact that someone may finally be held to account.

But this is not a whodunnit thriller.

This is a 22-year-old's life. A life that was so perfectly, wonderfully ordinary, that it never demanded our attention until evil knocked on the door.

Today, I'm thinking about Sarah Ristevski. I hope she's being protected and loved.

And I hope she remembers her mum not as a news story, but the way every daughter deserves to remember the person who gave her life.

As someone whose role it was to love her endlessly and abundantly.