Today I had a taste of our other life…the life we had before our son Mike went missing….disappeared it seems into thin air. I was outside putting away a few things from our patio and I opened the draw of the old dresser in the lower deck and there it was…a tidbit from the past. Candles and candle holders of all sizes…many of the candles still had a good half night left. We use to entertain…had a few people over to enjoy our private back yard. I glanced up at the hanging outside heater now covered with cobwebs and dust clinging to every corner. This heater would hum deep into the evenings blasting its warmth as the fall nights turn colder and the darkness came sooner and sooner. But that all changed when Mike went missing…no more lazy nights sharing laughs and stories of the days when the boys were young and full of surprises, sharing the fun stories of our daughter and the every day amusing things that can happen with a family as close as ours. I’m ashamed to say that we didn’t take Mike’s mental illness serious enough…we had no idea what he was dealing with…oh we had a tiny taste….knew what it was like from our end…but we never really knew how shitty his life really was….but I knew he was proud…I will never forget the day I told him that welfare said that if he didn’t have enough money for groceries half way through the month the food bank was always an option. Mike looked me square in my eyes and said I will eat macaroni and cheese for breakfast, lunch and supper before I will go to the food bank….and I totally understood where he was coming from. Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you don’t have any pride.
They say, whoever they is, that time heals all wounds. “They”are wrong. Having someone you love go missing never heals. How can it? This wound is open wide and parts are missing. Does time heal a missing limb, a paralyzed body? No and this gaping wound of our son missing will never heal… you have no choice but to learn to live with it. I laugh now and share jokes, but not with the same zest I had. Life as we knew it will never be the same. Not sure we will ever entertain the way we use to. I never know when the sadness will over take me and shock will hit me again. All it takes is certain song playing on the radio, the smell of a pencil freshly sharpened, and sometimes the sadness just arrives with no explanation. Its awkward for some people if you grieve….
I worry about my other children. How is this affecting their lives…. we all know we lead secret lives known only to ourselves. They have both become runners and so have I. Are we trying to run away from the fact that our son and brother is missing? Perhaps a portion of this is true. I know that after a good run I feel more capable of handling whatever life is going to throw at me….at least it feels that way. Life has a habit of throwing you some real curve balls.
It has been over six years now since our son Michael went missing at the age of 25 from Kelowna BC. This year I washed out the cobwebs and dust from my planter boxes and grew a few flowers in our back yard and patio. I enjoyed the blooms but didn’t look after them nearly the way I use to. There is a certain amount of guilt that comes into play when you start to enjoy life without your missing loved one. My life has become clouded with memories and stuff. It feels like I need to clear out my house and mind of all the clutter. It’s a slow process and something to be done in the upcoming cold winter nights.
When you have a missing loved a part of you goes missing as well. As parents our children are always on our mind and that doesn’t change when your child goes missing…it becomes more but you have to suppress it in order to survive.
Every day I wonder if this will be the day we find out what has happened to our son. Did he really take his own life…. like so many people think? Did he stumble unto something sinister and pay for it with his life? It is almost certain that Mike has passed away but when you have a missing loved one there is always that little tiny ray of hope and I cling to that hope.