When I graduated high school my parents gave me a choice to either stay living at home and go to college or go work in my Dad’s office and move into my own place. For me, the decision was easy. I was never an academic so college was not something I was looking forward to. So, in 1991 I began my administrative training at Dad’s real estate office.
I was going in as basic receptionist and my mentor was Mary. A very eccentric, incredibly smart and very quirky lady almost exactly 10 years older. She was fun to work with and taught me how to be an office administrator, in fact we became quite good friends during the years working together. After a few years I moved on to other job opportunities and other locations but Mary and I always kept in touch and have enjoyed a sister-like relationship.
Mary had very blonde hair back in the day and coming from behind her ear was one small braid that usually reached to her waist. She had a thyroid issue as a child and is one of those people who has to eat consistently or she loses weight. She’d always been super slender…well until the last couple of years that is. Over the years her hair slowly became less brightly white and more dirty blonde and she started putting some weight on.
Mary married her high school sweetheart and they were pretty decently happy together, just the two of them. Her husband was quite a character himself. Very smart and unusual, I truly enjoyed them. I use the past tense because her husband was diagnosed with cancer and spent last year fighting a losing battle. We said goodbye to him and Mary has been struggling with being without him. I’ve been in contact with her more this year then the last 10, trying to make sure she doesn’t sit in that pit of darkness. The last month or so she sounded a bit more positive, had made some steps to move forward. Was getting out and doing things more and had started planning what to do with the rooms in her house after she sorts through everything.
You see, Mary and Shannon (her husband) did everything together. They were very seldom apart and he did many things for her. Mary had to figure out how to get the new tags for her car for the first time in her life. At 52 years old she drove herself out of town to the next city over for the first time alone, to visit her sister.
September 4th Mary disappeared. She had told me she was going on a hike with a group she had been out with before. Apparently, they went out on the 3rd, camped and when the camp stirred in the morning of the 4th, she was not there. Her phone and other personal items were in her tent but Mary was nowhere to be found.
My thoughts are driving me crazy, what could have happened? Where is she? If she had tripped or fell they would have found her by now. It’s driving me crazy thinking of the different things that may have happened, possibly are still happening. I just can’t. Was she kidnapped? Attacked by an animal? Some possibilities I honestly don’t want to know but if she is still alive somewhere… where is she!? 10 days now… 10!
And yet the world goes on…I am struggling but have to pretend life is great… for work, command events and for my husband because he does not grasp my emotions beyond the initial response. I’ve not shared this on social media really either, mostly because I don’t want to bring people down. So, I’m internalizing my worry and my stress over this and I’m putting on my happy face for everyone around me. Meanwhile, Mary is missing and I just heard from her family that the authorities are as of today calling off the search.
After writing this, I’ve decided to post this to my Facebook account simply because I have a lot of connections in my hometown (where Mary lives) who may know something.
And now, I’m off to get ready for work and pretend everything is great.