No News Is Good News

They say no news is good news, this is not true if you have a missing loved one. When you have a missing loved one, no news is frustrating and dreadful. I unfortunately know from experience that at some point, the darker parts of the brain kick in and you start semi-hoping that at this point they just find the loved one dead.

Thankfully, Britt and her siblings haven’t reached this point. But it’s been 1 month since their mother, Angie, disappeared and they’ve reached the point where no news is frustrating. Also, at some point you get tired of being asked “any news?” Well if there was news, I’d be pretty vocal about it, my silence is a good indicator there isn’t.

When someone goes missing people outside those immediately involved fall into two categories: those that mean well, but seriously, most people do not have to deal with someone going missing, so they just have no freaking clue what to do and those that are just mean.

When someone goes missing everyone assumes the worst. The person was murdered, is actually one of the nicer assumptions. When it was my cousin, even though we were keeping her mental health issues quiet, plenty of people were like “well, she probably just ran off…” That is actually hurtful, not helpful. I know it’s meant to be “helpful” but it isn’t. It’s meant to be “oh don’t worry or put too much energy into it, they’ll be back when the crisis/drug-fueled orgy/desperation ends.” However, even when that’s the case, it’s dismissive like your loved one isn’t important because they have a substance abuse issue or mental health problems or whatever. And in my experience, it doesn’t matter if there is something wrong with the loved one who goes missing, it’s still a huge fucking deal and telling someone not to worry is incredibly unhelpful.

When it was my family all those years ago, it took about 2 weeks before I was just done with people. I was tired of being asked “have they heard anything?” or “Have they found anything?” Well, as a matter of fact, no. We haven’t found a shoe in a field or a dead body in a creek or her identification in a bathroom in some truck stop. I assure you if we had, my first full sentence of this conversation would have been “so, they found my cousin’s purse with money and identification at a truck stop near wherever it was found” because I assure you this is something we think about nearly all the time, if there’s any news at all, it will be a the primary focus of my conversation… especially if it’s the purse or shoe thing, because that just creates more questions and no answers. If she’s found dead or alive, that will also be a major topic of conversation for me.

Unfortunately, you also get to the point where you kinda give up and no longer care if they are found dead or alive. Yes, alive is always better, but after a while, even if they are found dead…. being found is better than never being found. It allows some closure and you can start grieving and healing. Not things you can do while the person is still missing.

While the person is still missing, there are days when you just put one foot in front of the other and get along with life, and then in the dark of the night, the brain kicks in and spins you out. January 12th, an unidentified female body was found deceased along highway 60 in Shannon County, Missouri. My best friend lives in Green County, Missouri which is in the same geographical area and saw it on her local news.

My first thought was, well there are missing persons flyers and Angie’s been registered as missing with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, so if it’s her, Britt and then will know soon enough. And around 2 am, I got up out of bed because my brain was in overdrive and I sent an email with the Missing Person’s flyer to the Shannon County Sheriff’s Department, because what if the unidentified woman was injured in such a way that they can’t get fingerprints? I’ve heard that sometimes when a truck strikes a person at a high rate of speed, degloving can occur. I don’t think it happens frequently and I suspect there are very specifics set of circumstances required for it to happen, but I’ve heard it happens. Okay, flyer sent, back to bed. I finally returned to bed and fell asleep some time later.

A few weeks pass and I’m talking to Britt about something rather unrelated and I remind her I sent that flyer to Shannon County and she’s like “When I was a kid we used to spend a lot of our summers in Eminence Missouri.” Well what the actual fuck? See I’d needed to look up Shannon County and I consider myself proficient with Missouri geography and as a result knew Eminence was the county seat for Shannon. The fact that Britt rattled that off… Yep, another sleepless night. At 2:30 in the morning, I’m up searching for contact information for Christian County, Missouri where the unidentified female was sent for forensic examination and I’m double checking all news sources for the southern part of Missouri to make sure I didn’t miss a press releasing saying “Hey we identified that body and it’s Jane Smith”… I found the email for Christian County’s forensic medical examiner and I resent the flyer to them and Shannon County in an email. In the email I admitted I was not related to the missing person, just a family friend, who had heard about the case in Shannon County and included contact information for Britt stating plainly that it was the missing woman’s daughter. To my shock and delight, I received an email back letting me know that their unidentified female did not match Ms. Rice.

Fantastic! I have to pass this information along to Britt. I text her and let her know about the second email and that they responded and it’s not Angie. And we have a mutual moment because apparently while I was falling down rabbit holes at 2 in the morning, she was as well. The first time I told her about the case and the email I sent, it didn’t sink in, it wasn’t until I “reminded her” about it that it sank in and well…

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought during the last month, recalling my memories of the weeks that became months and then years of my cousin missing and instead of asking someone with a missing loved one “have you heard anything” you should instead ask “how are you doing?” Because if there was news, you wouldn’t need to ask for it. Also, not all “news” is stuff that should be shared. Like I remember someone telling us they’d seen my cousin at Location X about a week after she went missing. But the sheriff’s department followed up and after reviewing surveillance video it was determined not to be my cousin. However, we knew about the “suspected encounter” for close to two weeks before the sheriff was able to confirm it wasn’t her (it was the 1990s and finding surveillance video was more difficult as well as department talking to several people they knew were at the location at the time of the sighting).

The thing is “oh, someone thinks they saw her at Walmart” is not news. People are terrible eye witnesses even when they know the person they are supposed to be identifying. It is easy to make a mistake, the encounter was brief and at a distance or some other factors… How many times have you walked up to someone thinking they were Person A, only to have them turn around and you to realize you’ve made a mistake, but you didn’t realize it wasn’t Person A until they were facing you full on, a few feet away from you, and you could concentrate on looking at them?

That sentence “someone thinks they saw the missing person” provides a false sense of “knowing.” Oh you can stop worrying, the person is obviously alive and doing okay because they are out and about and people are seeing them. No, not really. It just means someone thinks they saw the missing person. As I’ve already said that person might have been mistaken, it may not have been the missing person. Also, it’s not usual behavior for a person to abandon their car and life without an underlying issue. Obviously the missing person is not okay, they are having some kind of crisis.

Finally, I can’t stress it enough, the not knowing is the worst part. I remember a few months after my cousin disappeared when I was like “I just wish they’d find the body.” The person I was speaking with admonished me rather harshly, but…. there was a point when I really didn’t care if she was found alive or dead, I just wanted her to be found, so my family could close that specific chapter of not knowing and get to something they could handle and I knew, we could handle her being dead, even if it she was murdered, the not knowing though, that was worse. I didn’t want her to be dead, that’s not what I’m saying… Alive would be preferable, but at that point, dead and discovered was better than the endless not knowing. There is a hopelessness and helplessness that accompanies “not knowing” that is indescribable. It’s spinning out at 2 am and reading every news site from every state that touches yours to see if there’s anything about an unidentified woman being found anywhere. It’s making endless lists of hospitals to call to see if they have someone with amnesia (which is not nearly as common as TV and movies would have you believe) that fits your loved one’s description. Or someone fitting their description that might have been admitted because they had a nervous breakdown or psychotic break from reality or were struck by a car. It’s also 3 ams spent scrolling through random selfies of strangers from the last place the person was seen just in case they are in the background. It’s gathering police reports to take to banks or credit card companies to have alerts put on accounts. And searching the family home for important records so that you have their social security number (also did you know you can contact the Social Security department about a missing loved one). It’s checking to see what kind of new info has appeared in public databases like NamUS every time you have five spare minutes.

Dear Attorney General of Missouri Eric Schmitt

I’ve been listening to your press conferences lately and I have a suggestion. Instead of wasting money by suing school districts who implement mask mandates why don’t you put that money towards funding a study that explains why Sars-Cov-19 is the only pneumatic virus where mask wearing does not decrease the spread of the virus? I am serious about this.

  • Pneumonia – mask wearing decreases the spread.
  • Influenza – mask wearing decreases the spread.
  • Tuberculosis – mask wearing (is required while in public in all states of the US if a person has tested positive) because it decreases the spread.
  • Measles – mask wearing decreases the spread.
  • Rhinoviruses – even the group of viruses that cause the common cold are affected by mask wearing.
  • SARS (sars-cov2) – mask wearing decreases the spread.

As someone who used to work in epidemiology and is required to wear a mask in medical establishments where doctors work (not attorneys)… why is sars-cov-19 different? I really need this explained to me since the Missouri Department of Health & Human services (ya know the place that does the epidemiology work for the State of Missouri) issued a report by accident that claims mask wearing prevents the spread of virus that causes COVID_19. You do remember the study the government effectively hid right?

Please explain to me why sars-cov-19 is different? Because the very idea of it is illogical. And as someone who lives in one of those school districts being sued… I want to know why you are going to force me to pay higher school taxes in a few years to cover the costs of this frivolous lawsuit.

PS: I agree with the school district. The rate of COVID among students and staff decreased significantly while mask mandates were in effect, despite your claims and have skyrocketed since the mandates were removed because of your lawsuit threats. In a single week, our school district needed 900+ substitute teachers due to teacher absences caused by illness and could only scrounge up about 400. So explain to me again how masks do not prevent the spread of sars-cov 19?

Finished

Well, I finished writing the next Nephilim Narratives on Wednesday. I think I’m going to get lucky and my working title will end up being the real title. So hopefully sometime in mid-Spring 2022 I can get it published. It went to the first editor on Thursday. I still need to get the cover, but I have found a lot of Covered Creatively’s pre-made covers actually work pretty well for this series.

Fears & Phobias

There isn’t much that scares me. I worry about nearly everything, but I’m not afraid of much. I used to think I had claustrophobia and acrophobia, but I’ve been in a cave several hundred feet below ground without freaking out and I’ve flown a couple of times (one was a 14 hour flight) also without freaking out. Snakes and spiders don’t bother me. I don’t want them crawling on me unexpectedly, but if I know it’s going to happen I’m fine and the sight of either doesn’t make my adrenaline surge. No, I only have one thing I am truly afraid of… mice.

I know being afraid of mice is irrational. But if I see one, the adrenaline surges anyway. Oddly, I’m not afraid of pet mice or pet rats and I can’t explain why. I just know that if someone has pet mice, I’m fine with them, ditto pet rats. But a wild mouse or rat, yeah, that I don’t handle well. Mice are the only thing on the planet that will make me scream like a girl and climb furniture like a freaking cartoon character.

When I’m confronted with a wild mouse or rat, I have a full body visceral reaction. My knees go weak, my stomach flops as if I’ve just gone over a hill really fast, and my adrenaline surges. This is followed by the hebe-jeebies. I break out in goosebumps and a chill goes down my spine and I begin to shake. I just cannot handle them.

A few weeks ago, we discovered one of the nasty things managed to get into our pantry (it’s a freestanding cabinet). We cleaned it out, then pulled it out to inspect it for holes and blocked up the only one we found. And felt secure enough to put the stuff back in it and put it back in place… and for a few days it was fine and then the thing was back. So we broke out the traps. The only traps we had in the house were flip traps, so we baited them and set them up, some under the cabinet and some in the cabinet and we waited.

So at 12:30am I was almost asleep… and I heard one of those traps flip. This was followed by Kelly excitedly running into the bedroom to get me. J is currently out of town. So I was going to write a note for my mom… “Trap under cabinet flipped about 12:30. If you would please remove it before I get up, that would be fabulous.” As I’m looking for a pen, I hear the trap rattle. Oh hell no. And then a squeak and more rattling. Yeah, sorry mom… Kelly is now super excited and trying to get under the cabinet (Kelly will chase mice if she sees them and she’s caught a few). I go get my poor mother out of bed. She comes to the dining room where the cabinet is and I’m like “I’m sorry, I just can’t. If people ever bust into our house while we’re home, I’ve got it, but you will have to deal with the mouse. I’ll be in my office when it’s gone.” And I came downstairs; heart racing, mouth dry, hands shaking, knees feeling weak… I plop down on my couch. A few moments later mom comes into the garage to get the hammer and some pliers. Blah… good grief I’m going to faint.

She goes back upstairs. A few minutes pass and she comes back down. The mouse is not dead, it got out of the damn trap. Uh, what? So, we have an injured mouse in our house? You have got to be kidding me. I won’t be able to sleep possibly for days. Because I am sure at some point I’m going to be awakened by Kelly jumping into bed to give said mouse to me, possibly still alive. And even if it is dead… it’s still a mouse and dead mice bother me as much as living mice. So, instead of sleeping, I am writing this blog post and considering going back to work for the night, because at least if I sleep during the day, I can shut and lock the bedroom door and my mom can deal with any injured mice Kelly might capture.

Weirdo in the Grocery Store

Just as a reminder, I have hyperosmia not related to any disease. Hyperosmia is an enhanced sense of smell. I’ve had it my entire life. Most people can’t understand what it’s like to have hyperosmia, but I will give examples. Once I am good friends with someone, I can tell when their “natural smell” changes. I don’t mean “they changed soap” I mean when their physical body smell is different, like after coitus or during menstruation if they are female. I was in my late teens before I realized not everyone could smell when someone else had sex and I embarrassed more than one friend with my nose by accident before I realized I could smell things other people couldn’t. It is also problematic for food. I am almost a vegetarian because the smell of cooking meat can be an appetite killer. I didn’t eat meat until after I took up smoking and the few times I have quit smoking over the years, I have also quit eating. And even as a smoker, I can still smell things I shouldn’t be able to smell. I actually hate having it, it’s weird. However, it relates to this blog post.

My best friend was complaining because she couldn’t get a particular type of grape she loves. I commented that I hated grapes and I do. They have a bitterness under the sweetness that I can taste and its nasty. I also don’t like things that are grape flavored, because this bitterness is apparently important to the flavor of a grape because it’s also in grape flavored things be it grape Jolly Ranchers or grape flavored medications. Fermenting grapes actually helps with that specific bitterness. And purple grapes have more of it than white grapes.

I told her she should get some oranges if she can’t find the grapes she likes, because most citrus tastes exactly like it smells. She replied that oranges were hit or miss with flavor. She isn’t wrong, I’ve had some oranges that were practically flavorless. I responded with “why don’t you smell the orange at the store before you buy it, because you can smell if it’s going to have flavor or not.” Oranges, lemons. limes, and peppers all smell like they taste. So if an orange has a lot of smell, it will have a lot of flavor in it. I can smell the difference between an overripe citrus and a flavorful citrus, although I’m not sure she would be able to.

But as a result if I’m buying oranges, limes, lemons, or peppers, I sniff them first. Actually, I’m the weirdo in the store sniffing all the fresh fruits and vegetables before I buy them. Bizarrely I have found mangoes, grapefruits, and tomatoes (all of which are citrus fruits) do not always smell like they taste. Grapefruits have a sweet and sour smell, that I actually love, but I have had grapefruits with a lot of smell and very little taste. Mangoes are just gross. There is something in mango that I hate. It is also in avocado. it’s a flowery taste that I can’t describe beyond that. Oh, yes I can, it’s nasty and I hate them. I suspect what I dislike in tomatoes is changes if exposed to heat, because if you fire roast a tomato and put it in something, I like them. On their own, not so much though.

J has noticed my tendency to sniff stuff in the produce department and I think it embarrasses him, because he rushes me through the produce department. I can understand if it does, since I’m the weirdo sniffing things there. However, the smell of a potato, onion, or even a head of lettuce is a good indicator of its taste. If a potato or onion smells dirty, it has more bad ‘meat” than good and I won’t buy it.

No News is Good News?

When you have a missing loved one, no news is not good news. It’s maddening. It’s been exactly 14 days since anyone heard from my niece’s mother.

I have plotted out a new Nephilim Narrative and am busily working on it. I started it last week and I’ve written more than 10,000 words already and I didn’t work yesterday as we had a Celebration of Life for my FIL yesterday afternoon and while I tried to convince myself to write when we got home, I just didn’t have the energy.

J is out of town for most of the next two weeks. I’m hoping to get quite a bit written during that time. The new book is going well.

A Different Plot

Yesterday, I plotted a different Nephilim Narratives novel. I worked on it yesterday and picked it back up this morning. Thankfully, I do not have to publish these in a particular order and I can come back to the originally plotted book at a time when my emotions aren’t so raw.

However, this does set my writing schedule back a bit. I had 20,000+ words written on Shifting Disappearances and I have 2,000 written on this one (working title is Summoning Trouble). But it is what it is.

2022 – Up and Running Away

A lot has happened the last two weeks… 2022 definitely started off rough. Yesterday, I stared at NN5 for 3 hours without typing a single word and it dawned on me…

I can’t write this right now.

The 5th Nephilim Narrative starts with an attempted abduction and murder. As someone who writes crime fiction, sometimes real life intrudes on my creativity, writing a fictional abduction and murder on the heels of my father-in-law’s death and disappearance of my niece’s mom is just a little too emotionally close at the moment.

The thing is, I don’t think I can put my focus in a D&R novel right now either. Someone suggested I take a week off to deal with my emotions, but I’ve been mostly not working for the last month and I feel like I need to work.

This means I have 2 options. I can plot out a new Nephilim Narrative with a different plot and shelve this specific plot for a little while or I can try writing something completely different. Either way, I’ll end up spending a few days plotting.

Public Perception

I can’t stress enough how hard it is to have a loved one go missing. Most people don’t realize part of the battle of having a missing loved one is the public’s perception of the missing person. When my cousin went missing, my aunt and uncle were very careful to stress that she was a veteran of the Marine Corps and she had 1 child Thomas. They did not mention she had a history of mental health problems and they did not mention she had suffered a severe head injury or that she actually had 2 children Thomas and younger daughter we’ll call Paula.

At the time, I remember thinking it was unfair that they hadn’t mentioned her daughter Paula… and then I took my sister to the hospital. I told you about 1 incident there, the woman in the waiting room who said flippantly “The boyfriend killed her.” I didn’t mention the incident with one of my relatives on my dad’s side of the family (remember Natalie is a first cousin on my mom’s side). So one of my aunts said to me “I don’t know why you’re all looking for her, she had issues, she probably just ran away.”

Natalie did have some issues. She was mentally ill, she had suffered head trauma, and she had done a few things that made her lifestyle high risk. None of these things meant my aunt and uncle loved her less. We all knew and admitted to ourselves it was possible Natalie wandered into the woods and intentionally took her own life. We knew it was plausible that one of the shadier people from her life had killed her for whatever reason.

Those things didn’t mean my aunt and uncle loved her less. It didn’t make it easier to sleep at night. It didn’t lessen the emotional turmoil we experienced. All those things did was allow the public to dismiss Natalie’s disappearance as “probably deserved.”

I even heard someone say; “well, if her parents had raised her better…” Her parents raised her younger brother the same way and he didn’t go missing nor did he have Natalie’s mental health issues. So, no, I don’t think changing how her parents raised her would have impacted whether she disappeared.

Also, it’s been 8 days since Angie was last seen and I have checked the local papers as well as the local TV news outlets and it has gotten zero coverage. A 45 year old mother of 3 adult children with grandchildren is not newsworthy, especially when people go missing all the time.

Missing Person Alert

We are asking that this information be shared as much as possible regardless of whether you live near Missouri or not. This is my niece* Brittanie’s mom. The family is very concerned that Angie has been out of touch for 8 days. Angie’s vehicle was found in a conservation area north of Columbia, Missouri on December 31, 2021, the location of the vehicle was not close to where Angie was last seen and had no reason to be in that area. The keys to the vehicle as well as Angie’s cellphone were found inside, but her purse was not (the battery in the cellphone was dead). The vehicle was found in working condition.

If you click the download button below, it will download a clean copy of the flyer you can post on social media. We appreciate your assistance in spreading the word.

*I am not biologically related to Brittanie, any of Brittanie’s siblings, or Angie. I “adopted” Brittanie as my niece because my family has known hers for most of the last two decades and she gave birth to my great nephew Jude (Jude’s father is my biological nephew, but since he is not involved with Brittanie or Jude due to his own choices, I claim Brittanie now instead).