I’ve been lying to everyone my entire life. I’ve pretended like it didn’t bother me that my mother abandoned me without a clue as to where she and my sister went. I’ve pretended to be emotionally detached, confident, put-together, and self-sustaining. I’ve leaned heavily on that old adage “fake it ‘til you make it,” and believed fully that I could force myself into a mold of well-rounded fulfillment if I simply forgot about the past and focused on the future.
Maybe all those years of faking have finally given me the confidence to state openly that I have never been emotionally detached from this situation. I may have become adept at suppressing my emotions, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t affect me.
This post is a plea for help.
I tend to find it difficult to ask for help, especially from my family. Perhaps this is the result of abandonment trauma, or perhaps it’s simply because I’ve been ideologically estranged from most of my family for quite some time. While this estrangement can be awkward, I like to think that most of my family members and I share a core set of moral principles, which happens to include helping those in need.
A few months ago, I was granted the opportunity to bring the case of Missing Bethany and Teresa to a prominent podcast. When I initially made contact, I did not believe that my mother and sister were alive, because I could not fathom the idea of a mother never reaching out to her child over decades of separation. But after taking a hard look at the story and speaking with a couple of experts, I now have good reason to believe that both of them are still alive.
Right now, this podcast is my only hope for ever meeting my mother or sister again. Because law enforcement hit a wall years ago, the only path forward I can see is to broadcast this story to the tens or hundreds of thousands of this podcast’s global listeners in the hope that one of them or someone who has seen them will hear the podcast and get in touch.
Shortly after I made contact with the podcast, I gave an interview and agreed to reach out to anyone I know who met my mother and sister before they disappeared. I reached out to a grand total of nine people. Nine may not sound like a big number, but this was a very difficult task for me. Most of those who responded were kind, but only just over half responded at all. Out of that half, only one person scheduled an interview.
And the podcast recently informed me that no additional interviews were ever conducted.
To be honest, I was not offended by this lack of enthusiasm. Everyone is busy, and everyone has their hands full with their own problems. With all of the problems in the world, with all the tasks on our to-do lists, after so many years of Teresa and Bethany missing, it seems a fool's errand to dredge up the past and add to our lists. I can empathize fully with this perspective, because it’s the perspective I have most days.
In an attempt to allow you to empathize with my perspective on the days that I decide to work on this old puzzle, I offer you the following:
Imagine a child you love at seven years old - your son, your daughter, a niece, a nephew. Imagine their interactions with their mother at this age. Even if they don’t have a perfect mother, the child can depend on her presence. This mother may not provide the best care, but at a minimum, the child knows where she is when they wake up in the morning or go to bed at night. Her mere existence is a pillar of security upon which the child relies every moment of every day, whether they realize it or not.
Now imagine this child waking up one morning to find her gone. No explanation. No parting gift. Not one last hug. No goodbye.
And for the rest of this child’s life one question echoes unanswered inside the walls of their skull: why did she leave? For the rest of their life, they’re haunted by the memory of the sound of her voice and taunted by imagined scenarios of her gruesome fate. It’s hard to say which late-night mind-theater is worse: “Why Did Mommy Want Bethany and Not Me?” or “How Did Mommy and Bethany Die?”
I will spare you further macabre lamentations and the invitation to my pity party. Suffice it to say, I need to know what happened. And if you met my mother or sister before they disappeared, I need your help. The podcast recently informed me that they will not be able to feature the story of my missing mother and sister if they do not receive three to four additional interviews. This means I need 80% of the people who politely responded to my request to schedule interviews with the podcast or my efforts have hit a wall indefinitely.
If I’ve already reached out to you, please at least consider scheduling an interview at the link I’ve sent you (If you’ve lost it, I’m happy to send it again.) If you’re someone who knew my missing family members and have happened upon this post but I haven’t reached out to you, please send me an email at email@example.com.
You have my gratitude for reading to the end, and you have my gratitude if you decide to do more.