Do you ever wonder about people who have seemingly vanished? I do--because I know someone who has. My uncle Greg has been missing for 22 years. I don't remember him much, as I was only 2-years-old at the time of his disappearance, but I've always felt a strange connection to him. He was my Dad's only sibling. He was in his 40s when he "disappeared." He was living in Florida at the time with my Grandparents. He left all his belongings in his car and wrote a note:
"I'm going on an adventure. Don't try to find me. I'll contact you."
He hasn't been heard from since. He has been reported as a missing person, etc, etc, no information has ever been found.
Greg was super tall. My brother used to refer to him as "The Giant." He was extremely intelligent, super artistic, traveled abroad often to France and elsewhere, and graduated from UW-Madison in French. However, he started smoking weed and became horribly depressed and addicted. (This is part of the reason I can't stand people who talk about weed like it's nothing and like it's so awesome. I mean, yes, I get it, people smoke weed; I've smoked weed as well before. I'm not trying to sound like an "anti-drug" commercial, but let's not pretend that weed can't cause or heighten problems.) Greg was quite addicted; even grew his own plants. He didn't want help, as most addicts don't. I know my Dad wishes he could have done more to help Greg, but really, there isn't much you can do for someone who won't take the help you've offered.
I remember growing up and hearing about all of this and feeling like no one was allowed to talk about it. I was always so interested in it and wanted to ask quesitons. My Grandpa never spoke about him until recently. My Grandma, however, would often say "Well, I wonder if Greg will call today." My Grandpa would then yell at her. She ended up geting dementia and died seven years ago. However, up until her death, she still asked for Greg, even though she knew he was long gone.
I've always felt some connection to him, even though I barely knew him. My wish was to find him before my Grandma died, but since that didn't happen, I'm now hoping to find him (or find out what happened to him) before my Grandpa dies. Really though, I just want more information whenever possible.
Here's the thing--none of my family has any "false hope." We're not holding our breath that Greg is still alive. However, there's a definite pain in not knowing what happened to him. I really wish we could find that out. There would be a sense of closure then, especially for my Dad and Grandpa.
People can't just disappear, can they? If so, that's terrifying. I hope wherever Greg is or whatever happened to him wasn't painful. My Dad used to imagine Greg on an island somewhere--living happily for once. I hope this has some truth to it.