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080215_heidi_anderson3_210.jpgSo, I wasn’t going to blog about this. See my recent baggage post, but as it goes on and on, it feels deceitful somehow not to at least mention it. My former sister-in-law has been missing for two weeks as of yesterday. Heidi Anderson disappeared here in Portland on Friday afternoon, and has not returned.

All along, the news coverage of it has been odd. First, they pegged her as mentally ill, possibly paranoid. Which is not the woman that I’ve known. Then, they thought foul play. Now, they’re saying “no foul play, no leads at all,” which is, somehow, the most disturbing off all.

We all carry our grief in different ways, I know. I’m carrying mine with some sense of “am I allowed this grief?” After all, she’s neither blood kin nor married kin anymore. She’d moved into a new life, with a new partner, and she seemed happy and in love. And so we slipped out of either other’s lives the way that people do when they’re no longer bound by the ties of family or location. Yet, there is that deep sadness that something’s gone wrong, that painful hope that things are more right than they seem. I carry it in a dark place behind my breast bone.

I was handling it, for the most part, I think. Even as I pass the flyers that her parents have made. Even as someone asks080221_missing_flyer_470.jpg me if there’s any news. Even as I see the toll it’s taking on those who know her. Handling. But the most recent news is that they’re draining the pond in a nearby park. I know that maybe I don’t have any right to the intense grief and sadness that I feel at that news–I can’t imagine how it must be for her parents, her sister, her nephew, her partner–but still, I feel it. And I try to keep that small bit of hope alive that she’s just gone, that she just needed a change and has moved on to a new life somewhere else, a life that makes her happy and fulfilled. A life.