For Brianne – From Cathy

29 Aug

I will never forget the last words you ever spoke to me. Ironically they were “Bye, Cathy.”

I was rushing out of McDonalds eager to get home after a long shift. You were still working and as I hurried out, you noticed me and said goodbye. I remember turning around and seeing you smile.

“Oh, See you later!” I said. But that was not to be.

Although we were never really close, I have a lot of treasured memories with you. You and I were very similar; shy at first, sometimes quiet and withdrawn, but given the right situation outgoing and funny. I remember working with you at McDonalds, and the two of us laughing so loud in the back that Dino had to tell us to be quiet because the customers could hear us. I remember working out at the gym with you, both of us agonizing over the fact that we were not “skinny”. We drove around town aimlessly, singing out the window and changing words to songs. Most of all I remember that our lockers were side by side for a few years and you always said hi to me, something that meant more than you’ll ever know during my early high school years when I was very shy.

When I first heard the news you had been missing for a few days, my first thought was that you just went somewhere and would be coming back. It wasn’t that I didn’t care, I think it was just beyond my comprehension at that age that something could have actually happened to you. It was beyond all of us. Even that December I remember going out for coffee with several of our friends “Brianne will be back” one of them said. We believed it with all of our hearts and souls that one day you would just walk back from wherever it was you had gone. We held on to that hope. I put the picture I took of your beautiful smile at dry grad up on my wall and attached the blue ribbon to it. Hope never dies. You would come home. Safe and sound and soon.

Somehow those months turned into years. 1998 turned into 1999, then 2000, then 2005… And so on. And somehow you were still not back. As we grew up, I think we began to let ourselves realise that maybe you wouldn’t just show up, smiling and ok and sorry for the worry. My thoughts turned to what had happened to you and hoping the police and Missing Children would find the answers. Then unimaginably, it neared a decade since I had last seen you and I decided that instead of just hoping someone would find answers, I would search for the answers myself.

I often wonder what you would be doing right now if you were still with us. Your grad write-up in the year book you said you wanted to travel and get married. I wonder if you would have travelled with me, or gone to Kelowna or Calgary to go to college like a lot of us did. I wonder if you would be married by now; kids maybe? You would have been at the grad reunion, and instead of signing a picture of you, we would have been laughing and joking with you. You would have your own Facebook page instead of a group dedicated to your memory.

I think a lot about the people that know where you are. I’m sure someone does. People do not just vanish. Someone knows, and for thirteen long years they have been silent. Many of us believe that whatever happened that night, it wasn’t meant to happen. Perhaps it was just an accident and no one is to blame, yet fear has been holding someone back. It is time for them to speak now, whether anonymously or not. I’m sure they feel like the hour of opportunity has passed. They must think, “Well, it’s been this long, I can’t speak now.” They must feel that they would be judged for waiting so long to speak. I would like to tell you, if you are reading this that I believe the opposite would be true. When you speak, you will be resolving a long painful issue for everyone involved- family, friends, the entire town of Revelstoke, and those that do not know us, but are nevertheless concerned. You would be releasing yourself from the agony that you undoubtedly feel everyday, you would release us from our nightmare, and most importantly you would be releasing Brianne to let her come home. Think of the difference you would be making in so many lives. Please make thirteen our lucky number.

I will never give up on you, Brianne. For as long as I live I will be searching for the answers and encouraging others to do the same. Sometimes it overwhelms me and I have to let it go for a little while and live my life. If I am no good to myself, I am no good to you. But rest assured that soon enough, something reminds me of you and I feel strong enough to search again; so I can make true what I said to you that August day in 1998-

“See you later Brianne”

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