Pondering on the vanished part, how does a 84-year old woman vanish?
My first thought and greatest fear is that someone offered her a ride. How else could a 84-year old with a walker and numerous health issues stay hidden for so long?
If you think about it for too long, it will drive you crazy. I went from being in shock to disbelief to fear to even anger. Anger at the gentleman who left her walk out.
I told my sister in the parking lot that afternoon that if we didn't find her or if she was injured in any way, I would sue the facility for every cent. My brother-in-law immediately jumped in and said, "We're not a suing kind of family. You can't do that!"
Normally I would agree, but if suing them for 10 million dollars would teach them the lesson of not letting someone else's Mom walk out, that's what I would do in a heartbeat. And I'd do it with or without my family's support. NO ONE should ever have to go through what we were going through. Not my worst enemy. Not even the lowlife who called me at work and was trying to make my life miserable here on the internet. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. And my feelings weren't because I could get rich off of this situation. I would insist all money would go to a foundation or charity which would help families with missing members. My sister agreed and said she would support me because she knew it would help others and hopefully keep it from happening again.
It's amazing what goes through your mind at a time like this.
Wayne and I continued our search. We drove around Anaheim and Fullerton putting up fliers in restaurants and businesses. The manager of one of the restaurants told me about a homeless shelter nearby so we went there to check. Wayne showed the flier to everyone in the shelter while I talked to a friend in the van.
So many people helped us that day and one of our friends drove almost a hour to come help search. I gave him directions to my Mom's place and then we went back to meet him.
It was now evening and beginning to get colder. The whole day was on the chilly side and now we worried more about my Mom's clothing. She was wearing a light jacket.
Did she have money? Was she cold? Had she eaten anything at all today? Would she ask someone for help? Where would she go now that it was getting dark?
Then I began thinking about the last time I visited her. Did I lose my patience with her when she asked me for the 20th time how I was doing? Did I tell her I loved her before I said goodbye?
I was pondering these questions silently when my friend who was on the way to meet us called.
"Hey. Tell me what your Mom is wearing," he asked.
"A light blueish-aqua jacket."
"Does she have a bright blue walker?"
"Oh my God! She does! You found her?" I exclaimed.
"I don't want to get your hopes up but I just saw a woman who looks like the photo. The only problem is I'm in traffic all the way to the left and she was turning down a street on the right."
"Can you go back?"
"I'm going to attempt that as soon as I can."
I found out exactly the location he sees the woman and then my brother goes out to canvas the area with him. There's a shopping complex in that area so they go into all the businesses and restaurants looking for her. They also drive through the neighborhood but they can't find her.
To this day, we still don't know if that was her. We suspect it was. They drove around, back and forth for a hour and then my friend had to go back home to his kids.
By now it was completely dark. The darkness and traffic made searching impossible. My brother went back to his house and I was left in my Mom's apartment with Wayne, my sister and brother-in-law.
After that brief moment of relief at her possible spotting, I felt myself being sucked into a dark pit. A dark pit of reality.
My Mom was gone.
And at this moment, I wasn't sure if I would ever see her again.
**to be continued**