There is an image of a lady floating around FaceBook at the moment. She is missing after a night out in Melbourne and people are desperately sharing her picture in the hope that it will bring her home.
A few months back a friend wrote this. She spoke about the ways in which the careers we chose shape the way in which we see the world. When I was 19 I worked in a rehabilitation hospital on a social work prac, I did a visit one day to the Department of Forensic Medicine as part of the learning about the ways that social workers can work together. Its the place thats also home to the morgue. As part of our tour we were taken into that space where people are brought when they die suddenly and without reason. The group of students I was with shuffled into a room only to be asked to move to the left as a trolley was wheeled past with a person on it. A deceased person. A person who had been someones parent, or sibling, or lover or friend but a person I had no way of knowing. I saw no part of that person only the outline of their body under a large sheet, it was the body that no longer housed their soul. I caught my breath, I backed back against the wall and I felt a surging heat rise up my chest, along my neck as if someone was tightening their hold on me.
When your old friend anxiety comes to visit for the first time you don’t realise who they are until well after they have left. I remember mumbling something to the lovely social worker that was taking us on this tour – I turned and ran up the long and winding stairs and pushed a door open and ran out into the street. I remember standing for a moment and feeling blinded by a sunshine that I hadn’t noticed before. I smoothed down my hair, took a deep breath and wandered back to my car. I didn’t tell anyone what had happened because I didnt really understand it myself.
Ive been back to that same building umpteen times over the years, for meetings, for court cases, to have coffee with old colleagues who have became friends and despite glancing around corners I never saw that door again. The one that allowed me to escape from what lay below.
I think part of the reason I embrace the world of the space in between, about losses that aren’t quite clear to us, about the world of missing is that it signifies hope – it might be false hope, it might be positive hope but it still leaves that door open a crack to provide the possibility that we all live happily ever after.
I hope the lady is found, I hope she just took a wrong turn and that someone reveals the door to her.
Does seeing the image of a missing person fill you with hope for a good outcome?