Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chico, California

Team Heidi did an amazing job organizing their rally held in a beautiful local park. Family members wore name tags with Heidi's picture centered on them. One side said TEAM HEIDI and the other side said misses you above which was a place in which you could write your name. Another first that I absolutely loved! The poster board was decorated with pictures of Heidi at all stages of her life and included pictures of her animals and momentos such as concert tickets. There was a table with refreshments, and a table with a guest book and printed hand made thank you cards bearing Heidi's picture. All areas were decorated with colorful leaves, and everywhere you looked you saw Heidi's beaming, smiling face.

The circumstances regarding Heidi Ring's disappearance on 6-8-05 are not really known, other than the fact that the 37 year old left a motel late at night without her cell phone and has not been in contact with her family since.

Gretchen, Heidi's mom began by telling us all about Heidi. She has spent so much time chasing down leads and feels they have gotten close, but now so much time has elapsed and the leads have died down.  A chaplain from the police department came to say a prayer for all the missing, their families, and also for all the people working these cases. He told us that in doing research for today he discovered that he was a classmate of Heidi at the state college. Prayers were also recited from the Bahai faith. The sergeant that has been on Heidi's case from the beginning told us how this is the only case that is always with him, so much so, that he carries the case binder at all times. Heidi's brother Mike reminded us how much time has passed by telling us that he is now older than his big sister was on the day she disappeared. That struck a chord with me, I always do the math on both my birthday and my husband's birthday. It astounds me that I am now older than he was when he died, and how he will forever be 42.

While there were balloons at the rally there wasn't a ballon release. Instead, Heidi's family asked us to write messages on the leaves provided with washable markers. We then walked down to the water and floated the leaves downstream. I'm constantly amazed at what different things people come up with to honor their missing. It seemed such a perfect and moving tribute.

Gretchen was so focused at her event that we even ended on time, although we did leave a little late (as always). The goodbyes were difficult (as always). She had made it through smiling, wanting it to be an upbeat day celebrating her daughter, but now it was over and the pain was visible behind the smile (as always),
Elisa Stirling

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