4| Our New Reality

You know that moment when life seems to be hitting you hard, and just as you figure out how to roll with the punches, the floor falls out from under your feet? You find yourself falling down into an abyss that you cannot escape from. This is my reality.

H1414
Erwin is struggling to cope, throwing himself further into his games.
H1415
Disaster strikes at every turn.
H1416
My little boy is quite helpful, thankfully.
H1417
“Don’t lose hope honey. We’ll find her.”

Marin was gone. Winter came, and my baby girl is gone. I called everyone. My brother first, then the cops, my friends in the government – I used my clout and I don’t even care, I just want my baby girl back. Please Watcher, just give me my baby girl back.

H1418
I threw myself into productivity.
H1420
I decided to reward my young man with a science room.

Blaz now has a space to work his logical skills and science stuff…and an engineering bench! I cannot believe he is almost ready to head to university…My heart breaks at the thought of Marin out there, celebrating her birthday on her own…if she wasn’t dead.

H1421
Mom, what would you do if you were here?

Mama always knew what to do. What am I supposed to do? I can’t handle this, just waiting for news.

H1422

I tried to keep steady with chores, work, and my family. Blaz doesn’t need help with his Calculus or Engineering courses…and I certainly can’t help…but I felt like I had to help with something. So he was nice enough to let me pretend I was tutoring him.

“Yeah…that looks like the right answer…”

“Thanks Mom!”

H1423

Erwin and I were just trying to hang onto hope that she was okay. That Marin was alive. That a call would come any moment that someone, anyone had found her.

H1424
“Where are you baby?”
H1425
I’d sleep in her room and dream she was home.
H1426
My heart sank every single time.
H1427

We weren’t doing well. I felt my age creeping on me as the days went on, the worry lines increasing as more time passed. Erwin’s paranoia got worse. My heart ached for my family. Where is my daughter? Would Erwin be alright? How was Blaz doing? And what about my brother and his family? Cayson and Marin were so close…I wish I could take away their pain.

H1428
“Mar…where are you sweetie. Dad misses you…”
H1429

I kept a close eye on Panda. He threw himself into his studies, being helpful around the house, his Scouts and his tinkering…but he never seemed to break down. I hoped he would reach out soon…I didn’t know how to navigate this, and I knew Erwin wasn’t mentally sound enough right now to reach out father to son. Did he need a therapist? Did we all need a therapist? Probably.

H1430
Cinnamon and Annie reacted to our stress…and Annie kept getting sick with Squirrel fever.
H1431

Erwin kept looking at pictures of Marin…of the family in general, and her birth certificate.

H1432
Maybe if I spent time painting I’d connect with my daughter better…

I couldn’t help but be in her room, hoping and praying. I’d never really painted before, that was Andy’s thing, but there was something soothing about painting on her canvas, with my phone close to my side.

H1433
H1434

Both of my babies’ were sick, but one was of the heart and the other was easier to fix, so Annie and Erwin went to the vet.

H1435
“I don’t see Mar….do you see Mar Annie girl?”

That night I made up my mind. It was winter, and that meant it was a time for snow, fun, and family. Even if we were missing one member…it didn’t mean we couldn’t go out and enjoy ourselves. It’s been nearly a week. My stomach shriveled at the thought, but I called Andi, and we brought our families together, save for Erwin (work/sick) and the pets.

H1436
H1437
H1438
H1439
H1440
H1441

If Mar was here, she’d have enjoyed herself. It was hard to get into the spirit of things, at this Christmas cafe Andi and I came to so long ago, but eventually everyone got into the spirit.

H1442
I couldn’t help but look out the window for Marin.
H1443
Lyssa was mad at Cayson for some reason…
H1444
His eyes did seem glazed over, how odd.
H1445

We all tried to keep little Xialla in the dark about Marin being missing. We just told her she went overseas on a school trip for a bit, university started early…this is so hard.

H1446
“Where are you cousin?”

I never thought this would happen to my family.

H1447
Breathe. Smile. Smile even though your heart is shattered.
H1448
Blaz loves his little cousin.
H1449
“Hey sis, we’ll find her. I promise you that.”

Family time is good for the soul.

H1450

Back home, we all were exhausted.

H1451
Cutie!

My mood swings were getting worse.

H1452
H1453

I was near my breaking point.

H1454
Time to use that sauna…
H1455
H1456

Sappy love poetry and sweet kisses for the win.

H1457

This yard is the perfect picture of the state of our mental health. I completely forgot I had a garden. Blaz soon took care of it for me, because I honestly don’t care if it lives or dies. I just want Marin back.

H1458

Erwin kept trying to find her via social media and chatrooms.

H1459

Watching us all downward spiral into depression was difficult.

H1460

But we made sure to take care of our pets, don’t worry.

H1461
H1462

That exhaustion came by our home with a 4 by 4.

H1463

In my dreams, Marin was home.

H1464
H1465

My sleep schedule was horrid. I worked out at night, to keep in shape. I was stir crazy.

H1466

We did spend some time working on a pool and entertainment area though…again, productivity.

H1467
Swinging like I used to as a little girl.

I just had to cling to hope that Marin would be okay, and home soon. I just have to have faith. In the meantime, I just have to keep going. The other options suck, quite frankly…I just have to stay strong for a bit longer. Everyone was looking for her. They would find her…right?

Hope

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