I'm not the most tactful person in the world. I am, however, usually very blunt and to the point. Unfortunately, I can't exactly be myself in this blog due to the nature of the material I'm going to be writing about. It's a local story here in Okinawa turned international story with a less than desirable "outcome".
I'm just going to add the links to the news stories about the disappearance and the most recent interview given by her husband (who is in the Air Force and until this interview had not addressed the public about his wife's disappearance....I'll get to that too).
One of the first articles published. It was picked up by a multiple news sites and it includes the video that the missing woman's mother made here in Okinawa, as a public plea for information about her daughter's whereabouts.
CNN picked up the story writing another brief story almost identical to all the others based on the first story above. Like the story above these were both written from the friends and family of the missing woman's point of view, still no details released from the military, Japanese authorities or her husband.
Then he broke his silence and suddenly everyone had an opinion and felt like they'd been lied to this whole time! But here's the thing...it was only new to the public! The investigators knew all these facts the entire time. Tragic as it sounds, heartless as it is to accept, suicide, may just be the only explanation her friends and family ever get. **He would need to get everything he released to the press, cleared by Air Force Public Affairs and possibly Japanese authorities as well since they were also doing their own investigation. Since this was (and is) an open case he can't discuss details to the public without first having the all clear from these different departments. So while many people thought he was being silent and therefore must be hiding something, the reality is, as a military service member and a person involved in an open case like this, he actually COULD NOT discuss it. His mother-in-law, however, is a civilian and was therefore not restricted like he was.**
And here is where I have to tread with something other than my usual just-tell-it-like-it-is manner.
The people who seemed to have the hardest time believing this, from reading the comments on the facebook support page created by her mother during her stay here on Okinawa, are friends and family from back in the states. They're people who, most likely, haven't seen her in a couple years, only interact with her through the Internet and remember her from days gone by.
Here's the cold hard facts about Okinawa, as I know personally from living here for over 2 1/2 years....it can break even the strongest person! I should know, it made me someone I barely recognized until it was almost too late. See, the thing is, and everyone will tell you "but there's support there you just have to ask" or "you're not alone there's always other wives in your husband's command that will help you", it's all bullshit! In my husband's command alone, the wives are either young and catty with their own cliques and bullshit like that pretending they are all grown up when in reality they are just as insecure now as they were in high school, which was just a couple years ago in most cases or they're working and have the companionship of friends at work. Most of Mac's work buddies are much younger, single or married with no kids and the ones who are his age are higher ranking and don't socialize with him (and therefore Nixon and myself) because it'd be "fraternization" which is just a really fancy way of saying "neener neener neener I'm better than you because I can make rank". Not all of them, but most of the people higher ranking than Mac all stick to themselves.
So, my point is, trying to get support from the wives at your husband's command/unit/squadron, not always feasible. But if you're talking to family back home, are you going to tell them that the women are all a bunch of bitches?? NO (well I will, but I'm kind of stupid open honest like that)!!
From work you can try play groups if you have kids. I did, some times it was good and other times....well, did you read this blog?? The truth is, not everyone is cut out for large social gatherings with bunches of kids. But if you're talking to friends and family back home you'd never tell them that.
I actually did have a few friends, for a while, that I was close to. Then it all went to shit in a hand basket and I was so destroyed by it I had Mac on board to pay for me to make a trip home to the states to see my besties because we both were so concerned about my mental state at the time! Did anyone know about that?? My husband did, my 2 best friends in the states did......and that was pretty much it. Maybe a couple other people I'm closer than close to, but if you'd have asked my mother or grandmother or even my sister, none of them had a clue. Why? Because I never felt the need to tell them I was failing out here and hanging on by a thread. What could they possibly do to help me? What could anyone do really? My besties, well they'd skype with me anytime I needed them (and if they needed me I was there for them...what time difference) to make me smile, listen to me cry and long may we rage!
But, if I'd gone in a darker direction, would everyone back home have blamed Mac? Would they accuse him like people are accusing this airman? Would my last words not have been "real enough"? I ask because for 10 seconds I thought about driving away, one night when it was really bad, when I'd screamed and made Nixon cry and saw his eyes have real fear for me, his mom the love of his life, I saw what I'd felt for my dad all those years...I saw what I swore I'd never become looking at me. I left the house and went to sit on the back porch, my usual retreat, for a few minutes and cry while Mac calmed Nixon down. In those minutes, I thought of taking the car and just getting lost, it was dark it'd be easy. I remember thinking I just need to wait for Nixon to go to sleep, so I can tell him I love him. I'll say good night to Mac and then take the keys.
But I didn't.
Because I couldn't leave Mac with Nixon and no car. THAT was my reason. That was my turnaround point. But not everyone has that. I also didn't have a rocky marriage. We don't argue much, he helps me at home (he's even learning how to cook!), we are done making babies and agreed on that together, I also knew when it was time to get help and understood that help meant medication for a while. I'm not silly enough to think that because I feel better I can go off the meds, which sadly a lot of people do. I'm not too proud to admit when the meds weren't working and asked to try a different dose.
What I'm trying to say is: Okinawa is a monster to the spouses here. Mac's command will tell him to schedule appointments and shit for his days off, then take his days off for stuff like range days/training/meetings and other shit, with sometimes a week or more notice and sometimes less than 12 hours notice. It's hell on a marriage, it's hell on a family and its hell on a wife who has little to no support system to speak of. I'm lucky now, I have K to turn to and she has me and believe me we do turn to each other a LOT since our husbands commands (even though they're different branches) like to assfuck them when ever they can! But before K and I had each other, before I was on the meds I'm on now, before the night of realization that I'm not okay...I could've been the missing woman. Okinawa almost got the best of me, like it's gotten to many people before her, before me. You're on an island, for 3-4 sometimes 6 years, its expensive to go to the states or have family come to you, some people manage other people don't. The catty bullshit, the cliques, the petty shit that goes on, the crap about local nationals vs dependents, some local nationals love the Americans here others hate us, it all really gets to you. Add in the stress of dealing with infants/toddler tantrums/PMS/pregnancy with a bazillion other women on this island and you might begin to understand why a woman might have finally just reached the end of her rope, grabbed her keys, left her children asleep in bed and drove away........to disappear.
It's a tragedy. It's 2 kids never seeing their mother again. It's a family never being able to say goodbye. It's a husband knowing the argument they had were the last words he said to his wife. It's a community stunned. It's friends wondering if they could've helped and family wishing she'd been home with them instead of in Okinawa, Japan. It's paradise losing it's sparkle.
It's realizing: you never really know your neighbors and even the most beautiful, perfect looking family can hide secrets that will shatter lives forever.