What started me truly pursuing my writing had nothing to do with picture books or poems I tried to self publish when I was thirteen (that’s a story for another day). It was a friend, and a part of her story that ended up defining her.

When I was fifteen, my best friend went missing. It is this part of her story that defines so much of my high school days. I try to steer away from that, as I even did then, and think of the good memories instead of the bad. But, really, when I look back- this was it. This is what changed me so much.

When she went missing, writing was therapeutic. I wrote her daily letters that were more like journal entries. And though I told everyone I was convinced she wasn’t coming back (ray of positivity that I was), I wrote those letters in hopes that I would be able to give them to her.

Flash forward two and a half years later, I was barely a freshman in college when a friend called to let me know that her remains had been found. He had seen it on the news. This moment would then define the rest of my life, because I made decisions based on this news that would change everything.

We’ll focus on writing.

Just with writing, once this news came forth and more events unfolded to truly remember and mourn this friend- I started chasing the story. I interviewed people who knew her, I wrote accounts of what I remembered… I continued the story. First for therapy, and then I realized I wanted to share it.

But I couldn’t just share her story and my story in black and white, I had to change it.

Over the next eight years, I wrote and edited and molded my first novel MISSING. It’s one I still hope to share with the world some day.

Today would have been my friend’s 33rd birthday. And although I don’t know if our friendship would have survived all the twists and turns of life had she lived, I do know my life is very much defined and owed to her.

Please take a moment of silence to honor and remember Pamela Mikels Waldher. She was an incredible soul, and she deserved more.