I closed my office door and shed tears for someone I never knew.

Nailah Franklin.

Her body was found yesterday and identified today. She had been missing for several days. Earlier this week, friends, family, and strangers banded together and papered Chicago with missing-person flyers. They even formed a $10,000 reward fund for any information leading to her discovery.

My only connection with Nailah is through a message board her sister (also someone I’ve never met) and I belong to.  Thirty three minutes after midnight on Friday 9/21, Nailah’s sister posted a message titled “URGENT: My sister is MISSING”.  The board admins made the message a sticky so that it always stayed at the top of the screen, no matter how many other new messages were posted.  Board members – most who have never met either sister – responded to the message with shock, sadness, prayer, and words of encouragement.

It made my heart hurt to see that message, no longer a permanent fixture at the top, slowly make its way down the page today. The sticky message had been one of Hope. “Missing” meant “lost and to-be-found”. It’s descent was like a withering flower. A flag lowering. Hope lost.

Nailah is dead.

I’m not sure what to do with this. I have nothing really to say that would wrap it up. Nothing deep and meaningful. No pretty wrapping.  I’m sure I could tie this into adoption, family, life, parenting or something. But for now?