It has now been ten years since Nicole disappeared, and we still don't know what happened to her. Something I never dreamed I would ever say.
The world has moved on. No one reads Livejournal anymore and I'm not sure this blogging site will last another five years. I had to re-learn how to write an update because everything has changed and I can no longer edit the original post like I used to. Many of the websites I saved as reference no longer exist.
In my own life, I've got two children that Nicole will never meet and will know of her only through photos and stories. I live in a house that Nicole saw from the outside, but that she will never visit. I have and will experience joys and heartbreaks that I will never be able to share with her.
There is a gap in my life, but it is slowly closing. This is good in that we all need to heal, but as Nicole fades from people's memory, there is sadness.
Syria remains a disaster. As the "Lonely Planet", one of Nicole's favourite guide books, says: "Syria is one of the most dangerous places on the planet. To put it simply, you can't go. And if you can, you shouldn't". Up to half a million people killed, nearly two million wounded, and at least four million in exile as refugees. It is horrifying.
And it makes it impossible for us to ever find out what happened. Our only hope is that someone with information decides to share it with us, but how many people who were there have survived? When people are struggling to eat and find shelter, confessing to us will never be a priority. We are learning to accept that we will never know.
But that doesn't make it any easier.