Carolyn DeFord on Growing Through Her Mother’s Disappearance
Grow Through It: Loss & Grief
Carolyn DeFord’s mother Leona Kinsey disappeared in 1999. She went to the store to meet a man and never returned. At the time of her disappearance, she was in active addiction. Law enforcement did not investigate immediately, as her mother was over 18 and had the right to go somewhere else if she so chose. A member of the Puyallup Tribe, DeFord learned about the cycle of life from her mother. She tapped into missing persons support groups online and shared her story with others. She discovered the MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) movement. DeFord learned about responding to trauma, about the system, the risk factors for hurt and harm, and to forgive her mom. She suggests being persistent and not giving up if someone you love disappears. Deford recommends honoring your feelings and walking the healing journey with others.