Benjamin Melvin Roseland

Last seen in Clinton, Iowa on February 9, 2008

Home for the Holidays

Ben's sister Audra shares her Christmas memories of Ben, and expresses her family's hope for his return.
My brother, Ben Roseland, disappeared from Clinton, Iowa on the night of February 9th, 2008. It was approximately ten o’clock p.m. when Ben left a friend’s apartment to go across the street to the local Hy-Vee Grocery Store for a snack. Ben left the apartment building and never made it to the store. Ben was nineteen at the time of his disappearance; he has brown hair and blue eyes, is 5’ 11” and weighs 175 pounds. He was last seen wearing camouflage overalls. We are praying for answers and to have Ben home someday soon.

Ben was always fun to be around on the holidays. He would always get presents that would surprise us and let us know that he was thinking about us without all the words. I remember the last Christmas I spent with Ben. He had been in a terrible car accident at the end of November, and we were just grateful to still have him in our lives. We were glad that he was alive and well, and wanted to cherish our Christmas and just celebrate with Ben. This was our milestone and we were growing closer as a family, and treasuring the things that really mattered in our lives, like each other.

It was our first Christmas with my daughter, Mara who is Ben's first and only niece. I remember right after he was released from the hospital, Ben wanted Mara to open the gifts he'd bought her. Ben wanted to show them to her, and was still a little wary around her (she was a very little 4 month old baby, and he wasn't used to it yet). He was very groggy from the medication that he was on, and he rolled off of the couch and went over where he had stacked his gifts (no tree had been put up). He grabbed her gifts off the top and told me, "Mara can open these." I told him, "No, that's okay Ben, you're confused. It's not Christmas yet." It took a while to convince me, but finally, I let them open the gifts, which were two really cute, collectible Boyd's bears. It was a nice gift and a wonderful beginning of a collection for her. Ben was so happy and so pleased with himself.

I also remember that it was very close to Christmas and my parents still had not put up a Christmas tree or anything, and my sister, Helen, had really been advocating for it to be put up. So, Ben and I trudged down to the basement and we drug up the first dusty box that we could find, and opened it once we got upstairs. It wasn't our normal green tree; it was this weird white tree that neither of us had ever seen. We did not care for the tree and felt that it took away from the festive Christmas feel. Later, my sister, Helen, came home and put the tree up.

On November 24, Ben’s birthday, we will sit down at my parent's kitchen table and eat Ben's birthday cake. Last year I bought a birthday cake for Ben, and we saved half of it in hope that we would be sharing it wit Ben. We will be having this year without him. Then we will go outside and plug in Ben's "hope" tree. We’ll put clear lights on the pine tree Ben planted in the front yard as a child. Last year we put lights on it in hope of Ben's safe return to us.

On Christmas Eve, we will go through all of the motions together, but it won't be the same. We will all exchange gifts together, and put aside the gifts that we bought for Ben, in case he arrives. We won't say a word about Ben, but we will all be thinking about him. Mom and Dad probably won't feel like decorating this year...but since Ben’s disappearance, I have had another baby boy, Auron, so they might make the effort for my children. We will focus on making the holiday good for the kids, because they can always make us smile. We will share kisses and hugs, and go to sleep with tear filled eyes, not talking about how we really feel inside.

However, I am fortunate to have a shoulder to cry on...a third party to confide in. We all cope in our own ways. My mother stays up late at night and sleeps most of the day, trying to keep her mind off of it. My father surrounds himself with his friends and his hobbies. My sister concentrates on her own wants and needs while surrounding herself with her friends and hobbies. I have my own immediate family and my work. We will just continue this trend until some answer is provided.

I hope that Ben comes back to us in the future so that he can meet his nephew, and see how big his niece is, because even though they don't know or remember him, they still feel all the feelings that we feel...there just aren't memories attached to them; instead it's pictures and stories. I miss Ben, as he is my only brother. I miss his blatantly, often cynical, point of view of things. Ben loved things like finance, the government, and history, which are not my strongest subjects. I miss having him to go to when I have a question, or if I need a laugh. Even though he didn't mean to be, sometimes, Ben just had a way about him that was humorous. Ben was fun to be around most of the time, his presence made me feel better like somehow I wasn't alone.

Ben was my best friend and companion for so many years. Ben and I grew up together, we were all each other had, and we knew what one another was thinking and feeling, because for the most part we went through the same things.

My biggest hope for my family is that one way or another, we find Ben. For better, or worse, my family needs closure. The constant uncertainty has caused a rift between us. Some of us think the best, and others the worse. We don't want anyone impeding on our thoughts, and so we don't talk about it. The saying is, "Hope for the best, but expect the worse." --I have to say that this is not a good mindset to be in constantly, and closure will hopefully bring us some optimism.

One way or another, my family deserves closure, and sooner or later we will get it. My ultimate Christmas wish is to see Ben walk though that door on Christmas Eve, with arms wide open.