Or was it?
One thing about the story that kept me following it was that everybody who knew Vicky White said this was so unlike her. It was the last thing they expected, and they were shocked that she would do such a thing. They were like family, they said, and it hurt that she did this and they didn't know why. Really? I'd counter by asking: how well do you really know your coworkers?
I know that most people would balk at me, but the truth is that the answer in almost 100% of cases is "not as well as you think." You're .limited to how people present themselves, what they tell you, and observations in a very limited setting. The problem is that work is only one part of life, and it's pretty easy to compartmentalize and present what you want your coworkers to see.
Work is a different circle of relationships than personal ones, and it's easier for things to get by people. For example, why didn't anybody at Vicky White's job (or even her family) think it was odd that she sold her home way under market value last month when the housing market is so tight that she probably could have sold it for over value to somebody from up north retiring to the south? Yes folks, that's a huge trend. We see as many New York, New Jersey, and Ohio tags as SC tags around here, and I hear the trend is pretty much the same throughout the southeast. I don't care what explanation she gave: there's your sign that something's up. Or did anybody even ask her? Did she tell them she sold it under value, and nobody dug into the county records until she disappeared? As I said: things get by people. You get busy at work, and you miss the signs that something is amiss until it's too late. You just can't be alert to everything. You have your own life to deal with, and often the signs that something isn't right with another person are so subtle that it takes more attention than you have energy to give.
I'm not saying that you can't be friends with your coworkers. Of course you can, but you have to remember that this is one slice of your life, and decide how much of a space they have. That space is pretty small in most work situations. We only have so much time and attention and, of course, family and home is typically our priority, as it should be.
Should Vicky White's coworkers been able to see this coming? Probably not. Humans are creatures of habit, and we quickly learn that if we want to hide something then keep doing what people expect us to do and saying what people expect us to say. That's easy. Noticing the "glitches in the matrix" when true intent breaks through in random moments is easy to miss. Or easy to ignore or explain away when it is seen. They say they were "like family," but that's a simile - like means not family, but similar to it. And her own mother missed the signs, too. Vicky White was pretty determined to keep this quiet and it wasn't hard. She just went about her expected routine, and didn't mention Casey White at all. That's not rocket science.
I surprised a coworker recently when I suggested that they try meditation when they complained about stress. They didn't "peg me as that type," and when I explained that I turned to it as a coping mechanism for grief from my Dad's death and my husband's recent surgery, they were even more shocked. They vaguely remembered me mentioning both events happening, but forgot that they were merely 13 months apart. And that's exactly my point: details get by us all, and the clues are usually in those very details. This person noticed the results recently in slight changes to my reaction to things recently, but they had no idea about the journey because I didn't tell them. It just didn't seem a like a big deal to me, and I wanted to see if it worked for me before mentioning or recommending it to others first. That's a small, innocent example. The truth is that your coworkers (and friends) have entire lives that you're likely blind to. That's not a bad or "shame on you" thing. It's just how it is.
What happened to Vicky White is a tragedy. I agree that she should have known better, and that this situation would not have an ideal end. Sadly, we'll never find out why she did what she did. She was so determined to keep the secret that she'd rather die than face the consequences, or even explain it. And sadly, sometimes, that's just the way it is. Not all mysteries are explained or solved. Some hang in uncertainty forever. This one sure will, from her perspective.
That's all today. Take care, and have a great week.