Heist familyThe story of Brenda Heist reminds me of one of those accident scenes on the highway. Not only can we not look away from the mom who disappeared 11 years ago after putting her kids on the bus in Pennsylvania -- only to be found alive and relatively well in Florida this week -- but we can't help but puzzling over how it all went down. Could a mom really just up and abandon her kids? Could her kids, when they found out mom was alive, really want nothing to do with her?

That's what's happened to Heist. Years after being declared legally dead, she's back ... and her family wants nothing to do with her.

Heist's daughter Morgan, in fact, had some pretty harsh words about mom on Piers Morgan last night. 

The 20-year-old, who was 8 at the time of her mom's disappearance, says Brenda can "rot in hell."

Who can blame her?

Brenda Heist wasn't kidnapped. She didn't get sick and go into a hospital for awhile. She didn't go off to serve in the military for awhile.

Morgan's mom walked out on her and her older brother. She left them thinking their mother had died, but it was perhaps even worse -- she just didn't care to be there and be their mother.

I wasn't surprised by her reaction or her equally disgusted dad. Lee Heist went through a period where his neighbors thought he'd killed his wife. He was judged in the worst of ways for something he didn't do. 

If anything, I'm surprised by people who do the opposite. You read stories like this that have happy endings relatively frequently. Family member disappears. Family member resurfaces. And all anyone can say is, "Oh, we're just so happy to have him/her home."

The ability to let bygones be bygones, to forgive someone for years of heartache and angst, is powerful and confusing all at the same time.

HOW do people forgive a transgression this grievous?

HOW do you get over being left? By someone who was supposed to love you?

Maybe I'm just the grudge-holding type.

Or maybe there's something to be said for holding people like Brenda Heist at arm's length. They've made their own beds, they need to lie in them now.

Check out Brenda Heist's family talking about her return:

Would you forgive Brenda Heist if you were part of her family? Or would you be like Morgan Heist?

 

Image via CNN