Standing in the soft glow of several hundred candles, they spoke of the agony of not knowing.
They told of the relentless pain that accompanies the disappearance of someone you love.
A half-dozen people spoke Wednesday night at the candlelight vigil for Kate Waring and the other missing women in South Carolina, but none of them expressed what this group of nearly 500 people was feeling better than Waring herself.
Janice Waring, Kate's mother, read a poem that her daughter had written years ago, one that summed up the emotions of everyone perfectly.
"Desolate and weary, I think of you," the poem began.
And, near the end, Waring wrote, "When we are apart, the heavens weep."
Kate Waring, 28, vanished the night of June 12 after she went to a West Ashley gym, a downtown drug store and a Japanese steak house. Her cell phone and credit cards haven't been used since. Andy Savage, a friend of the Waring family, described it as "no knock on the door, no phone calls."
Police have no leads, and the family is left with a relentless mystery that consumes their days. As of Wednesday night, it had been 103 days of not knowing.
In this, the Waring family acknowledged that they are not alone. The vigil, held at Rivers Green on the College of Charleston campus, paid tribute to the other missing women in the state, a large portion of the 865 people currently missing in South Carolina.
As the bells rang at St. Michael's Episcopal Church and The Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, members of the college's Delta Delta Delta sorority read the names of these women: Sherri Puzjak, Brandy Hanna, Crystal Soles.
The Rev. Jimmy Gallant, a member of Charleston City Council, said a prayer for Waring: "We're saying to God, please send Kate home."
Janice Waring thanked the crowd, said her family was grateful for the support of friends and people they had not known before this horrible ordeal began.
"I am calling on your collective energy of positive thought to help us find Kate," Janice Waring said. "I do believe someone in the community knows where Kate is."
Hopefully, she said, such a display of concern and caring from the community will prompt that person to come forward. After the event, Janice Waring said they must know the truth, not out of any need to punish anyone, but just because they must know.
Tom Waring, Kate's father, said that the disappearance of his daughter has made it difficult to continue and to focus. But they have kept going, and -- as one speaker after another urged them to do Wednesday -- maintained their hope of finding Kate.
"Through it all, we have known you can't give up," Waring said.
TO OFFER TIPS
To provide information on the whereabouts of Kate Waring, call Charleston police at 577-7434 or Crime Stoppers at 554-1111. A $25,000 reward is being offered to anyone who plays a significant role in providing information that helps locate Waring.