Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Remembering missing people at a time of togetherness

Christmas has the power to bring people together, to unite us around Christmas dinner tables all over the country, to share love, presents, drinks, mince pies and all things sparkly and nice.

It has the power to add pressure too. To highlight family relationships that may not be at their best, to create tensions, even arguments, to miss people who have passed away, to worry about people who are unwell, to highlight a sense of aloneness at a time of togetherness.  It has the power to add financial pressures, of children’s expectations of stockings full, for ‘present buying’ in an age where everyone must tighten their belts.

Christmas can be hard in other ways too. For a family to get up on Christmas Day and live through another day when someone very loved and special is not there, is a hard day. No Christmas card in the post, no text, no phone call,  no knock at the door, no message at all, like all the other days before it; when a son or daughter, or mum or dad, brother or sister, grandchild or grandparent is just not there. Some must endure years of their loved one not being there, and the torment of imagining where they might be, yearning to know if they are alright.

At our Carol Services Trafalgar Square, Colchester, York, Manchester and Cardiff we remember people who are missing this Christmas. These are the words I said in the church this week in London, surrounded by families with lighted candles. I will be lighting a candle at home this Christmas Day.

The charity is on a journey, with families of missing people
And for missing people themselves
We walk alongside, if we can
We hear the pain of loss
And the joy of reunions
The despair at the bad news
And the joy of the good news
The waiting, the praying, the hoping, the longed for phone call or knock at the door
And an end to the nightmare
We strive to support, to understand and to learn
What helps?
We know that for families, keeping the search alive is vital
To know that everything that could be done is being done

We know that it is important to talk
And to remember
So we are all here
Alongside, together
There is time to be quiet and to be still
To let the noise and the hubbub of fade into the background
We can stop
For a minute
For a moment in time
We can let the noise fade away

We can hope
And believe
Or pray
Or just be
And let nothing get in the way
We can close our eyes
We can see a face
Hear a voice
Feel you close
And so, together
We light a candle
Full of hope
And of life
And belief

Message from Jo Youle,
Missing People Chief Executive

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Someone is reported missing every 90 seconds in the UK. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

Written by families and friends of missing people, supporters working to raise awareness of the cause, and volunteers and staff at the charity Missing People, we hope that this blog will offer a window into the issue of missing.

The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears. To find out more about Missing People and ways that you can support the charity visit

Call or text the charity Missing People for free on 116 000, 24/7 if you or anyone you know is affected by a disappearance.