Friday, 21 December 2018

Christmas with a missing loved one

Val, mother of missing Damien Nettles writes about how hard it can be to have a missing loved one at Christmas.
Tinsel, bells, glitter, lights, sweet songs of praise, warm  greetings between friends and family reunions, happy excited wide eyed children, anticipation, expectations, traditions, caring and sharing.

These words conjure up the Christmas/holiday ‘moments of joy’ we have grown up with and know and love.  If you have been dealing with great personal loss these old sentimental moments of joy may fall upon dark hollow ground.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.  It is a faded light that replaces the warmth that once wrapped itself around you at this time of the year.  But there is hope because, like it or not, life does go on.  It is a life off kilter, spinning a little sideways from how it used to be and you may find yourself hanging on and hoping not to fall into oblivion.  But there is hope.  You can weather the storm.  It will be okay and life does go on.  You will find a balance again.  The world will always be a little different.  You may even feel you have become colder and more cynical.  Less tolerant. It’s okay.  Life will resume, just a little differently.  I imagine it is much like having lost a limb but learning to walk or write again but still feeling its presence.  Everyone gets through this in their own way, there is no formula.  It just happens and life goes on.

I go through the motions and  I do have enjoyment watching the faces of small children as they experience the magic and joy at this time of year.  It brings back happy memories of my children and the lovely times we had.  It also reminds me that one of them is missing for no reason that we can understand.  The sadness of that ambiguous loss is beyond words.
But life does go on and while it does I make the best of what I can and keep the candle of hope!

Within days of Damien's going missing  I contacted Missing People.  This was over 22 years ago and they were  there for me then when I needed support the most and still are here for me.

I am challenged by distance so cannot be around to help support the Charity, however I can help raise awareness on social media and several family members have also raised funds and donations have gone to Missing People.

Christmas can be a really difficult time for families with a missing loved one please call or text us for free on 116000 or email on If you are away from home and want to get a message home to say you are safe we can do that too. 

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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.