If you know someone who has a missing loved one, please know that Christmas is one of the hardest times of the year, it’s right up there with the Anniversary Date of the Disappearance. Most Families have some sort of Christmas tradition, whether its decorating the tree, preparing an extravagant dinner, or spending time with family and friends. When your loved one is missing the tradition becomes only a memory mixed with many emotions. The hussel and bussel of Christmas can be overwhelming and sometimes quite annoying so there is a good possibility of some anger. Your life is altered forever and days like Christmas are just a reminder of the gaping hole in your life now. Think of someone you know that has lost a loved one and know the family with a missing loved one are suffering in the same way but the grief is almost toxic for them. There is a certain amount of guilt when you grieve for a missing loved one…almost like you have given up. The future is unknown and as the year comes to an end for the family of the missing attacks of severe grief are not uncommon. It’s a very emotional time so be prepared for lots of emotions. It’s a slow process when you have a loved one that disappears…
If you want to be kind to a family with a missing loved one, let them know that you are thinking of them and their missing loved one. Mention the missing person`s name, if you have a nice memory or a funny story share it with them. Be prepared for tears..I know many people don’t want to make someone cry but you’re not making them cry, the fact that their loved one is missing is what is making them cry.
Recognize that life is emotionally chaotic for the family with a Missing Loved one and they may not be able to attend a planned Christmas event……even if they said they were going to. When you have a missing loved one there are many triggers at Christmas time and sometimes you just want to be left alone. Be prepared for them to change their mind constantly, it is a very scattered life when you have a missing loved one, and more so at Christmas time. Don`t take it personal. They are dealing with their own personal hell of grief and the unknown.
For some people the days leading up to Christmas are harder than the actual day. This will be our sixth Christmas since our son Michael went missing from Kelowna at the age of 25. The first years were excruciating and I feel for all the new families with a missing loved one. There is no way to sugar coat it for you. It is a nightmare day! Since we don`t have any small children we don`t feel we have to decorate or put a tree up. But that is us. Some people will choose to decorate the tree in honor of their missing loved one and I admire that…maybe one year we will do that. Others will go away for the Christmas season, another good idea and perhaps one day we will do that too.
Thinking of the many Family and Friends with a Missing Loved One.