Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Perception

 It may be difficult to grasp  but….

Why we are still talking about this.  So many people still go missing it’s hard to keep up with it.  Many return fairly soon. But so many don’t. It is very real and sobering. 23 years has passed since our son, Damien, vanished off the face of the earth. Families of recent missing family members look at us in awe and dread.  We (and sadly too many others) are the poster family for what they fear the most.  They could be us in years to come. 

 


It’s assumed we have healed the wounds by now.  Although it will soon be 24 years, in every way,  it is still November 3 1996, the day we found he was gone from our lives.  We calculate life events by the date marker Damien vanished. It is raw but we have learned to function in and around it. The pain still exists.   In our hearts we are desperately waiting to find him again.  We don’t want pity or attention.  We need help from the community to remember him and to give those who might know what did happen the chance to find it in their hearts to tell us.  Or, we pin our hopes on finding his remains.  How perverse to have a need to find your child’s bones?  But it’s reality for us long term families of the missing.  If you can say hope?  That’s what we want.  Our loved one back in the fold.  Respectfully placed at rest.  



 Website:  www.damiennettles.uk 

Author: The Boy Who Disappeared ISBN: 1789460719

Publisher John Blake Books

Goodreads/Amazon/Audible & bookshops 




Friday, September 18, 2020

Struggles on the road back to my life

 

As time wears on you learn to live with the loss and surrounding anxieties.  It is so difficult to stop searching when it has been my only career for the past 23 years. I have been immersed in my missing son’s case.  I know he is not coming home.  The best I can hope for is we find his remains and lay him to rest.  We will probably never know what happened.  But how to return to some semblance of normality is a huge struggle.  I share my experience to help with others in similar situations.  Assisting organizations who are helping with the missing issue is one way.  But its not enough.  I have been pro-active with social media and created a petition for improved investigations of the missing.  I wrote a book looking from the inside out of our missing son’s case.   I have consciously  heaped more on my shoulders.   I feel it is time to throw in the towel and go back to a “normal” life.  Whatever that is.  But I just can’t let this go.  So I come back to it again and again to try to effect change and offer some input shed some light and validate my son existed and pray its not all for naught.  My son set me on this path.  God willing it wont be for nothing.  Damien has to count for something in his 16 years of life.  

I has been, and still is, a life sentence.



Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Missing Community



I have spent the last almost 24 years looking for my missing son.  He vanished into thin air one night in November 1996. We don’t have any idea why.


I have met many families and friends of the missing  over the years at events..  I have kept in touch with many through social media but it’s not always been possible to continue to meet up and really connect.

 

However, lockdown due to Covid, created something positive!  Working from home, the Missing People Charity  kept the lights on for us in the UK.  Weekly online Zoom meeting for families to meet up and chat in a safe space, facilitated a platform to allow us share our experience and form a bond.  Community and communication are essential to help us know we are not alone and there are others who really do understand the strain and anxiety of ambiguous loss (Dr Pauline Boss). Keeping in touch, using online meeting apps, has brought us together in real time from around the globe creating a true feeling of community.

 

Regardless of which country you may be dealing with the uncertainty of a missing loved one, the emotions, the obstacles  and journey are the same.  Recently I reached out to contacts in America to help someone from the UK  who has a family member missing in the States.  The response was immediate caring & supportive with advice and offers of help with open arms.

 

Although we may often feel desolate and alone in our journey, we are not alone as there exists, albeit sadly,  a huge  community of people around the globe who understand this torment of ‘not knowing’. 

 

An international approach is what the team at  Locate International are putting into practice.  Run by ex law enforcement offices with a impressive resume of knowledge and skills around the missing issue, teamed up with several universities in the UK and overseas.  Taking cases that stagnated into cold cases, under their guidance,  criminology students will review to see if all possible leads have been considered.  Taking any information back to the appropriate police forces to consider further investigation.


It’s heartening to know there is support for this issue which is vast and encompasses many issues behind the individual cases - some leave because they need to and some are unexplained.  Either way it is a drain on police resources and basically a social issue needing grass roots intervention in many cases.  Police can’t fully apply themselves to these cases hence the hopeful support provided by services surrounding the issues might help stem that tide.

Support this issue by signing Damien’s Law



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, July 13, 2020

A Life Sentence

Some days I feel like I am losing it.  The constant mental attention to Damien’s case over the years has been intense. I feel I lost my life when my son disappeared.  It’s a life sentence and I don’t know why.

 

I am in a tunnel and I don’t know who I am anymore but desperately searching for some light.  It’s not a life, it’s existing.  Anti-depressants don’t take away the situation.  Counseling helps to talk it through but it doesn’t solve the issue.  The issue is I have lost a child and I have no idea how or why.  My grief will be  endless until I find an answer and can begin to heal.  My life is flat. No highs and no lows just treading the flat line in hope, ‘one day we will get answers.’  

 

I am not alone. Too many others are suffering along with me. My family and friends.  Other families who have a missing person situation in their life suffer similarly.  We all hope somebody somewhere can help is shed light on our loved ones disappearance. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Weird Covid days

March 30, 2020
Hello blog, I am on day who knows what of lockdown, shelter in place and getting a little stir crazy.  Taken the dog to the dog park and used doggy poo bags, empty, to open gates.  I gave  the handful of doggy mums and dads a wide berth.

Basically I have been inside now for a month.  I am retired so not needing to concern myself with things I have no control over anyway!  I have spent my time reading books - on Audible.  CB Strike novels by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling - highly recommend!!   Doing so meet ups on Zoom.  Cleaning.  But other than that am stuck in the house.  I do online grocery shopping which I pick up at the allotted time slot.  However, the time slots are now  sometimes a four day wait so I alternate two stores.  I was able to get most of what I need this way.  However, this week just about everything is unavailable for pick up or is out of stock.  This is starting to get dire.  Trump, I know because I saw his lips move and say the words, promised us the supply chain would not dry up.  But supplies without employees to move them are redundant.  My family laughed at me when I said we need a vegetable garden planting.

I just miss that spur of the moment feeling of   ‘I will pop out to the store.’

Strange how ‘unskilled’ workers are now our best hope to keep the basic infrastructure going.  Karma  Donald - now we need those people double quick!

It’s also dire when our leaders of governments become sick and have to isolate.  Royalty too.  The mind boggles how things could change in a heartbeat.

So on the one hand many places shut down and the roads are almost empty compared to normal.   But, there again, the garden nursery across the road seems to be going great guns with cars rolling up.  Not sure that is an ‘essential service’ but hey ho!  Rules don’t seem to mean much.  The road workers widening the road or putting in drainage are working hard.  Must be a joy for them to be working and not have cars everywhere!

The grands have begun their online virtual school work this week.  My husband is working from home and said he got tons of business this week so far.  Weird.  Maybe this is a sign of things to come with remote school work and remote  home office.  So much for companies who seemed to think  it couldn’t be done.  Where there is a will there is a way - my mother always said.





Ladder of Hope

COVID has brought society to its knees with its untested influence.   Nobody is safe. It can happen to anyone.    We are stopped in our tracks and forced to reassess how we got here.  Could we have done something to stop it?  Can it ever be fixed?  Will life ever be the same? Suddenly the pictures of third world disasters are now us.  Our complacent comfortable lives laid bare and vulnerable.  We are not invincible.

When our son vanished In 1996 time stood still for our family.  We began living life with one foot in the present and one foot firmly in the past. Life in limbo, ambiguous loss (Dr. Pauline Boss) are descriptions for families left behind to cope with the unresolved loss of a loved one.   Not knowing is the worst. No finality. The future looking vague.  Loss, confusion, dismay. Wondering, how could this happen? Learning to put the jigsaw of life back together, leaving large blank holes where once there was a vital vibrant important  piece.

I think we are already on a ladder of hope to repair our lives - it’s a process.  Some things can be fixed but some cannot.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dismal Days

It’s a very tenuous thread between feeling okay and feeling devastated.  One minute feeling good, holding  it together, feeling strong, useful, worthwhile and hopeful and making a difference.  The next feeling totally crestfallen, desolate & isolated. Pulling oneself up by the boot straps again.  It will be okay a one day...

Monday, March 16, 2020

Poof

Then, suddenly
just like that
all the wheeling, dealing,
grasping, manipulations
of daily life
as we knew it
is reduced
to a heap of
trivia
by a rampant global virus

while we were not looking

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Jumbles

The things left unsaid
Words cannot do justice
Emotions lived within
Efforts gone unnoticed 
Days lost anguish
Years of life missed out on
Anxiety and anger simmering
Loss tangled with the living
The struggles of desperation
Silent cries for justice
Highs of hope and lows of desolation
A hand outstretched to hold
Fading light when fears loom large
Forever left wondering
Did we do enough?
Feelings of  despondency
Light shines in
Raise up 
Nobody could have done more
Don’t give up 
Stronger than imagined
Grasp the outstretched hand 
The light is here