Andrew Gosden went missing in September 2007 when he was 14 years old. The 10th of July 2022 was Andrew’s 29th birthday. To mark this difficult day, Kevin, Andrew’s father wrote the following piece about the emotions experienced when a loved one is missing.
Lose your way, lose your marbles, lose the battle, lose out. Lose the car keys, lose your specs, lose your purse. Lose a friend, lose a loved one, lose your mind, lose your faith.
Everyone loses in life, in some way. Some losses are trivial and others can be the most painful thing we will ever experience.
Because we all experience loss, we have some understanding that it may hurt, for a long time, but that the pain of loss will ease. With significant loss, we often need the help and support of family, friends, and others to see us through the pain.
But the ambiguous loss of a missing family member is very different: without the knowledge of what happened to our loved one, we are unable to heal. It is like that for my family and me. Andrew is still missing. As we reach his 29th birthday, we realise that he has been gone for longer than he was here. The intensity of his not being here with us continues every day, a huge hole in our lives and our family.
How to deal with this is something to which no one has answers. For me, I think the one thing we cannot lose is hope. Hope of re-union, hope of news, hope of an answer of any kind. This year I shall be placing some flowers in my church along with this candle, which is made and sold to support Missing People. It will be lit as a sign that we have not lost hope for Andrew.
I hope that it is also a sign for all those struggling with loss of any kind, be it physical, financial, psychological or spiritual.
Perhaps you would join us in lighting a candle for the lost and the missing? A small light of hope that they find their way home. Thank you.
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