One of the worst nightmares that many parents had to face in real life was when their child went missing. Each hour and every day became harder to go through because the hope of ever seeing their child again slowly diminished.
One mother from Rochester, N.Y. whose teenage daughter went missing in April 2020 said it is a nightmare she would not wake out of because she has no intention of quitting until she finds her daughter. Psychologists say that deciding when to stop searching for a missing child is different with every parent. While we cannot judge those who gave up, every parent who underwent such experience say that the feelings are often and constantly excruciating and even to the point of being unbearable.
Finding Strength in Hope
Marsha Gilmer-Tullis, the Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Family Advocacy Division said they never encourage parents to give up and they always talk to them about hope. The recent news about the US Marshall’s safe recovery of 72 missing children between ages 3 to 17 is one example of why parents should never lose hope.
Yet the U.S. Department of Justice reported that as many as 797,500 children aged 18 and below have been reported missing in 2008, as the average number of children reported missing per day is 2,185. In the meantime, parents cope for months, and even years with thoughts of their children being victimized or at worst, already dead.
As these parents go through such excruciating ordeal, some couples drift apart, others suffer from mental health consequence, which in some cases led to suicide. According to a Rhode Island psychologist Dr. Therese A. Rando, parents need to find answers on whether their child chooses not to come home or unable to come home? Is their child physically injured? lost? Imprisoned? mistreated?
While parents cling on to hope, living a nightmare gets harder with each passing day because there are always reminders that their child is missing instead of living their dream.