All to often I come across online posters who have made off colored comments about the parents of a missing child. These posters seem disgusted by these parents for daring to go on with their lives while their children are missing. What is the parent of a missing child to do while their child is missing? What is considered appropriate behavior?
Having your child go missing is the worst nightmare any parent can have to face. Not being the parent of a missing child I can only imagine what it would feel like to be in that place. I imagine I would feel both lost and helpless, not knowing where to go or what to do. Relying on law enforcement that may not effectively communicate with me the details of their investigation to where my child might be would be really hard, but they would have resources and access that I just don’t have. I could talk to other advocacy agencies to see how they could help me by distributing posters with pictures of my child on it. But what else could I do to help my child?
The search for a missing child relies heavily on the whole of society. One person who is aware that this child is missing. One person to notice that the child before them resembles a child they have seen on a flyer or on the news. One person who realizes all of these things and takes the time to call local authorities to report what they have seen and know.
If this is how the processes work, what is a parent to do when so much of their child’s return depends not on them, but on so many others? Are they to sit by the phone waiting? Are they to walk the crowded streets looking for the face of their child? Are they to sit in agonizing despair until word comes? Despair has a consequential result, hopelessness.
Like the chaos unleashed on the world when Pandora opened her box, so is the life of a parent whose child goes missing. Parents will have to find some piece of joy to push them forward, for without it, they will fall into despair. Small moments of happiness in a world filled with uncertainty can fuel a parent’s drive for hope. After Pandora released the contents of her box, one thing remained in the bottom: Hope. If a parent of a missing child chooses to grasp onto some life pleasure, they should not be condemned for it, as it may be what keeps them going in the long run. Without that tiny piece of joy, their hope may be lost, and then the search for their child may truly be over.