Morcombes share pain of loss
WHEN someone you love goes missing you are in a space not experienced by many.
It is an indescribable black hole where all your energies are sucked.
No answers, no reasons, a void where each day just bleeds into the next.
Those were among the poignant words Bruce Morcombe delivered in an opening address at the Missing People: Issues and Implications Conference on Thursday.
The two-day conference, at Griffith University's Logan campus, will feature contributions from internationally-renowned researchers and policy makers.
Mr Morcombe's son Daniel went missing almost nine years ago and the family is still in turmoil as they await the return of his remains found in Glasshouse Mountains bushland last August.
They also must wait through the lengthy judicial process for the trial of the man accused of killing their son.
They understand the pain of the unknown and have learned the art of patience with grace as they waited for answers.
Daniel's parents, Bruce and Denise, have largely been the public face of Daniel's search.
Mr Morcombe said people often forgot the shared agony of extended family members like grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, school friends or work colleagues when someone went missing.
"Their friends are hurting just as much as you but you cannot help them. Your extended family crave answers, but you have nothing," he told the conference.
"Questions without answers consume your thoughts.
"What do you do with their clothes and personal items? How do you acknowledge them on your family tree?
"Birthdays, anniversaries and special family days pass.
"You wrestle with Clairvoyant's patchwork of stories, dreamers who draw maps of burial sites or describe horrific events, rumours of religious sects or paedophile rings; stories abound of official cover-ups, you don't know who to believe, you're desperate and will listen to anyone, even depraved criminals.
"Your senses are permanently heightened hungry for news.
"A skull is found in bushland interstate, a body washes up on a beach; it never leaves you.
"Over the years police alerted us to the discovery of human bones numerous times.
"As distasteful as that is, we knew they had no choice.
"It was of course to forewarn us, should a media story break that they could belong to Daniel."
As a lasting legacy to their son Daniel, the Morcombes established a foundation in his name promoting initiatives to keep kids safe.
Mr Morcombe said, now they have found Daniel, the foundation was considering adding a new aim to its agenda - assisting the search for the missing.
"We are always looking for fresh ideas and volunteers; perhaps we can work on a project together in the future," he said.
Two of the foundation's events promoting child safety are nearing.
The new free Kids Day Out event, which will take advantage of the new Queen's Birthday holiday to begin from next year, is on October 1.
The child safety themed Walk for Daniel - which has gained nationwide interest, will take place on October 26 on the Sunshine Coast and myriad other dates around the country.
Visit www.danielmorcombe.com.au for more information or to buy merchandise to support the organisation.