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Missing Loved One

Updated: May 16, 2023

Here I am on the 19th anniversary of the disappearance of my mom. Her name is Mary Alice Cox and she would be 74 on her birthday this year. The Lord has given me peace-even in the absence of answers but I will never give up on finding out what happened.

In the past year, I've been on a Podcast & a News Report for her. I'm thankful for those that devote their time to the Missing & Unfound. 🙌💜

I sit here…feeling drained of energy…like there is something I am supposed to be doing. But what? What am I supposed to do? Drive around endlessly with no direction? Work like nothing is different about today? Stay in bed and cry all day? Go through all her letters and pictures? Dissociate and act like ‘it” doesn’t exist? Pile up and watch movies to distract my thoughts? Talk about it to get it out? Not talk about it so others don’t feel uncomfortable and I don’t get as triggered? Journal? But what if the words don’t come? Do we try to be positive when the pull in our chest and stomach is inescapable? Do we cancel everything so we can reserve the day to mourn? If so, how many days, months, years is appropriate?

Grief. It affects us all differently. We all process through the stages differently, at different paces and different orders. Grief is holistic. It affects all areas of our life. Our sleep, our nutrition, our exercise, our careers, our relationships, our sex life, our parenting. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything. A time to be born. A time to die. A time for war. A time for peace.

5 Stages of Grief: (Kubler-Ross)

  1. Shock/Denial

  2. Anger

  3. Bargaining

  4. Depression

  5. Acceptance

These stages are not linear, meaning they don't necessarily move in that order or only once in each stage. They are fluid and one may move in and out of the stages multiple times over a period of time.

I want to write this from my state of feeling as today is the anniversary of my mother’s disappearance. My feeling of heaviness, tightness in my chest, a sensation of cold, a lack of motivation, frustration that I may have missed something, a deeper awareness of my breathing. The overall feeling in my body that is on the verge of tears.

Why do I share this vulnerability with you? So you know you are not alone. Even with all my training and experience, suffering still hurts. There’s no way around that. We all suffer. All financial levels. All education levels. All sexes. All races. All ages. All forms of sinners. Those that are doing the best they can. Even the one and only perfect human ever…Jesus suffered. Jesus himself wept. Jesus himself cried out to our heavenly Father in His suffering.

Jesus wept.

John 11:35

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Luke 22:42

The difference that makes a missing loved one unique is that it doesn’t end. There’s no closure. There’s no definitive date. There’s no way to fully talk about what happened because of the unknown. In my training as a Mental Health Coach, one of the teachings was that all sufferings have a beginning and an end. So how does this apply to those with missing loved ones?

Another difference is that most haven’t experienced this, so they can’t connect with or comprehend the depth of the void. People have no idea what to say or do.

Our hope and peace/shalom come from the fact that God didn’t create us to suffer. It wasn’t part of the original creation and it isn’t part of our eternity with Him. But here on this earth, there is suffering. Sometimes, unexpected and sometimes unending.

So how do we overcome in Him when we have no answer? When we don’t know if our loved one is alive or no longer lives? When we don’t know if they are suffering? How are we supposed to enjoy going out to dinner, having a game night with friends, or to watch a Romantic comedy? How are we supposed to be able to sleep?

In the midst of it all, God is still God. He is still faithful and who He says He is. He is our safe place to run to. He doesn’t tell us that any of the options I’ve mentioned are unacceptable to Him. He doesn’t question our pain or our questions.

Corrie ten Boom and so many who suffered through the Holocaust, never had a resolution. They had to come to an acceptance. There’s nothing that could ever make it make sense. There’s nothing they could do that would change the suffering endured. There’s no justice. Nothing that could take away the images in their minds.

Even though God can take what the enemy intended for evil and use it for good, the pain is still real and at times, unbearable. I love what I read in a book and have seen online that says, “I don’t get over it. I get through it.”

Trying to understand or explain some things can trap us in a web that entangles us even further. The only way to walk in freedom after such horrific and unending trauma as a missing loved one is to cling to Him for every breath. He alone can give us a peace that passes understanding that allows us to move forward and continue with life, while never giving up on the hope of the return of a loved one or at the very least, an answer.

Throughout history, many events have left people missing. 9-11. The Holocaust. Plagues before we could communicate the way we do today. Slavery. Trafficking. Mental illness. Runaways. Addictions. Hurricanes and tsunamis. Kidnapping by parents. Murder by ex lovers.

We can ask all the questions like: What did I do to deserve this? What did they do to deserve this? How does this accomplish good? Why did God allow this? Why didn’t God stop it? Why doesn’t He stop the pain?

The enemy is real and he takes pleasure in death and suffering. But God. He takes no pleasure in such things. He hears our prayers. He hears our cries and our weeping. He hears our moaning. He is present with us. He longs to bring us comfort. He longs to be with us in the midst of the suffering in this world.

I’m not here to give you a simple solution….because I’m sorry to say there isn’t one. I’m here to acknowledge your pain. To give you a safe place of processing while lifting you up to the Father for comfort. To let you know you are not alone. To love you. To give you permission to feel and to take care of yourself in your pain. And to let you know, it’s okay to continue to live.

Some things that can help you as you process:

  1. The exercises in the Overcomers in Him Healing Bootcamp, especially those that stimulate the vagus nerve. Overcomers In Him Self-Paced Online Bootcamp Program that includes one session with me: $249 (Included with one on one coaching packages)

  2. Breathing exercises. 4-4-4-4 Box breathing or 5-2-8 with the extended exhale that calms your nervous system.

  3. Mindfulness meditations to nurture your nervous system. The ones based on Scripture are the most powerful as His Word is alive and healing.

  4. Self care. A bath, a nap, a massage, read a book, safe cuddling, a walk in the woods, etc.

  5. Taking a day off and doing whatever your nervous system tells you it needs. Eventually, these will have to be less for you to move forward in your life, but even if you need to take one day to shut down each year to honor that space it holds in your life.

  6. Journal. Journaling is a very effective way to process what you're feeling. Take your time with this as it can be significant to the impact this event has on you on a regular basis. As you journal, note what you are feeling.

    1. Describe those feelings.

    2. What do they look like? Are there any images that come to mind?

    3. What do you believe about this situation?

    4. What emotions do you feel? Sad, angry, helpless?

    5. What sensations do you feel in your body and where do you feel them?

    6. What thoughts come up for you?

  7. If you are an introvert, take time alone or with someone you feel safe with. If you are an extrovert, do what helps you the way you need it. For some, it’s solitude in the woods. For others, it’s a social event. Both are okay if they are soothing to your nervous system.

  8. Worship. Put on that music that makes you cry it out. And when you feel cried out, put on that music that makes you feel strong again. Communicate with the Lord. Be real and raw. He is your safe place. He is our comforter, our healer, and counselor. Cling to Him and His word.

  9. Pick an activity that helps you as time goes on. For me, I decided that to be able to live a “normal” life for the rest of the year, I would honor my mom on the date of her missing, her birthday, and mother’s day. I am careful with Mother’s Day as it was not only a day for her. It is a special day for my children, so my mom gets a portion of the day. Then, I gently and lovingly put that away in a special place and move on to enjoy the blessings that I still get to enjoy that day. On these days, I make a post to honor her, drink coffee as it was one of her favorite things, and to listen to her favorite music while dancing with my children as that too was one of my mom’s favorite things and when I saw her smile the most. .

  10. Take authority over your life and refuse to allow the enemy to steal your joy and your peace. Rebuke and release the lies that say God doesn’t care or that it was your fault. Or any other lies that do not line up with the Word of God. Rebuild a life that allows for the space needed but that doesn’t consume you.

Regarding my mom, if you have any info, please contact the Clarksville TN Detective department. Her name is Mary Alice Cox. She would have been 74 this year.

Please join me in praying for answers for myself & for all the other missing persons and their loved ones.

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