My name is Carolyn. I have a unique and sad situation. My 20 year old son moved to Louisiana on April 2006. He moved there to get to know his biological father. For a while things seemed to be going well. Clinton eventually got a job working on an oil rig. He loved it! On August 21, 2006 he turned 21. On September 1, 2006 he vanished without a trace. Law enforcement believes that he is dead and they have indicated that they believe it if foul play and have gone so far as to say they believe he was buried.

For almost 13 months I have been living with the not knowing. I vacillate between praying he is alive and believing that he is dead. I can’t seem to move forward…I miss my son. I feel very guilty and frustrated because I encouraged him to go down there. I don’t know how people do this.



Dear Carolyn,

We are so very sorry for your amazingly difficult situation. It is hard enough to lose a child but not knowing where or how he is, is even harder. A year is a very short period of time when you are grieving such a loss and we urge you to be gentle with yourself. Regarding your suggesting that your son go to Louisiana, we all feel guilt at such things. We want to believe that it is a safe world if we do things right. The fact is that things happen that are out of our control and not caused by anything we did or did not do.

It is critically important that you take care of yourself and that you have a support group around you. You might see if there is a group for? Parents of Missing Children in your area or a Compassionate Friends Group. You can find a list of groups that work with parents of missing children at and you can get more information about a local group of Compassionate Friends at? . Each member of Compassionate Friends has experienced the death of a child and each has survived and grieved in his or her own way. However, we understand that groups are not for everyone.? If groups are not for you we recommend that you reach out to your family, church, and friends for support.? We have found that the load of grief is lighter when it is not carried alone.?

We also invite you to listen on Thursday mornings to the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart? You can find information about it and a link to it on the first page of You might also find a number of past shows that can give you help and comfort at

We are posting your letter on The Grief Blog so others who read it can be helped by it. We have such a lovely group of compassionate people reading our Blog that you might want to check back now and then to see if Comments have been written for you. There are many who will walk with? you in spirit and it is important for you to know that you are not alone.


Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley

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