MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Wed 25-May-16 12:28:39

Guest post: "I will never stop searching for my missing son"

A decade has passed since Nicki Durbin's son went on a night out and never came home - she says the pain of losing him will never leave her

Nicki Durbin

Posted on: Wed 25-May-16 12:28:39


Lead photo

"All of this time passing has not changed anything. The pain of losing Luke is always there."

Ten years ago last week, I reported my son missing. Luke, who was 19 at the time, hadn't returned home after a night out in Ipswich. He'd spent the evening in a club and was seen on CCTV leaving in the early hours of the morning. It was later established that Luke was trying to get home. I haven't heard from him since.

Having a missing child is an isolating experience. How do I explain to someone I'm meeting for the first time that I have had no idea where one of my beloved children is, for ten long years? How do I fill the void that Luke has left? How will other people ever understand what I'm going through?

Last week marked the passing of a decade since I was last able to talk to and touch my son. My memories of that time are vivid. It's hard to imagine that 10 years have passed - but when I saw Luke walking out of the door laughing that day, I never imagined that would be the last time we saw him.

In many ways, life stands still when your son is missing and yet so much has happened since Luke's been gone. Despite sometimes feeling as if nobody else can understand the pain I'm going through, my friends and family have still managed to bring joy and comfort at the bleakest of times. Milestones are often the worst. My daughter Alicia's 19th year was the hardest. I was terrified that I would lose her at 19 as I had lost Luke. It's hard to believe after living through the pain of Luke’s 21st birthday without having him there to share it, it'll be his 30th this year. The thought of it tears at my heart.

When Luke was a baby, I would count how old he was in days, then weeks, then months, and then finally years. When Luke went missing it went full circle. I would count how many days he'd been gone, then weeks, then months and now it's a decade.

I think of Luke every day, I wonder what he would be doing if he were here. What kind of man would he have become? Would he have been married or been a dad? Would he have found the music career he so desperately wanted? I have so many questions that go unanswered. I'd love to sit down with Luke and my daughter Alicia and talk and talk until we're all too tired to talk anymore. It seems the tiniest request for a mother to want to spend time with both her children - but it is so unachievable for us.

A few months ago I was contacted by the charity Missing People. Their choir, whose members all have missing loved ones, were planning on releasing a single. I was initially very reluctant to join as I'm not a singer. However, I agreed to give it a go. It turns out I can sort of hold a tune. But more importantly, I stood alongside other families who walk in my shoes every day, they fully understand my eternal despair.

When Luke was a baby I would count how old he was in days, and then weeks, months and finally years. When Luke went missing it went full circle. I would count how many days he'd been gone, then weeks, then months and years - now it's a decade. Around 140,000 children go missing in the UK every year. Whilst most of them are found safe and well in a short time, a small proportion are not. Their families are left like me, left with the disbelief that the time passes and there's still no news. All of this time passing has not changed anything. The pain of losing Luke is always there. I will never stop searching for Luke, it's the only thing left I can do for him.

Nicki Durbin is a member of the Missing People Choir, which is made up of family members of missing loved ones and is run by the charity Missing People and Director James Hawkins. See them perform their single, "I Hope", here.

By Nicki Durbin

Twitter: @missingpeople

Artistic Wed 25-May-16 13:23:43

This is every mother's worst fear. My heart is breaking for you. The song is beautiful, made me weep for those little lost ones and their parents left with no answers. Wishing you strength and hope. flowers

IAmAPaleontologist Wed 25-May-16 13:30:57


May you take all our hope with you for you and your children.

BombadierFritz Wed 25-May-16 13:34:44

flowers myheart breaks for you all xxx

JustABigBearAlan Wed 25-May-16 13:45:54

I'm so sorry. It's so unutterably sad. I can't begin to imagine what you are going through flowers

DiggersRest Wed 25-May-16 13:47:21

I hope you find your ds flowers

IpanemaChica Wed 25-May-16 14:02:51

I'm so sorry and truly hope you find Luke flowers


LineyReborn Wed 25-May-16 14:35:28

I don't know know what to say, except I hope you find your son.

GretchenBeckett Wed 25-May-16 16:03:39

I have no wise words but much love to you and your family flowers

Backingvocals Wed 25-May-16 16:35:48

I read your story with my heart in my mouth. I'm so sorry this happened to you.

I recognised quite a few of the names from the beginning of the video, from when their names were in the news. It brought me up short to think they are still missing, all these years later. And so sorry that your son is among them. Wishing you strength.

You all sound wonderful in the choir.

megletthesecond Wed 25-May-16 16:45:55

Your post has taken my breath away . So sorry for you. I hope you find Luke one day. flowers

BatFacedGrrl Wed 25-May-16 16:50:20

I have read about Luke previously. Wishing you peace and I sincerely hope you find him

upanup Wed 25-May-16 18:20:54

Your post has brought tears to my eyes. I hope you are reunited with your son one day, I can't begin to imagine how difficult your situation is x

regularbutpanickingabit Wed 25-May-16 19:35:17

There are no words. I can't even begin to imagine how you and your family have taken a breath and a step every day.

mrsnoon Wed 25-May-16 19:48:21

Nicki, I'm on your fb group but don't want to out myself here. Bumping this post so as many people as possible see it. Much love, as always. X x

cookielove Wed 25-May-16 20:06:11

I hope you find him!.flowers

R0078 Wed 25-May-16 20:08:49

There are no words to get the message across of how much I feel for you..Such a bright lovely looking boy...your heart and that of your family must break over and over again...How brave of you to do this.....I hope one day you find him xx

FieryWill Wed 25-May-16 20:58:16

Crying here reading your post sad

Such a handsome young man flowers

Pforrelief Wed 25-May-16 22:00:05

Its so sad you still have no news. I'm sorry to say this but have you heard of the bbc news page regarding England's unclaimed ? I'm sorry.

kelper Wed 25-May-16 22:32:19

I live in ipswich and have followed your story Nicki. I'm so sad for you all, and I hope that one day you find out what happened to Luke.

stanthemancan Thu 26-May-16 00:17:24

I'm so sorry. I've followed your story too. The campaign to find him was strong flowers

ClassicCoast Thu 26-May-16 07:54:38

So sorry, that's so hard.

YouSay Thu 26-May-16 08:10:04

I am so sorry. What a moving post

kelda Thu 26-May-16 08:13:30

Heartbreaking flowers

ExtraHotLatteToGo Thu 26-May-16 10:24:51

Nicki. 10 years. It's so hard to believe isn't it. Time is a strange thing, passing so quickly in some ways, yet so slowly in others. You have done remarkably well to hold it together for Luke, Alicia & yourself 💐 I hope that you find Luke xx

The song is beautiful, I hope it gets to number one & raises awareness of the charity. I hope being a part of it brings you support & friendships that help you. 💐

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in