No closure for Daniel's mum
CLOSURE. It's a word many of have used in hope for Bruce and Denise Morcombe.
But it's something that Denise Morcombe fears she will never get, even if they find the body of her beautiful son Daniel.
While Bruce and Denise have longed for the day they would have the final answers on what happened to Daniel almost eight years ago, the brutal reality is that nothing will bring their twin son back.
"People talk about closure all the time, but it's not that simple," she told the Daily in October last year in the lead-up to the coronial inquest into Daniel's disappearance.
"This is something I'll have to live with every day for the rest of my life.
"No parent should have to go what we've gone through. We were normal people living our lives and then our son was stolen."
As the mother of a missing child, Mrs Morcombe has felt constantly under the microscope.
"We were thrown into the spotlight, people who had no idea what was going on. It's been hard to live like that," she said.
"It's important to us that we've remained visible though, as a constant reminder of Daniel so the same thing doesn't happen to another family.
"We just want answers, to be able to bury our son and say goodbye properly. Every day is agony not knowing."
The 2003 disappearance of the couple's 13-year-old son has been the most high-profile and baffling missing persons case in Australian history, with almost 20,000 pieces of information received by police.
It is believed Daniel was taken from beneath the Kiel Mountain Overpass while waiting for a bus on December 7.
No trace of Daniel has ever been found, despite extensive searches of bushland areas all over the Coast.
In the time since, Bruce and Denise have spent every waking hour doing all they can to help police with the search for answers.
But far beyond that, through the Daniel Morcombe Foundation, they have made sure that thousands of children across Australia know of the real risks of the predators that lurk in our community.
They have travelled the country, visiting schools, speaking to parents, governments, and the media on child safety.
Only in recent days they had been visiting libraries across the Sunshine Coast, telling their story as part of Missing Persons week.
The Day for Daniel, which started as a walk from Woombye to Palmwoods for parents, school communities and students, has turned into a national movement.
There's been a sense of well deserved pride that Daniel's case is making a difference.
Their grit and determination, in the face of the most overwhelming evil, has won them the respect of parents, teachers, premiers and police commissioners.
But no-one could truly imagine the mixed emotions Bruce and Denise must be going through right now.
All along they have suspected the worst.
But there's always been that glimmer of hope.
While Bruce put on the bravest of faces for the media yesterday, a simple Facebook post late last night from Denise revealed how truly crushed she is.
"Thanks but I am sad tonight please give me a few days D.''
Both she and Bruce know the journey is far from over.
A court case, more revelations, and the search for Daniel's body will dominate the days ahead.
Already they have read and seen evidence at the inquest which no parent should have to contemplate.
Having seen Denise's haunted blue eyes so many times over the years, many of us will wonder how much she can be expected to endure.
In the end, we can only hope for justice - through the proper court process - for the Morcombe family.
As Denise told us last year: "That's why we get up in the morning."