Families of Missing Loved Ones Say the Pain Never Goes Away

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In not accepting a death, they ask, "What if my loved one is being held or mistreated? Should I contact one more authority? How will I celebrate the holidays?" she said. "They fight on because they can't confront the burden on themselves. How can I move forward and be happy?"

Families like those waiting for news of Flight 370 will need help "adapting to chronic uncertainty for the rest of their lives," said Rando.

"This presents the most difficult situation possible," she said. "You manage it, but you don't heal. And some do better than others.

People can only make it worse for these families by saying, "you are unwilling to accept reality," she said. "It's not their fault."

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PHOTO: Left, Sabrina Allen, 4, is shown in this photo provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; right, Sabrina Allen, 17, is seen in this undated handout photo.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children|Courtesy of PI Phillip Klein
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Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library
PHOTO: Earths moon is pictured as observed in visible light, left, topography, center, and the GRAIL gravity gradients, right.
NASA/GSFC/JPL/Colorado School of Mines/MIT
PHOTO: A long-distance bus station is filled with passengers at the start of Golden Week on Oct. 1, 2014 in Zhengzhou, China.
ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images