The seven siblings last saw their parents 75 years ago when the couple took off together on an adventure to a glacier. The pair never came back, and their bodies were never found. The seven siblings were separated, sent off to live with different aunts and uncles, and in time became practically strangers to one another.
Yet they all continued in their own ways to look for their missing parents, no matter the long time that has passed since their childhood. But when a Swiss glacier began to melt at a ski resort last week, the lingering and painful mystery was finally solved.
A Tsanfleuron glacier worker in Switzerland found the bodies of husband and wife Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin laid side by side near a ski lift above Les Diablerets resort at an altitude of 2,615 meters or 8,600 feet.
Youngest daughter Marceline Udry-Dumoulin says it was the first time that her mother went with her father on such an excursion as that’s the only time she can go because she wasn’t pregnant.
Marceline was just four years old when she became an unfortunate orphan. She recalls: “She was always pregnant and couldn’t climb in the difficult conditions of a glacier. After a while, we children were separated and placed in families. I was lucky to stay with my aunt. We all lived in the region but became strangers. “
Village teams at that time searched for the missing couple but they all had to move on at some point when it became apparent that the couple was never coming back.
The Dumoulin couple had five sons and two daughters. They had gone to milk their cows in a meadow above Chandolin in the Valais canton in Switzerland on August 15, 1942 , when they went missing and never came back. Marcelin was 40 at that time and worked as a shoemaker while Francine was a teacher and worked as a teacher.
One of the couple’s sons later became a priest and the siblings came together to hold a mass for their parents on the glacier in 1957.
Now, closure has come and the children will be finally able to give proper tribute to their parents.
Marceline was emotional. She shared: “We spent our whole lives looking for them, without stopping. We thought that we could give them the funeral they deserved one day.” The now 79-year-old daughter added: “I can say that after 75 years of waiting this news gives me a deep sense of calm.”
After the bodies were recovered last week, DNA was performed to confirm the identities of the couple. The family is preparing for the funeral and burial of their parents. Marceline said she wants to wear white and not black as it represent hope, which she said she never lost.
It may be a sad that they lost their parents so early and under such uncertain circumstances, but along with the pain and the closure coming only after a long time, it still is a beautiful ending for the family. After all, to the very end it was a story of love, of the couple together then, and of the children to their parents forever.