From the start, if you didn’t want Dominic to do something, you couldn’t let him see you do it. One glance and he memorized the steps to turn on the TV, the computer, the video player (yes, he was a child of the 90’s). If he saw his dad use a hammer, the first chance he got to lay hands on one found him pounding away. He was always up for being first.
I never thought he would be the first to get to heaven.
On April 12, 2014 my third born child, in the prime of his life, fit and healthy, strong and lovely, died in a motorcycle accident.
No warning. No good-bye.
Here one instant, gone the next. He was twenty-three and less than a mile from his apartment.
There are no words for the moment when your world is changed from what you imagine it can be to the unbearable reality of what it is. The ache that begins in your gut and spreads to edges of your soul. “My child is dead.” You must repeat it to yourself because it cannot be true. But it is.
I am a bereaved mother and join the millions of women who have buried a child. It is no place for a mama-standing by her child’s grave.
This is not the life I would choose but it is the one I have been given. I am learning to walk this new way, with this burden of grief on my shoulders. God is still God and I will choose to remember that.
“Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him;” Job 13:15
11 thoughts on “Running Ahead”
I have just come across your blog and this particular post. I really wish I had your faith!
My son was killed in July 2017. Some horses had escaped from their enclosure and were on the road, at night, when my son was driving along that road. He was less than 3 minutes from home … and was only 17. We received the knock at the door from the Police that every parent fears. He was taken by helicopter to a very good university hospital, equipped with a neuro ICU, but his brain damage was so severe there was nothing they could do for him. We spent four very precious days with him, saying goodbye, while going through organ and tissue donation. One of his heart valves was later to save the life of a 2 day old baby boy.
I have never been a strong believer in God but always had an open mind. My wife was a strong believer, so I would often go to church with her. I prayed that my son would be okay when we got that knock on the door. I prayed on the way into the hospital and at his bedside. My wife prayed. The church prayed. Our community prayed. But I watched his and listened to his heart monitor announce his death when they withdrew his life support. I held my son and watched him die.
On the one hand I wish I could believe he is in heaven so I could believe I will be with him again. But on the other hand I am just so angry. Did God not hear our prayers? Was God not able to stop the horse running in front of his car? Did my son not deserve to live? Have I done something so evil that I deserve this punishment? I am just left feeling, either God is not powerful enough to whisper to the horse and calm him so as not to run in front of my son’s car, or he is just not loving enough to have done so. Either way I feel empty and angry.
Sadly our church family obviously didn’t know what to do about our tragic loss and took the approach of “let’s wait and give them space until they are better” approach. They abandoned us when we needed them most. My wife does still have some of her faith left, albeit strained, but hasn’t been to church since.
It’s been just over 3 years. I have become a strong advocate for organ and tissue donation, which has been of some help and allows me to tell the story of my son. It helps keep him alive and not forgotten. It doesn’t get any easier though. If anything it gets harder. The first year people at least try to understand how devastating it must be to lose a child. There are some attempts at support. In the first year though, when grief is so raw, I’m sure the brain itself ‘numbs’ the pain just to help us survive. During that first year though people return to their own lives, just as we are forced to return to ours. The numbness wears off. After the first year people assume we are “over it”, have found “closure” and “moved on”. It’s so difficult not to spit fire at anyone who makes such comments. During the second and third year we saw our best friends move away from us. They basically asked us “why we couldn’t get back to who we used to be” and “when we thought that might happen”. Losing our best friends was something we never thought would happen. They were there to provide any practical help we might have needed, but simply couldn’t provide the emotional help we needed most.
Fortunately we have made some very good new friends who have been able to walk with us on some of our journey. Still, there is this pressure for us to hide our grief, to smile and say we’re “fine” when most days we are still screaming inside. We dare not say what is often really on our mind or we will become social outcasts. This can be such a lonely journey.
I am so sorry that Dominic was taken from you so soon. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences that they might help others so they don’t have to walk this journey alone.
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Melanie, I wish so much that I could say something comforting, wise or profound. Your thoughts have helped me so much recently and I would love to be able to reciprocate and give something back to you. Especially so on the two year anniversary of Dominic’s death…an anniversary no one wants to experience. But I too am broken and I am not as far on the path as you are. All I can say is that I am profoundly sorry that your special, beautiful, beloved son was killed, and I pray that God’s love, grace and peace will wash over you especially today. Hugs and prayers.
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Melanie I understand how you felt then and how you are feeling today. On June 20, 2002 my life and my family changed forever. My oldest son, 31 at the time, was hit head on by a vehicle that crossed over into his lane. He died instantly. His daughter, my first grandchild, was 8 years old and she was with him. They had been across the state visiting family and was headed home. They were an hour into the 6-hour drive home, outside a small town. His daughter was hurt and was carried to the next town which was also small but had a hospital. She was able to tell the nurses her mother’s name and phone number. With no family there, she was by herself when she was carried by ambulance to the small hospital and then air-lifted to Le Bonheur hospital in Memphis. She had a back injury and the seat belt had damaged her intestine which required surgery. It was over an hour before any family was able to get to her because of the decision to send her to Memphis. He too, was one that always had to be the first to try things. The first to ride a bike, a unicycle, a motorbike, to water ski….. And was the first to enter heaven’s gates and see Jesus face-to-face. It is still hard today, almost 14 years later. Then last year on April 25, my second son went home also. It’s so hard at times to understand and accept God’s plan for us, but I know He never makes a mistake, and He is always good. I wish none of us had to be here in this place of grief and heartache, but I’m thankful for the support snx encouragement found here.
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Judy, I am so sorry that you have gone through this twice. And your sweet granddaughter-how is she today? I pray that God will continue to uphold you and your family every day in every way and that He will keep us faithful until we are reunited with our sons and see Jesus face to face. Thank you for the encouragement.
If writing helps, and it often does, then write anything at ALL that you want to write. I have no idea what I would do, so anything you say or anything you do is fine with me and God. And if you get mad at both, that’s ok also. I am nobody. He is everything. But I still don’t like my mother gone…..and she was 93. I feel for you. I am so sorry.
Love you, friend!
Melanie, my heart aches for you and your family. With a son myself with cancer three times in three years, I can only imagine that feeling and it horrifies me. But like you said, God is still God. And God is still good. Thankfully, Dominic was ready to meet his Maker. Thankfully, I know my son is right with the Lord. Job 13:15 is an inspiration during difficult times like this. Thanks for sharing. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Love you, sweet friend.
Beautifully written. And that is such an important verse. Thank you for sharing your heart.
He carries us through the valley. My prayer for us is closeness with the shepherd. Love you my friend. Sharing your sorrows. Thanks for sharing your soul.