You Can Only Hold On To What You Refuse to Let Go Of

Those hours before I planted one last kiss on my son’s forehead, I held his hand.  

I nodded at the people filing past to pay their respects with my arm tucked behind me, desperate to cling to my child.

no one can snatch them

And I’m still clinging.  

I will not let him go.  

I don’t care how many days or months or years march on taking me further from the sound of his voice, the touch of his hand or the brightness of his smile-I refuse to release my grasp.

It’s hard for someone who has never buried a child to understand why we who have are compelled to speak about them, to post pictures of them, to air our great grief and share our great hope of reunion.

I didn’t have a clue before it was me.

But this is all we have.

There will be no new experiences, no fresh memories, no photos marking higher achievements or life passages.  

So I will hold onto Dominic as a little boy who was so stubborn he would sit in the floor and cry in frustration because he couldn’t yet crawl.

I will hold onto Dominic as a young man who could argue anyone under the table until they gave in because, right or wrong, he wasn’t giving up.

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I will hold onto Dominic who taught himself how to play the drums and pounded away when I took my daily walk so that it wouldn’t be too loud for my ears.

I will hold onto Dominic who talked his way into a program that admitted few students even though he had missed the first semester of classes.

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I will hold onto Dominic who could fight like a banty rooster when he was mad but be as tender as a mother hen with someone who was hurting.

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I will hold onto Dominic who would have never wanted this for me, who would have done anything he could to prevent this great sorrow resting on my shoulders.

I refuse to let go.

Because he is my son.

There is no past tense for a mother’s love.  

as long as I live

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

14 thoughts on “You Can Only Hold On To What You Refuse to Let Go Of”

  1. A beautiful post. It has been 7 years since my son died in a preventable accident. He was a dream come true son. Grief is love. I continue to be his parent now as much as ever. I love him more each day. It will be that way as long as I live. This is how it is.

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    1. Jane, I am sorry for your pain and your loss. Yes, your son is your son forever. Our mama hearts have carried them since they were conceived and will carry them as long as ours are beating. Praying that God gives you strength in this journey. ❤

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  2. We are approaching the 11th Anniversary of our beloved sons passing. Blake left us on November 11th 2005. There is a constant void in our family and in our lives…..like you Melanie we have four children…all boys…three that walk this earth with us, one, our baby is with Jesus in Heaven now. Almost from the moment of his passing I committed to anyone and everyone that I would never let go of my wonderful son, that I would keep his memory alive and that I would not let my laughter die along with him. He was the image of me, always a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes….such a happy boy. How I miss my son, not a day goes by that I don’t embrace happy thoughts of all the love and joy we shared. I will never let go….

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    1. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story. I’m so thankful you choose to hold on. We are the keepers of our child’s light just as the children who outlive us will be the keeper of ours. We have to hold on and share them with others. Praying the Lord continues to give you strength for each new day.

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  3. Well said Melanie 😓
    I remember the day we had to say our final goodbyes, I thought it was the hardest thing I had to do. Living without my wonderful boy is the very hardest! So many emotions are rushing through me. Loving and prayerful hugs to all that have a child/children in Heaven!

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  4. I am coming up on the year mark of losing Brenton (11/10). His 11 month was Monday, his anniversary of marrying his true love was yesterday, and now in a week will be the year mark of the last weekend we spent as a family. I have kept up with your posts from shortly after the beginning of this long journey. It helps more than you will ever know. The following weeks are going to be tough to get through. I will be glad when they are past and am hoping I am worrying more than what will truly come to pass.

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    1. Anniversaries are hard-I’ve only had two so I’m no expert. For me there was a general tenderness and exaggerated heartache coming up to and even afterwards. And I am shocked that I continue to make it even though initially I was certain I would crumble to dust. Praying for you especially in these next days and weeks-may the Lord strengthen you and give you every needful thing. I am sorry we share this pain but thankful that we can journey together and encourage one another in the valley.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your story Melanie! My son died in May and I know there are some who may be tiring of my grief and my photos of him. But may I say you summed up exactly how I feel. I will NEVER let his memory go!! I was not aware of how many bereaved parents there are until this happened and I believe one of the ways I am able to endure every day is knowing there are others out there who understand and who will never tire of my grief. So, again, I thank you !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna, for those who haven’t experienced our pain they can’t know how very important it is for us to speak about the child we miss and the empty space in our lives and hearts now that they are gone. I am thankful you are helped by my words and thankful also for the companionship of those who understand (although I wish we were fewer).

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