The Day Before It All Fell Apart

Friday, April 11, 2014:

Julian and I went to a college honors banquet and came back to the house to find Fiona home for the weekend.  I called Hector and texted with James Michael.

I turned out the light and went to sleep.  

No warning shots across the bow of life rang out to let me know what was coming.

But that Friday was the last day I spent misunderstanding the awfulness of death and the absolute uncertainty of life.

Those were the final 24 hours when I indulged in silly chatter, playful planning and the mundane tasks that used to take up most of my time.

That Friday was the last night I fell asleep thanking God that all my family were safe and secure.

It was the last night I COULD have called Dominic, but didn’t because he was coming over Saturday morning.


The sun rose for us, but not for him.

I will never forgive myself for not talking to him one last time.

I woke up in the still-dark morning to a deputy knocking on the door to tell me Dominic had been killed.

And my world fell apart.

dragging heartIt’s been [nine] years and it is not yet put back together.  Pieces have been picked up and tacked into what remains of the outer shell.

I can function.

I can even laugh.

And I am so, so grateful for the family I have still with me.  Together we are working hard to make it through.

But there are no words to help those who have never buried a child understand the depth of the pain, the sorrow and the ongoing struggle to live each day.

I miss my son.

I miss the family we used to be.

I miss the old me.

I miss being blissfully ignorant of exactly how awful death is.


I will not live long enough for this to stop hurting.

My son is gone.

He is GONE.

He is still gone.

And even [nine] years later, I can barely stand it.

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.

35 thoughts on “The Day Before It All Fell Apart”

  1. Praying for you, dear Melanie. Your words reach deep into my heart and soul as our loss of Jeff is so similar. Life here is never the same. Tears for you.💛💙

    Jeff’s mom Jeni


  2. Thank you for your words and your blog. Next month it will be 18 months since my precious angel of a girl exhaled for the last time. Her twin has been seriously ill every day of these 18 months. Am I to bury another child? The suffering of twins and siblings in general does not receive enough attention. I could not walk properly till last month. I had 12 falls and I am 60. It was as if this glorious funny child had centred her introverted serious twin and her aging mother. I love that you tell the truth. The pain does not go away. My father mourned the loss of his brother for 40 years. It is as if we belong to a community separate from the world. We play the game of life but we understand the depth of death.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Melanie, thinking of you and your Dominic today. These anniversaries can be very emotional and matter how you try to prepare for them. Your words are such a gift to all of us. I never imagined being able to comprehend what loosing a child really does to a parent. Now.. I know. My heart aches for every parent who travels this most unbearable journey. It is the most difficult and life altering pain one can imagine. I will never be able to stop re-living the moment we received a knock at our door at 4:30 a.m. on 12/29/17, where two police officers stood along with a Chaplain at our front door to deliver the unbearable news that our 20 year old son had been killed. We were led to believe it was an auto accident, however a few hours later we learned he was gunned down by total strangers. Now… 3 years, 3 months and 14 days later we are scheduled to face my son’s murderer at trial this summer. It just never ends….


  4. My watershed was a Friday/Saturday, too. My call came just after 3am. My life is now divided into before and after. Every day I say a prayer for all the people who have lost a child, whatever the age, the manner of death, or how long ago their child entered into Eternity. I don’t know if it helps them, but it helps me. Thank you for your writing.


  5. Melanie, it’s so obvious how much your words touch so many. I am so thankful, just as so many others are. You bring us together and put a voice to our pain. You help us share with those that have not gone through this the closest description that you can get to if how we feel. It’s been 4 1/2 years since I lost my youngest son. He would have been 22 on April 28th this year. Each brings some healing, but also the pain of the distance from the last time I spoke to him. It doesn’t get easier it just gets different. I am so thankful for you. I think of you often during this time of year and my heart feels for you what only a parent that has lost a child can feel. God bless you Melanie.


  6. Oh this is powerful! Everything you write hits home. AND my son who was 25 when he passed looks just like your Dominic! Same hair beard smile except for mine had blue eyes. Uncanny. 😪😭😫❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


  7. Thinking of you and your family today, it will be 8 years on October 13 that I lost my only son Christopher. Yesterday I had a baby shower for my younger daughter, and I was sitting with my older daughter who told that she wished she had a third child , her children are 13 and 10 and she is 40 now, but she lost her brother and a close friend tragically changed who she was, so full of fear etc. I am over the moon to be welcoming anew baby into our family, but I can’t help but feel the absence of Chris so strongly. I miss who we all were before. I too can barely stand it. Thank you for putting these feelings into words for me. Love and peace to you . Marybeth

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We just passed the 1 year mark. The weeks leading up to that day were horrible and I thought the progress I had made with my mental state of health would tumble back to that time. I still have flash backs of events when my heart shattered and who I was before ended. The knowledge that my beloved son Garrett knew and trusted and gave his life to Christ gives me a peace that comforts me and our family ALWAYS told each other that they were loved and cherished and treasured. I have no doubt in my mind that he knew he was loved. Thank you Melanie for helping me on this path that no mother or father can ever imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Today marks one year. Your words describe exactly how I feel. The dreaded call came at 10:38 a.m., but I find myself awake unable to sleep as I’m expecting it to happen all over again. In my head, I’m sure it will. It rained last night. My son, Ben, loved the rain so it felt fitting. The rain poured down as the tears ran down my cheeks. I couldn’t help but think about how he would have been living his last hours one year ago. My son is gone and we are changed. I want my old life back. Prayers and thoughts for you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Melanie, my heart goes out to you! 4 years for me when my world changed forever. the words you speak are exactly what I think and feel. but I dont have that gift of expressing myself like you do. Thank you!


  11. Prayers for you Melanie. We know how hard these days are, especially anniversary days. Dominic is so handsome. Thank you for writing in spite of all you’re going through, you always encourage others. You put into words what we all feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Melanie, Thanks for this post. Everything you post is meaningful to me. But this post especially. I shared it with my 3 closest friends. They so want to know how to help me and I struggle to know how to describe how my life is now. Still pondering lament and legacy from your retreat talks. Thank you!


    1. It is so hard for people to understand what we go through on a daily bases, since that dreadful day. We are empty shells of our old life. I call it a club that you can never resign from, until we take our last breath. 1993 was my year to join the club,even though the years have passed, I still feel like it was today,I’ve continued to live but in my heart it doesn’t feel like I have. Part of us died when our child died.
      Forever a Grieving Mother

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s been 5 1/2 Years for me and I feel exactly as you do! I miss my son!! I am functioning and doing life with a huge whole in my heart. I have 3 children and 1/3 of my heart is gone. I will never be whole again until I see his face again in heaven!! Thanks for putting into words how I feel!!


  14. Melanie, it is amazing that you have that text. Thank you for your great and accurate expression of loss. Dominic is such a good looking man.
    blessings @}-\–

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Exactly!
    I miss my daughter so much!
    I miss how our family used to be.
    I miss who I was.
    I too will never live long enough for it to stop hurting.
    Thank you for your words!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry for your loss and your pain. I wish no parent knew this awful road. May the Lord lift you up and carry you in His arms of love. May He flood your heart with His mercy and grace. ❤


  16. 18 months for us today. It seems like yesterday. The day before it happened we were getting ready to go see him . Busy with last minute details for the 6 hour drive. Didn’t text or phone him like I normally did, thinking we had all the time in the world to talk to him the next day. I too felt so horrible for the longest time that I hadn’t texted him with more than a ” see you tomorrow” . However , I have come to learn that words unspoken do not make a life story and I know without a shadow of a doubt that he KNEW we loved him always just as I know he loved us. I take comfort in that knowledge , and that he was laid safe into the the arms of God, his heart filled with our love to guide him through his journey.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so right-I am thankful that our family shared a culture of mutual respect, care and spoken and unspoken love. That is a great comfort to me on this side of missing my son. May the Lord continue to give you the strength you need for each new day. ❤


      1. I sometimes don’t have the strength to even want to get out of bed I lay and talk to her and my God it seems like it was only yesterday she pass but if it weren’t for the faith I have I could never get thru this it does help to talk to God no one understands this except the ones that have been thru it it hurts so bad so God helps me every day

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Yesterday was the second anniversary of Scott’s death. You are so right! There is no end to the heartache . My heart hurts. Nothing will ever change that. I miss him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My heart hurts for you dear one. I miss Dominic too. Sending hugs and love. Praying the Father makes His Presence very real to you in your heartache. ❤


      1. Dear Melanie,
        I understand the Friday to Saturday anguish…..9 years ago, Good Friday, was the last time I spoke to my son, my Brian. I remember, he held my hand as we walked to my car after shopping earlier that day. Early Holy Saturday, I heard him fall in his room….we desperately tried to save him…..first responders were unable to save him…..

        My son is gone…..I just want him to come home….after 9 years, “I can barely stand it.”

        Brian’s mom


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