Grief Triggers: Unanswered Phones

“After Florida shooting, phones rang unanswered where victims fell…”

That’s all it took to evoke wracking sobs.  

I already knew that seventeen lives had been lost in tragic violence but those words brought it home.

Because Dominic was killed in the wee hours of Saturday morning April 12, 2014 and had plans the next day with friends, his unanswered phone was the first clue for many of them that something was dreadfully wrong.

My poor surviving children were forced to field call after call, text after text:  “I was trying to reach Dom but he’s not answering his phone.  Is something wrong?”



Something is most definitely, awfully, irrevocably wrong.

I still have that phone.  It’s still connected even though it’s laid silent for nearly four years.  

I can’t give it up.

I can’t bear the thought of someone else’s voice being on the other end of that number.  

It was probably the last thing he held in his hand.  


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.

10 thoughts on “Grief Triggers: Unanswered Phones”

  1. Jason died before the whole “everyone has a cell phone” era. My husband had a work cell phone that I ran back upstairs to grab as I headed out the door to the crash site, and I was glad I had it with me. I’ve often thought that, if we had all had cell phones back then, especially Jason, we would have been able to make contact with him as he drove his friend home. It would have saved his life.

    Hugs, Melanie.



  2. I’m reminded of a post you wrote awhile back on rejoicing with those who rejoice especially this section:
    “Because I know, know, know exactly what it feels like when the outcome is disastrous, I can feel a joy that those who merely escape it will never know.
    I know by terrible experience what they are spared.
    Not only what they get to keep-
    but also what they will never be forced to understand.”
    I think about all those parents who’s children DID answer their phones …hopefully they won’t shy away from the parents of the 17 unanswered ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this picture of Dom, Melanie. Yesterday, I just wanted to enjoy a bit of Olympic coverage, and then came the “interruption” for a “Special News Report”.

    Seventeen new sets of parents, siblings, children and spouses have joined this unwanted community stricken by grief & sorrow so deep words are an entirely inadequate form of expression – the loss community. Oh, there are sounds . . . keening, wailing, & groaning . . . the sounds of a heart rending, gaping, bleeding as the very soul pumps out the horror of unrepairable, unavoidable reality – followed by stupefied silence and hollowed-out disbelief.

    We know too much. We are not left speculating or imagining the way the tv journalists do, the way adults do around the coffee machines in their offices, in quiet voices tinged with the terror of knowing it could be their child . . . next time.

    We care little about the political arguments – in fact we are infuriated by them. We care about traumatized families, students, staff and first responders who cannot unhear, unsee, undo the things they have heard, seen and done in the most desperate of moments. We care about despairing and broken hearts. In fact, sometimes we care so much that we must turn away because we can’t afford to break apart any more than we already have. And we want to shut off and unplug phones so that we cannot hear the relentlessly ringing . . . unanswered phones.

    I wish our WWW family were all in one area of the globe where we could come together to comfort each other with clutching hugs, lit candles, and shared fervent prayer rising before the One who cries with us, collecting every precious tear that spills down in agony at the high cost of sin.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a beautiful smile! I am with you – I have Jeff’s phone number, still connected. I call him off and on to just hear his voice and leave a sad momma’s message of love. Thanks, Melanie… Heartfelt tears and prayers for those who lost someone in Florida.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Up until 3 months ago I too had my son’s voicemail. In the 6 years that Jacob has been gone I told myself to record the “recording” ….. I never did 😞 and something went wrong at Verizon and his voicemail vanished. Nothing they can do to retrieve….. but I still won’t deactivate his phone. I’m afraid his picture will vanish from my contacts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. In case you are interested, you can port the phone number to Google for one-time fee of $20. Then it can’t ever be picked up by anyone else, if you cancel the phone service. It can ring through to any number if you want it to. Jordan’s rings through to my phone. It took me 2 years to turn her phone back in. Now I am regretting it since you mentioned it was probably the last thing that Dominic held, as I’m sure that it was the last thing Jordan held. I know that she face-timed her friend maybe 20 minutes before.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: