I’ve spent the past two days fighting anxiety and panic.

Breath caught mid-throat, chest pounding, sobs threatening, head throbbing-just like that first day 47 months ago. 

A series of events broke down the defense I’ve carefully constructed that helps me make it through most days without tears.

I did pretty good. 

I managed a family dinner, church and a covered dish luncheon with no one any the wiser.  

Underneath it all I was barely hanging on.  

I love that my words give expression to my feelings, thoughts and experience and also help others give expression to theirs.  But sometimes I’m afraid that the people closest to me think that because I can write about it, I must be a bit beyond it-detached, clinical, untouched.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  

I feel every. single. thing.  

My heart hurts like every other bereaved parent.  My brain struggles to comprehend the reality of my son’s death and a lifetime without his earthly companionship.  I fight for my faith.  I cry out to God.  I feel lonely, misunderstood, abandoned, frightened, and so, so sad.

grief bubble

I am fragile. 

Like moth’s wings. 

The slightest touch threatens to undo me.  




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.

12 thoughts on “Fragile”

  1. Melanie,
    In the short time that I have been in your orbit, I have observed the amazing degree to which your words serve to lift all of us around you. I never encountered you for the first 51 years of my life and yet, now, each of my days begin with turning to your words…your heart…your remarkable insight. Most of all, I turn to you for your astounding capacity to articulate so many of my deepest thoughts, emotions and questions as I stumble through these earliest days of our breathtaking loss of Emily.

    What I know is that you play the same role in the lives of so many other bereaved mothers, women who you comfort with your uncanny ability to replicate our hearts with your perfect turn of phrase.

    I suspect that you, despite your humility, have some sense of the role that you play in all of our fragile, shaky lives. You are a comfort. A salve. A balm. As beautiful as it is, you run the risk of losing you own wellness in the middle of your caring for each of us in our shared tragedy.

    Melanie, you are a gift and a blessing. Please know how much all of us care for you and how our hearts break for the loss of your darling Dominick. Please pause in your support of all of us to take time to care for yourself. As you know, grief is the ultimate shape-shifter, transforming into a new attack the moment we have managed to overcome the last attack.

    In the four months since Emily ran ahead, Melanie, you have been nothing short of the face of Christ in my life. I am not alone. Know that I speak on behalf of the countless women who you support as we wrap our loving arms around you and hold you in your shattered brokenness.

    My prayer is that tomorrow is a better day. That, somehow, the ragged edges of today’s grief soften from a raw and breathless terror into a dull ache that can be endured more easily…that the horror of Dominick’s death can be eclipsed by the beauty of his life, and your confidence in the joy that awaits at the end of these earthly days. May you recognize the profound support you have given to so many……even in this life you didn’t choose.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I agree. Melanie, thank you for sharing your fragility. I do depend on your words to point me to hope when all I feel is despair. But we all know that you need prayers, too. Take good care of yourself. Rest. Say no if you need to. This life is hard and waiting is harder. With love and prayers💛💙


    2. How can I respond to such grace, gentleness and kindness? “Thank you” sounds hollow but I mean it from the core of my being! I do so want to allow God to use this pain and journey to help other hearts. I’m so thankful it has helped yours.

      I wish we did not share the burden of child loss but since we do, am blessed to know you are walking with me.

      May the Lord continue to give you what you need for each new day and may He overwhelm your heart with His love, grace and mercy. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read this at such a perfect time Melanie. In the throes of deep anxiety and the world seems so dark and gloomy at present. One moment I think I’m tracking ok-ish and the next…bam! And the fact the the people closest to me think I’m doing well just kills me to the core. We hide ourselves and our inner turmoil to make life easier for those around us. They can never understand…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Grief won’t always be so crippling. An older woman told me the first 5 years are shock, and I found this to be true. It took that long to settle into the new “normal” and accept that life must go on and I must live as responsibly and intentionally as I once did—for the glory of God.

    That does not mean, however, that you leave your child’s memory behind. Far from it. You will still have those moments, those days, those weeks that range from the old kick in the stomach to that sad longing to see them and touch them and talk to them. But it will become more personal, more sacred than ever; and the tears will be welcome reminders of your great love.

    I’ve cried writing this post; it’s the second time I’ve cried (alligator tears) in 30 minutes as I read through a friend’s FB post about Klint’s smile being permanently etched in her memory. It will be 27 years since Klint ran ahead on April 10, 1991–Just 7 weeks before his HS graduation. Few folks, including family, know how how often I cry; I’m glad they can’t fathom this kind of pain. Heck—they’re clueless it even exists. Our gracious Lord gave me a new husband about 2 years following Klint’s death; he married me in the throes of grief and has been a solid, compassionate supporter through it all—from the funeral onward. He got to know Klint while we were dating; and he has been a very special blessing to me and our family.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Melanie. I get it. Wednesday will mark 8 years since my Connor died. I could never know how difficult this life is. I feel like my head is going to explode. The important people are letting me down. I try & try- Walks on the beach help cleaning up branches outdoors after the storm, long walks. I am asking them for quiet times yet imp people in my life keep wanting me to engage in family discussions re care of a loved one, major schedule issues, life. Somehow, I thought the rest of life issues would stop but they didn’t. My family has been affected by every imaginable stressor since. I wake today feeling “I didn’t get it right” again. thank you for your post. I am sorry for your pain. Here’s to our sons!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nope. Life goes on-and isn’t that a slap in the face? In some ways child loss has put things in perspective. Many of the things that used to bother me don’t. But in another way, child loss keeps my energy level so much lower than before even the “little things” can drain me dry. Praying that the Lord gives you what you need for each new day. ❤


  5. Broken hearted to read this. So often I feel the opposite detached, clinical, but never untouched. I think both ends of the spectrum are equally painful in different ways. You can’t escape the overwhelming feelings and I feel broken, abnormal, filled with guilt and shame. Somehow the detachment accuses me of not truly loving my children or not loving them enough anyway. It’s a mental barrier I can’t seem to break through. Something is definitely wrong with me. I shouldn’t be like this! It’s downright frightening. Am I just a shadow of myself?


    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are so insightful and helpful, Janet. I’ve been on the opposite end as well and like you, wonder if there is something wrong with a mama heart that doesn’t feel undone every moment of every day. Most of the time I function in a kind of no-man’s-land where I feel what I feel but am able to push it down adequately and deal with the details of everyday life. These past days really surprised me. Walking up my driveway I barely made it to the house because of an anxiety attack (not the full blown, feels like a heart attack variety-but, still).

      Thank you for the kindness and compassion. You are a faithful companion on this journey. ❤


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