Over The Edge

Trigger warning:  I discuss my loss in terms of falling.  If you have lost a loved one to that kind of accident, you might want to skip this post.  ❤

I really don’t know how to explain it to anyone who has not had to repeatedly face their greatest fear. 

It takes exactly as much courage. 

Every. Single. Time.

I have had a dozen major surgeries in my life.  I am always just as anxious when they start the countdown to anesthesia.  Doesn’t matter what they push in my IV line-that moment when I realize I am relinquishing all control to the hands of others frightens me.

I feel like I am falling over the edge of a cliff-nothing to hold onto, no way to stop what’s coming, no way to clamber back up and change my mind or change what’s about to happen.

It’s the same every spring since Dominic ran ahead to heaven. 

From the middle of March to the middle of April my body responds to cues my mind barely registers.  Sights, smells, change in the length of the day, the direction of the prevailing wind-a hundred tiny stimuli make my nerves fire in chorus declaring, “It’s almost THAT day!”

There is another underlying dissonance that begs the question, “Why didn’t you see it coming?” Or, at least, “Why didn’t you spend a little more time with him on those last two visits home?”

Dominic was busy that spring-an internship with a local judge, papers and responsibilities as a journal editor along with the demanding reading load of second year Law School meant he didn’t make the 30 miles home all that often.

But there were a couple days he came our way in the month before he died. 

One was to bring a friend’s car and do a bunch of work on it.  That day was chilly and I popped out a few times to chit chat as they labored under the shed in the yard.  I made lunch and visited with them then.

Still, I kind of felt like I shouldn’t hover over my grown son even though I really missed him and wanted badly to talk to him about something other than car parts.

The jacket he wore and dirtied that day with oil and grease and dirt and gravel grit is still hanging in what we use as a mud room. 

Unwashed.

Because they were coming back to do more repairs in a few weeks.

It is only now finally free of the last scent of him.  

doms jacket

The next visit was on a day when I was busy, he was busy and we were all frustrated over equipment that wasn’t working properly.  He brought me some medicine from the vet in town for a sick horse and spoke briefly about whether or not we’d cut some fallen limbs in a bit.  Then he went to help his brother try to get the backhoe cranked.  I was suffering from a severe flare in my ankle so was only able to hobble out to the spot the stupid thing had stopped for just a minute before needing to hobble back inside to put my foot up and allow it to rest.

He left early because I wasn’t up to cutting logs and neither he nor his brother could crank the infernal machine. 

I remember that before he left, I made a point of turning him to face me and hugging him tight while telling him how very proud I was of him and everything he was doing and becoming.  A little unusual because Dominic was the least huggable of all my children.  He was no cuddler.

It was not a premonition-I was prompted by the knowledge he was going into finals and had been stressed lately.  

But I am so glad I did it.  

And then-poof!-time flies like time does and he and his brother were off on a Spring Break trip.  They texted me faithfully to let me know they made it safely to their destination, safely to my parents’ home in Florida for a few days after that and then safely back home.

dom and julian spring break

I never saw him alive again.  

Spring is not my favorite season anymore.  

While my heart can appreciate the promise of new life declared in every budding flower, every unfurling leaf, every newborn bird and calf and lamb, it is also aware that every living thing dies.

julian and dominic coffee at elaines wedding
Living on a farm I’ve buried a lot of things in this Alabama dirt, I never thought my brother would be one of them. I miss you so much Dominic! ~Julian DeSimone

I’m on the edge and falling off.  

I can’t stop it. 

And it’s just as frightening this time as last time.  

 

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.

17 thoughts on “Over The Edge”

  1. My daughter died in the spring too, a week after Easter. The new life of spring and everyone’s excitement feels like an affront, a discordant note and so cruel and cold despite the warming weather. Because she’s gone and not here to enjoy it. Maybe someday spring will be a less painful season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry! Yes, that’s a good description-discordant. It was just last year (year 3) that I was able to lean in a little to the resurrection celebration. I am clinging with everything I have to the promises of God in Christ but the way we celebrate is still hard for my heart. For me, quiet reflection is most healing. Praying for you this spring. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Spring is also the time of year when our son, Jonathan , went home to be with the Lord. It was on a bright sunny spring day in April when he was on his motorcycle going to his apartment from his college campus, an hour drive. I had seen him four days earlier on Easter Sunday when he was at our home. I was tired that day and took a nap after dinner, so I never got to give him a last hug. And my memory couldn’t recall exactly when we’d last hugged. I do remember our last conversation as we sat on the couch with a baby duck on his lap. He joked about how it would make a great decoy for his hunting. But then handed it to me as he said he didn’t want to chance getting his white jeans soiled because he was on his way to a birthday party in a little while.
    So , this time of year when all the motorcyclists come out , my heart starts sinking and reliving that time period in our life. He was 21 and this was 20 years ago this April 16th. I will pray for you, Melanie and remember you as I travel through these next few weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dom was riding his motorcycle too. Coming from downtown Tuscaloosa (he attended UA School of Law) to his apartment. Less than a mile from home he ran off the road in a curve.

      We live in a rural area and our road is a popular motorcycle riding “trail”. Hearing the roar of the bikes at the end of my lane hurts my heart every time.

      Praying for both of us, dear mama. May the Lord give us the strength to endure and to finish strong. ❤

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  3. Oh Melanie I am thinking of you. This pain is so deep but I do know that grief is love and when I focus on that it somehow makes sense. I’ll be praying for you. Sending lots of love.❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right-grief IS love. My motto is “Love Wins” and “Love Lives”. I thought I understood Paul’s words when he wrote, “Love endures forever” before Dom left us. But now I realize I truly didn’t. Love is the most powerful force on earth. God’s love overcame our sin and death through the sacrificial blood of Christ. Our love for Jesus binds us to Him, hides our hearts in His and guarantees that we will spend eternity with Him and our children who love Him.

      And love will ultimately redeem and restore everything the enemy has stolen. Hallelujah! Amen.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I read your blog every day, & so many times it is the ONE thing that helps me walk through the endless minutes without my son. Today is his birthday…..the first of forever birthdays without him. I know what you mean about falling. Every. Day. We miss him so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. These milestone days are very hard. The only way through is through! Praying that you feel the Father’s loving arms around you today, especially, and that He whispers, “Courage, My child” to your wounded heart. ❤

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  5. “Repeatedly facing your greatest fear” Yep. Tomorrow will be our first anniversary of Brooke’s accident (she passed instantly). The last few weeks have been as awkward as the early weeks and months. Brain fog and, what I term, “catastrophic clumsiness.” All part of a new cycle of life – watching the seasons shift around a defining moment. God bless you, Melanie!

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  6. Isn’t it true that moments, days, weeks and even months in our lives can race by, taking on blurred dimensions in retrospect….but those final moments with our living child are replayed in slow motion with every minute detail in focus. God blessed me with a wonderful meal with Emily before her sudden death; smiles and jokes and affection that will forever animate and linger in my memory. Take courage, Melanie; your sweet boy knew how deeply you loved him. ❤️

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  7. Our tragedy was in spring as well and the profound sensory overload is difficult at best. Funny, I wrote about that very thing in my blog a few weeks ago as well. There is comfort in our shared (although always very different) experiences. Thank you for your words. I love your blog. I am helped so often by your reminders of our Hope in Christ. I struggle with my faith still.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So thankful that Jacob’s door was not shut all the way and I was able to peek in and see him sleeping before I left for work. My last image of him before my world exploded…. oh how I cling to those memories. So feeling your pain.

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  9. Oh Melanie, my heart is so touched and crying out for comfort on your behalf – I am especially praying for you at this time of year … it won’t be long before we bask in the glory of our Lord – forever reunited with all those that have journeyed Home ahead of us … but don’t we miss our boys 😢 —- my spirit groans – I have no words 😶 to describe it. I Love You ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you sweet friend! We all have our milestone days, triggers and memories. I know I’m not alone in this Valley-both because my Shepherd is here and so many precious hearts walk alongside (although I wish no one else had to). Yes, groaning is the right way to say it. ❤

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