What’s It Like Four Years Down the Road of Grief? Exhausting.

In four days it will be four years.

Four years since I woke to the news that my son was dead.

Four years since what I thought was going to be my life was shattered.  

Four years since I was forced to walk a road I do not want to travel.

Four years into the life I did not choose.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately which won’t surprise any bereaved parent reading this.

We think.  A lot.  

About what might have been.  About what is. About what it might be like to live for years or decades still carrying the weight of missing.

One thing that surprises me about life as a grieving parent is how ordinary it remains.  My world was shattered.  But THE world was not shattered.

My family is a tiny drop in the sea of humanity and our up-close tragedy is not even on the radar in the larger scheme of things.  If headlines about mass shootings drop to page ten in a week, how much more unlikely anyone but those intimately involved in our story will be thinking about it a month, a year, four years later?

All the things I had to do BEFORE Dominic left us I still have to do.  

melanie feet crocs and driveway step

The grass grows, clothes get dirty, food must be prepared. 

Friends have birthdays, holidays roll around, kids finish school, get married and have babies.  

This juxtaposition of internal disarray with ordinary routine means I spend a great deal of energy bringing my attention around to what needs to be done instead of allowing my mind to wander down memory lane or explore “what-ifs” or “why-nots”.

Everything I do requires more energy than it used to.  Everything takes more planning, more intentional action, more effort.  

So I’m tired.  

Four years in and I am. so. so. tired.  

This surprises me too.

I thought I’d be better at it by now.  

I’m not.  




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.

37 thoughts on “What’s It Like Four Years Down the Road of Grief? Exhausting.”

  1. My heart sends love and prayers from California as you mark year four. I am so very sorry, Melanie.

    Jeni, Jeff’s mom…missing him for 3 years and almost 4 months💙💛


    1. My deepest condolences. My Lindzie
      Wilson was murdered Last year. My only daughter alot of first have some and gone and a couple more to go.I hope in four years it’s easier but.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for your post Melanie and my deepest sympathy to you and your family. I lost my husband 4 years ago and, like you, I thought it would get easier but it really doesn’t seem to. I can live and laugh and smile but that emptiness is always there lurking..x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Melanie, Please know that I am thinking of you. I am 6 weeks away from the 1 year anniversary of losing my son. Only other bereaved parents seem to understand me. The world has moved on. Your writings have helped me immensely. I just keep hanging on to my Lord. There has to be a reason for all this pain. You are in my prayers. With love, Helen


  4. I just past four years that my son ran a head to heaven. It is extremely difficult, and energy draining. Everything is so much harder now. My short term memory is just a fog. I learn things every day to bring with me in this journey just to forget them weeks down the road. I just want to learn enough to help someone else. So thank you Melanie for writing this blog, because it reminds all of us we are not alone in our journey without our beautiful amazing love ones. My prayers are with you, and your family always.


    1. I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. I hate that we share this burden but am thankful you find a bit of comfort reading what I write. Thank you for the prayers! It speaks courage to my heart to hear that others are lifting us up. May the Lord give you exactly what you need for each new day and may He overwhelm your heart with His love, grace and mercy. ❤


  5. It’s not yet two years since Luke died and I totally agree, it is so exhausting. It feels as though I am living two lives at the same time…the internal one that is on a continuous loop and the one that runs parallel, the one everyone else sees. I have accepted this has become my new life but it is oh so tiring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Living in that dual space-the internal dialog and the external world-is SO tiring! I can’t get over how much energy it takes to remain focused when other people are talking to me. It’s better when I’m working on a task alone because then I’m only dealing with my own thoughts. I pray that the Lord makes Himself very real to you each day and that He gives you the strength you need for this journey none of us would choose to make. ❤


      1. Thank you Melanie. I work in a school part time and usually go home for a “nana nap” during the afternoon to recoup. It works for me 😁


  6. It will be 4 years for me on June 17th. It is exhausting. And nothing holds as much care or concern for me anymore. My sister disowned me, oh well. I have no more passion really. I have no energy for all the drama of life. I think about my daughter every single day. I look for signs every single day. I don’t feel secure in life anymore, it is so, so fragile. I think it makes me know what is important and what is not. My give a damn is busted for what is not. In trying to stay whole or sane or maybe even functioning, I am living life in monotones. I think that explains it best. I don’t think you can really explain it to someone who hasn’t lost a child. But, all the mommas that have lost a child know exactly what I’m saying and what you explained in your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monotone is a perfect descriptor! Things are washed out, gray, less colorful and less dramatic. I do feel joy and happiness now-even though I thought I never would again. But it is muted. I’m so sorry you know this pain as well. May God give you the strength to endure. ❤


  7. I feel your pain, frustration, & exhaustion. I, also have a 3-year anniversary in four days. I can’t wrap my head around it all. How fast and slow the time has passed. I also lost my husband 5 months ago in 2 days…My mind jumps back and forth grieving for Kyle (my son) then Mark (my husband). Mark was only 59 years old. I think he died from a broken heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh goodness! I am so, so sorry for your multiplied pain and loss. It is absolutely possible to die from a broken heart. May you feel the Father’s loving arms around you, lifting you up and giving you strength. ❤


  8. Melanie, going on 7 years in September for me and I am sorry to say it does not get better.  If I can encourage you though; your words pour into my tired, aching heart.  I also am so very tired.  Just taking one day at a time, standing in the truths of God’s word, and allowing my heart to be open daily. Ann Hebert

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ann. That is encouraging to hear the posts help another heart. I’m so sorry we share this pain but thankful we share our hope in Christ. ❤


  9. Thank you, Melanie, for your timely post; I can certainly relate.Yesterday was five years for one of our children and June 5th marks the 36th year for another. I don’t think the “missing” gets any easier this side of Heaven. One glorious day, Jesus promised His children all things would be made new, that death would be no more, and He would wipe away the tears from our eyes. Until that day, may He continue to comfort our hearts, to give us His peace, and remind us in the midst of our “missings” that our shattered hearts, broken dreams, and disrupted lives will represent only a moment in light of eternity.
    Thank you for your writing; it greatly encourages me, and likely many others, on our grief journeys.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am very thankful we have the hope in Jesus that all this will be redeemed and restored. I know in my heart of hearts it will be but a blip in light of eternity and on good days I can remember and cling to that. On not so good days-well, eternity seems too far to hold onto. I pray we all finish well and will one day rejoice together. ❤


  10. You said it perfectly when you said everything takes more effort now. So true and so exhausting. I feel that way, a lot. I am
    so tired of having to use so much energy on the daily just to complete routine things!! Hang in there, mama. You are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It is always a sigh of relief knowing I’m not alone in my feelings. I wish we weren’t so alike in our journey, I wish we weren’t on this road at all, but since we are, I’m thankful for finding your blog. I’ve commented before how close our timeline of loss is. My son went home 4 years ago 9/27. I’m exhausted. It’s especially hard right now, he would be graduating from High School on May 11th.
    I’ve gotten good at the “I’m doing fine, I’m ok, facade”. I work full time and I do essential oil classes as often as I can and outside of that I don’t accomplish much. I feel like I am failing. The conflict of time is so tiring. I feel like time drags by and it is gone in a second at the same time. I tell myself I’m going to go watch his friends play baseball or rodeo and then I vapor lock and don’t go.
    That makes me feel like an utter failure.
    Thank you for being a light to this darkness.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We do the best we can. That’s all we can do. I’m so sorry that you have this burden to bear. It’s heavy and it’s hard. Praying that the Lord will overwhelm your heart with His love, grace and mercy and give you the strength you need for each new day. ❤


  12. I have two siblings and a friend who lost their young adult children very unexpectedly this past year and a young couple who lost a young child. My heart continues to hurt for them. Your posts help me know how to pray for them

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for letting me know that the posts help non-grievers. That’s one of my prayers when I write-that those outside the child loss community might benefit from knowing what it’s like on the inside. May the Lord bless you for blessing your friends and family with compassionate companionship. It makes such a difference!


  13. 3 years tomorrow for my son……… your words are spot on.. ….. today is my birthday …..I now dread it coming every year. Because I know what the next day brought😢

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m soooooooooooo sorry that happen to your son. I’m glad that kids can choose if they want to join the Army and fight for our Country. My Son will Not join He doesn’t want to. And if it got soooooooo bad I would move to Canada for him Not have to do what he doesn’t want to do.


    1. This son was not in the military. He was killed on a motorcycle. I have another son in the military and as the daughter of a retired AF General, am proud of his service. I appreciate your kind compassion. ❤


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