Child Loss is Not a Single Event

Child loss is not a single event. 

Of course the moment when the last breath leaves a body is noted and duly recorded because the law requires such.  I can pull out Dominic’s death certificate (what an ugly thing to have to say about my child!) and it reads:  Time of Death:  1:10 a.m. April 12, 2014.  

But I didn’t know about it until 4: 15 that morning when the deputy rang the bell.  

So for me, his death came then.  

For family members away from home it happened when I called them.

Others found out later that day or the next.

Yet hearing the words and swallowing them down deep where my heart could comprehend them were two different things.  I think it wasn’t until I saw his body that it truly dawned on me he was not coming back.  This was not a dream or a mistake or happening to someone else.  It was very, very real.

That was just the beginning.  

I continue to experience loss every time there is a moment when Dominic SHOULD be here but he isn’t.  Every time one of his peers gets married, has a child, makes a career move, celebrates a promotion-I think, “Dominic would be doing this if he were still here.”

When our family gathers for photos and the gap where he should be standing is closed in by another body, squeezing his presence from the record of our lives, my heart sinks.  I smile-that’s what you are supposed to do for pictures-but my mind is working double-time to keep the tears in check.

My living children touch base with me nearly every day-a habit they had before Dom left us but one reinforced by the knowledge that no one wants to regret the phone call or text they didn’t make.  But just like the photographs, his absence is highlighted by their intentional presence. 

When extended family ask for updates on my kids, I have to mindfully skip Dominic and land on Julian.  They don’t notice the tiny pause but my heart marks the place and mourns the lack of news for my third born.

I know for other people Dominic’s death was a date on the calendar.

This realization was very painful at first because my wound is so deep and my sorrow so great.  I’ve made peace with that now.  I understand why folks can move on and forget.  The loss happened-past tense-and their lives are full of new people, new activities, new connections and commitments.  That’s how it should be.

But for me, the loss is an everyday event.  It continues to happen.  It will continue to happen.  

I’m not “dwelling” on my son’s death anymore than I am “dwelling” on my living children’s lives.

They are my children.  

Loved and remembered-every one.


mother and child painting





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 “Child Loss is Not a Single Event”

  1. Yes that sulent pause when people as about your children. I never want to name them and skip over my Christopher. I don’t want him to lose his place in iur line up. So I too silently name him because epeoeple wouldn’t understand. His death date might be a date on a calendar but to me,to his family it marks a seismic change in our lives. Thank youbforboce again giving words to my very complex feelings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This seems to be today’s theme…. today on Facebook other moms and I discussing this very thing.
    I despise the shock of how shocking it still feels, almost 4 years later. The grief when it wells up to overspilling, is beyond belief….as strong and explosive and heart crushing as it was day one. To think that we face the rest of our lives, the first thing we see is NOT seeing her in that new family photograph. I pick up the now dog-eared mother’s day card, the last one from her. And I know that’ll be my first thought on mother’s day, the thought of a card I would not be getting from her this year. God help us make it through the rest of our lives, please

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very True..The Death of a child. Never Leaves, Always present. The Lump in your throat. The sting of the tears forming in your eye.It is Honestly pure Hell. My best description of the constant pain, (I hide very well) Is ” A Nightmare You Never Awaken From” My Son Hanged himself. 3-6-13. Life does move on, coping and dealing for some of us is just a lot more taxing. Make plans to allow a time to bawl, I usually get up early for it.

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  4. You have said this with perfection! How many times I have tried to explaine my love for all four and live for them every day! Our only some passed. I love and embrace your written words “ I’m not dwelling on my sons death anymore than I’m dwelling on my living children’s lives”
    Thank you so much!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I was thinking this very thing today, how for other people that knew Nicholas and us, the day of his death has become in time just a date on the calendar. But for us, he dies every day. Every time I walk past his room, or I spot a soccer ball in the yard or drive past his school or see one of his friends. For me, he dies every time I recall his absence. May the Lord give us all strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Melanie, I agree that our child’s death isn’t a single event, but rather a lifetime event. In time, at least for me, the gaping hole from Veronica’s death isn’t as gaping, my tears are much less, and I no longer need to say I have 3 children when asked how many children I have. Veronica is always in my memory and in my heart. A picture of her remains on my bedroom wall, which was the last picture taken of her…💛 🌼 💛

    Liked by 1 person

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