Why is the Second Year SO Hard?

I remember very well the morning I woke on April 12, 2015-it was one year since I’d gotten the awful news; one year since the life I thought I was going to have turned into the life I didn’t choose.

I was horrified that my heart had continued to beat for 365 days when I was sure it wouldn’t make it through the first 24 hours. 

And I was terrified.

During that first year there were multiple punctuated stops along the way-the first major and minor holidays scattered throughout the year, a family wedding, two graduations, Dominic’s birthday and on and on.  I’d muddle through and then turn my face forward towards the next one looming in the future.

There was so much emotional upheaval, so many things to process that I was unbalanced, focused only on survival without a thought to anything beyond the next hill.

But when I realized that I’d made it through one year, was still standing, was still breathing and was (apparently) going to survive this horrible blow, I began to think about living this way for the rest of my days.

And it was overwhelming.

Facing something for a defined period of time-even an awful something-is doable.  There’s an end in sight, relief on the way, endurance will be rewarded-just hang on.

But when a heart can’t lay hold of the finish line-well, that’s enough to undo even the bravest among us.


All the things I muddled through the first year were just going to circle back around over and over and over for decades!

My grief took on a new dimension-it wasn’t something that was going away-it was life long.  

I spent the entire second year and most of the third just wrapping my mind and heart around that FACT and trying to develop tools to carry this burden for the long haul.

Every heart is different, every family unique.  

The second year is NOT harder for everyone. I’m not even sure it was HARDER for me.  But it was definitely different and full of new challenges.

It forced me to dig deeper than the first year when I was mainly in survival mode.  

The crying tapered off but the reality of my son’s absence loomed larger.  The breathless agony of his death really did grow more manageable but the prospect of this being a life sentence weighed more heavily on my heart.

But God’s grace has been sufficient in every season of my grief.  He has sustained me, strengthened me and carried me.  

i made you and i will carry you

Here I am-six weeks into year five-still standing, still fighting and still holding on to hope.

God is faithful.  

What He did for me,

He will do for you.  

god is always listening

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.

16 thoughts on “Why is the Second Year SO Hard?”

  1. Today is 4 months for me…I don’t see a day where I will stop crying and the thought of EVERYDAY for the rest of my life, living this life I don’t want or didn’t choose, is overwhelmingly heavy and sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is the third year after the death of my only child, a precious son. He was my everything. He had dealt with thoughts of suicide since 3rd grade but did not go through with it until he finally went on
    Meds for anxiety and depression. The Dr.
    overmedicated him which we feel contributed to his suicide. He was an overachiever, extremely bright, kind, compassionate, a leader, etc.
    He passed away at 36. This year at the third
    year anniversary of his death I grieved so hard that I developed severe clenching of my jaws or bruxism. It took treatment by
    four doctors to alleviate the pain.
    God has brought me through this but it still
    hurts so much! I miss my baby!


    1. Hi my name is Rose I lost my son Jason to sucide3 years now.and I’m still in a bad way he was the middle boy have 3 sons.he was so kind and gentle not like his brothers.he was always bit of a loner.the day he left I have been sick with bowel problems since.the doctor says stress.i don’t know how to live again without him

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing the promise that He walks this with us. 9 months since Hunter left. I’m TERRIFIED of the “second year”. All I’ve heard is that it’s worse. How will I survive?
    I’m searching for tools to manage the pain, turn my sorrow into joy and fulfill my purpose until I join my beautiful boy .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My father lost his only son, my older brother, to suicide just over 2 years ago. He is 80, and has aged more the last 2 years than the 10 years prior. He does not laugh, or smile any more. He is not living, he is just trying to get through each day. I feel helpless and don’t know how to help him. Can anyone offer me ANY suggestions? My heart hurts for all of you parents out there who lost their children. 💔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All I can offer is to perhaps talk to him and see if he will share his feelings back. It’s ok to be sad but it’s better to share those thoughts with someone. Bring them into the open air and look at them. Even though it hurts…


  5. Thank you… Your words, your wisdom and your grace are so very present in your posts. My son died 16 months ago. I appreciate knowing that one day I will truly learn to live again and not just limp along. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am fully embracing the second year. October 28, 2019 will make the three year mark. The second year for me was harder. Reality has set in – he is not coming back. I knew that on day 1 but maybe my heart wasn’t ready to accept it until now. In the book “A Grace Disguised” it is stated “broken bones will heal but an amputation will leave you forever changed” – this statement really spoke volumes to me. Losing a child is an amputation – a part of us is missing. We will never be the same person we were before this happened. It can either define us or transform us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We are coming up on one year of Tyler’s absence June 29th. The anxiety of all the first without him had been overwhelming this past year and I so dread Saturday! He is constantly in my thoughts and there has t been a day that my tears haven’t flowed . So hard to learn to live this new life without him, but through Gods promise I know I’ll see him again!
    Missing him until I take my last breath!
    Tyler’s Mom

    Thank you for your daily posts you describe Grief so perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am fourteen months into this new life I’m living without my youngest child. It’s really hard. The pain is not as intense, but it’s still there. I think of him all the time.


  9. I am two days shy of two months into this life I didn’t choose. Every day, I look for your posts. Most days I share them so that my friends and family can gain insight into my new ugly life. I’m waiting for God. Not quite trusting yet. It will come, of that I am sure. Thank you for sharing your journey. I hold on to the hope that I too will survive.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The “life sentence” makes me feel perpetually vulnerable Melanie. As though I am like a blister, if pricked I will burst all over the place….only to fill once again when the skin is sufficiently healed to hold.
    Still holding onto God’s fingers xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is such an accurate picture, Carol. To carry it a bit further-the shoes rubbing the blister are the only ones we can wear. And we never quite build up a callous to protect us..

      Liked by 1 person

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