When Your First Thought Is, “Oh No, Not Again!”

Last night I woke to my youngest son’s ringtone at nearly midnight.

I missed the call but when I looked, realized it was the third time he’d tried.  

My heart skipped several beats as I dialed him back only to have it go directly to voicemail.  I tried again and a second later, he answered.

“What’s wrong??!!!”

(Because he never calls me late at night unless something is wrong!)

Julian was downstairs at the front door and needed me to let him in because he’d received some odd texts from his dad- a series of random letters and emojis scrolled across his screen.

He’d tried to call him.  No answer. 

Tried texting him back.  No message except more of the same random letters and images.  

So he drove over from his house just a few miles away, the whole time running a dozen scenarios through his head.

  • “Is dad having a stroke? Mom is asleep upstairs and won’t know.”
  • “Is someone in the house and dad’s only able to randomly swipe his thumb on the screen trying to ask for help?”
  • “Why won’t mom answer her phone?  Do they have her too?”

Five miles and ten minutes is a lifetime when all you can think of is another family member needing help- or worse.  

As I was coming downstairs to let Julian inside, my husband woke up and asked me what was wrong.  We got to the door at the same moment and let our big, burly bear of a son inside.

It took him a split second to realize that all was well and then it poured outthe fear, the panic, the intense self-control necessary not to simply break down the door and barge in, the pent up grief that lives inside each one of us since Dominic left and is always about to spill out and over when we think of another loss.  

He melted into his dad’s arms.  

This is how our hearts are wired since that morning nearly five years ago. 

When the thing you never think will happen, happens, it becomes the first thing you think of when you can’t get in touch with someone. 

Panic is always a breath away.  

family never gets over the death of a loved one


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.

20 thoughts on “When Your First Thought Is, “Oh No, Not Again!””

  1. Melanie, this brought tears to my eyes. I recognize in the depths of my soul the panic at the thought of something else being wrong or something happening to another one of my dearly loved family members. Yes, you are absolutely correct – panic is just a breath away when you have experienced that one thing you never thought would happen and it tears your world apart. Jason’s death tore our world apart and it affects the way I react to everything. I especially feel like I have been living on the verge of panic since my husband’s heart attack in November. Every bump in the road nearly puts me over the edge. I just need for him to be okay. I can’t lose him.

    Hugs to you.


  2. Donna,
    I’m so sorry that you have had your heart broken so many times. I’ve often wondered what i would do if my little angel was taken before me. Who would care for her, who would watch out for her in heaven? Why stay in a life that is so painful? But I have belief in a God who can make the best out of the worst and I know that you have a beautiful story and a soul of intrinsic value to our God. There is still good you can do here in this life. There are lives to be blessed and other lives that will bless yours as you continue to live it. Ones you have loved and gone on before you will care for your precious children. God does not forget them. Surround yourself with people who love you and pray for peace and direction. It will come.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are used to always feel that I would go before Jimmy who lived 45 beautiful years but you always want one more time one more day I had gone to the cemetery and made my plans for my dad so that Jimmy would not have to deal with it never thinking that I would lose Jimmy but it happened and now I wake up every morning thinking do I really have to go through one more day without him . My prayers are for the end. my prayers are for the end


  3. Oh Melanie. The gut-wrenching panic of this grips at my very core! I have felt this utter terror a few times since Emily died 14 months ago. I can even get ‘there’ just imagining a scenario where one of our other two kids or Peter is suddenly at risk…pure terror. And, as sweet Julian reminded me above, we mothers and fathers are not the only ones living lives marked by instant fear and panic, triggered by very active imaginations that have experienced ‘the worst’ and know it CAN happen. Sigh. Thank you for your words- they articulate so often what I remain unable to articulate myself. ❤️ Colleen


  4. My son died in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t his fault 8 months ago. Every day my husband rides his bike to work, and comes homes home in the dark. And EVERY DAY I wonder if today will be the day he doesn’t come home. Will I get a phone call that he’s in a hospital? Will today be the day I see another officer at my door delivering the news that he’s not coming home? I put an app on his phone unknown to him after he was a little late a couple of times. It lets me watch as he travels, so I can look at it on my phone at any time, and know exactly where he is. My purse is always by the door now. I have chargers and cords in it for my phone and IPad. I keep both nearby as I cook dinner, waiting for him to come home, but always ready just in case I need to leave in a hurry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh I can so relate to this!!! I have lived with this fear and tried to push out it of my head. I would always try to think positive but because it did happen again I have no advice. I prayed for my son and for God to keep him safe. No good. It happened again. I find it hard to pray at all anymore. My thoughts are , What next, Take me i am ready, and are you done yet!!! HELP!!!


  5. This is sooo true!
    One of my biggest fears after my daughter died was that one of my two surviving children would die as well.
    The unimaginable happened once,
    Surly it could happen again!!!

    Many nightmares and false alarms later, I realized I had to give this fear over to God.
    It took a couple years of praying, believing in God’s Sovereignty
    And giving control over to Him, That I now can sleep at night and not have a panic attack when I don’t hear from my … now grown children

    Thank you Jesus!💗

    Get Outlook for iOS


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I felt it too as I read today’s post, took me right back to that day. My heart breaks for your son, Melanie, as our children have to navigate this world without their sibling.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. you cannot be more right. That panic lies in wait just under the facade we have in place telling the world we are ok. We are not ok. We are not who we were. That panic was not something that was relieved by finding out all the remaining family is ok. That panic became my reality. At 6am the phone rang, at seeing it was my ex-husband that panic leapt into action. Then I heard the words. “It’s Jason honey, someone stabbed him and then dropped him off at the ER and left in his truck.” As I heard myself saying the words, I already knew the answer, I felt it in my bones. “Is he ok?”. And the next words hit me deep in my soul. “No, honey, he didnt make it”. The biggest fear that really I had believed could not possibly happen again. No way could fate tell me that after finding my oldest son on Aug 20, 2014 after his completed suicide followed closely behind by younger brother Jason, that 2 1/2 years later it would be Jason who was now gone. It cant be that I now have to bury my only other child. But I did. On Jan 28, 2017, Jason was stabbed by his friend. The friend did everything in the world to cover up his crime, lying to police, disposing of the weapon, not calling for help. Long story, but it ends with the DA dropping the case after putting his fist witness on the stand and not even attempting to show the lies in the testimony. So I had my third soul crushing trauma in 4yrs. That was less than 2 months ago. I have nothing left to loss in this world yet Im still here. Why? Why the hell am I stuck in this world without either of my children. No chance for grandchildren. No one to leave family treasures to. No one that they even matter to. My entire family has been wiped off the face of the earth. Our bloodline canceled. There is reason for the panic. There is a real fear of it happening again. Because it can happen again. And it’s just a horrible as you fear. I dont want to be here anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Donna. I am so sorry. There truly no words that can take away your pain. I am certain me mentioning the love of Jesus will probably ring on deaf ears but He does love you! I too have struggled with why my son but I just have to trust Him and know that He sees the big picture and for whatever reason (His ways are not my ways) our children are no longer with us. I just have to have faith that He will use me for His glory through all of this pain and that one day I will be reunited with my son Steven forever 34. I am resting in that hope for that is all I have. Hugs to you and prayers for you. 💔💔

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Donna, I have sobbed reading your story. How much pain can one mother suffer? I don’t know, cannot even fathom. Not one, but 3. Although I can’t understand the depth of your grief, I can empathize. I had one. One nearly perfect son. On my hardest days, you know, before, I used to joke that God gave me one great kid, instead of 5 bad ones. (But secretly longing for a few more, if God felt I deserved them). Evidently, He did not agree with that. And so much so, that He took that nearly perfect angel back too. I don’t know if I’m even a mother anymore? I feel purposeless, often worthless, aimless. Some days I pray so hard to not open my eyes, and some days, I acknowledge He may have a little more for me to do. But I know who I’ll see first, when I do finally close my eyes to this world, and open them in the next. That handsome, curly brown haired boy that I’m missing so desperately. He’ll be waiting for me to get there. How I pray for His unfailing love and comfort of your heart, strength for this journey and may we meet someday, in the dark, along this path. I would like to hug you tight. I wish for words of comfort, but I don’t know many. Just know that you are being prayed for (mightily!) I don’t know God’s plan for my life, or yours, or why these terrible things happen, but I do know, one day, He’ll show me all (but maybe, by the time I get there, it will no longer matter). My heart’s love to yours.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What precious, compassionate comfort from one broken heart to another! I am so sorry for your pain and loss. T’hank you for encouraging Donna and me with your honest and hope-filled words. May the Lord hold you tight, fill you with His grace and love and give you strength to endure. ❤


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