Feedback Loops and Grief

I wasn’t there when Dominic left the road but I’ve imagined it in detail hundreds of times since that night nearly five years ago.

I can’t help it.

I wonder what he thought, what he felt, whether he knew…

It’s not the only tape that plays over and over in my head.

I think about his childhood and the times I probably overlooked my third of four children as I hurried to get this or that done.  I think about the arguments we had, the laughter we shared, the disappointments and challenges we faced together.

I replay birthdays and holidays and ordinary days.

Sometimes I get in a cycle that makes me smile:  Dominic playing drums in church and subtly shaking his head and sharing an eye roll with me as the congregation claps in awkward rhythm to a song-dozens of different beats, none of which were the right one.

dominic at gray haven

Sometimes I get in a cycle that draws sobs from a place I thought I had sealed off after the first two years of his absence. 

My thoughts fall into an emotional feedback loop that, like the sound wave counterpart, is all screeching, mind-numbing and painful noise.

Like a microphone too close to a speaker, the only way out of the loop is to back away and keep backing away until the cycle is broken.

Most days I can shepherd my thoughts down safe paths.  Those are the ones I share with others when they ask me to tell them about my son.

But when I’m alone and everything is quiet and my mind is left to its own devices or cued up by a random sight, sound or smell I can find my thoughts running places I’d rather they not go.

And the loop begins again.  

 

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.

24 thoughts on “Feedback Loops and Grief”

  1. Your posts are such a comfort to me. My 15 year old son drowned in a lake close to our house. He was with a friend who survived. I can’t bring myself to research drowning. I’m so afraid of what I will learn. It’s been 3 1/2 years and it still breaks my heart to think about it.

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    1. I am personally not a fan of delving into details about death in general and certainly not specifically into my own son’s death. It only adds to the pain and suffering of my mama heart. I’m so, so sorry, dear one. I pray that the Lord will overwhelm you with His grace, mercy and love and that you will hear Him sing courage over your soul. ❤

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      1. Thank you, Melanie. You have a gift with your blog posts. God is using you and Dom in a ministry no parent wants to be a part of. Praying protection and peace for you. God Bless You.
        Teri
        💜💜💜

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I was there the day my son and his wife were killed, I saw the accident start to happen, and was in motion as the car was being smashed, I was first responder and every day of my life I replay this moment. Along with the good memories. I live with not being able to help them that day.

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      1. What an added heavy, heavy weight to your burden! I am so, so sorry. Praying the Lord will overwhelm you with His grace and mercy and that He will speak courage to your broken heart. ❤

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  2. I am coming up to 10 years in March since my Connor died. He leaned on his balcony railing and it gave way (disrepair-NY Dept of Bldngs paid off by building owner instead of doing inspections) and he fell many stories, through no fault of his own. When I cant sleep at night, this is what comes to my mind. You would not believe how often people fall from buildings, etc in movies, tv.
    I dont talk about this alot but this feels like a safe place to share how hard it is to live with these thoughts. Thank you so much, friends.

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  3. Thank you so much for your posts. They have helped me a lot. I relate to so much of your writings. Riley died suddenly in an accident at work 6 months ago and is also my 3rd child. I have 4 sons. I have a lot of guilt because I don’t remember a lot of his childhood because of the craziness of life at that time. You really are such a blessing to do many of us😘

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  4. Thank you so much for your posts. They have helped me a lot. I relate to so much of your writings. Riley died suddenly in an accident at work 6 months ago and is also my 3rd child. I have 4 sons. I have a lot of guilt because I don’t remember a lot of his childhood because of the craziness of life at that time. You really are such a blessing to do many of us😘

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  5. I have replayed loops in my head, too, Melanie. Things I could have done better or differently. Things I wish I could do over again. Things I miss so much about Jason that the memories immediately bring tears to my eyes.

    For a long time, I could not even imagine the pain Jason must have felt, bearing the full brunt of a car going nearly 70 miles per hour as they were broadsided by the drunk driver. I have never looked at the police investigation, although I have full copies of every record. I believe it was the grace of God, though, that I had a dream about this when I was at a very low point. Well, it wasn’t exactly about Jason, but it gave me comfort. I wrote about it on my blog a while back, but this is the short story.

    I dreamed I was about to be hit by big truck, and I knew it wasn’t going to be able to stop in time and that I was going to die. Just as the truck was about to hit me, I felt myself lifted out of my body. I didn’t feel the impact at all. I had been pulled out the split second before the truck would have hit. And I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, when I woke up, that that’s what had happened to Jason.

    I’m sure there are people who will doubt this, as if it’s some scene from a fiction movie or that it’s wishful thinking. But, I very seldom dream. I have had several dreams over the years that I know specifically were from God and have proved specifically from God, and I firmly believe this was one of them. I’m sure a merciful God was with your precious boy, too.

    Thank you for your honesty in your writing. I appreciate it and am encouraged by it more than you will ever know.

    ~Becky

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  6. Dear Melanie,
    How you have spoken to my heart with this post. Like you, I wasn’t there when my son Matt went to heaven almost a year ago. I ache to know the details of those last minutes, but I am comforted in the certainty that he went quickly into the arms of Jesus. And the replay in my mind of all 41 of his years- the special days, the ordinary days, and the good and the not so good- just keeps rolling, and brings both sobs and smiles. God knows our hearts and our longings as we wait for the great reunion with our sons. “And we have this hope as an anchor for the soul.”
    Please keep writing Melanie. You are such an amazing support to grieving parents . I read your posts every morning .

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    1. I’m so sorry for your pain and your loss. Thank you for encouraging my heart with your words. May the Lord continue to give you the strength to hold onto hope. And may He fill your heart with His love, grace and mercy. ❤

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  7. I get it. Fortunately, but unfortunately, I watched my daughter die in ICU. A horrifying thing to watch and relive. I use happy memories to soften the ptsd. It’s called cognitive therapy. It’s helped me but sometimes those terrible moments sneak through and send me to the depths of darkness. Exhausting me to completion. Hugs.

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  8. I completely understand. I do the same thing. Usually it’s because I have overworked myself and I am physically spent. That’s when I get stuck in the loop.

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    1. Exhaustion is definitely the enemy of grief! I work to keep myself busy and then I wake up one morning or sit down one afternoon and realize I’ve made myself so tired I can no longer keep those walls up I use to sequester grief in my mind. ❤

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      1. Thank you Melanie. My daughter devastatingly stopped breathing’s nd died in my arms when she was just two months old. The memories that haunt me are the ones we never got to make. They play over and over in the imaginations of my mind and in every scene of life where she should be but isn’t. Whether two months or 24 years the memories we have with our children will never be enough. I often look through the many many photos we have of her, eventually getting to the end of the pile and have to realise again that there will never be any more of her. These are such deep sore places in my heart. The constant imagining, longing and aching for her and all that should have been. What a hard journey childloss is. I’m grateful for the anchor we have in our final hope.
        Much love and thanks for writing

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  9. It’s so heartbreaking isn’t Melanie. When I went to be filmed for the video the other day, we were on the very same football pitch where six years ago the club had been promoted to the premier division and celebrating with thousands of fans. The team’s nick name is The Tigers and their adopted anthem is “Eye of the Tiger.”
    Luke was asked to sing the song live…he had very little time to learn the guitar cords or the words. Like me he didn’t read music. I know he was not too happy with his performance.
    His dad was able to attend but unfortunately I was three days into convalesing after a back operation. I am so grateful that the club filmed him and put it on Youtube with a truly wonderful still of him.
    However, even with that proud, happy memory, on Tuesday I struggled keeping it together to get the job done 💔
    One day girl this will all be behind us, we will have them in our arms once more, until then hold on ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What an honor for Luke! I’m glad, too, that it was filmed so you could see it. I’m proud of you for being brave and sharing with others even when it’s hard.

      I can’t wait until the Day when all the heavy burdens we carry here will be finally laid down at the feet of Jesus. ❤

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  10. 😢❤️ Feeling your anguish and pain. I lost my 23 year old niece a few years ago in a car accident and am still devastated. So sorry for the loss of your son. I read your posts every evening while lying in bed. In some way they comfort me so thank you for that.

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