A Whole Series of “Lasts”

One of the things even the most uninformed person understands about loss is that the first birthday, the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas and all the “firsts” after loss will be hard.

But one of the things no one tells you about is that a heart will mark the “lasts” just as much.

The last time I saw him.

The last time I spoke to him.

The last time I hugged his neck and smelled the unique fragrance that was my son.

missing child from arms


Every year as I approach the anniversary of the day Dominic left this life and stepped into Heaven, I also remember all the last times.

It’s hard on a heart to think about and wish that somehow I had made more of those moments.  I long to have just one more opportunity to say what needs to be said, to see his smile, hear his voice, and hug his neck.

But there’s no going back.

So part of the pain of marking the milestones is knowing there is no way to change a thing.  Not only the FACT that my son is gone, gone, gone.  But also the FACT that whatever I said or did or left unsaid or undone is utterly and undeniably carved in stone.

I don’t know why this anniversary is hitting my heart harder than last year.  Maybe it’s because I recognize how much life has happened since Dominic left us.  Maybe it’s because I think in terms of decades.  Maybe it’s because there are so many exciting family celebrations that he won’t be part of.

I have no idea.

But it’s nearly five long years since my son crossed the threshold of his family home.  It’s nearly five years since I heard that familiar deep “Hey!”.  It’s nearly five years since I waved him down the driveway and hollered, “Be careful!” as he drove back to his apartment.

I am thankful for the faithful love of my God and my family.  I am thankful for the compassionate companionship of friends.  I am thankful that I am still standing after the awful blow that I was sure would knock me so far down I’d never get up again.

But I miss him.  I miss him.  I miss him.

I will never be able to watch the early spring flowers bloom again without also remembering that it was those blossoms that heralded the good weather that lured him to take his motorcycle that night.

I will never hear Spring Break plans without counting the days between his last Spring Break trip and the day he met Jesus.

dom and julian spring break

I cannot step outside and smell the grass growing, feel the breeze blowing and hear the birds singing without my heart skipping beats and doing the math.  Today marks less than two months before the day he left us.

I understand that for others-if they remember at all-Dominic’s departure is a day circled on the calendar.

For me, it’s an entire season.

I mark every single day that led up to that day.  I remember every single conversation, meeting, text and phone call.  I remember all the things I did and regret all the things I didn’t do.

While the world is celebrating new life, I’m remembering a life that ended.


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.

27 thoughts on “A Whole Series of “Lasts””

  1. Thank you for this piece. Yes- the lasts are so painful. They make me physically ill. Food was my way of expressing my great love for my children. The last meal she ate was an Indian dish- roti and curry. She loved it and asked for a second helping. I said ` Of course darling!’. She seemed so healthy taking a second helping of food, enjoying her meal and time with us. Four hours later she was unconscious. 18 months later I have not been able to make that meal again. The lasts are sacred.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Melanie. My last words as my Jeff studied for finals were “I love you” as I touched his glorious head of hair. God gave me this gift. It has been 4 years plus, and he is in my heart every moment, it seems. His tragic, sudden death was on December 19, so Christmas traditions are unbearable still. He always went with his dad to choose a tree…I cannot bear a tree. That’s okay. My first grand baby comes in a couple of weeks. I’m overjoyed, but ache at what my Jeff is missing. He and his brother were so close…he would have been the BEST uncle. I miss him so💙💛

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have only recently found your blog and, other than the strength of your faith (mine is quite shaky now), you are writing my story – and this post really resonates. My youngest son, living on his own for the first time, died instantly in a motorcycle accident.

    The moment before the phone rang in the middle of the night, 2 days after thanksgiving, 5 days before he was supposed to fly home, 13 days before his 22nd birthday, 30 days before Christmas…just before I picked up the call, marks the last normal moment of my life. I prepared for ‘the firsts’ as best as I could, and found that when I let my guard down, the days after the firsts were harder than the actual day of. What I was not prepared for was how hard the second season has been – starting in October with no phone call on my birthday, the empty chair at thanksgiving (again), his 24th birthday, Christmas……

    Thank you for sharing your heartache, your memories, and your strength ((HUGS))from Luke’s Mom

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. It’s a hard, hard journey and there are no shortcuts nor detours. Are you in community with other bereaved parents?
      If not, I’d recommend it highly. Having a safe space to share your feelings where others understand has really helped me learn to walk this new life. I pray that the Lord meets you where you are and strengthens your heart to hold onto hope. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for all of your words & the courage it takes to write them. You have been the most significant and most often read blog for me since I lost my sweet Jacob nearly 25 months ago at 12 years old. My worst season is in the thick of the holidays, as his birthday was on Christmas & his angelversary just 2 short weeks later on January 8th. I long for spring and the sweet newness, freshness, & sunshine that it brings my aching & weary soul. I am trying to not get stuck in a dark season, but the why’s and what if’s seem to consume my every thought. Thank you for your words & sharing your innermost thoughts with all of us in this “club” that we never wanted to join. You have been a light in the darkness many times for me, so thank you.
    Forever Jacob’s momma,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so sorry for your pain and your loss. To have the anniversary and your son’s birthday sandwiched in the holidays is doubly hard and cruel. I’m thankful the blog is a ray of light in your world. I pray that the Lord wraps His loving arms around you and holds you close. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is exactly how I feel every single day! Aug 23rd my life changed forever. It will be 6 months this month. Feels like yesterday! Your words are exactly my thoughts. The pain and sadness is overwhelming. I am so sorry for your loss. It is good to know someone understands! Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Since I watched my daughter die, my lasts were only the beginning. I’m not able to distinguish the lasts from even until now. I have to go back a couple of months before all that to get to the lasts. But, I understand what you’re saying. I’m just not really to that point in my journey where I can think of that. It’ll give me something to look forward to, for now. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have a different experience than I do, Roger. My son was living away from home and was killed instantly in an accident. So my “lasts” are all so “damn normal” as one mom commented on the public page. Maybe it’s the juxtaposition of how very ordinary they were with what followed that makes them loom large in my mind and heart. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Tears, tears, and more tears reading this. One week from today will mark the day last year when he breathed his last. All that energy and wit and sarcasm and intelligence and love. Gone. I am empty inside since the New Year started and this date loomed large and scary on my new calendar. I can’t even describe my emotions. Fear. Sorrow. Dread. And so much more.
    As always Melanie, thank you for putting into words the thoughts that I and so many of us grieving parents have!!
    God bless you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Marilyn- next Weds also marks the last for me- last phone call, last text from our son. The day is looming large. I’m so sorry for you ,and all who are struggling with “the lasts”. Melanie- you again write what’s in my heart . Thank you for sharing yours .
      You are a blessing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Nearly nine months since my daughter’s last breath, in my arms. It’s haunting me, and I have only in recent weeks begun to truly *feel* the pain, the enormity of having lived through, and remembering, and reliving, my child’s LAST BREATH, in my arms. All other ‘last’ moments pale into insignificance.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. There are so many feelings wrapped up in the word “grief”. I think one of our challenges is teasing them apart, feeling them for what they are, and doing the work they demand from us. It’s exhausting and invisible work. I pray that the Lord gives you strength to do it and to endure. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Marilyn,
      My heart goes to you as our days are so close! February 15, 2018 our daughter left us! Hugs, even though I have no clue who you are!!!
      There is one wish I have and that it to connect with someone, that too walked the cancer road with their child!? Maybe even someone that has spent that time in Rochester, MN!? Hugs to all of you, dear Mom’s and thanks, Melanie for this blog!!!♥️


  8. Aw Melanie how my heart is in sync with yours at this time of the year. It seems to be a long season for me – January through to mid June. I wonder if my mind will ever replace those thoughts with happier memories of events which will happen in the future. Even in the last week we had a happy, fun day for my second son’s twenty ninth birthday, with hus partner and our grandchildren….I’m hoping those memories will sooth my heart when the “last” times threaten to overtake me.
    As always sending my love and prayers across the ocean ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope those memories help too. Some of the sad times have been supplanted by happier ones for me. I’m not always focused on a specific memory on a particular day. Instead it’s kind of a seasonal thing. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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