Tangible Absence

In response to something I posted in a bereaved parents’ group a friend used the term “tangible absence” to describe what I was feeling.

She is so right.

When I imagine something I’ve never actually experienced-even when I might say “I miss such and such” it’s not the same as when I’ve had something and it’s been taken away.

I can only miss the imaginary in an ephemeral, insubstantial way.  I miss what I once possessed in a tangible way.

I know exactly the size and shape and sound and substance of the person that SHOULD be here but isn’t.


I know the energy he would add to a room or a conversation.

I know the point of view that’s missing from the debate or decision making.

And I miss him like crazy. 

nicolas wolterstorff theres a hole in the world

~Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son

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.

10 thoughts on “Tangible Absence”

  1. “I know the energy he would add to a room or a conversation“

    I love this line. I feel the same way about our son, Reece. His energy, his physical presence, his smile and so much more. Still waiting for him to walk through that door.
    Thank you for your words. I read your blog daily and it brings such comfort. Thank you for your honesty.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Seven years Melanie. The words that swim in my head as the years roll on for me (soon to be five) are …how did I travel so far away from him? I know that doesn’t make any sense. On a good day I suppose I could say be five less years before we meet again. Either way, the shape and sound of him is missing.

    Peace me with you xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so very sorry for your pain for your broken heart! Wow, seven years is so so long. My precious Rachel has been gone 2 1/2 years and I miss her immensely. I know too that deep empty place that once was her. Her beautiful smile, hugs, laughter, companionship, love for Jesus and love for others-such a zest for life oh how I long for the day away from brokenness. It is unreal that Rachel is not here but the reality that she is not here is everywhere. Thank you for writing❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My heart aches with you, Melanie, as you face another milestone. Your son leaves they tangible hole in your heart, as mine does in my heart. The author’s words touch me deeply tonight as I read, as do yours. Prayers for you and all of us as we long for our children 💙💛

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The book, Lament of a Son. was so helpful when our Son died one year ago. I have shared it with other parents in my Grief Share Group.
    Thank you for your post they are always a blessing.
    Linda Calcote


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