Child Loss: Missing The Family I Thought I’d Have

I miss a lot of things since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.  

I miss HIM-his deep voice, his perspective and his thump-thump-thumping down the stairs and the rhythm of who he is.

And I miss how his absence has reshaped the family I thought I’d have.  

Raising four children, investing my time, heart and energy into who they were turning out to be, I naturally projected into the years ahead.  All that love poured into them would create a legacy we’d all enjoy.  Marriages, careers, grandchildren and experience would blend together into a (if not perfectly harmonious) at least a shared future.

desimones uab family

I never imagined turning a calendar page without one of my children to turn it with me.  

Dominic’s death has touched each one of us.  His missing is as powerful a force as his presence.  We are absolutely NOT THE SAME as we would have been if he were still here nor as we were when he was still here.

When Dom first left us, I was primarily mourning HIM.  I still miss him like crazy.  

But a lot of my mourning during the past twelve months has been for the family I thought I would have.  I see each of my surviving children are processing Dominic’s absence in ways that influence their decisions.

In some ways it’s beautiful-I see twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings making choices with wisdom way beyond their years.  In some ways it’s brutal-they set up safeguards because they know by experience that leaving the house doesn’t always mean you return. 

They have back up plans for everything.

Which wasn’t something I even thought about when I was their age.  

My husband and I expected to drift into retirement years full of energy and vigor.  Much of that has been stolen from us by child loss too.  Oh, how we long to be the fun grandparents, the traveling duo, the footloose crazy pair but it’s much more effort than we anticipated.

Sometimes we can’t muster that energy at all.  

I know some changes were inevitable. 

Dominic’s death coincided with a natural progression toward an empty nest.  I’m not a helicopter mama and I’ve always said my goal was to raise children who could function well without me so I think that as much as possible, I prepared my heart for them to grow up and grow apart.

But in addition to normal changes, there’s an utterly unnatural and unwelcome transformation from nuclear family to brokenhearted family.

I am so, so thankful that we have chosen the hard path of running toward one another instead of running away.  

I’m grateful that we have grown from five left behind to a table for seven-a new spouse and a precious grandchild. 

I do not take a single second for granted because I know that seconds are not guaranteed.  

But I sure wish Dominic were here to share it with us.  

dominic at olive garden

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.

6 thoughts on “Child Loss: Missing The Family I Thought I’d Have”

  1. This is another post that just resonates with me ..and just how I feel’s not right that my darling son leaves behind his brother and sister knowing what can happen in life.. and that they don’t have that blithe carefreeness of youth I enjoyed.
    I pray they are happy in whatever they do..I feel our whole family has just been ripped up and the shreds thrown in the air…overnight. Seeing your beautiful photos of your family gives me hope of what can grow from love and that our children will always be a part of that love no matter that we can’t see them…I am determined and I won’t let him go..not ever. I know he is safe with Jesus , of that I am sure. Thank you Melanie for your devotion and faith xxx.


  2. Dear Melanie, your words really resonate with me and all parents trying to navigate through a life without one of their children. I only have one son left after the loss of our older daughter christy. She was only 22 and bobby was 19 when cancer stole her away from us. Our son is stuck in time. Thank you from your blog. It’s so helpful and I love your faith. It inspires me❤️🙏❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Our daughter ran on ahead to Heaven at age 38 leaving two boys ages 10 and 13. It has been 2 1/2 years, her brother is now an only child, we have four grandchildren who have been affected in different ways. None of us are the same people we were, we were close, we were a family unit who shared and loved one another deeply, we all
    walked through the cancer journey together, we all carry our grief every day, we all lost a piece of our heart. We all grieve what was, we all think about life differently, we all express our emotions in different ways we all appreciate one another more and love a little deeper, we all wonder what God has planned for each of us, and we all smile and look for the joy in each day even as we are walking down this unknown road together. Losing a child changes everything.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My relationship of 26 years ended, my son died at only 20, my other son moved across the country 3000 miles away. All in one year.
    I went from a family of 4 to being by myself. It is hard. It’s not a chapter that ends, it’s a closed book and I don’t know how I can start a new one at this time. Too old to start a new family, too broken to invest in a new relationship.
    It’s a very long dark tunnel.
    Still hopeful I will find the light again.

    Liked by 1 person

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