I Need To Tell The Story (Even If You’ve Heard It Before)

I have so much more empathy for older folks since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.

I’ve always tried to be a patient listener when hearing that same story over and over and over but have to admit that sometimes I’d drift off or internally mock an elder because I was tired of hearing it.

Not anymore.

Because I understand now that it’s in the telling that one both commemorates and honors people as well as the past.

Me and Aunt Mattie Lou at her 99th birthday.

Stories are how we weave facts into narrative and give them meaning. It’s why so many of us love historical fiction or period dramas that not only reference actual people and events but also peek at emotions, motivation and draw conclusions.

I could hand you my daily calendar and you’d understand the outline of where I was and what I did.

But you wouldn’t know what I thought or felt that day unless I filled it in.

When Dominic ran ahead to Heaven, I was forced at first to deliver the most basic message to others who needed to know. I repeated it over and over, “I have to tell you something awful. Dominic is dead.”

I didn’t really know much more than that.

Details were added by friends and first responders in the days to come.

The story broadened to include how we reassembled our family from across the country, who showed up to help us through the first hours, where we chose to bury him, what the funeral service looked like and on and on and on.

For months afterward I found myself compelled to repeat the story of those days.

Compelled to rewind and play again the details, each time teasing out additional insights, questions and feelings.

It was an important part of unspooling and exploring what, exactly, it meant to live in a world that no longer included one of my children.

I know sometimes folks get tired of me telling the story. For them, it is a reminder of some awful event that is tucked neatly in the past. A date on a calendar somewhere that might occasionally tickle the back of their brain and evoke a, “that’s so sad” response but not something they live with every. single. day.

But for me, Dominic’s death is an ongoing experience.

Every day I have to fit his absence into my world. I have to find a way to live around the giant void where he SHOULD be but ISN’T.

So the story grows.

It’s not only what happened on the day he left, it’s what has happened since and is still happening now.

When you make space for me to tell, you make space for me to feel.

And that helps my heart hold on.

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.

8 thoughts on “I Need To Tell The Story (Even If You’ve Heard It Before)”

  1. It has been 5 months since our Trey left us and your article explains exactly how I feel. This will be our first holiday season without our teenage son. It is unbearable to think of celebrating Christmas, but we have a 15 year old son that most likely wants to celebrate as usual. Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stacy, I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. If you will scroll down on any blog post, there is a “search” box and you can type in “Christmas” or “holidays” to find a number of posts addressing options for celebrating after loss.

      I’ll be rerunning this shortly, as well.

      Praying the Lord wraps His loving arms around you and overwhelms your heart with His grace and mercy. ❤


  2. I was just talking with one of my coworkers this morning about how difficult it is at the holidays. Specifically, how do you include the one who is no longer with you without putting a pall on the holiday? For me, the hardest thing is hanging the stockings. Hanging his stocking just breaks my heart all over again because I know on Christmas morning it will hang empty. That tangible reminder that he isn’t with us is a knife piercing my heart every time I see it. So, this year I want to do something different. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like but it’s going to be different. I just can’t hang the stockings. It hurts too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband, daughter and I were discussing this morning how incredibly fast time seems to have gone by and how on the other hand how incredibly slow. It will be three and a half years at Christmas since Luke chose to go on ahead.
    Our story is growing, it will be the forth Christmas and we were talki g about the holiday plans.

    Ouur family dynamics are changed again, my daughter has met someone who seems to be special but my son’s thirteen year relationship has floundered and doesn’t look as though it can be mended.

    As a small family of just the five of us as the children were growing up, we put lots in place to make sure they didn’t feel as though they had missed out on the expectations of great big family parties. Our church family have always been important to us and still are but going home after Mass on Christmas morning always felt a bit lonesome.

    I’m not sure how this year will pan out but I do know that it will be a new story in our journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are changing again as well. Every year has its own challenges, doesn’t it? I try to be the one to bring it all together into some kind of cohesive and inclusive celebration but I don’t always manage well. Prayers for you and yours. May the Lord go before you and give you wisdom. ❤


  4. This sums it up beautifully. It’s only been two years for us but it feels like an eternity. It’s marked by Hurricane Irma yet has nothing to do with it.
    I deeply appreciate your sharing your experience and thoughts. Thank you and may God bless.


    1. I love this. I lost my son two weeks ago today. He chose to run ahead of me to heaven. I’m sad every waking minute. The grief will flooded over me, my chest tightens, my heart races with an intense pain, my lip quivers and the tears fall like a strong fountain after a rain storm. I feel like I’m living in a fake reality that will end soon but each day brings me another day to realize this my new reality.

      Liked by 1 person

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