The Bridge

I've started having "moments" - you know (or maybe you don't), your standing in line at the supermarket when you realize you're going to start crying and nothing can stop the moment.It happens just about every Sunday in church. It's the music really. Sometimes the tune, sometimes the words. They stir me up inside and cause the tears to just flow silently. Standing in the kitchen the other night, the kids eating dinner at the table with Andy, it really hit me how less noise there is in the house without Max. The sounds of three kids interacting was so different. The tears came. I'm not sure if I like this. Of course, what's there to like? I suppose the numbness is starting to wear off. I knew it would. My arm amputation is finally starting to hurt. Unfortunately there are no pain pills for this save tears and heartache.
My heartaches for myself, for my Max, for Hannah & Nic & Andy. I guess it's that mom-gene kicking in that wants to take everyones pain away, but knowing it's simply not possible.
Last night at bedtime, Nic said to me, "I like Max more than Hannah." I understand. They were closer in age, just like Hannah and Max were closer. The difference in age between Nic and Hannah is so great (6 years) and the bridge between them - Max - is gone. It's hard for them to interact. Nic talks about Max every night at bedtime. We read a book, sing some lullabies, then he says, "Let's talk about Max." I love that he does that.


San Diego Mom said...

I will share your heartache. I think every single mother on this earth shares your heartache, whether they have or haven't lost a child. Because we, mothers, KNOW how it feels. We CAN IMAGINE and actually FEEL the horror of having your child taken away. A music definitely has an effect of unleashing your locked emotion. It could hurt but it could also have tremendous healing power. The song I want to dedicate to you and your family is the Lord's Prayer sung by Mahalia Jackson at Newport Jazz festival in 1958. I saw it many many years ago in a movie and I was stunned. To this day, I always listen and cry when I face death. I will send you the link later. XOXO Shiho

Bree said...

I read this post, got all choked up and for the past few hours I have been thinking about all these great things I could say. In the end there are no words that can take your pain away and I so wish there were. So just know that I am sending you a big hug and thinking of you today!

Donna Ludwinski said...

Tears and heartache for the missing beautiful bridge called Max. Hurting SO very much for all of you...

Anonymous said...

Oh, that was touching and heartbreaking to read how hard it is for Hannah and Nic. Max's place in the family is special--he is the little brother and the big brother. Even in the pics it's cute how the kids line up in order, there is Max, always in the middle.

In all your pictures, your kids are so happy, they love being together! I hope your memories give some measure of comfort. My heart will always ache for the loss of Max. I am blessed to know his story. Prayers for strength.


Anonymous said...

Melis - We pray for you, we cry with you, we wish we could help heal your pain. I understand the overwhelming emotional moments that catch you by surprise when you least expect it. My parents lost their home in the "07 wildfires and it wasn't until then that I knew what physical pain felt like. My heart actually ached! It was this unexplainable throbbing in my chest and throughout my body that would consume me with hurt. I would see the smallest things at the store, or go shopping for dish soap and would suddenly find myself in a panic attack taking deep breaths trying so hard not to cry. Even 17 months after the fire, the pain still feels so real. In everyday life there are constant reminders of the loss of their home and of all their treasured things. This has been my very personal pain that has been so real, so life altering, and so deep. I understand that the loss of a home is in no way comparable to a loss of a child, I'm just saying that I understand a fraction of your pain by my experience with my parents. I understand how it gets more real with time and how it has a way of sneaking up on you. My prayers and thoughts go out to Melis, Andy, Hannah and Nic. I am so sorry...my heart aches for you. C. Luna

Anonymous said...

Definitely an unimaginable pain and you are so brave to share it with so many people, including those of us who do not "know" you. I try and donate to Dr. Sholler and think of you and your family and the others involved in the fight so often. The heartache and memories will last forever and Max is lucky to have such a special and loving family!

Anonymous said...

Missy, I can't say "I know how you feel" because
I don't. I cannot imagine your pain, your sorrow
and heartache. Just know I cry with you and for you.
Tears are good, they heal, let them flow.
Love you, Mom

Will's Dad said...

I read you post at work today and I wanted to say that this just plain sucks. You have to mourn, grieve, and figure out how to deal with each day AND take care of your kids and try to find ways to fill that void for them, to connect them, to ease their pain as well. I think of Max everyday. I have the black and white wallet sized photo I took from your house hanging in my office and I look at it each day and remind myself to do better for my family today than I did the day before. To try and say the things each day we should all say but never do, and to hopefully live life without any regrets.

Tonya said...


I'm SO HAPPY that you found us! I SO WISH I'd have been able to meet your family. I couldn't believe that you actually remembered my boys. I mean, that you REALLY remembered. (Anyone that knows they're picky eaters can say they know them well.. HAHAH!)

I don't know that my husband and/or I ever got to meet you? Brent went back in the hospital on my birthday (November 12) and never got out again. I went back and for to the RMH to do laundry until Brent got REALLY sick. After that, I never left the hospital again. Of course we flew back home (well, to Memphis anyway) in early to mid December. I DO WISH I had been able to bond with your family.

As for church.. sister, I can IDENTIFY! Of course, the church we "belonged to" at the time we lost Brent had just built a new sanctuary. We'd never been in the new one.. until the night of the wake and the day of the funeral. We tried to go back but just couldn't. The LORD worked it out so that some other friends were just "in-between churches" at the same time we were. We started meeting in their house and realized that it was indeed Biblical. When we learned that we weren't sinning by doing church in homes we never looked back. Our friends knew the songs that broke our hearts so we avoided them. Our two families grew to three, then four.. and now we're up to almost 30 on any given meeting. It's been AMAZING! We base how our church is patterned by 1 Corinthians 14.. "let every man have a word". This way EVERYONE is studying the same topic and each of the men can bring something to the study. (Not much room for being a slacker there) HA!!

Anyway.. I didn't mean to write a book.. I was just terribly excited to meet someone that we crossed paths with in Vermont. (Weren't they the GREATEST????)

I'm here if you ever need to talk! I do a lot of texting too.. if you'd rather text email me and I'll give you my cell number.

Our family will be praying for yours!

Tonya - Mom to Brent Nason, Stage IV Neuroblastoma Warrior

Shannon B. said...

I think of you everyday. Your post is so honest and in touch as a mom. I cry for you. I cry for Max and all he endured. I cry again for Hannah and Nic missing their 'link' and I cry for Andy. The sadness is all encompassing. I can only imagine that it feels as if you are missing a piece of your heart. Know I am here for you...to laugh with, or to cry with. xo, shan

Anonymous said...

Know how you feel Melis. I used to feel that it was too noisy when
I was at your house. Now I feel an upsetting silence. Nic
can't make enough noise to dispel that awful quietness. Papa John

Anonymous said...

I read your post yesterday morning, again last night, and here I am again this morning. I guess I was hoping that I'd come up with something to say. But there really isn't anything to say that will make a difference in what you're feeling. Just know I think about you all constantly and you continue to be in my prayers. I think your mom has good advice once again: let the tears flow... xo lisa

Anonymous said...

Every time I read your blog I cry. I come back again and again, maybe because I just need to cry. I cry for you, your family, Max. I cry for myself, my family, and the hole that has been left in my heart since I lost my own child. I am sorry I don't have the words to make it better, but thank you for helping me cry.

Leigh said...

Praying for peace beyond your circumstances.

I know...

Leigh Saxon
(Paul's mom)

Anonymous said...

I pray, through this unimaginable grief...please God, meet Melis and Andy and Hannah and Nic...in each of their hearts, as the grieve for beautiful Max. Be with them, fiercely, in Your Love.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you....but I sort of do through this amazing blog, through shared pain....I check on you often and pray for you, Andy, Nic, and Hannah everyday. I can't help but think of Max everytime I hear a plane. I have no words of comfort, no way to stop the pain. Nate has been gone almost two years and the pain is as present as it was the day he left us. We aren't supposed to outlive our children we weren't built that way. I will keep praying and reading and thinking of Max when I hear planes. I often wonder if all of them Nate, Max, Penelope, James, Christi, Kendall, Hazen, Lucas....if they met in heaven and are chasing butterflies and playing with lightsabers? I like to think they are.

Abra McKean
Nate's Mom

Randee said...

Melis, you have such a way with expressing yourself to help the rest of us have a better understanding of what you and Andy, and Hannah and Nic are going through.

There is nothing more beautiful than worship music on Sunday morning (or in your car when you're driving down the freeway by yourself). I think the Holy Spirit wells up in us and helps us release the emotion that is so hard to let go. It's at this time when He wraps His love around us and let's us know yes we can do this, He will carry us thorugh as long as we need Him.

I know there are no words to make this go away; I also know so many people pray for you and love you and would do just about anything to help you through.

Max makes such a difference in our lives; like Will's Dad I have pictures at home and in my office that are constant reminders to make each day the best it can be and to understand that nothing is so big we can't make it through.

God Bless You--I love you!!

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for you all...I 'know' that feeling when all of a sudden you are over comed with hurting and the tears flow...it can be as simple as a walk and there it hits you! But I do know if you were not feeling that kind of loss and pain it would mean Max's life had no meaning....and that is the farthest thing from the truth. God gave us tears for a reason...let them flow. Sending a huge hug to all...Nicky's ritual at bedtime is incredibly sweet...makes me smile and cry at the same time. xo Linny

Anonymous said...

bridge1   /brɪdʒ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [brij] Show IPA noun, verb, bridged, bridg⋅ing, adjective
–noun 1. a structure spanning and providing passage over a river, chasm, road, or the like.
2. a connecting, transitional, or intermediate route or phase between two adjacent elements, activities, conditions, or the like:

Max's spirit is the steel, strength, beam, structure, that you can all depend upon as you try to live life with the unfathomable loss you feel. Let Max's life, sprit, joy, happiness be the foundation upon which you build up Nic and Hannah. Mighty Max will live on in many ways but most of all in providing your family strength and purpose when you need it most.

Carrie P.

Marcheline said...


Just stumbled across your blog today by accident. Lost my dad last year to cancer, so I am finding out about "moments". Like seeing a vintage auto drive by on a summer day, or hearing a doo-wop band singing his favorite singalong song. Or sometimes just thinking about the fact that he's really, really gone.

I can't really join in the whole religious support thing, since I don't buy it. Death sucks, and we all have to watch other people go through it until we go through it ourselves. But at least we have each other while we're here, which is the whole point of "it's the journey, not the destination".

Thinking of you and your family tonight.

- M

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa
I hope I can say what I feel. You sharing what you do is so valuable to others. For me, my heart grows heavy, my throat lumps, my eyes well, and I am truly in a reality I'm not familiar with. I think I'm compassionate, but this is new. And I believe, for me, incomprehensible. Truly. I simply cannot understand what you and your family, including Max, went through, and now are going through. But, it is so good for me to be aware of that, it is so worthwhile for me to reflect on that, to understand that wonderful people suffer so unimaginably that I cannot understand. And therein I learn more about compassion, and how important it is to feel and to express and to reach out and to try to remember that there is unimaginable pain and people going through it everyday. You teach me to be a better person. And while, at the end of this realization, there is also the lesson that there is nothing I can say or do for your family, there is a loss that will always be, I hold hope, somewhat naively, that you and Andy and Hannah and Nic will be like the flower in the desert, the destination for those seeking beauty amid the barren.

With love,
Jim Lunsford

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for articulating what you are going through. Your honesty, strength and courage in sharing your feelings provides us a glimpse into your world. I hurt more when I understand your pain, and I feel blessed to be apart of your journey. We love you and will always remember.


Leann B said...

My heart is just breaking reading your words. What an awful feeling that I have no idea hw to begin to mend except to say we are here for you. All the things Max loved are all of Bronsons' favs sans the bugs and oddly enough his best friend is named Max. Praying for comfort and thank you for continuing to share your journey with us.

Leigh William said...

Dear Melissa,

I know those moments. They are the ones when you're trying to hold the tears back--either because if they flow they may never stop, or maybe because it might cause someone nearby to wonder what in the world is wrong with you - - and then they might ask questions, and you might want to talk, or might not want to talk. Either way, you won't be able to because the tears seem as if they may be so strong that they'll take your breath away.

One thing I've found is that after I let go, after the emotions have run their course and the tears have fallen, sometimes endlessly---no matter who I'm with, or where I'm at---the world is so much more clear. Literally. I can see better. The sky is a more vibrant shade of blue. The leaves on the trees seem more distinct. It's almost as if the angels have heard my soul begging for cleansing, and have granted me a new set of eyes.

You are not alone. Even during what may seem like the most difficult of days, you are not alone. Find a safe place, and let go.

Your friend,

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