Missed Milestones


Driving. It’s something Gabe never got to do. Well, not legally anyway. He drove on someones private property, and he pulled the car from the back to the front to park it once, but that is the extent of it. On his 15th birthday (which ended up being just 19 days before he died) he went to the DMV website and started taking practice tests. He often talked about what kind of car he would get, and how he would modify it. He was completely unrealistic in what he would have actually been able to get, but he liked to dream big. He was SO excited at the prospect of driving.

Gabe driving was not something that his dad and I were too excited about. He was reckless-always. Reckless on his bike, on his skateboard, in his actions.


I imagine he would not have been the most careful driver. Gabe had a hard time thinking things through. He had ADHD, sensory processing dysfunction, and difficulties with planning. Driving would have been an extremely challenging task. But he was very thrilled about it.

Driving has been on my mind lately because Gabe’s middle brother will soon be learning to drive. Milestones like that are hard to navigate. It is wonderful to see him grow up, to see who he’s becoming, and help him figure out life. It is also so difficult though because my oldest didn’t make it this far. Since 19 days after he turned 15, my middle son has lived longer than his older brother. That is a very difficult reality. And I’ll feel it again when the youngest surpasses that age.

It wasn’t supposed to go this way. This year should look very different. The rest of our lives should look very different. Sometimes I think people feel like parents grieve too long, but I know I will never stop grieving. I can’t. Because when a child dies you lose the FUTURE. You still have A future, but not the one that should have played out. I know, many things alter the future and we have to shift and reassess, change and rewrite things. But the death of a child is a completely different thing. I can’t just rewrite things, because my brain always sees the picture of life as it should be- with my oldest son who is now 17 pulling up to the front of our house in a beat up old car, and telling us that he got another ticket. Because that is exactly how it would be.



Author: griefmom

I am a mom to 3 wonderful boys- 2 on earth and one in heaven. I am married to a wonderful man who happens to be the love of my life. I am privileged to work with young moms as they learn to parent. I'm Catholic and have faith that I will one day see my son in heaven. This blog is about my journey- as I figure out who I am in the face of an unimaginable loss. Life is difficult but beauty can be found after the struggles. The struggles, in fact, make life even more beautiful.

5 thoughts on “Missed Milestones”

  1. Just went through Taryn’s wedding. Ethan was a groomsman (In memoriam). Very emotional week.

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. When I saw those beautiful pictures I immediately thought of your beautiful Ethan. Hugs to you. Happiness with sadness mixed in is the way of our journey I guess.


  2. Well, Becca, I can usually always find something to say to you after reading your blog posts, but this time I have no words as I’m trying to wrap my head around the kind of year this is going to be for you – so all I can do is pray that God will lift you up and give you more strength than He ever has before🙏 Please remember, Becca, if you ever need someone to talk to, I am a phone call away – Sending much love to you and Doug and the boys❤️🙏

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Thanks Pat, somehow I must have missed this comment when it was posted! I write this as we are now halfway through his senior year and surviving, but some things are just hard. And will be always I guess! But that is life and love 💞


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