Nine Years Later

Everyone has defining moments in their life. Sometimes they are wonderful. What day did you get married? What was your first car? Sometimes they are marked by disaster. Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when Katrina hit? Sometimes they are marked by loss. When did your son die? That’s our defining moment. Everything is before or after that date. This day.

From the beginning I knew that grief was an unwelcome guest that moved into my heart and would never leave. The loss of John Robert is the subtext of my life. His face flashes before me at the most unexpected times. A memory will arise out of my mind that catches me by surprise. A moment of tears. A moment of laughter. Grief reminds me frequently. I’m still here.

Out at Gulf Coast Bible Camp

The loss of a child is not only a defining moment in one’s own life, but it becomes a kind of life preserver on the waters next to newly bereaved parents who are drowning in their sorrows. Many times people have referred strangers to me to just talk about grief. The loss of a child is the only connecting factor, and the only important one.  All I can really do is sit in the ashes with them and listen and say ‘I know‘ and ‘It won’t always hurt like this‘ and ‘It is ok to cry as much as you want‘… repeating words that were said to me in the early part of our journey. As I see it, if I cannot shed a little light for someone just starting down this dark path, then my experience would be for nothing. John Robert loved his friends and he would do anything for them. I’d like for that spirit to live on as I try to bless others who are thrown into the Great Sadness.

Since this is the ninth anniversary (that word sounds too nice) of his death, I wanted to gather the posts I wrote before. Starting with the one on the day he died. I can’t imagine how I pulled it together long enough to compose that, except that I have found writing to be cathartic … healing. I guess I didn’t write a post about his death in 2013 and 2016. The 2016 post is a reflection of going to the first graduation since John Robert died just a few days before his own.

John Robert Dobbs October 23, 1989 – May 21, 2008

Through It All (2009)

Reflections of a Bereaved Parent (2010)

The End of Our World? (2011)

4 (2012)

Six Years (2014)

Seven (2015)

Graduation and Grief (2016)

HERE is a page of grief resources I update occasionally. Feel free to share it with anyone suffering through a loss.

And as I have shared so many times, HERE is a page where I attempted to tell in a brief way John Robert’s story.

As always, thank you for reading.  And for so many expressions of support, love and prayer. We will always believe that we are where we are at this point because of the prayers of godly people. You are appreciated. JD

[ctt template=”3″ link=”bmY5a” via=”yes” ]Grief was an unwelcome guest that moved into my heart and would never leave.[/ctt]


  1. Lifting you & Maggy in prayer right now for comfort today, for a blanket of love to be poured upon you both, for a wink from heaven from God or from John Robert. My heart hurts for you today. Tight hug to you both!

  2. Many thoughts and prayers for you and Maggie and the rest of your family on this day. I can not even begin to imagine the grief and tears you have slogged through to get to this day. I only know how my heart aches and the tears that fall when I think of your sorrow. There’s s reason for it, and, as the dong says, we’ll understand it all by and by. Prayers and blessings.

  3. Thinking of you and Maggie with love and empathy as we walk the same path of grief.

  4. I was listening to John Robert sing on this site just the other week and reflecting about what a beautiful soul he is because it is so obvious that he loved the LORD. John and Maggy, you are truly blessed to have a son waiting for you with the FATHER in heaven. I share with you in your grief and praise GOD for the expectation of a grand family reunion when we will see John Robert again! Love you with all my heart.

  5. I was reading a commentary on the Biblical verse, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. The author suggested this does not so much performing acts of heroism. Instead, it is plowing through the mud and muck of the world, with faith. To transliterate this verse would be, “With God, I can make the most out of any situation.

    My prayers are with you and your family.

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