One of the things I absolutely LOVED about having four kids was the way they pinged off one another. There were evenings when the comments were flying so fast I could barely keep up. Sly looks, secret texts, funny faces and friendly punches made up most of our times together.
That’s how families are-each person is just a little “more” when surrounded by folks that love and understand him or her.
When Dominic left us, we didn’t only lose HIS companionship, we also lost the part of each of us that was reflected back from him.
And just as each one of us had a unique relationship with him in life,we have a unique relationship with him in death.
Sure he was brother to all his siblings.
But he was a younger brother to the older two and older brother to our youngest. He was a middle son but a third child. He was close to his sister who shared his love of musical instruments, bonded with his younger brother over cars and butted heads with his older brother when he felt like he was bossed around.
Dominic and I were both political junkies and loved to debate policy and current events. We listened to NPR and compared notes.
He enjoyed talking sports with his dad and trying out different guitars and sound effects pedals as they jammed to the radio.
So how we remember him, what we miss, what we long for and what we hold onto is a reflection of the different way we interacted with him.
How much and how loud we express our grief is also a combination of our relationship with him and our innate personalities.
Sometimes that is helpful-like when one of us can sit and listen to another because we are not so emotional at the moment. Sometimes it causes frustration or even conflict when one or more of us feels that we need to DO a certain thing to remember Dominic and one or more of us is uncomfortable doing that very thing.
We’ve got to respect our differences, embrace them, make room for them even in this Valley.
We ALL miss him. That’s something we can agree on.
We ALL would give anything to have him back.
And we are ALL in this together, even in our unique expressions of the same pain.
Grief is a family affair as much as life is.
We learn, we grow, we adapt.
And together we survive.