Please hear me.
I do NOT blame you that my son and my sorrow have drifted down your list of “things that need attention”. Your life is as busy as mine once was and your calendar full of commitments and celebrations that require your attendance.
There is no way you would know it’s 69 days until the fourth anniversary of Dominic’s sudden absence.
There is no reason for you to be aware that as the southern landscape turns to spring, my heart and mind turn to death.
But it’s the truth.
As the rest of the world looks forward to Easter (and I do too-for the promise and hope it brings) I am dreading Holy Week. Dominic was killed the Saturday before Palm Sunday and laid to rest the Monday after Easter. So every year I relive it twice-once during Holy Week and once again (when the dates are different) according to the calendar.
And each year it feels lonelier and lonelier.
Because each year fewer and fewer people remember or if they do, they don’t know how to offer that up as a blessing because it feels awkward or stiff.
So may I suggest a few things that most bereaved parents would absolutely LOVE for friends and family to say or do-especially as the months roll into years or even decades?
- Send a card, message or text indicating that you DO remember. And not just for the date of passing, but also for his or her birthday or other important milestone dates.
- Send an electronic or physical copy of a photo. It feels so empty to peruse the same photos over and over. It is an invaluable gift to get one I haven’t ever seen before. Every time it feels like I get a tiny new piece of Dominic to hold close to my heart.
- If you have saved voice mails or videos-send those. Not every parent can or wants to listen/watch these, but they are a gift nonetheless. Just having them brings some comfort.
- Post a memory on Facebook. If the child’s timeline is still up, write something TO the child-did you share an experience, a class, a hobby-then speak to that. Tell me how Dominic is still part of your life. Because as long as his influence still lives, part of him lives also.
- Speak his or her name in conversation. I know it can be awkward. But don’t shy away from mentioning my child in conversation just as you would if he were living. If you are talking about an event in which he took part, please, please, please do NOT talk around him. I remember. You aren’t shielding me. It is so good for my heart to share these memories with other people.
- If I post a photo or memory on Facebook, please don’t scroll past with the attitude “there she goes again!”. I post because I will talk about Dominic just as I will talk about my living children as long as I live. Yes, it’s the same photo-but I don’t have new ones because I CAN’T TAKE THEM, not because I don’t want them. If you think it’s “too much” I challenge you to cut off all (I mean ALL) communication with one of your living children for a week. That’s just the tiniest taste of what it’s like.
- If I plan some kind of memorial activity, participate if you can. Personally I haven’t done this but many parents plan balloon releases or ask people to do a Random Act of Kindness in the name of their child. If you are able, join in.
There is a common theme here: if you think about my child, let me know.
I will not forget Dominic.
But it is oh, so helpful to know that others aren’t forgetting either.