Our family has never been one for formal portraits.
Growing up, my dad was an avid recorder of moments with both still and moving pictures, so we just didn’t do the whole “go down to the portrait studio” thing.
I did have a couple made of my first two children when the local department stores used to run specials.
There’s only one of Dominic taken just before Julian was born.
But adding a fourth child to our busy household put an end to that.
I’ve got piles of snapshots, video and online photos, but not many fancy, well-lit, well composed formal portraits of any of us.
Of course, there are no new images of Dominic since 2014-he’s frozen in time-and that hurts my heart.
Barreling on to the fourth anniversary of his leaving, I decided to do something about that. I needed a new way of seeing him-a way that both honored who he is and also honored the sorrow I carry because he is no longer here with me.
So a beautiful and talented bereaved mom friend, Brenda Ehly, Artistic Remedies By Brenda , created this likeness of Dominic.
I love it.
And I love her for making it. She captured more than a replica of his face, she captured his smile, his warmth, his energy.
Today is his birthday.
He would have been 28.
Like I said last year: I will never get used to waking to a sunrise that is supposed to mark another year of fellowship and enjoyment of my third child but instead is a reminder that the life that was Dominic is no more on this earth.
But this year I have a new and very special picture to hang in his honor.
It helps my heart.
Lots of bereaved parents refer to their child as “forever ___”. I’ve never felt comfortable with that.
I don’t know if it’s because I can’t imagine Dominic’s growth stifled and stilled or if it’s because I defiantly insist on counting the years even though he is now outside time with Jesus.
So here I am.
Another birthday without him. Another May 28th when he SHOULD be here but he’s not. Another holiday weekend that used to include so much more than a cookout.
No quibbling over dessert because birthday boy got to choose.
The past eight months have been a whirlwind for lots of reasons. It started with my mama’s fall, her hospitalization and recovery in August through November, slid into the holidays and fast-forwarded to spring. It included two bereaved parents events as well as two other ten day trips away from home.
And when I’m tired I’m much more vulnerable to being overwhelmed by grief.
So I sit here, rain falling, tears falling and just wishing Dominic wasn’t dead.
On good days I can look past my missing and grab hold of the beauty of his life.
But not today.