You Should Be Here-Another Birthday Without You

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.

dom pastel arctic filter (2)

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.

I’m tired.

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.


Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

19 thoughts on “You Should Be Here-Another Birthday Without You”

  1. Melanie, Thank you for your blog ❤️ It has definitely be a part of my healing process. I’m glad new posts appear late at night. Many of nights, when I can’t sleep I read a new post with tears. I love the portrait of Dominic, what a great smile! A smile I know you miss. Oh how I miss my Will’s smile.💔His birthday was yesterday and he would have been 26. It’s been 2 years since he left us, but in many ways it seems forever. His birthdays were always part of Memorial Day weekend as well. We always had a big family get together, now it’s just hard to know how to “celebrate”. At least it is Memorial Day, a day of rememberance and not a day like 4th of July, a day of celebration. I think that would be so painful! I have a new appreciation for all those moms in years past that sent their boys off to war. I try and be thankful for the small things. Praying for you today, I know it’s a hard day❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Melanie, my son Travis would have been nineteen on April 28th, two days before my birthday. This year I was determined to celebrate God’s gifting him to my family. When my husband started to get upset, I told him no tears today. Today is a day of celebrating. We had Travis for seventeen years and I intend to always celebrate his birth. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt in my soul. It just means that I have too many other days to mourn his death. I want that one day to be thankful and push the pain to the background. We had a wonderful day.


  3. May your memories today be a comfort to you. Thank you for always sharing your heart. All the occasions that our children are not a part of isn’t easy for me, but knowing we are not alone in our sorrow helps me. Holding onto God is a must for me and isn’t always easy with all the emotions and thoughts swirling around in my head. But He helps still my confusion and always brings me peace. Your words always bring us back to the one who holds all things together. Thank you so much.

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  4. Thank you Melanie for your thoughtful blogs everyday. Your writing them has helped me so much. You express just how I feel but I have trouble express my feelings . I love that you’re my voice in a painful time for you & all us Mom’s. I love you for using your gift to share to all of us grieving mothers. I too got a portrait of my Laura on my birthday April 17. She went home to Jesus on April 13. It is bittersweet because I want her home with me. She’s forever 44, my best friend . Saying a prayer for you today. Thank God for sweet memories!!!!! She left a year ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Melanie take all the time you need today to remember your son. It is wise of you to know when you’re more vulnerable. I’m keenly aware of my vunerabliliy around the time events that may trigger memories of my daughter Veronica. It happened just this weekend when I got together with my 4 sister’s. One my sister’s mentioned Veronica, so we had a short discussion about a memory of her. I could feel my throat tighten, so I politely declined to discuss her any further. I was there to share a long over due visit with my sister’s. My sister Jean understood why I cut her off…may you receive comfort and peace today. Happy birthday Dominic! Keep writing Melanie 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is a wonderful picture of Dominic Melaine ❤
    Our children’s birthdays are our “giving birth days,” momentus occasions in our lives. My children have always made gentle fun of me for having some recognition on “their” day. It is so very hard to even think about that day for the child who is no longer here with us, unlike the giving birth days of our other children.
    Today you are allowed whatever you need to get though.
    Lamb of God grant you peace in your day.

    Liked by 2 people

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