I cannot speak for others but in my case, it seems that I did not lose Dominic all at once.
In fact, I’m still losing him.
Bit by bit, a little at a time, nearly molecule by molecule, his mark on my life, my walls, my world grows smaller.
Of course the space he occupies in my heart is safe-a mother’s heart grows larger with each birth and never shrinks again!
But in the physical world, the observable world, the world outside the safe sanctuary of my own soul-his presence THERE is fading.
And that’s it’s own brand of grief that must be recognized, felt, mourned and laid to rest.
Every time Dominic SHOULD be here but ISN’T means another memory made without him, another photograph with a missing piece, another family milestone celebrated a bit more quietly because his booming laughter doesn’t join the chorus.
Every decision that would ordinarily involve consulting all four children’s schedules and desires is one more opportunity to count down two, skip one and go to my youngest. I never can remember that there are only three phone calls or texts to make. My heart hurts each time I don’t check in with Dominic.
Odd pieces of mail come in his name-leftover from mass mailing lists that have not yet been purged of deceased individuals. Still a little shocking, always sad, I carry it up the quarter mile to the house and lay it on top of the pile of other things that prove he once walked the earth.
Digging through the toolbox in the garage for a screwdriver and there’s that funny little part he took off a car years ago and tucked inside the drawer-just in case we could use it for something. I smell the grease and gas and feel him near.
Then my mind drags my heart back to reality and he’s gone again.
Dozens of moments make me miss him anew.
I’m not delusional.
I know he has run ahead to Heaven.
But my heart holds on to every shred of physical connection as long as it can.
And then he’s ripped from me all over again.