Whether surrounded by friends or strangers, I sift through the words threatening to fly out of my mouth very carefully.
Like most of us, there’s a script in my head that doesn’t always bear sharing.
But unlike many, part of my script involves a child that lives in Heaven.
And I’m constantly weighing whether or not I should mention him even though the conversation leads my heart to a memory I very much want to speak aloud. It often makes others uncomfortable, awkward and upset when I do. So sometimes I just don’t.
I hate that I edit myself like that.
I hate that another person’s response or lack of response makes me cautious.
If Dominic were still walking among us, I’d be sharing away. His life, his work, his challenges, his accomplishments would all be fair game as I sat with fellow mothers and grandmothers talking about our families. No one would bat an eye if I mentioned his name, said I missed him since he moved away for that job, admitted that I counted the days until the next family get-together or holiday and I could host a full table.
But because he moved to Heaven, I’m supposed to be “over him”. I’m supposed to bow to convention and quietly stop talking about the son that’s missing from all the photos we’ve taken since 2014. I should shush my heart and silence my lips because it makes other people uncomfortable.
I’m not doing it.
Our family just welcomed the first grandchild.
Little Ryker will never see Uncle Dominic, hear his amazing drum skills or be the brunt of his snarky jokes. But Ryker will know about Dom. I will tell him stories and show him pictures and let him know that the chair at the end of the table is where Uncle Dom used to sit.
I’ll help Ryker learn something everyone needs to know: It’s perfectly natural to include and talk about ALL our family-the ones that are here AND the ones in Heaven.
Even when we no longer enjoy their earthly companionship, we love them and they are still very much part of our lives.
So when I’m reciting all the exciting news, be prepared.
I am mom to four, grandmama to one.
Always and forever.