Twenty-Three Years, Ten Months, Fifteen Days and Holding

Today would be Dominic’s twenty-ninth birthday.  

Except it isn’t.  

Because I have absolutely NO IDEA if anyone is aware of the passage of time in Heaven or if birthdays are even a thing there.

So instead of celebrating another year with my third born, I’m celebrating the years I had with him-too few as far as my heart’s concerned.

I am oh, so thankful for the time I had.  

But my heart cries, “More! More!”

I’m no good at this “birthday in absentia” thing.  This is the sixth time May 28th has rolled around without Dominic here to eat cake, open presents or break his usually strict dieting rules and gobble down pasta.

IMG_2637 (1)

A couple of years I’ve purchased a cake in secret at a local bakery for a child that shares Dom’s birthday.

Most years I’ve quietly remembered the events leading to his birth including what now feels like a prescient experience:  my obstetrician’s nurse came into the room as I was waiting for a C-section delivery and whispered, “Dr. H is here, but his daughter completed suicide yesterday”.  *

When they brought Dom close to my head so I could kiss him before they whisked him away and sewed me up, tears streamed down my face.  I really had NO CLUE, but I realized (in a tiny way) that this man was here ushering life into the world as his own heart was breaking for a life that was no more.

All I could say was, “Thank you!  I am so, so sorry.”

And I meant it.  

Now I know what it cost him to be there.  What it cost him to see a family made larger at the moment his (earthly) family had been made smaller.

This year we are at my oldest son’s home savoring the first precious moments holding our grandson.  Born too early, his story could have ended badly.

It didn’t and for that I am thankful.  

Ryker’s original due date was May 27th-one day before Dominic’s birthday.

It’s fitting that we have a new life to celebrate even as we celebrate missing Dom.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know how to merge these two lives, these opposite feelings, this joy and sorrow meeting in my heart.  

I vacillate between overwhelming sadness and overwhelming gratitude that my grandson’s story is beautiful, remarkable, nearly miraculous.  

So today I will try to honor Dominic-who he was, who he still is (even more so and perfectly in Heaven!) and the precious gift of another generation to love, nurture and cherish.

I’ll try to lay aside the awful knowledge I carry in my heart that any day things can change.  What you never think can happen DOES happen.

I’ll celebrate love.  

Because love lives forever.  


they know love lives william penn

*Dominic was killed instantly in a single vehicle motorcycle accident April 12, 2014.

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.

17 thoughts on “Twenty-Three Years, Ten Months, Fifteen Days and Holding”

  1. My Levi’s birthday, April 12th. My son was called home in 2010 when a 17 yo driver ran him over while riding his motorcycle 3 blocks from our home. He was a talented musician and studying to be a minister. Thank you for sharing your story, putting into words what we all feel. ❤️🙏💔

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tears here as I step into your open heart. Bless your mama heart this day of birth. And life. And conflicting emotions. I understand the joy of a precious new life mingled with the everpresent sadness of our precious babies lives…. gone

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Remembering your son, your Dominic, with you today…..
    bears all things,
    believes all things,
    hopes all things,
    endures all things.
    Love never fails.

    Susan , Brian’s mom

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy heavenly birthday Dominic. A day that is easy for me to remember. It’s my birthday also. I day I use to make big deal about with the family. Now, my own birthday is just a shadow of what it use be without my Amanda. The fourth one without her. And as you say, love conquers all. Big bear hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good morning, my heart is with you today, and as I’ve written you a note or two previously, I lost my Danny in 2010 at 27, also in a motorcycle accident, close to UGA campus where he’d graduated a few years prior and worked as a computer scientist since. He’s my second son, born in 1982; my son Kev was born in 1980, and my son Matt in 1985. My first granddaughter was born to Kev late in 2011, and though she and later her sister in 2015 have brought us such joy, it’s also reminiscent of my years with our young boys, years that went so fast as they were so busy and sometimes overwhelming . I am forever in grief without my son Danny, the day he was killed and yesterday morning one and the same…. The granddaughters bring our family great joy and the opportunity for us & my other sons to look forward with that sense of joy- but for me, Danny’s mom, there’s always a space of sadness, loss and overwhelming regret. And that’s the duality of Grandma status for me.


  6. Melanie,

    First, thank you for sharing all that you share about Dominique, grief, a grieving mother’s most raw feelings and thoughts, and so much more. Our 27 year old son Austin was killed in a horrific multi car wreck on July 27, 2018. It occurred on the I40-440 loop that goes around Raleigh, NC.
    The last 10 months have truly changed the very core of my family’s existence- My husband Richard, older sister Audrie and younger brother Andrew. We are forever different. The sadness of that is still very hard to accept though I know that that choice is no longer mine to make. I would live to connect with you – your posts amazingly mirror our journey. That journey will not end and we will take wrong turns as we go, and be the stronger for it. Austin’s birthday is June 5 and we are having a rather large party for him, family and friends on June 2. Having this party just seemed the only option- celebrating his life day with food, games, music, lots of Austin hugs and lots of love.

    Wishing you comfort and light my dear thru the good days and the not so good,

    Teri Webster

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Melanie , We just passed our sons birthday , it’s also been 6 years and he was 23. We get together with his friends each year, while it is hard in some ways it also feels like a little piece of him in all of us and just feels good. Our daughter found out she was expecting within days if our sons death. It saved all of our lives I believe . Those grandchildren do something to your heart that I can’t explain . But I am happy that you are experiencing this newness in your heart. Happy birthday Dominic and God bless you for all you share. You always help me. Debbie

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Letting you know Melanie that you & your husband are in my intentions today. I will remember that it’s Dominic’s birthday heavenly & otherwise.
    Dominic is still your son. Your Heart still loves even though the object(s) are not always visible. Have a piece of cake in honor of your child’s birthday & just imagine the gift of happiness & joy that he is living everyday. We will get there, one day. And the reunion will be joy incarnate!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy Birthday in heaven Dominic and Happy “Birth” day mama and papa. Wonderful photographs of Dominic.
    Such mixed emotions today for you all. The photographs of you both with Ryker are a delight.
    May the Lord’s peace be with you all

    Liked by 1 person

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