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