I miss a lot of things since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.
I miss HIM-his deep voice, his perspective and his thump-thump-thumping down the stairs and the rhythm of who he is.
And I miss how his absence has reshaped the family I thought I’d have.
Raising four children, investing my time, heart and energy into who they were turning out to be, I naturally projected into the years ahead. All that love poured into them would create a legacy we’d all enjoy. Marriages, careers, grandchildren and experience would blend together into a (if not perfectly harmonious) at least a shared future.
I never imagined turning a calendar page without one of my children to turn it with me.
Dominic’s death has touched each one of us. His missing is as powerful a force as his presence. We are absolutely NOT THE SAME as we would have been if he were still here nor as we were when he was still here.
When Dom first left us, I was primarily mourning HIM. I still miss him like crazy.
But a lot of my mourning during the past twelve months has been for the family I thought I would have. I see each of my surviving children are processing Dominic’s absence in ways that influence their decisions.
In some ways it’s beautiful-I see twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings making choices with wisdom way beyond their years. In some ways it’s brutal-they set up safeguards because they know by experience that leaving the house doesn’t always mean you return.
They have back up plans for everything.
Which wasn’t something I even thought about when I was their age.
My husband and I expected to drift into retirement years full of energy and vigor. Much of that has been stolen from us by child loss too. Oh, how we long to be the fun grandparents, the traveling duo, the footloose crazy pair but it’s much more effort than we anticipated.
Sometimes we can’t muster that energy at all.
I know some changes were inevitable.
Dominic’s death coincided with a natural progression toward an empty nest. I’m not a helicopter mama and I’ve always said my goal was to raise children who could function well without me so I think that as much as possible, I prepared my heart for them to grow up and grow apart.
But in addition to normal changes, there’s an utterly unnatural and unwelcome transformation from nuclear family to brokenhearted family.
I am so, so thankful that we have chosen the hard path of running toward one another instead of running away.
I’m grateful that we have grown from five left behind to a table for seven-a new spouse and a precious grandchild.
I do not take a single second for granted because I know that seconds are not guaranteed.
But I sure wish Dominic were here to share it with us.