I Want You To Know How My Son LIVED Not Only How He Died

As happens often, multiple conversations, experiences and random social media posts rattle around in my brain and then sort themselves out into a brand new thought.

I realized (maybe for the first time with genuine feeling!) that I want people to know how my son lived and not only how or even that he died.

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It was probably almost three years before I could mention Dominic’s name without also adding, “he was killed in a motorcycle accident” to anyone who didn’t already know that.

It wasn’t because I wanted sympathy or special consideration but because I honestly could not think about Dominic without placing every thought in the context of his death. I was so aware of his absence that it pushed everything else about him into the background.

I was also horribly jealous of what I had lost.

I needed to express how desperately I longed to have him back so tended to share details about his personality, accomplishments and pet peeves from my own perspective.

I was mainly looking at him through my eyes instead of seeing him as a whole person distinct from myself.

I wanted to curate his image in the eyes of others.

But Dominic had been his own man for a long time when he left this earth for Heaven. He made his own choices, had friends I never knew, read things and saw places beyond my experience.

When I insist on introducing him first as Dominic the missing member of the family instead of Dominic the man he had become, I make him smaller than he was (than he is!).

I don’t want to do that.

Even though I rarely insist on mentioning his death anymore in casual conversation unless asked directly, I realize that I want to do more than just NOT mention his death.

I want to comment on his life.

I want to tell folks that Dominic was one of the most talented drummers I’ve ever heard. I want them to know about his quirky sense of humor, his insistence on super soft clothing and irritation with people who took two parking spaces in crowded lots. I want to share how even though you’d swear he was never afraid, he often felt like maybe he wouldn’t measure up somehow.

I want you to know that he was adventurous, athletic, addicted to coffee and adrenaline and a fierce lover of justice and his family.

Yes, Dominic died.

But he lived, too.

And that’s really what I want people to know. ❤

If you are a fellow bereaved parent, please share something about what makes your child(ren) unique. What do you want others to know about him or her?

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.

10 thoughts on “I Want You To Know How My Son LIVED Not Only How He Died”

  1. Both my boys were hard working, good with their hands, caring, generous young men, so alike in those ways, but expressing it so differently. Malcolm was a gifted mechanic who reached out to those on the outskirts of anything he was involved in and helped them feel a part. He’d help friends and strangers alike with their cars. He loved Starbucks, country music looking country, and his big diesel truck. Austin was a talented nurse who took pride in making the chaotic smooth whether it was for his patients or fellow nurses. He had a listening ear for anyone and an extra level of care for the elder patients. He preferred hot herbal teas. He loved living in suburbia with all the activities it offered. He was stylish and classy, clean and modern both in personal appearance and his home. I miss them so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our Dan was a wonderful children’s nurse, loved by his patients and their parents. He was a much loved fun uncle to our, then, 8 grandchildren. He had a tremendous sense of fun, adored Queen Elizabeth and knew Buckingham Palace inside out!! ( We are British!) He loved talking theology and history.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So I encourage us all to be like Jacob. To be selfless, be kind, be compassionate, be giving, be devoted, be a servant, be hardworking, be a light, and be the hands and feet of Jesus. #BeLikeJacob.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My son Josiah was a sweet young man that loved people! And more than one person has shared how he made them feel noticed and welcomed in the 20Somethings group at church and any of their social events. He went from being a very shy, introverted boy to a young man that had multiple YouTube channels where he loved to share technology tips and his latest escapades with his friends. He loved to travel and experience new places! He was able to travel to Thailand with 2 close friends just 1 1/2 years before his ATV accident. Always up for an adventure!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with you Melanie, but it is hard to get around the question of where are your kids now and what do they do? I could answer about the 4 that live here and never mention the 5th, who passed. But I won’t do that. I have 5 kids. I want to talk about Drew I guess I’ll have to work on my story.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Scott was so smart and so quiet……. he was driven to always do his best and pushed himself to do better. He excelled in computers, photography, and karate….. he had a wicked sense of humor and loved pranking his family and friends… his main love was his beautiful , loving wife, and three darling children….. stage 4 colon cancer took him way too young at 36..from all of us….. I miss his smile, his hugs, his beautiful eyes, and his “hi, Mama❤️“. Always in my heart💔💔💔💔💔

    Liked by 3 people

  7. My Kaci was such a loving, giving person. Her heart was so big. She loved her family and was extremely sentimental. Traditions and holidays were very important. She was so protective of her little brother. She was creative and had such a sweet spirit. I feel close to Kaci when I talk about her and tell people what an awesome person she was.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yes. I think his life is so, so important. My son is more than the grief of him being gone. He is still my son, a brother, an uncle a good and loyal friend. He’s an artist, a goofball, a metal-head super fan of Slayer. He had an impact on those he knew and loved and I always want to share.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I totally agree Melanie. I just love to talk about my girl. I have even managed to have complete conversations with new people where I chatted about my two girls, without ever having to reveal that Kari no longer lives on earth.
    Kari was a sweet, courageous, funny girl who loved to make other people feel happy. She loved life and lived it with passion, while enjoying the small things. She could light up a room and spread sunshine wherever she went.
    She made a difference in this world and most especially in me and I will never stop wanting to talk about her ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I read all your posts Melanie. My son Damien was a brilliant soul and beautiful person. He was a self made successful singer songwriter, taking his talent to the level most people dream about, all on his own motivation, hard work and raw talent. He helped countless countless people with his wisdom and sunny disposition, with his own deepest struggles set aside to be a listener. Many many people showed up for him and us and more than a few attributed thier sobriety and even their lives, to the fact that they met Damien DeRose. He was my hero, my only source of genuine selfless love and generosity of spirit. I am not a whole person without him here. my husband left me 6 weeks after Damien died, a marriage of 38 years, all through the battles to save both our sons, out of the blue…and so I am alone. My older son became psychotic a year ago after his dad also turned his back on him; my husband just “ran away”; he “wanted his life back”, “deserved to be happy”, and the weight of that and Noah’s already strained mental health, loss of his brother, pushed him to a psychosis. He sent me a certified letter disowning me when I tried to tell him he should see a doctor. He is afraid I will commit him. I really can’t; the system won’t do what he needs. So, overnight, when Damien overdosed, I lost everyone and my whole family, my whole life as I knew it. My husband left me, my surviving son hates me and wishes me dead, and the only real love I ever felt was from this miracle child I had, Damien. Just a perfect child until the demon got hold of his soul. I want to die, I wish for it and then rmemeber I have to be around in case Noah needs me ever. But living having lost everyone and only in case Noah might ever care to even let me know he needs me, is not much to hang on to. My faith is ruined. Life is a nightmare I can’t wake up from. I have help, support, plenty of anti depressants. The pain never goes away and nothing brings my son back. 6 months after, my sister told me I was “too hard to love”; I was “wallowing”. She wasn’t even going to come to my sons funeral, and the kids all grew up together. People have no idea. Even now, 4 years later, it is a crushing, fatal weight I carry every second. My son, Damien, Dami, Dame; the light of my life. Abusive marriage, alcoholic childhood home; Damien was a single star in the dark sky. Now it is all dark. I can’t wait to see if there is a tunnel of light and him waiting.

      Liked by 2 people

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