Time Travel

This may come as a shock to my city-dwelling readers, but there is not a UPS store on every corner in rural Alabama.

In fact, there isn’t one in the whole county where I live. 

So when I had to return something with a prepaid label,  the nearest place to do it was up the highway and off an exit that I probably haven’t taken in a decade.  After dropping the package, on a whim, I scooted across the street to the Winn Dixie store for just a minute.

As soon as I entered, I knew I’d made a dreadful mistake.  The store had not changed even a little in the years and years since I was last there.  

And the last time I was there was with all four children.  

Those were the days when we piled into our Suburban and did marathon shopping runs to take advantage of every sale in one day.  My kids were experts at finding the right size item specified on whatever coupons we might be using to drop the price even further.  I would dispatch the boys to get heavier things as I went up and down the aisles loading the buggy with canned goods.

So when I walked in and the store even SMELLED the same, I was instantly transported to those days.  I could almost hear the laughter of my sons, see my daughter next to me and feel that blessed togetherness I cherished even then but long for painfully, desperately NOW.  

I’m not sure that my heart didn’t stop for just a second or two.  I know I held my breath.

It was both beautiful to remember and more painful than I could have imagined.

I was utterly unprepared for the grief wave that swept over my heart.

I forced myself to walk slowly to grab the item I needed.  I got in line, made small talk with a friendly customer and a chatty cashier.  And then I practically ran out the door and to my truck in an attempt to escape the sadness.

At home, I let the tears fall.  Sat in silence and gathering darkness and let myself FEEL all the feels.

I am oh, so grateful for every single moment I can remember but oh, so sad there won’t be any more.

it has been said that time heals all wounds rose kennedy clock

 

 

 

 

Repost: A Little Extra Grace

Each day I am reminded by sights, smells, sounds and memories that Dominic is in Heaven and not here.  

But there are moments and seasons when his absence is particularly strong-when I can’t breathe in without also breathing a prayer, “Father, let me make it through this minute, this hour, this day.”

And that’s when I need grace-from family, friends and strangers.

Read the rest here:  A Little Extra Grace

But I Had All That BEFORE!

I absolutely understand that when people say things like, “Just think of all the wonderful memories you have” or “He brought you so much joy” they mean well.

Because it’s true-I have beautiful memories of Dominic.  And he DID bring me great joy.

But I had those things BEFORE he was beyond my reach.

Childhood memories, photographs, mementoes from school and athletic teams-they were already displayed on the walls and shelves of my home.

But there were things I had then that I don’t have now:

  • his physical presence;
  • his laughter ringing down the hallway;
  • his text messages telling his absent-minded mama that there were storms headed her way;
  • his level-headed relationship advice;
  • and his tech-savvy, “I can fix it” help when I crashed my computer or other electronic device.

I don’t have a hundred different uniquely Dominic parts of my life anymore.

And I miss every one of them.  

missing from me

 

 

 

 

The Rememberers

This was not how I expected it to be.  

Children are supposed to be the legacy of their parents, not the other way around.

But it IS how it is.  So I will remember.  

I will carry the light that was the life of my precious boy and make sure that he is remembered and that the gifts he gave me are given to others with his name attached.

rememberers

75 Percent

I have tried blogging at various times through the years and always given up after a few posts.  My life was full and I found that in a few weeks or months I didn’t really have all that much to say.

It’s different this time-I have been writing every day for almost 20 months and seem to always have at least a sentence or two that wants to burst forth from my keyboard.

I think pain births words.

But one thing I never want to forget is that although Dominic is gone from my sight-my other three children are not.  I still have 75 percent of my children with me.

I do not take that for granted.

They are each a successful and highly-functioning adult in their own right.  It would be easy to run from a broken family and run toward a life that didn’t include daily reminders that their mama cries often and is not nearly the woman she once was.

But they don’t.

Instead they check on me, love me and encourage me with text messages and Facebook memes and silly photos.  They listen when I need to download a pile of frustration and disappointment.

They help me remember that life is still happening, even when I wish (in some ways) it wasn’t.

When each one of my children was born I received him or her as a gift from God.  I could not imagine there would be a day when I would treasure them more than I did on that day.

But I do.

I miss Dominic, because he was a gift from God too.

035

But I will be forever thankful that, at least for now, I have Fiona, James Michael and Julian.

Forced to give one child back, I will never, ever, take the ones I have left for granted.

beach-and-family-better

 

The Missing Never Fades

This popped up in my Facebook memories today:

dom looking up with camera

That face!

What I wouldn’t give to see it again, to feel his beard against my cheek when I hugged his neck, hear him laugh, know he was only a phone call away!

I’ve learned to carry the sorrow because I know it will be redeemed.

But the missing?

The missing never fades.

missing-someone

The Empty Chair

Most people realize that the “big” holidays are painful for bereaved parents-Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day-that makes sense.  

But what most people don’t know is that every single red-letter day-even the obscure ones-can be hard on parents missing a child.

Because any day that marks a departure from routine leaves gaps where I can dwell a little longer on the fact that Dominic is NOT here.

Any day off that lends itself to a family BBQ or celebration or just extra time around the table because we aren’t in a rush highlights that empty chair.  

ask me about the empty chair