Reality Check

I’ve struggled since the beginning of this journey to convey others the ongoing open-ended emptiness of burying a child.  

There is simply no way to fill the void left by my son’s leaving.  

No job, no hobby, no ministry, no person, no exercise regimen, dietary discipline or medical intervention can fix this pain.  

So when people think I will

“get over”,

or

“move past”

my son’s death,

they profoundly misunderstand my experience.  

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The Loudest Silence

I’ve been away from home for eleven days now.  For a homebody, that feels like forever.

Most of those days I’ve been surrounded by unfamiliar people and lots and lots of noise.

But in the midst of all that activity and sound, there has remained a quiet spot deep in my spirit that holds space for Dominic.

No matter how frantic, how deafening or how crowded things get, his absence is the loudest silence I hear.  

days when your absence is the loudest silence ive ever heard

Who’s Gonna Miss You Baby?

Busyness has become a national idol-we rush from commitment to commitment, signing up to fill every single minute with something, anything that makes us feel important, valuable, irreplaceable.

Of course we have job and family obligations-as we should-but we don’t feel fully accomplished until we have colored in the edges of our calendar until no white space remains.

Because we think that if we don’t show up, people will miss us.  We think that if WE don’t do this or that, it won’t get done.  We are absolutely certain that our input is critical to the success of every mission, every committee, every project.

Can I let you in on a little secret?  It’s not.

One of the inconvenient and difficult truths that has been burned in my brain since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven is this:  his absence didn’t make a bit of difference to the world at large.

It only made a difference to the hearts that loved him.

He was editor of a law journal-guess what?  It was still published.

He died days before final exams.  They happened anyway.

His apartment? Cleaned out and rented to the next in line.

His commitments? The hole closed up around the space he would have occupied or it was filled with someone else’s body and energy.

He is truly missed by those for whom his absence was inconceivable, not by those for whom his absence was an inconvenience.  

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So my take away is this:  I will not waste my time running here, there and everywhere.

I will not spend my life energy on things or projects or activities that don’t matter.

I am not going to invest the scarce resource of the rest of my life in busyness.

I will give everything I’ve got to hearts and lives and people.  I will pour myself into projects I’m passionate about, people I love and pursuits that will outlive my few years on this earth.

Because busyness does not define me.  

Love does.

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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

 

 

 

 

Not Funny Anymore

We took this picture celebrating Father’s Day 2013 and it was supposed to be a joke.

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Dominic had a habit of finding somewhere to be for the end of May (which includes his birthday) and the first couple weeks of June (Father’s Day) nearly every summer for the last six years he was with us.

I had to schedule his high school graduation (we home schooled) for the ONE weekend out of the whole summer when he would be home before he entered college in the fall.

In 2013 he was studying abroad in Switzerland.

So on this day when he was absent (again!) I brought along this picture and thought it would be funny to have him represented in the obligatory Father’s Day photo-little smiling Dominic.

It popped up in my Facebook memories the other day and I realized it’s not funny anymore.

Now the only way Dominic CAN be part of a family portrait is if one of us holds a picture of him.

I hate that.

Who could have guessed that our messing around would now mess with my head?

 

 

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.

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Missing Milestones

Another friend has a new grandchild.  

It makes my heart so happy to see families grow and prosper.  I love the fresh sweetness of newborn wrinkles and chubby fists.

If I’m honest I have to admit that for every smile that spreads wide across my face in response to posted pictures, there is a tear that slips down from the corner of my eye.

I wish I could feel unadulterated joy like I used to.

But I can’t. 

It is impossible for there to be any progeny bearing his smile, his laughter, his brown eyes and overgrown eyebrows.  The rhythm that filled his head and tapped, tapped, tapped down the bannister is buried underground.

And that is hard to bear.  

Losing a child is not a single event. 

It happens over and over and over.

future has changed