Just a few months before Dominic was killed, this hoarding homeschool mama decided that it was time to finally give up some of the thousands of pages of handwritten, color-crayoned papers stacked in the attic, the storage building and floating in corners and crevices throughout the house.
Four children and twenty-two years of teaching them at home had produced a mountain of memories. I began to sort through the ones I deemed “most important to keep” and “everything else”.
Several loads were taken to the dump and tossed unceremoniously onto the trash pile.
It felt like freedom.
Now it feels like regret and longing.
Because what I have left of the physical presence of my son is represented in the scraps I have kept-the clothes, the notes, the scribbled comments in the margins of his notebooks and college texts.
I hear his voice in the tweets– his wit and wisdom, cynicism and societal critique.
Sometimes I hold them and think of the boy,the teen,the man who wrote them.
Sometimes I hurry past because thinking of who he was and feeling the absence of who he would be right now is too great to bear.
I wish he had left more voice mails-
I don’t erase them anymore.
From the start, if you didn’t want Dominic to do something, you couldn’t let him see you do it. One glance and he memorized the steps to turn on the TV, the computer, the video player (yes, he was a child of the 90’s). If he saw his dad use a hammer, the first chance he got to lay hands on one found him pounding away. He was always up for being first.
I never thought he would be the first to get to heaven.
On April 12, 2014 my third born child, in the prime of his life, fit and healthy, strong and lovely, died in a motorcycle accident.
No warning. No good-bye.
Here one instant, gone the next. He was twenty-three and less than a mile from his apartment.
There are no words for the moment when your world is changed from what you imagine it can be to the unbearable reality of what it is. The ache that begins in your gut and spreads to edges of your soul. “My child is dead.” You must repeat it to yourself because it cannot be true. But it is.
I am a bereaved mother and join the millions of women who have buried a child. It is no place for a mama-standing by her child’s grave.
This is not the life I would choose but it is the one I have been given. I am learning to walk this new way, with this burden of grief on my shoulders. God is still God and I will choose to remember that.
“Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him;” Job 13:15