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.
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?