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.
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.
I know many who read this blog belong to closed online bereavement groups.
That’s a beautiful thing- a place where we can share our pain with others who understand it in a judgement-free zone.
We often post photos and our child(ren)’s story in the closed groups.
But today I want to take a moment to provide a public forum for anyone who wishes to take advantage of it.
Your child matters.
His or her story matters.
Your pain matters.
If you are so inclined, please “speak” your child(ren)’s name in the comments section. Tell us something about your child(ren), tell us what you miss about your child(ren), tell us what made your child(ren) a special light in this world.
(It is a PUBLIC forum so please don’t post anything you don’t want the world to know.)
Last year around this time, my eldest son received his captain’s bars and had just begun Officer Training School.
This year, it’s even more real to me that one of my own children may be called upon to risk or give his life for the life and liberty of another.
And the number of mothers I know whose child has died in service or because of service related wounds or PTSD has grown ever larger.
Memorial Day is not “just another holiday”.
It is a solemn occasion that merits our deepest reverence.
We must never forget: Freedom isn’t free.
Read the rest here: Memorial Day
I bend down and bump my head against memories.
“Mama, look at THAT!”
“Have you ever seen one of those?”
“Is it true toads give you warts? He lives under that rock. Don’t move it-let him live there because he eats bugs!”
“Why is the tail blue? What happens when it breaks off?”
Young boys found toads and luna moths, blue-tailed skinks and lizards Older boys hid with air-soft guns to ambush the other team. Young men changed oil and car parts.
And one summer a laughing Dominic lifted me high in the backhoe bucket so I could paint the top trim of the house.
Synapses fire and lightning flashes through my brain in seconds. ONE corner of my house-all this.
Every room holds memories. Every footfall echoes past days. Every window frames some precious vignette in my mind’s eye.
Most days I’ve learned to turn down the volume. But today it would not be denied.
And I think, “How would I have survived those precious, precious years if I had known what was coming?”
Thank God I didn’t.
I wrote this post after hearing a radio interview in which the guest said, “You can only hold onto what you refuse to let go of” in reference to clinging to what was truly important in life.
It struck a chord deep in my heart because as the weeks turn to months and then to years, I’m realizing I must hold onto every bit of Dominic that I can.
Because no matter how much I wish it were different, time has a way of washing our minds clean of things we don’t cling to with both hands.
Those hours before I planted one last kiss on my son’s forehead, I held his hand.
I nodded at the people filing past to pay their respects with my arm tucked behind me, desperate to cling to my child.
Read the rest here: You Can Only Hold On To What You Refuse to Let Go Of
So, what keeps my heart tied to this weary world when what it really wants is to go Home and be free of pain and sorrow? What anchors me to the sod when my soul longs to float away? What compels me to stay?
Last week it was bluebirds and hard work.
Washing up dishes from a morning cooking frenzy, I raised my eyes to look out the window and there-looking down the chimney of our smoker-was a bluebird.
Unconcerned with me he rested for some minutes where I could drink in the vibrant hue of his feathers. There’s just nothing like that blue anywhere but on the back of those beautiful birds-no matter how long I look at one, I always feel it’s not long enough. Then off he flew to join another on a branch.
It was a gift.
And I tucked it in my heart to pull out later when I needed a reminder that there is still beauty and life in a world that also includes pain and death.
About an hour later I joined my youngest son at his house just a few miles from the farm. It’s an older home on main street in our little town and needs some work before he moves in.
It was carpet day.
So for the next few hours we worked together and by the end of the day we had done it! Carpet laid. No major mistakes.
Success was sweet!
I was really just a go-fer and cheerleader but it felt oh, so good to have something work out just as planned.
It felt absolutely victorious!
We sat in the finished room and drank it in.
Someone else may have just moved on to the next task in the long list of tasks needed to finish the house. But when life has gone terribly wrong, you learn to relish those moments when it goes right.
THIS is what I hold on to.
These slices of beauty and victory are treasures I tuck inside.