We live in a noisy world.
Music, television, voices and the hum of electricity tunnel into our brains and distract us from hard questions and painful circumstances.
We live in a busy world.
If I’m not in motion, I am getting ready to be.
It is tempting in my grief to try to stuff life full of noise and busyness so I can ignore the pain and emptiness of missing my son.
But there is quiet beauty in the unfilled space of my heart–the spot once brimming with the living essence of the son I love.
In the silence I can hear his voice and see his smile.
So I will guard the noiseless place that still belongs to Dominic and keep it as a treasure, a comfort, and a tribute to him until we are together again.
There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
No child grows up in the SAME family because the addition of another child CHANGES the family. So does the subtraction…
We all miss him.
But each in our own way.
A family isn’t just the sum of its parts.
It isn’t a simple equation that can be worked out on a chalkboard or around a dinner table-this person plus that person equals two persons.
A family is an organic mixture of personalities, relationships, strengths and weaknesses that exponentially influence one another.
I always joked that our family was a ready-made committee. Wherever we went we brought a fully staffed, action-ready army of six that spread out and triumphed over whatever challenge we faced.
The last great task we conquered together was burying Dominic.
Our family has been diminished by more than one person.
We have lost the unique relationship that each of us had with him, lost the added strength that those relationships wove into the fabric of our lives. There are gaping holes everywhere.
Some people say that on earth we can only see the ugly underneath of the beautiful tapestry God is making of our lives.
That’s probably true.
But I long to get a glimpse of what loveliness is to be wrought from these threads.
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.