Sunday, January 27, 2013

Talking to My Children about Dominic

5's been such a long time.  5 years ago, our world fell apart with the sudden loss of my nephew, Dominic.  He had been sick with a barrage of normal kid things, but the one that took his life was unknown to all.  Dominic had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, an extremely aggressive form of cancer.  The heart-wrenching part was not being able to say goodbye to him; however, there is solace in knowing that his last days were spent frolicking happily through the snow with his buddies.

Dominic was an incredible human being.  He was so caring and thoughtful.  He loved, loved, loved stuffed animals, even at ten.  He was creative and incredibly intelligent.  The last time I saw him was Christmas, and he had received a kit to make your own sock monkey-type creature.  I wish I had made it with him. 

Georgia was three months old when Dominic died. They had only met on that Christmas trip (my sister and her family live in Maryland).  Georgia, of course, didn't remember that holiday or the trip cross-country for his funeral.  Harper, the younger of my children, wasn't even born.  It broke my heart to know that they missed out on getting to know how amazing their cousin was. I was determined that they knew about him, which meant they needed to know that he was gone.

Dom had been reading Each Little Bird That Sings when he died, a book ironically about a young girl who deals with death regularly as her family runs the town's mortuary. I read it to my class of 4th graders each January. When my girls are older, I'll read it to them, too. 

I feel it's important for our children to know that death is real, but not in a scary zombies are going to attack way.   It happens, and we grieve and then, when we're ready, we go on living.  Living is different without Dominic, but that's to be expected.
Part of my going on living after Dominic was to keep in our hearts and our conversations.  We talk about him whenever the Beatles come on, when we find giraffe stuffed animals, when there's a pretty bird, or when we replace the toilet paper roll.

I know the picture is inappropriate, but a donkey using a urinal? C'mon, that's funny. It makes me happy to share Dominic with my girls.  I'd love to share him with you also at