So many anniversaries and holidays pass with the sadness of knowing he's not around for them anymore.
Today is a chance to eat some Smarties and Kraft Dinner and celebrate instead.
We know someday Samantha will learn about her big brother, who he was and what he is to our family. She'll understand why a thumbs-up is more than just a sign for OK with us, how she's our rainbow baby. But how will we teach her?
Celebrating his birthday is one way. While there's definitely a sombre note, we went and got some balloons, tied them to his bench behind our house, then went inside and ate cheezies and licorice and all the things he loved.
She's too young to understand any of it, but if we start now, we'll be ready when she wants to know more. Already there are pictures of him around the house, signs with the #Dominicstrong motif adorning our walls, slideshows featuring him as equally as her on our TV screens when music plays.
Some of his old toys are starting to come out as she grows, like the walker he used to patrol the hallways at the hospital. Every once in a while I'll catch myself looking at her thinking 'I've seen this before.' And then I'll see the glint of her earrings and hold my breath.
Dominic would've been five today. It is what it is. We celebrate him all the time but especially on this date.
As we walked away from the park where we left the balloons, we saw a couple teenagers - a boy and a girl. The girl had bright purple or pink hair, I can't remember exactly. They'd seen us taking photos at the bench and had gone to a nearby park in the green belt, but came to the bigger park as we departed.
Minutes later the balloons were gone. If they'd taken the time to read the plaque they'd know today was his birthday. I choose to believe they were ignorant and not malicious. It's easier that way.
Sure they were just balloons, one gold (for childhood cancer) and one orange (for leukemia). Both stars. And they weren't meant to stay forever.
But the rest of the day would've been nice. I wish people had more common sense.
I hope you saw those balloons, buddy. I hope you know how much we love you.
We are thrilled to announce that the #Dominicstrong online auction raised $10,921 for the Alberta Children's Hospital. Thanks to everyone who donated items, bought items or even just helped us spread the word about it. It was a lot of work but it was certainly worth it.
Now we're in the homestretch towards the big Extra Life 25-hour gaming marathon, which starts at 8 a.m. Nov. 4 in downtown Medicine Hat. If you want to do the marathon with us you'll have to message us directly; otherwise the public is welcome to join us from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., including a special charity dinner from 5-9 p.m. courtesy Skinny's Smokehouse ($10 per person). Here's the link to the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/317838335313000/
I'm also growing out a beard, not shaving until our team beats last year's total of US$23,256. As of the writing of this blog we're at US$17,498. If you've missed out on our events so far, this is the one way you can donate and get a tax receipt. Go to extra-life.org/participant/sean to donate.