Wednesday, 15 January 2020

As old as he'll ever be

Today, our daughter hits a special milestone.

Today, she turns two years and 326 days.

That's how old Dominic was when he took his last breath.

When he died, he'd never said more than a couple words, "mom" being his favourite. A stroke took his speech and much of his mobility soon after he was diagnosed with leukemia.

He was also gentle, full of love and never seemed to complain no matter what awful things were happening to him. His thumbs-up became the signature for our #Dominicstrong fundraising for a reason.

By contrast, Samantha sings and dances, tells us she loves us and also throws epic temper tantrums when told she can't have what she wants.

She sees photos of him and we tell her that's her brother, but she's far more excited about going to hang out with the girl who's near her age at her day home. That's someone tangible. She'll never hug her brother or sit with him on Santa's lap or have a snowball fight with him.

And while he's stuck at two, she'll turn three next month and continue reaching milestones that never seemed possible for him.

He had a growth chart with only a few records marked on it. Samantha was given a similar one but I decided to mark her height on his chart instead, so that she'd always see his name there too and maybe start asking about it.

We hung it on the back of her door, but she's pulled it down so many times it was sitting crumpled in a spare room - a room that would've been his by now.

Yesterday I fixed it back on her door, had her stand beside it and we took a couple photos. Unsurprisingly she's far ahead of him at this age - cancer and chemotherapy do a number on kids' growth.

We're proud of her, but it feels like he's getting further and further away. The memory of him is frozen, and every winter a new layer of ice gets added around him. It's just a little bit harder to remember his face, or what his laugh sounded like, or how he walked with that awkward gait - another side effect of the stroke.

Today she's an age he was for the last time. Now he's the baby brother, not the older one.

She'll be a great big sister. She'll learn his story, and we'll continue to raise money in his memory. But what will that look like? There is so much uncertainty in our lives right now, we're not honestly sure.

I know this blog has been almost non-existent in the past year. Aside from our charity events, there's not much to say. Thanks to those of you who continue to follow his story and support us.


  1. Thinking of you and your precious family

  2. I hear your grief loud and strong and am sending out love to you both. Samantha however has her own journey separate from yours, as parents, and it seems there is a lot of complicated grief, and rightly so, that you are experiencing and I hope you might seek therapeutic counselling to work through this.
    Hugs to you both. Take care. Having experienced these types of losses myself. I hope you will continue to delight in Samantha for who she is independent from your grief of Dominic.

  3. Sean and Trish, you are a beautiful family, on earth and in heaven. It must be heart warming to be able to share Dominic with Samantha.

    I imagine today's milestone comes with great joy and immense sorrow.

    I'm no expert with grief, though I've had a number of close and tragic losses in my life, since I was 9 years old.

    You might be a little bit like me and have some super awesome days, and then have milestone days that bring deep reflection. I like to think this is "normal" since it's been my experience.

    You have your own grief journey to walk. Perhaps you'll try some new things to move onward, some you'll like and some you won't.

    I am so grateful for this moment in time where we can have easy access to videos so we can hear the voice and "see" the person we love who is now in heaven.

    Thank you for continuing to share your journey.

    Mush love to you and your family.

  4. She is adorable. Hugs to your family

  5. He remains in my heart always. Everytime I see batman. Everytime I see a thumbs up. Everytime i hear someone talking about cancer. I never met him but our littles were born very close together. Tears of joy and sadness this morning for you. It's okay to feel both. We passed a milestone of my dad's death last summer. All my older siblings have forgotten the noise he made while talking that I swear was his signature in my memory... but that's ok. We may not be able to remember everything but we hold them in our heart forever. Their spirit moves us forward, it shaped our world and their impact ripples in ways we may never know. Wishing you all the joy and sadness your heart feels it needs as you step through this new time.

  6. The details fade, but the love never does. The love melts the ice. Grieving with you today, for my own losses and for the loss of your lovely Dominic. Wishing you peace.