November 20, 2001 I gave birth to my first child. Four years later Joey came into our lives and welcomed Dominic with open arms. Dominic had Joey longer than any of his biological children. And was always treated as one of his.
Over the years there became intention in their relationship. Dominic rebelled against Joey, mainly because he had a father and no matter how hard Joey tried he wasn't it. Joey never strayed away from his commitment to Dominic. He always said once Dominic was old enough to understand he would appreciate everything he did for him.
That appreciation came the day Joey died. Dominic was heartbroken at how he acted towards Joey. Recently we had a conversation about how much guilt he carries. He knows now that Joey was a true father to him. Not just a figure but an actual father.
This is the price we pay for losing a loved one too soon. The regrets, the unsaid thank you's. We have to trust that they knew how much we loved them. We have to believe they can hear us at night crying out to them saying we miss them and we are sorry.
This is a lesson no child should have to learn. They should believe we all live forever. They deserve that innocence and misbelief about life.
Dominic talks of Joey often, things he remembers and laughs about, things he learned from him. Good things.
My oldest child is 15 today. And through this journey of grief we have become best friends. We carry the most memories. We understand each other with no words. We crying out to the same person at night.
I know with every inch of me Joey is so proud of him. And so I am. Happy birthday Dominic.