Monday, October 4, 2010

The Changing Tide of Grief

Two days later, nothing feels better.  The grief comes in waves - one minute you're fine, the next you're seeing a sympathetic email and bawling your eyes out.

This song (Flaming Lips' "Do you Realize") helps soothe the burn for me a bit - press play if you like:  

As a parent, you hope you never outlive your children and if you do you will find yourself in a lonely, desperate place.  No one will feel that loss the way that you will - no one will know about the dreams dashed upon the rocks of reality, will see the nest of hopes you snuggled your child in blown away in a violent windstorm, will hear the shattering sound of your world collapsing around you.

Looks just like Daddy.

As the aunt of this beautiful baby boy, I know my grief will never come close to the anguish my brother and his family are feeling.  I had planned to go meet him for the first time this coming weekend... and even though I am incredibly sad to have missed out on meeting him, I know this would be that much harder for me if I had held him and cuddled him like I wanted to.

With Big Sister Serenity (who called him "her baby")

The death of a child raises so many questions.  How do you go forward?  What do you tell the three older sisters who had awaited his arrival for 8 months and barely had a chance to meet him?  Do you protect them from the grief you're experiencing or bring them home and spend 5 days all snuggling in the same bed?  When do you clean up his things?  What are you supposed to do with all these people showing up offering to help?  What happens when you have to go back to living when all you want to do is crawl in a hole and cry?
There are no good answers here.  The cycle of life can be abrupt and cruel and grief affects us all in different ways. 

The one good thing that can come out of death is the sense of closeness and community that arises after a tragedy of this magnitude.  The outpouring of support has been heartwarming and I'll admit, nearly every time I get an email saying someone has donated to Dominick's Memorial fund I burst out crying.  When you lose someone I've learned it's best you pull the people you have left close to you and bear the weight of the burden together so that in time it will be bearable...  Everyone wants to help SO BADLY!  We all want to find a way to take away some of the pain that the family is going through and, as tritely sad and materialistic as it sounds, the only thing that can realistically be done is to help ease their financial worries while the grief cycle takes its toll.  As a family with three young girls with only one parent working (and making under $20k/year) financing a cremation, the medical bills for his NICU stay and, later, a funeral gathering is a seemingly overwhelming task. However, thanks to the generosity of friends, family, and community members we've been able to raise $400 so far to help Jon and Rachel and there was a funeral parlor who generously agreed to do the cremation for only $500 (apparently the cost is usually 4 times that).  
Here is a link to the PayPal donation site:

The funeral date has yet to be set, but I will post it the minute I know when it will be. 

Sleep sweet, little love.  <3

R.I.P., little man.  I wish I could have held you before you went. 


  1. Now that I am able to stop crying again, I must say, dear daughter, that you have an amazing way with words. You have expressed so well the deep sorrow and frustration we all feel at not being able to relieve any of the unspeakable anguish our dear son & daughter-in-law are carrying.
    As parents,(and grandparents) our hearts expand to embrace each new child God blesses us with. We all now have a Dominick shaped hole in our hearts that will always be there. Time is a cruel healer, it moves so very slowly during times of deep anguish, an hour is like a day, a day like a month. We wonder, will we ever be able to function normally again, will we ever be able to laugh again? It seems inconceivable right now.
    I have experienced times of deep anguish and loss before, but nothing on this level of devastation. As a Christian, I have had Jesus to hold on to in these times and I have experienced "the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, (that)will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7, the Bible) I know of no other place or person to turn to. Peace amidst grief is unexpected but available through Him who now holds little Dominick in His loving arms.
    Grampa Bormann

  2. Your father has said it well, Abby, and I sincerely agree that you express yourself superbly well. And, Paul, you do so likewise!
    My love to you both...Lou/Aunt Lou

  3. I am so so very sorry for your family's loss. We're thinking of you and sending "internet hugs" your way.

  4. Update: When I awoke this morning and checked our donation fund I was stunned to find that overnight the donation amount had shot from $400 to $1,000! The generosity of our friends and family (and their friends and families) is overwhelmingly heartwarming. Thank you all!!!

  5. Your story has affected me greatly today and as tragic as it is, I am so glad you shared it. As an aunt who is completely in love with my niece and nephews and all babies for that matter, I fell in love with Dominick and his sweet little angelic face instantly. My heart breaks for you all and I wish I could take all the love in my heart and send it your way. I will tell you though that you have my prayers and may God's blessing and love be with you all during this most difficult time. Lastly, I'd like to share a quote that gives me comfort whenever I lose someone I love dearly:

    To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die-Thomas Campbell

    Rest in peace, Baby Dominick and may God hold you in His loving embrace always.

  6. Nothing is like losing a child. I pray deeply for your brother and his wife and for your family who are also devistated by this loss. :(

  7. Keep pushing on. Keep pushing on. These words I must keep forcing through my head. I can't wait for the day that this becomes easier to cope with. My heart feels like it has been torn out and obliterated. Every day I wake that dreadful morning replays in my head. The terrified scream of my wife. The solem tone in the 911 dispatcher's voice walking me through the CPR that I had to give my son. When her tone changed after I told her what was happening I knew he was gone and yet still tried with eveything I had to bring him back while my loving wife kept my two year ond from seeing what was happening. The worst nightmare I have ever had. I just want someone to wake me up at two o'clock that morning instead of five. When I kissed him goodbye at the hospital and felt his cold head on my lips I was in the darkest depths of nothingness. Still, I take comfort in knowing that his purpose was served. Our family is closer now than ever. Maybe that was his life purpose. To keep a mother and father from letting eveything they worked for fall apart. To keep his sibblings from having to grow up a rough and bumpy road.