Dominic’s goodbye

My son Dominic who turned 14 years old on May 27th 2009 left the earthly body that no longer served him on January 5th 2010 to go somewhere more joyful, beautiful and connected than I know how to imagine.

It is with great grief and sadness that I watched him pass out of his little leukemia riddled body that day at 3:23 pm.  When I realized that his heart was no longer beating, I climbed on his bed and hugged him and cried and wailed “My baby, my baby” but that did not bring him back.

His passing was a beautiful thing to behold and I am so honored that I was a part of it.  I had been sitting vigil at his bedside at the Mark West Children’s Home where they take care of children who are terminal.  As the hours and days passed he would talk more about the other world he was in than the physical world the rest of us were in.  He would sit up and play video games without the remote.  He would take his brand new I-phone that he was so proud of and make twisting motions and do all kinds of magical little manuevers with it that had nothing to do with making a phone call.  I’m not sure what he was seeing or doing, but he seemed to be into it, and he often would talk about the bunnies he was seeing.

On Monday he looked at me and made a weird face and said that my face was melting purple.  Monday night (actually Tuesday morning) around 2 am, as I slept a few feet away, I “felt” him sit up.  That night I had forgotten to put the railing up, and he was sitting up and trying to get out of bed.  I walked to him as he stood up in his now bloated, heavy body and he put his arms around me for support and we held each other.  I hadn’t been able to hug him in so long since he had been in pain and it wasn’t comfortable for anyone to be in bed with him or touch him too much.  We stood there hugging for what seemed a blissful eternity to me.  I was nuzzling my nose into his neck and smelling him.  He smelled sweet, like a newborn baby.  I think a part of me knew this was my goodbye.  I wanted to enjoy every little sensation in that I was experiencing.  We stood there holding each other for a while, then he wanted to sit in the chair that was next to his bed. He looked at me in the dark, and in his most lucid moment that I had seen in days, he said “I trust you Mom”.  Earlier that day, I had told him that it was safe for him to leave his body and that I was going to be okay without him and that it was okay with me if he wanted to go.  I think he may have been referring to that.  Or maybe he was telling me he trusted me to let him go and to live the life I was meant to live.  I think I will know more later, or maybe it doesn’t really matter what it meant, he just wanted me to know that he always had trusted me and that I did right by him.  Then I put him back in bed and he went back to sleep for an hour.

At 3am he got up again, but this time on the side of the bed my sister and niece were on.  Again I went to him, and my sister and niece got up too.  It took the strength of the three of us to corral him in our arms as he was determined to walk out his room door.  He said, “Where is my backpack?  I need my backpack.  I’m going on a trip.”  Then we said we had the backpack for him.  He then asked me, “How do I know what is real?”  And I asked him if he could feel my arms around him.  He said “Yes” and I said that was real and he said, “Oh,this is real.”  That made him feel peaceful and he was ready to lay back down again.  He never woke up after that.  I waited all day just to have one more interaction with him.  To have one more opportunity to hear his voice and to watch him play his imaginary video games and talk about bunnies.

A little bit before Dominic died, I asked his dad to step outside to talk.  I was still worried I wasn’t doing enough.  Was just waiting for him to die what I was supposed to be doing?  Was that the best use of my time?  We spoke for a while and it was a very sweet and healing talk between the two of us.  I don’t remember what we said exactly, and I do know it was what needed to happen for Dominic to pass.  As we were out of the room, Dominic could separate himself from me, and have the space to do what he was ready to do.  As I walked back into the room, at that very moment, he was sitting up taking his last breath.  And then he was gone.

I spent another night with his body.  The nurses helped me bathe him with a tea bath, and I dressed his body in some of his brand new Christmas clothes.  I put his favorite hat on him and tucked his stuffed kitty next to him.  He was so beautiful still to me.  It was a gift to be there with his body for another 28 hours so that I could have the time to let go.  My family was all around me, and I sat mostly right next to his bed and played beautiful devotional music by Snatam Kaur.  It was the most wonderful and gentle way I can imagine to say goodbye, and I wish that everyone who loses a child or anyone close to them could have a similar experience.

Finally they came to take him away the next day around 7 pm.  They put him in the truck and drove away.  He was to be cremated.  I slept at home that night with my niece Madeline beside me.

It has been a little over 3 weeks now and I have had a large spectrum of emotions from joy and relief that he no longer suffers in that body to a sadness I’ve never felt before that seems to be registering in every cell in my body.  It’s like every cell is feeling the sadness, not just my mind. I never know when it will hit or what will trigger a crying spell.  It could be a movie that shows a mother and son connection or just someone saying telling me something about Dominic that they remember.  Pictures are full of emotions too.  I think most of my sadness comes from the longing to be with him in his physical form, and the knowing I will never get to see him have a girlfriend, graduate high school, have children and all those rights of passage in life that I as a mother took for granted , thinking I would get to see him do all or most of those one day.

Since he was my only child, I don’t know if it’s harder than it is for others who have more.  Perhaps. I do know that I am grateful I had the gift of being a mother to this incredible soul and that he continues to teach me every day.  Sometimes I feel his arms around me hugging me and I feel comfort.  Last night it felt as if someone sat on my bed and I know it was him.  He is all around me, and I am trying to get used to communicating with him in a new way now.

Right now it hurts.  My heart feels broken open.  I know that breaking open is different than just breaking, and right now, I don’t know how it is different.  I’m sure that time will show me.  I do know that life is still good for me and that I am experiencing much joy, laughter and love thanks to my many wonderful friends and family members who remind me every day how much I am loved.

My kitty Oscar is here too.  We got him for Dominic when he was diagnosed with leukemia in January of 2009.  Oscar keeps me company and gives me lots of love that I am needing.  I know he is here to comfort me. It’s funny that Dominic insisted we get Oscar not realizing he was ultimately going to be here for my comfort less than his own.

There are photos of Dominic all around my house, and little items that remind me of him on an altar by my front door.  I get many loving cards and gifts in the mail that give me comfort.  I do know that this will get easier.  Today is a hard day because I am by myself (which I am a lot by choice).  I think that having others around is nice, but it really just distracts me from my journey of healing and being in the presence of the loss I feel.

I know many other women have lost their children and that I am not unique in this experience, and maybe that makes it easier, I don’t know.

The rain is pounding on my window as I type this and that makes things seem a little more bleak at the moment and a little less hopeful.  I’ve gone through a good bit of tissues since I sat down to write this too.  I know that I can embrace the rain and the sun and know that one will always follow the other.  Words can comfort and words can teach, but only experience makes us become who we are becoming.

This year I am looking forward to all of the wonderful places I will travel to like Mt. Shasta, Calgary, Washington, Arizona, France, Italy, Austrailia, Hawaii and more I’m sure.  I know that in some ways Dominic’s leaving has opened some new doors for me to be more out in the world.  I choose to continue his message of kindness and compassion and I am going to enjoy the journey.

As we move forward in life, let us remember that there is no room for judgement, blame, shame or guilt, and that a kind word or smile can make all the difference in a person’s day or even life.  Unless we have walked in another’s life experience, we cannot know why they make the choices they do, and that all choices are good choices, simply because they are what is being chosen in that moment.

Goodbye Dominic, see you “around the way”.

The “I love you” song sent to me from Dominic after he “left” click here

46 thoughts on “Dominic’s goodbye

  1. ami

    Bless your heart and his. I like to think there’s no such thing as time or space. Just love. And we can feel it all the time.

    Hope to see you somewhere on your travels.

    Like

  2. Joseph

    This was difficult to read. Can never really get easier. My brother who was really close to me died suddenly in 2006 and had him cremated now he is in box next to me whenever I am home.
    Hopefully your life gets back on track soon. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Like

  3. Lori Temple

    Elaina,
    You know I understand your heartache so well. My heart just aches for you. I have been exactly where you are. It’s beautiful to hear your speak about Dominic.
    You continue to be in my heart and prayers. Take care of yourself Momma. Love you, Lori

    Like

  4. Carol Giambri

    Hi Elaina,
    Read your beautiful note and it brought tears to my eyes. I know it has to be hard, being a mother, and losing a young child but I am glad Dominic is no longer in pain.

    May you continue growing through your experience and be the beautiful, magnificent person to all who need your radiant love!

    Like

  5. Connie

    Elaina, my heart goes out to you..reading your blog brought back the moments when I lost my fiance to an auto accident and the day my husband past from Non-Hodgskins Lymphoma…When my fiance pasted I wasn’t in tuned to LIFE, so it took my husbands pasting to let go of them both…sounds strange, but learning from book, after book, and more books about the after life and just confirming that hidden urge to go home when we’ve done what we’re here to do…one thing you know is that he is home, happy, no more pain and that he will always be by your side!! Dominic, What a perfect song..LoL!!!

    Like

  6. Patrica Halverson

    So grateful you shared this! What a beautiful family! I know you’ll be o.k. and realize Dom is still there behind the veil! You radiate LOVE and it is an honor to read your blogs!
    xoxo
    Patricia

    Like

  7. Mel

    Oh, Elaina,
    I really did not want to read this.
    It cuts too close to home.
    My only child is a son Dominic’s age.
    I cannot imagine.
    I feel truly blessed to have you share this with me.
    I hope you can find comfort.

    Like

  8. another mama

    Elaina,
    I can’t begin to imagine your pain. The deep love you and your son shared shines so brightly through. I will pray that peace will fill your heart where now there is pain. You are blessed to have known such a beautiful being and he blessed to have known you. Stay focused on that love and that light until you can hold him again…

    Like

  9. Andrea Nison

    Thank you for sharing your journey with Dominic, Elaina. We are continuing to pray for you and your healing heart. Your openness and courage has brought so much healing for my heart too.

    Like

  10. Daphne Medina

    Your family is in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your experience. It makes me realize that some of the triviality of day to day living is just that; trivial. We need to remember that there is a bigger picture out there if we just look for it. Thank you and god bless you and Dominic.

    Best,

    Daphne Medina

    Like

  11. It may get easier and it may get harder. What I am grateful for is that I am here and I can feel, and I have a body that feels good and is healthy. I celebrate each day I get to feel the sun on my skin, go for a run or take a Birkram yoga class. Yay life!
    Shine on 🙂
    Love,
    Elaina

    Like

  12. Dearest Elaina,
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful and touching journey that you experienced with Dominic.

    What a courageous and amazing woman you are !

    Wishing you healing and greater sight to see that Dominic is just gone from the physical realm ;o) Love to you both and Blessings to you all as you move into today and tomorrow.

    I was deeply moved by your story thankyou Elaina for capturing the sacredness of life in the moment!

    Like

  13. Jan

    Dearest Elaina….you chose LIFE for Dominic. You did well. God chose eternal life for him….He did well. “When all created streams are dried, God’s fullness is still the same”. We moms drink deeply from the stream of love our children give us, and when they are gone we feel the ache of thirst deep in our soul. But the Lord gives us to drink every moment without drying up and I pray He will water your thirst-parched soul today. Love, Jan

    Like

  14. Dear Elaina:

    I was so deeply moved by your sharing. Having lost a husband and father in the past 11 years, I know that pain and grief…however I have heard that the death of a child is even more painful. Have you connected with Compassionate Friends who support families who have lost children. You speak so eloquently about the rawness and real-ness of it all. I offer you love and prayers and if you want to speak, please feel free to contact me. I am also a bereavement counselor, teacher and social worker who works with those who have experienced loss.

    Hugs,

    Edie

    Like

  15. Sending you a fresh breath and swirls of hugs dancing around your beaming body…I see you in all the happiness and delight that you bring forth as you dance through your life.
    Thanks for sharing your anguish and reflections in this blog…you are loved by many and I hope draw strength from us all. with smiling eyes, maurine

    Like

  16. Susie

    Elaina,
    Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us all. Although it is absolutely heartbreaking to read I am also filled with a sense of peace….. your words and the things Dominic said before he passed are just so beautiful. You are in my thoughts and prayers. I think you and your son are angels;)
    Love to you,
    Susie

    Like

  17. Mary Gray

    Elaina, thank-you for sharing your heartwarming, but painful story. It pulled at my heartstrings and brought tears to my eyes. It took alot of strength to give your most intimate experience to your readers.
    Love to you,
    Mary

    Like

  18. Holly

    Hi Elaina!

    I met you at the Glaser Farmer’s Market in West Palm about a month ago. I’m sorry to hear about Dominic… I know you will miss him. However, I am praying that God will embrace you and comfort you and stengthen you during this time. I pray that you will discover just how incredibly much Jesus loves you and has a plan for you!

    Blessings,
    Holly

    Like

  19. I lost my son Danny to an overdose of alcohol and prescription drugs on July 1, 2008. He was 22 years old. It has been devastating. The only thing that has helped me at all is my knowledge of the spirit world and the ability to “connect up” with Danny through thoughts, feelings, signs and of course, reputable mediums. Because Dan has made me aware, (through communications with medium Glenn Dove) that he feels and is uplifted by our prayers for him, I have started a Prayer Registry for parents who have lost children. In this way many of us can link up in thought and send group prayers out to each child registered on the anniversary day of their passing. The registry has not yet been in existence for a year and already we have heard from some of the kids, (through mediums) that the prayers are very helpful. My Danny describes it as “catching rides”. The families on this side also report feeling supported by these prayers. Please read about the Prayer Registry, for which there is no charge, at my website: http://www.sheriperl.com and please help me to spread the word. I’d like to see this open up to a much larger group. Thank you

    Like

    • Thank you for that uplifting information Sheri. May you be comforted and blessed by prayers for you and for Danny. I AM sending you heaps of love, prayers and light in this moment.
      With an open heart,
      Elaina Love

      Like

  20. Hi Elaina,

    I’m sitting here in tears from reading your and Dominic’s story, having followed his progress over the last few months, and am now pouring out love towards you xxx

    I look forward to meeting you in Australia.

    Much love,
    Kate

    Like

  21. Sue Amberson

    Hi Elaina,
    Your life is just opened up to a new, but you could not have this new life if you had not gone on this most wonderful (like no other) jornery with Dominic, what an honor it is to know both you and Dominic at this time of your Soul Growth. Pay the Karma Forward,
    Keep an open Heart and life will smile on you.
    Sending Love to you my dear friend

    Sue Amberson

    Like

  22. Hi Elaina,

    Josephine told me about the loss of your precious Dominic, and I just took the time to read your last moments with him. I can’t even begin to think of losing a child, and can barely type this through my tears. I am so sorry for your loss and will pray for your continued healing. Thank you for sharing your very private moments with your angel of a son. He is a beautiful boy.

    God Bless You,
    Crissy

    Like

  23. Rhadiante

    Hi Elaina,

    I just got word about Dom from Rose Lee. I am so touched and deeply saddened to read your post about his passing. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with such tender details, I feel like I was there by your side, and here it is almost 10 months later, I am crying now. My son Lucas just turned 10 months last week. I had my first scare that he stopped breathing last night and I saw his life flash before my eyes as my partner moved quickly to reposition him and clear his airways until he let out a cry. It was only seconds and my stomach dropped to the floor feeling desperation for my sweet baby to breath. Elaina, I send you lots and lots of love and strength. I know your your beautiful heart. You are surrounded by angels and Dom is right there by your side. I am so blessed to have been touched by both of you.

    Like

  24. Barbara Adelstein

    Dear Elaina, I met you in Oct 2010 while fasting at the TOL. You brought my husband and daughter in law to your store from the fair. I loved your energy and bought your books.I’ve been making your recipes, which I LOVE!!! I shared my experience with my friend, who teaches raw food and she shared of your experience with your son. She sent me your link, which I just read!!! My mother, my best friend, passed away March 2010. I am experiencing exactly what you have shared and am so much in touch with this process DAILY!!! I feel my Mothers presence daily and have been so accepting of our process. My sadness comes from not being able to touch and see her. Tears come to my eyes as I share this. I miss her so much!!! The good news is, NOTHING was left unsaid and I am so grateful that we spent much time together, having fun, love and much laughter. What a gift!!! Since meeting you and reading your experience, both you and your son arenas blessed to have found each other. I am so grateful to have crossed paths with you too. Perhaps we will meet again on my next fast in Aprl 2011. Be well and you are in my prayers!!!! Xoxoxoxo

    Like

    • Dear Barbara, Yes, I remember you all! I hope your fast went well. And I am so pleased you love my recipes.
      Thank you for sharing your experience about your mom. I know it is so hard to lose a parent, especially your mother. The thing I keep realizing is that death is unavoidable. I often think about my own parents and that they will not be around forever, so I have been cherishing them more, calling them more often and loving them up because I do want them to know how much I love them.
      Since Dominic has been gone I have had such a range of grief and emotions, and it comes when it comes. I feel his presence around me whenever I check in, especially when I am running by myself. It is sweet that he seems to be sending me little Hellos through butterflies these days.
      I wish you a blessed journey of healing and cleansing and I look forward to seeing you again next time you visit Patagonia.
      Love,
      Elaina

      Like

  25. Joan Pulizzano

    Dearest Elaina, not a day has gone by that you and Dominic haven’t been in my thoughts and prayers. I am thinking of you this holiday season and hope you are finding strength and solace. A little weakness is good, too! I believe you have the holiest spirit of all emanating light and goodness to you. Peace.

    Like

    • Dear Joan,
      Thank you for your loving thoughts, prayers and words.
      I am so grateful that you are remembering Dominic this time of year.
      He is very much missed and this being my first Christmas without him is difficult. I do feel him everywhere and talk to him often. I believe that since his passing my life has gotten 100x better in so many ways if that is possible. I think it’s because he is out there making sure that everything goes well for mom.
      With love and peace to you this Holiday season,
      Elana

      Like

  26. Hal

    Hi Elaina – just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you and Dom. “Dom’s song” always makes me smile! I am glad he is still helping you lead a happy life.

    Like

  27. 5/6/11

    Dear Elaina:
    Hello there!
    Just happened to think about YOU decided to visit your website to get the latest scoop with You. Learned of Dominic’s passing the moving experience.
    My sincerest regards to You, Dominic your Pure Joy Living Foods. Had the pleasure of meeting you in Santa Cruz at one of your workshops in 2003.
    Aloha
    nanci

    Like

  28. Lydia Miller (NZ)

    Dearest Elaina, i just googled your liver flush recipes & was blessed with this post .
    i think of you & send you immense love often. Thank you for sharing your precious heart & soul.

    As I type this I am focusing infinite love & light energy to you & Dominic. As i do, i feel a ‘picture’ of Dominic in rapturous joy & playfulness surrounded by beautiful butterflies & some bunnies.

    Thinking of you & Dominic and sending you both love & light energy during this holiday season and always.
    Arohanui,
    Lydia

    Like

  29. Rebecca

    As I sit here in tears reading your story, I had to go backwards in thought remembering how I got to your page. My daughters name is Elaina. I was googling “i love elaina” for images to send her while she’s away comforting a friend who’s parents are going through divorce. I stumbled upon your page through that search and am feeling so grateful to be present to this beautiful story. My heart aches for you. Thank you for sharing. So much love and light being sent your way.

    Like

  30. Michael

    Hi Elaine,
    This is Michael Ortega. Remember me? I was Kristine Ortega’s husband. I did not know about Dominic’s passing. I am grateful I was able to meet him. My daughter Nalandra called me tonight crying t share the news. Anyway, having a good death is such a blessing. He obviously had that with you and his Father. I am sad that this had to happened, of course. Bless you Elaine. You said the right thing when you hugged him and said “this is real”. Love is what we are. Consciousness IS the Heart.

    Like

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