Today, is Dominique’s 32nd birthday! I wish on so many levels that I would have been able to pick up the phone, just like any other year and say, “Happy B-DAYYYYYY!” Unfortunately, God called this angel home last year and I can’t believe we are approaching the one year mark of her passing 🙁
Dominique and I started our relationship just like all of my other clients, we met at a local coffee shop to discuss me possibly photographing her wedding. As soon as she sat down, we started chatting and she revealed that she had recently lost a huge amount of weight naturally! During this time, I was also battling weight issues so we instantly connected! We connected so much during that conversation, that it was about an hour before we event spoke of anything wedding related, LOL! Long story short, I she booked me and we had the best time during her wedding planning and actual wedding day!
After her wedding, she kept in touch with me which proved that we had something much more special than a business relationship. She would call me randomly to check on me and my weight loss journey, she would call and talk girl talk and even invited me on multiple vacations as we shared a love for cruising! Thinking back, I’m so sad that my schedule never allowed me to join because the last trip she invited me on which was to celebrate her birthday, was the last trip she took 🙁
Dominique and I grew so close over the years that when she passed, her family contacted me to do her makeup for her funeral. You see, I did her makeup for her bridals, her engagements, and her wedding and she would always say that I was the only person who she ever felt did it right, lol. Getting the news that she passed was hard enough, but then being asked to do something of this caliber was a huge struggle for me! I initially told the family that I was afraid, nervous, too overwhelmed with emotion to be able to complete such a task and that I couldn’t bring myself to do it. They understood, but a day later, asked me once more and told me how important it was to them. Without hesitation, I agreed to do it. I’ve NEVER done makeup on anyone who’d passed so I was extremely nervous that I would mess up or she wouldn’t look perfect and I would have to live with those thoughts the rest of my life. Ironically, the day I visited the funeral home, I had an unexplained peace in my heart. Seeing her for the first time, I was instantly overwhelmed with the realization that she was gone, but I was strong. One of her best friends joined me and for her, I felt I had to be the strongest in the room. They shared such a beautiful bond and I didn’t want my emotions to overwhelm her in anyway!
After a few minuets I composed myself and started working on my naturally beautiful canvas. I’ve never truly experienced nerves to a point where your palms get sweaty and your hands shake, but this day, I was introduced to this natural form of nervousness. It took me about 20mins-30mins and my hands were shaking the entire time, but when I stepped back to look at her, my heart melted! She looked like an angel, her radiant silky smooth skin was glowing and honestly, she looked like she was just resting.
When I made it back to my car, I burst into tears! The entire time, I was holding it in because I didn’t want to upset her best friend, but as soon as I was alone, it all came out. Ironically, it was a mixture of sadness and joy! I was sad that God called her home at such a young age, but I was full of joy that I was able to send her off in such a beautiful way. The mixture of emotions was confusing, but I was at peace and was so happy to be able to serve her family in this way.
The day of the funeral, her family gave her the most beautiful home going I’ve ever seen. I was so moved by the service that I think I realized even more than ever, that life is short! I realized that everyday on this earth is numbered and it’s my choice to live it fully. Ironically, the biggest lesson was directly related to my art! As friends and family viewed the body, they would walk away expressing how beautiful she looked, this made me so proud. It wasn’t until a woman who was sitting behind me said something that made me realize how important my being there really was. She was talking to another woman and she was telling her how beautiful Dominique was, she was saying how beautiful her spirit was, how she was always so loving, positive, and caring. She went on to say that whoever did her makeup did a beautiful job as she looked like an angel, which is how she should have looked because that’s what she was. I cried so hard because in that moment, I realized life is about how you will be remembered. I thought to myself, how will people remember me, what will they say?
As a naturally positive person, I try to find lessons in everything I do and encounter. My relationship with Dominique was so influential during a phase of my life where a lot was going wrong. Sometimes certain people come into your life to leave a mark and I’m so honored to have been given such an angel in mine!
I know today is probably a hard day for the family, but I wanted to write this post to let them know that this angel will forever live on in many hearts. While she is no longer with us in body, she is here in spirit. I have not lived a negative day since her service! Literally, nothing has caused me to undervalue waking up healthy and happy. I thank Dominique for all of her pep talks because everyone applies at some point in my life and closing my eyes hearing her words are usually all I need to recover 🙂
Happy Birthday Dominique!!!!