Dominic Rooney (2012-2015)
Medicine Hat AB
When Dominic died, there was a mad rush to do things in his name. Fundraising. Keepsakes. The memorial service. We did it all.
What to do with his ashes? Or his old clothes, or even his room. There were so many choices. Dominic was only two years old when he died from leukemia, and even though he wasn’t very mobile he loved to play at parks. There was a small one you could see from our backyard with an old bench, small climbing structure, and spinning wheel. A large tree nearby had recently blown down and we figured the city would replace it, so a memorial bench there would be perfect.
One thing we’d seen in our city was a memorial bench program. We could have a new bench installed somewhere in a green space and have a custom plaque put on it.
Once we placed the order, we were put in touch with a graphic designer who had followed our story and was a cancer survivor herself. She had an idea to include a representation of his Beads of Courage, along with the thumbs-up logo which had become his go-to that final year as he’d never learned to talk.
The plaque had to be re-glued as it fell off the bench a couple times that fall, but something odd happened the next summer. Crews started working on an area just steps outside our back gate. Suddenly there was a brand new playground, and the bench got moved to it. At first, we were upset, as we no longer had a child and faced the prospect of dozens of them playing nearby.
Then we had another child, and now she refers to it as Dominic’s park.