Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Bridge: One Terrible Night


A few weeks ago I thought my biggest problem in the world was that I’d gained 10 lbs over the summer. I may have mentioned it to you here a time or three. But as you know, everything has changed:

We sat around the table doing homework by candlelight a la Little House on the Prairie. The electricity was out, and we were psyched. Driving home a few minutes earlier had been an adventure, as we made our way through flooded streets that looked like a river of chocolate milk. We saw our favorite tiny ponds overflowing their banks. We drove home a different way because we knew that the little bridge on the road outside of our development would be flooded, and it was.

We planned to make nachos for a snack, but with no power for the microwave, that was a no-go. I put out apple slices with peanut butter and we talked about how great school was going, particularly how excited Jack was about English, and Science, and Bible. This was promising news from the brand new world of Middle School!

The rain picked up and a knock came at the door. Friends, soaked, playing in the warm rain. Giggles all around, with a “Go for it!” from me and they were out the door. I don’t know how many times I’d told them of the crazy fun my sister and I had tromping through the flooded dips and valleys of our yard as kids, but I do know I had told them. Dear God, I wish I had never told them. My last sight of them was 5 soaked, happy kids, walking down our driveway toward the cul de sac, Jack, in his school uniform, doing a full spin with a huge smile on his face.

I crawled under the covers and by camping lantern read a magazine article about a family that left their affluent lives behind to live in an RV and serve the poor, city by city, in two month stretches. Could our family do something like that without killing each other? Not a chance, but I liked the fantasy, so I folded down the page to share at dinnertime.

Here’s the thing: I may have heard thunder at this point. You know those parenting moments when you let something go on too long against your better judgment, but you do it anyway? It could be a play date that quickly turns to crap just because you needed a little more adult time with the other mom, or a party you know you shouldn’t let your teenage daughter go to, but you are too tired and fed up to deal with any more drama, tears and arguing. So I might have heard thunder, but I didn’t listen.

I talked to my husband on the phone and said we might go out to dinner because the lights were out and all sports practices were canceled. But we decided traffic would be awful and we’d just forage from the fridge when he got home. So I let the kids stay out longer, later, until just after 6. After all, it was much lighter outside than in.

Then my husband called from the road and said he saw lightning, and I heard thunder in earnest, and went to get the kids. This meant getting in the car because I didn’t want to get soaked. What is fun for 10-12 year olds is not so much for 41 year olds. When I reached the cul de sac, they weren’t there. My daughter walked down the street toward me, having felt a strong urging that she should come home. I had her get in the car and asked where Jack was. “In Joe’s back yard,” was her reply.

Not a single thought of our neighborhood’s paltry little creek entered my mind at this point, only the danger of lightning, so I waited a few seconds wondering which gate I should use as I harrumphed about having to go out into the pouring rain. I walked down the steep, steep steps of the backyard that led to a normally anemic little creek of steep banks, rocky soil and a few inches of water. I had never been in this backyard before.

As I called Jack’s name, Joe’s mom leaned out the rear window of the house and said “Jack’s not down there with them.” I turned around and told her he was. Who knows how long this exchange took? 2 seconds? Three? More?

I could hear the peals of laughter of boys having fun down below, and I quickened my pace. I continued down to the bank where I saw just 2 boys, not 3. When I shouted, “Where is Jack?” They answered, laughing, “In the river!” In their shock, it must have looked funny to see him fall in and be swept away. For certain they were used to Jack making them laugh, and the mud and the rain and the playing were part of an afternoon that had truly felt like a celebration of sorts. Until it wasn’t.

Our crappy little creek was now a raging, raging river with walls of rushing water, and Jack was gone. How late was I? One second? 10? A minute? It could not have been more than that.

Shouting his name, running through underbrush, losing my flip-flops and holding up my soaked pants, I had the feeling that he was already gone. That NO ONE could have survived what I just saw. But I’m kind of like that. A defeatist, if that’s the word. I watched my own mother die in a hospital bed and never even said, “Turn away from the light! We want you to stay with us, dammit!” I’ve never been a fighter and have always just kind of felt like bad stuff happens, so why not to us?

But this was my CHILD, so my self-talk went something like, “Don’t give up, Anna! Do what other mothers would do. Don’t give up. Jesus help me, DON’T GIVE UP!” But truthfully, I couldn’t see how my 70 lb child could have survived even a few horrifying seconds in a current that was making 2000 lb cars bob along the roads.

Yelling for one neighbor to call 911 and another to look for Jack, I ran to the car and began driving. I had to get out of the neighborhood and down to a bridge, where I knew the rushing water led. Traffic was stopped because of the flooding. I drove the wrong way down a two lane road honking my horn at oncoming cars, and I got close, but I became fearful of our safety. I could feel my mommy-saving instincts folding up inside of myself as hopelessness set in and seconds ticked away, so I turned back, driving through a neighbor’s yard in order to turn around, leaving deep ruts that are there today. I didn’t think it would be many, many precious minutes before rescue workers could arrive.

Closed roads, no electricity, that fact that rescue workers couldn’t get there and weren’t familiar with the creek's name, one middle-aged cop sent to mosey up and ask me questions like my son’s name, our address, where he went in, and whether Jack could have been pretending, talk of a “500 year” or “1,000 year” or whoever-the-hell-cares-year flood of epic proportions. A fenced-in yard where for 7.5 years my kids had never, ever played, so the fact that it opened to a creek at the bottom was completely off my radar. A neighborhood creek that was such a non-issue for us that we’d never once warned the kids about it.

And the bridge. I tried to tell the workers to go to the bridge, yet I couldn’t even remember the name of the major road that we’ve lived off of for 8 years to explain what I meant. Neighbors ran along the banks, and some went in the water, endangering themselves to try to find Jack; Jack and Margaret’s friends watched in shock. Soaked through, I wondered what moms did in situations like this. Should I pull off my soggy yoga pants so I could run freely down the banks in my underwear without falling? Or was all of this just too, too crazy?

I held my friend’s hand and knelt cursing and praying on the grass. But I didn’t go in the water. I quit yelling. I went home to wait, just as the police told me to. I didn’t run to the bridge, where they found him 2 hours later in the murky darkness.

A night of shock and terror, made more macabre by police with flashlights inside our darkened house, and a sobbing little girl saying, “But I don’t want to be an only child!” Prayers and preachers and sobs and words like “identification” and “medical examiner” and “autopsy.” Friends holding us and sitting with us, and my sister driving through the night to be there. Sobbing to my husband 100 times saying,“I am so, so sorry! I am so, so sorry!” and not being able to stop.

There’s so much more to tell you, of news trucks crowding our street, of neighbors shielding us and carrying us, and of love, love, love pouring out from our friends, our family, our community, our God. Of miracles big and small. Of friendships strengthened and relationships renewed. Of the growing impact of one little boy’s life.

But those are not the stories for today. This is the horrible story that hurts to write and I know it hurts you to read. The story of going to a funeral home. Of deciding to see my son’s body. Of keening and screaming and running out the door, only to be greeted by a news camera across the street, with a well-coiffed reporter on an impossibly sunny day mercifully not realizing that the shrunken, shriveled woman in a 12 year old boy’s sweatshirt, staggering through the parking lot looking for refuge, for any car to sweep her up in, was the prey she’d been stalking all day.

The reporter didn’t realize that this was the broken woman who had told her kids to go ahead and play in the rain. Who had warned her kids about lightning and salmonella and sexual abuse and pornography and STD’s and bullying and collapsing tunnels of sand and snow, but who had never given the creek one single thought.

A woman who, while completely and utterly confident of her son’s immediate presence in the loving arms of the God of the Universe, would feel physical and mental anguish every moment of every day but most keenly when, at least 4 times every single day, she had to drive over the bridge where they found her little boy.

401 comments:

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Anonymous said...

The spin/giggle combo -- definitely means it was pure joy. sweetness!

You know what i think about that bridge....i drive over it about 2 times a day and I think I'm not alone in this, even though we do not know one another: I touch my heart and send up a prayer for your whole family. So when you drive over that bridge, know that this is also a place with much love.

simply brookes: said...

my heart goes out to you and your family. you are in my prayers and thoughts daily.

cpedens@msn.com said...

Anna, it's your birthday, and I cannot imagine what this day is like for you, other than that maybe(certainly) you are treasuring the gift of Jack's life... I am hoping you are with friends who are wrapping you in God's love (know that i am praying that for you). I pray and lift the three of you up so often, especially whenever i cross the bridge. Thank you for your courage, your spirit (overflowing from God's), and how generously you share your story and your pain. I'll say it... Happy Birthday, Anna. With God all things are possible...

Connie

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the impact you've had on all of our lives. I wish you peace today...

Blogmeisters said...

Anna, I continue to pray for you and your family. Especially today as I heard from Glennon/Momastery that it's your birthday. In reading this powerful post, it sounded like you are feeling some guilt for having let Jack go out and not talking to him about the danger of creeks in heavy rains. Guilt is a normal part of such a devastating loss. But hopefully, just as you believe that your awesome God and Jesus have welcomed Jack Home with loving arms, you continue to believe that those same loving arms are wrapped around you. That same God and Jesus love you unconditionally and so can heal that guilt. May the Peace of Christ be with you, Jenn

Lisa said...

Prayers...just continued prayers for you during this awfully dark time.

Leslie said...

I always have so much to say and all of it seems so unhelpful, so I end up letting you know I'm praying and that's it. Everything I say, I can hear how it would sound in a grieving mom's head and I just can't stand it. Everything I write sounds so cliche or obvious. But you're so honest. It makes me want to say everything I'm thinking.

I laughed through the bawling at Speckled Trout's comment above: "She responded by saying, "I just want to say that before I hit my head and blacked out, that was the most fun I ever had."

Kids have fun doing everything. And moms and dads love being cooler than their parents were. I love letting my kids get wet and play in the rain and jump in puddles in the Walmart parking lot because dammit, it's fun. I always wanted to when I was their age, and couldn't because it would mess up my shoes. Your kids were having fun. That day, and in their whole lives. They always have fun with you and Tim, we've been reading the posts for years, Anna, we've heard of the continuous fun. I don't understand the Lord's reasoning for things. I want to scream at Him about this every single time I think of it. Scream and punch and scream more. I pray for you, Tim and M to be given a genuine and amazing peace from our Creator, who is Just. I don't understand Him but I trust Him. I pray for the peace that passes all of our human understanding to wrap tightly around you, Tim and M. I've been struck by that verse, Philippians 4:7. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." He knew we would need this specific kind of peace while here on earth. One that passes all comprehension. I'm sure none of you can imagine peace in your hearts right now, but God said He's got the kind that passes all imagining. That's the peace I've been praying for all of you.

Red79 said...

I'm not even sure what to say, there are no words. My heart broke for you and your family while reading your story. Although I knew the outcome, I kept hoping for a different ending. I can't say it will get easier, but I hope that it does. Jack is with you in all that you do. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. XOXO

Becky said...

I find myself crying at work while reading your words. I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am.

Sending you positive energy and love

Nicole said...

Anna, I am so sorry for you, your husband, Margaret, and all your friends and family. I'm just so sorry. But it is NOT your fault! God wanted him back, and he is now your own angel and will be with you every minute, of every day. Much love to you.

Julie said...

My heart breaks reading your story here. I hope that you can feel the prayers of the many that are surrounding you (in person and in love) and that somehow you feel a peace from God within your heart as you recall fond memories of your son.

Erin said...

I've been reading for awhile, but I haven't been commenting because I felt that nothing I could say could even begin to touch your hurt. And although I know that's still true, after reading your raw, real and honest words, I feel compelled to comment anwyay.
My heart is broken for you. You made the choice I woiuld've made as a mother, the choice my own mother made, to let your kid be a kid. Because once we are adults, we don't get to play in the rain. We don't get to splash in puddles. That time is so fleeting and you simply wanted him to embrace it.

I don't understand why your son was taken, why such an unspeakable tragedy has to come to your family, but I do understand that you are an amazing mother.

lostandforgotten said...

Oh Anna. I had to stop so many times. I knew where this was going and I almost hoped that if somehow I delayed reading the words I could delay the inevitable of what happened to Jack.

So much love, so much love to you.

ALI said...

My heart breaks, my eyes weep & my soul prays for you & your family.

I pray to find your strength & understanding.

Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Anna,
I don't know you and, unfortunately, what brought me to your site was this terrible tragedy. I want you to know that, even though I have never met you or your beautiful family personally, there is something about Jack's smile...something in the way his eyes light up, that even when I'm sobbing along with your story...seeing it makes me smile. There's no doubt in my heart or mind that he was the wonderful boy you've told us of. My heart goes out to Jack, Margaret, your Husband and yourself. I know none of us can take this cross from you, but I sure do hope we are able to help lift the weight a little and help you carry it. Thank you for sharing this with us.
Love,
Katie M

Anonymous said...

Anna, I don't know you, but we're still praying for you. I'm sorry that this has happened to you and my family is praying that you and your family find peace. Sending you prayers from Rome.

carol said...

4 times a day over that bridge....I am sick for you. Nothing but sadness for you and your husband and dear girl...sorry for your loss

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,

I'm another Anna, who found you through Stacy Morrison's blog. Your writing is beautiful and my prayers are with you and your family. Please let our your feelings and know we're all reading and loving and praying. I know no words can help, but just know that I'm praying. It was one of those millions of moments that could have gone differently. You did nothing wrong. Those boys did nothing wrong. It was an instant and just know that in all these hellish subsequent moments prayers and good thoughts and love are surrounding you.

Ellen Jones said...

Dear Anna,

You are such a great Mom and writer - so brave and true and real. I love your blog and I've read every single entry. You describe your mom exactly how she was (and still is in our hearts) - zany, funny and real - just like you. I think she would say this whole thing is just shitty. I imagine that today is probably going to be pretty hard, and I wanted you to know that I love you and I'm praying for you and Tim and Margaret.

Love,
Ellen

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I am crying as I read your post. I couldn't just begin to imagine how you must have felt. I pray for you and your family's healing. Rest in peace to your sweet boy...

Liz said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss.

Law Momma said...

Oh Anna.

I do not know you.

I do not know you and I wish I did. Because if I knew you, I would wrap you in my arms and tell you this is so not your fault. I would wrap you in my arms and tell you that it was GOD who kept you from going to that bridge that day. It was God who knew that you did not need to be the first one there.
If I knew you, I would wrap you in my arms.
But I do not know you.
So I wrap you in my thoughts, my prayers, and my words.

Roxanne said...

I cannot fool myself into thinking anything I say here will help you. You are not at fault. But I cannot imagine what you are going through, what you are feeling, what this has been like. I thank you for sharing your story, Jack's story. It is extremely brave of you to put your heart out there like this. My thoughts are with you and your family, and I send you strength and love.

Alex@LateEnough said...

Prayers for your family.

You are a good mom to a sweet boy.

Adriana Escalante said...

Anna, we do not know each other, but we have friends in common. I do not stop thinking about you since I found out about your loss. My prayers and love to go out you always, and may God you the strength to live one moment at a time in peace, and in know, that your son is still living in you. A huge hug for you and your family.

MonicaB said...

My heart hurts for you. Please don't be so hard on yourself, you will be together again and until then, look up and smile. God bless you and your family.

universalgrit said...

Hot tears falling for you, your pain, your anguish, your family and the loss of your beautiful boy.

I applaud your courage to write, to share and your words are poetic and raw.

Many hugs to you.

Jana A said...

The tears won't stop flowing. I've been a mother running out of a funeral home after seeing her son's body. My heart breaks into a thousand pieces for you and your family. I am praying for you.

Mama Badger said...

Oh, Anna. My heart is breaking. I pray for you and your family every day. We can't avoid every danger in the world, but I think your post reminds us all to hold every moment we have close. God bless you, Anna, and Jack.

Anonymous said...

My son got ditched today from the two friends who walk home with him today. As I saw this unfold, it hurt as a mother to see what was transpiring. Not sure if it hurt my sons feelings but it sure hurt his mothers!

Came here to take a look to see if you posted anything new and in an instant, my mommy's hurt feelings for her son were lessoned as I was reminded that these moments in life will happen and they just dont matter!

See, here again is how Jack has made sense out of things for me!!!!

luv2run

Beth Anne said...

I am so sorry.

Praying, thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

I am so very sorry. No words could provide the comfort and peace you need. Only a higher power. I am so very sorry.

Katie said...

I just came across your blog from a list on another blog...started reading your top post to get an idea what your blog is about. I didn't grasp what you were recounting until I got to the very end. My heart is broken for you, dear Anna. I am so so so sorry. I am so thankful that you and your family, and especially your Jack know the Lord. I will be praying for you in the days ahead.

Sherri said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you, and I cannot even imagine the grief you are feeling.

Headless Mom said...

That must have been so hard to write. Like beyond hard.

I continue to pray for all of you, Anna. Love you!

Ali - My Suitcase Full of Tricks said...

I am so SO sorry for your loss.

A Morning Grouch said...

Oh, Anna. I'm so sorry. Thanks for sharing your story, and remember that millions of good moms let their kids play in the rain. Take care of you.

Pamela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Oh, I don't know what to say, except that I am crying for all of you. I am so sorry this happened.

Robin said...

It's just so horrific. I'm so very sorry. I'm local to you and heard this on the news and a few days later was directed to your blog via miss mustard seed. My husband was with 4 little boys on a pond when he was 5 and they all drowned but him. His family was so devastated by the loss of those little boys- they moved from the area to escape. Maybe they should have stayed so they could witness all the love and support those families got. One foot in front of the other is the only way to make it through these days....I hope you continue to feel His presence.

Anonymous said...

Shortly before this happened, I had been explaining The Lord's Prayer to my 4, 6, and 8 year old children. I was explaining, "...give us this day our daily bread..." it doesn't just mean food. It is so many things that He gives us...we may not even know what it is when we ask God, but God does! I say this prayer for you and your husband and daughter many, many times a day. May God give you what you need. He will never forget you, he will never leave you. He will reunite you with Jack in heaven. There is Hope in Jesus! I pray that you will be comforted. I am so sorry for your loss!

Meghan said...

Oh, Anna. You let him live his life, just as you should have. As we all would. I am so, so sorry this happened. You are an amazing mother. xoxo

Allison Zapata said...

I just want you to know how deeply I am praying and thinking of you all. I am so, so sorry. I am sending you SO MUCH LOVE. And peace. And I know it's not enough....xoxo

Karol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karol said...

Dear Anna,

Tonight a reader of my blog, someone whom I have never met, sent me a link to your blog. I read, I wept, I ached for you and yours. I ache with a knowing, not just of one who has had to say goodbye to my child far too soon, but as one who is living in the horrid aftermath of death by drowning. Exactly 2 years ago, on September 7, 2009 my beautiful 2.5 year old daughter, Jalayne Grace, as a result of a miscommunication between my 13 year old daughter and I, fell into our family pool and drowned. The pain, the sorrow, the grief was and is and will always be unspeakable.

I do not write to you with words of wisdom. I cannot tell you how to navigate this thing called grief. I only wish to express my sincerest sorrow for you and to say that I am so, so very sorry. I clearly recall, soon after Laynee's accident, that people were constantly telling me about others who had experienced the death of a child. I didn't want to hear about that. I had lost my child and I wanted her back more than I wanted the air that unceasingly filled my lungs. Now, 2 years later, I am beginning to find some slight measure of comfort in others who have walked this path. But I will extend the invitation for you to contact me if you should ever feel the need to talk to or hear from someone who understands on a gut wrenching level.

Your writing is beautiful and expressive and I am confident that it will be a source of healing for you in days to come as it has been for me. www.lovinglaynee.blogspot.com

Please know that I will lift you all up in prayer to a God, whose ways I cannot understand. Still, I know it is only in him and through his son that we have hope in seeing our beloved children again one day.

Waiting and longing for that day
Karol

Anonymous said...

Anna, I wanted to share another blog with you -- John Dobbs is a friend who also lost his teenage son in a tragic accident several years ago. He shares your faith and I hope that perhaps his journey could help you and your family. johndobbs.com/

Still praying for you.

Formerly known as Frau said...

((hugs)) I'm so sorry you are all in my continued thoughts and prayers...

Emily said...

love you anna. we loved you before and we love you now. it's all the same, no finger pointing, no if only's, just love love love. i hope you feel it.

Jerome Hammond said...

I thought "no" was such a powerful word. It is such a feckless word, a useless word. How many times we've said "no" out loud; in a whisper; in our minds; half asleep; in prayers; in our agony for you, for all of you, for all of us.

We are undone with grief.

Jerome

Betty from New Jersey said...

Anna,
My heart breaks for you. Tears streaming down my face, an ache in my heart, and prayers on my lips. I am so truly sorry for the loss of your son. I think of how many times i have let my children go down to the lake and how many times i have had to go get them because they didn't think that playing in the rain by the lake would be dangerous because thats not how kids think. You must always remember that this was not your fault. Jack will always be with you...in your heart, in your mind, and in your dreams. You, Anna, and your family are in my prayers. I am so so sorry.
~Betty from New Jersey

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

I'm so incredibly sorry.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

Thank you so much for sharing your heartrending story.

Oh how many times I have made a call that could have resulted in unintended outcomes.

Once I let my young daughter go up a slide in patent leather shoes (after a birthday party) and she ended up with a broken arm. NOTHING compared to what you have experienced but one minor example of how we are constantly making choices with unanticipated outcomes. There are too many factors constantly affecting what happens for us to have any real control.

You chose JOY and a full life experience for your dear son Jack.

You also chose, just that very afternoon, to give Jack and his sister a nutritious snack while setting them up to do their homework, to share in their excitement about the new school year, to plan to share a meaningful story with them at dinner time... I am sure there were many other decisions you made that day that had nothing but positive consequences, and the same goes for every day you shared with your precious children. You were loving, thoughtful and caring. You simply were not omniscient -- only God can be that.

I hurt for the children who came to call for Jack as well as for their families, who must feel so terrible, while their decisions were innocent as well.

Intent is all, and I hope that you can work through the pain enough to feel at peace with your loving intent.

Jack led a positive and joyful life. Would it have been better for him to have been parented by someone who was paranoid about potential harm and never let him play unsupervised outside? He would not have been the same person in that case, and likely not nearly as wonderul IMO.

You have affected hundreds if not thousands of families through your sharing of your story. I hope to focus more on sharing joy with my own family as a result of reading your blog. Please know there have been many, many outcomes of all kinds resulting from your decision.

Blessings to you and your loved ones,
Joan in PA

Hockeymandad said...

I am so sorry to read this tragic story. Big hugs to you and your family, you are in our prayers.

Unknown said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your beautiful family

Stephanie @ dial m for minky said...

You are so brave to share this with us. Our hearts are with you.

Anonymous said...

I Live on a street at the bottom of the hill by that bridge. I can only remember standing there in the rain crying. That night will be forever etched into my mind. God bless you. You are one of the single strongest women i have ever met. Im praying for you. <3

Chrisy said...

Dear God. A horrific night. Prayers for softness around you, Tim and Margaret, but especially for you right now... loving mother. xo

JKonfrst said...

I thought when I read the story - when you were brave enough to tell it, for all of us, an incredible gift of bravery and trust - I would somehow feel closure, knowing your healing had begun. Instead I feel more anguish, and more love for your family. All four of you. Platitudes and words seem insulting and minimizing. Please just know how many people are lifting you up in love and prayer. And deep, deep gratitude for your trust and words.

jane said...

I cross that bridge every day to and from work, and every day now I think of you and your family. And I think how sad it is to me... then think how unimaginably hard it must be for you.

yellowgirl said...

dear anna- your story is changing all of us who read it. your unspeakable grief is a gift to the world. i know you don't want it to be, but we don't always get what we want, do we...i just want to say that i think the moment you released your son to play in the rain, and he danced away in joy, God smiled. what a brave mom! what a generous mom! he must have thought. although there is danger all about us, we simply must release our children to that world of risk, or we condemn them to fear and frailty their whole lives. what better way for a child to go to heaven, than on the waves of a rushing river that he could not have known would carry him to the heart of the Father. you released him- and so should we all. where we cannot see the dangers, God can. and though it seems so wrong, we don't see it all. 'glass darkly'...i'm praying that your incredible story of pain and honesty will teach all of us who've read it to be a little braver, a little less controlling, and to understand that ultimately the lives of those we love are not in our hands- they are in His. guilt is a wasted emotion. second-guessing is stifling. we must raise our kids to take chances, to take risks, (within reason) but we are not omnipotent or omniscient. this we must leave with HIm. (i'm preaching to myself here, having gone through similar horrors in my lifetime.) release! let the sweet winds of freedom and surrender breathe life to our children. and the results are for us to accept and continue to breathe and rejoice in a loving, caring, and CAREFUL God who makes no mistakes. all my prayers and blessings to all of you.

FennyPenny said...

Anna, you are beautiful and loved and truly a wonderful mother.

I know everyone has already said everything,, but I want to tell you again - Jack is a soul, and so he will always BE. There is sadness and grief and emptiness here, but there are no tears in heaven - God said it in his word, and we stand on that.

If you ever get the chance, please read a post I wrote for a mother who lost a baby, http://thingsithinkaboutwhenihavetimetothink.blogspot.com/2011/09/promise-that-we-will-always-be-held.html#.To_LY3GrDi4 . Please listen to the song if you can and soak in the lyrics.

And if you still have the mind-space to read more, please read this - http://thingsithinkaboutwhenihavetimetothink.blogspot.com/2011/08/doctoring-and-mothering-and-living.html#.To_LqHGrDi4 . It is the story of a mother who shared with me the story of the loss of her 24 year old boy. She had 12 more years with him than you have had with Jack. But the conclusion is still the same - rather those 12 years or 25 years or even those few months, than not having held that precious soul for even that short time.

I'm praying for you and loving you, as is everyone else. And although this pain will never go in this lifetime, but it will become easier.
xxx

bernthis said...

Anna I just want to run over there and put my arms around you and never let go until all the pain has gone away.

I know that is possible but if I could I would, we all would. Sending you a ton of love, a giant hug and an invitation to call any time, day or night for any reason

Anna Lefler said...

Oh, Anna. I don't have the words.

I can say, though, that I am awed by the dark beauty with which you have written about this heartbreaking night. Surely it is not your hand alone that guides the words as they form.

Prayers and love to you and your family.

XOXO

Anna

Alice Brody said...

I don't read blogs. I have 4 kids and I never can find the time. I just happened to read this and I am so glad I did. My heart breaks for you and your family. I wish and pray for peace for all of you. I am so very sorry for your loss.

Manic Mommy said...

We are mothers, we second guess our every action. I pray, pray, pray for you to live without the burden that there is something you could have done.

Nicole said...

Thank you for sharing this... I hope that by writing this it helps you to release some of the pain and sorrow that I know pervades every minute of every day. I pray that you are able to release the feelings of guilt. It was not your fault. It was not your fault. It was not your fault. My heart aches for you, and as I read I sobbed aloud because I imagined what you must be feeling. It hurts so much, and I know it cannot even compare to what you feel. Praying for you all...

Deidre said...

Oh Anna! My heart breaks for you, again and again. I've been following your blog only since I learned of your terrible tragedy. Thank you for sharing your Jack with us. He is a gift as are you. I think of you all the time and lift you up in prayer. So many words come to mind, but none seem adequate. Still, I couldn't let this moment pass without adding my voice to the many others here letting you know that you do not walk alone.

Linda said...

I am so sorry. You are in my prayers. I pray for comfort for you.

Christen said...

I've read and re-read this post and my heart breaks every time. NO ONE could have anticipated what happened. You are an extraordinary woman and mother. Please know that.

Anonymous said...

Anna....so many people love you and pray for you each day. I am one. I am in awe of your strength and ability to reflect so clearly on what is important even while your heart is broken. I love you and your family. Diane

Alice said...

You don't know me, but I wanted to leave you a note. I will carry you & your family in my heart & prayers. This is gut wrenching & I hate that this happened to your family. I'm so sorry.

Nomads By Nature said...

My heart is breaking for the pain and loss you and your family are suffering. And it is swelling for the grace and strength that your words carry to those mourning with you. Nobody knows what the next moments hold, good or bad, gain or loss, but you remind me to cherish it all and above all to choose love. Huge, huge hugs to help carry you through these days/hours/overwhelmingly painful moments. God bless.

Jessica {Team Rasler} said...

I know many have already said it and you have heard it, but I hope someday you will *feel* the truth that this wasn't your fault. Still praying for you.

Denise said...

My heart aches for your family. I can't imagine your pain. Love to you all.

Anonymous said...

I have been struggling with what to say to you in comment form, so I'll just keep it to this: Thank you for so bravely sharing with us what happened on that, the most terrible of nights.

jbhat

Mary said...

praying for you all.

kimberwidmer said...

Oh, Anna. I can't imagine what it took for you to write that story. My heart has overflowed with ache and sorrow for you… I've put myself in your place a thousand times… and I don't know how I would endure, except with the power of Christ.
You have honored and glorified Christ in every moment. You are a fantastic mother. It is impossible to prepare our children for every danger that is out there. I have slapped my head so many times for the things I should have told my children… only after they have experienced them.
I have no words of real comfort here. That's why I've been so silent. Everything seems so hollow and trite. But I mean this with all of my heart. You are a fantastic, loving, protective, adventurous AMAZING woman, wife, and mother. Do not let Satan gain any level of a foothold. I rebuke the enemy and ask the Holy Spirit to give you comfort, rest, peace and strength. In Jesus' name. AMEN.
Loving you and holding you up before our Father.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

My dear, sweet Anna. As a mother to a soon-to-be-twelve-year-old, your words strike me so deeply, and I ache for you and your family. Prayers to you for your strength to battle through this grief without your dear, beautiful Jack.

Rachael said...

We are listening. Thank you for having the courage to share. We don't take for granted the pain that is felt with every written word.

Anonymous said...

Anna - I just came across your blog from another blog. I am lost for words. I am so sorry! You are so right, it was so sad to read this post, but more than anything, I hurt for you, your husband, daughter and family members. HUGS

Elz said...

I have no words. What a terrible memory. I can't even begin to imagine everything going through your head and heart. May peace find you soon.

Alecia said...

My Gods Grace be with you in this terribly dark time. You are in my prayers.

Donna said...

There is absolutely nothing I can say only that as I read this my perspective shifted and I snapped out of my woe is me mode to realise life is such a gift and I need hold on tight.

Desperately sorry for this loss and wish that peace one days makes it way back into your heart

Melanie said...

Brave, brave Anna. Thank you for sharing this. I am in so much admiration that you were able to share this story so soon.

A HUGE virtual hug from me, as well. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Pattie Smith said...

Dear Anna,
I heard of your blog from Char Brubaker. What a beautiful writer you are. I am deeply sorry for your loss. Alex made Jack his walpaper on his MAC at school. He misses Jack but most of all was so sad that he had lost touch in the last couple of years. This has been a lesson in love and loss for all of us. I wish you peace and blessings.
pattie smith

Oaktownmom said...

Crying a mother's tears of pain for you as I read this and holding your family in my heart.

Wegan said...

I am so so so sorry.

M x

Deb Nies said...

Love to you, Anna. Just love and hugs.

IrishEyes said...

Margaret,
If there was ever a little girl who will have the protective arms of her brother around her forever, it will be you! He will watch over your mom and dad too but I think you will always be the one helping you through life with a smile on his face and a laugh rising from his tummy to keep you living!
I pray for you and your family often and am so, so painfully sorry for all of you!
Erin

Anonymous said...

It is so brave to keep writing. Keep keep keep writing, please. Lots of hugs and prayers.

The Little Red Shop said...

I've just heard about your horrible news via Miss Mustard Seed. I'm praying. I will continue to pray that God will bless and comfort you all, each and every moment, until you see your precious Jack again, in His presence.

Julie M.

La Jolla Mom said...

Heartbroken for you. I'm so, so sorry.

Pseudo said...

Oh Anna. You have been in my thoughts and prayers. I have don't have the words to express how my heart goes out to you and your family.

{{{{{{{{{Anna}}}}}}}}}}

Love and light and hugs.

Chelsea said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Anna, There is nothing more horrific or tragic than losing a child. (I've lost 4, but all Of them born still or preterm)what. you're going through breaks my heart for you, for all Of you! The blame game is "The Enemy's) way of division for your family. Don't let Satan rejoice in your sadness, by allowing you to blame yourself, Or anyone else. No ones at fault except that horrible creek and crazy storm. My prayers will be with you all, as will my heartfelt apologies. May God's healing touch envelope and
cover you. I wish with all my heart that this could be taken back or reversed. I'm sure we all do, and nnone of us can make it better or easier, only the Lord can do that, and he can if you let him.

"Our God is Able"
With Love~ and praying for you.
Kymberlie

Kara said...

I have no words, just tears and groans in the spirit for you. I am heartbroken for your loss, and will pray for your family.

God bless you and keep you.

kallaydoscope.com said...

Many prayers for you and your sweet little boy taken too soon.

Mrs4444 said...

Oh, Anna....I am so, so sorry. My heart breaks for your family. I will be praying for you...

Nicole Feliciano said...

Just read your story and I can only say how brave you are to write this and continue sharing your story. My heart goes out to you.

Anonymous said...

Anna- Losing a child is the worst feeling of all. You show great courage and faith by sharing your story with all of us. I pray for you and your family, especially Margaret. She needs you know more than ever. God Bless you and your family. Don't lose that strong faith in God that you have.

Anonymous said...

Anna..I have just come through a year that was filled with grief I had not thought possible. I just wanted someone to wake me up and tell me it was all a dream, sit in the shower for one more hour sobbing almost daily..get in the car and drive someplace other than my life. I was lucky I had strong support system that kept telling me it was ok to fall apart. That my heart was big enough to hold the experience I was having..and have come to believe (now that I am living it) that all our disruptions are to get us into our loving. I fell apart, and came back together, eventually. My "falling apart" was a sacred, profound place. I examined suffering with a fine-toothed comb. I surrendered to it. It was a big leap of faith to let go and crumple. My heart had to shatter to let the light in. There is no place you can go on this journey of yours that is not the way of God. No wrong road, no wrong feeling, no wrong destiny. I found Pema Chodron's book: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times very comforting.

Annie said...

I cannot imagine how hard it was to write these words; how impossible it was to live them. I hold your family in prayer. Thank you for sharing your story.

Marcy said...

I am weeping openly at my desk at work right now. I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers. I can't imagine how you feel, but as a mother my heart is breaking for you.

Elsa May said...

Oh ! I can't imagine what this must be like for you and your family - my heart breaks for you all. How amazingly strong you are to share it via your blog. As a mother of twelve-year-old twin boys the tears were streaming down my cheeks as I read this. Sending you a mountain and life time of love and hugs. Best, Annie x

Elsa May said...

Oh ! I can't imagine what this must be like for you and your family - my heart breaks for you all. How amazingly strong you are to share it via your blog. As a mother of twelve-year-old twin boys the tears were streaming down my cheeks as I read this. Sending you a mountain and life time of love and hugs. Best, Annie x

Run U Mother said...

Anna - I heard your story on the news and prayed for you and your family with all my heart. I know one of the great falls station rescue crew men who found your son, and talked with him about his pain afterwards. I can only imagine that peace is hard to find. I, like you, let my children "play" outside that day. We were spared the heartache and guilt that you have been delivered. My thoughts are with you, your husband, and your daughter. Peace be with you all.

The Bipolar Diva said...

I can't imagine you having to drive over that bridge. Almost everyday I have to drive by the cemetery where my grandson lies. For seven years now I can't bring myself to look over to where he is. I'm so very sorry.

Wendy said...

Continuing to pray for you and your family.

mary said...

My dear friend sent me the link to your blog. She has been following you for a while and is heart broken for your dear son. She asked that I write to you. I lost my daughter Genevieve 4 years ago when she was 19. It wasn't an accident but a sudden illness. A parents worst nightmare... You have so many people praying for you and your family. Sending you love. I hope that will help carry you through each day, each moment. I miss my daughter and think of her every day. But now it is not always with tears, but with a smile as I remember the joy she radiated. For the gift she was to me. Her younger sister has grown these last 4years. Anger has changed into becoming the woman her sister would want her to become. Strong, loving, compassionate. Know that there is another side from your grief. There will be happiness again in your life. But heal first. Take care of yourself and you will be able to take care of your family. Love from family and friends and your faith will help you. As someone else wrote to you...you are in a club that no one wants to belong to. Stay strong. Much love, Mary

Mags said...

I just want to say something... anything... everything... that will take this pain from you and your family and bring back your son, Jack. But I've got nothing. I can do nothing. Except pray and pray and pray for your family - that you feel and know and believe that Jack is healthy, and happy, and SAFE in Heaven. And that that steadfast knowledge loosens the tight knot in your chest - if only for a second or two. I pray.
Most sincerely,
Maggie Buckley (a friend of Gail Headley)

Carrie said...

I'm so very, very sorry. Thank you for sharing Jack's story. What a beautiful and special child.

Sunny said...

I am here via Kristina at Pulsipher Predilections. I couldn't read your story and not comment. My heart goes out to you -- with three young boys, I cannot imagine the horror. I pray for your strength and peace in your heart.

Rachel W. said...

Oh, dear God! Jesus, I know You are holding this sweet boy right now. I know he is so happy and peaceful and content wrapped in Your sweet embrace. But please, Jesus, wrap Your arms around those who are left behind--those who are suffering every single second without him. Bring his mother and father and sweet sister comfort. Reassure them that there was nothing they could do-they are all blameless-You needed him, and had to bring him to You. Oh, Lord, the pain they feel is more than anyone can bear without You. Hold them all to you, and please carry this pain for them. In Your precious name, Jesus. Amen.

Practical Parsimony said...

I just found your blog. My tears and sobbing for your little boy, Jack, and for your pain are blinding me and making me hurt. My children are all grown, but the fear they will die still lives with me. I allowed them to do things that I knew were dangerous. You didn't even know there was danger, so don't blame yourself. There is no way I can even imagine your pain even though you are very good at explaining it. I would give my life to get Jack back for you and your daughter and husband. Your story has touched me deeply.

ter@waaoms said...

I have just come across your blog that was linked in other blog side bar. I am very sorry for the loss of your son. I, too, am a bereaved parent, and there is nothing, NOTHING, worse than that. I'm very sorry that you have to experience this.

Oonafey said...

I'm so sorry, Anna. I haven't been around much lately and just stumbled across this post today. I hope your family is learning to create a new "normal" and that you all have a beautiful holiday.

Rhonda said...

I just read through all of your archives and I am crying. I am so sorry for your loss of your sweet boy. I cannot imagine what you have gone through. I just thank you for your story. And I will keep you in my prayers.

Amanda said...

Anna, a woman who found my blog on LPM told me about your blog and even though I only had the chance to read about Christmas and about Jack, I am so so glad you are choosing to write. I lost my 3 year old this past July to a horrible accident and it is so hard trying to find Christian woman who have shared a loss, and sometimes I feel so alone even in the midst of my family and friends because really, who knows what you're going through except for someone who's lost a child? I pray the support system you have and the love of your family-and most importantly God-can sustain you. Your family are in my prayers and I pray this coming year brings little bits of joy , peace and love.

Wendy_P_in_NJ said...

I don't know you. I was directed to your blog by a friend who recommended it to all us "moms." She said it is "touching and heartbreaking and beautiful and I think you will all appreciate." She was right. But heartbreaking seems like such an insignificant word for what you have been through.

I am so extremely sorry for this horrible, horrible loss. Having three sons myself, two of whom are very close in age to Jack, I don't know that I can sufficiently imagine the the full and complete awfulness of this, but I think I have an inkling. All of us mom's know it only takes a moment for something to go wrong. I'm sorry that your moment was this one. My heart breaks for you, and you are surely not to blame. No one is to blame.

The fact that you were able to write such a darkly eloquent account of the most horrible moment of your life speaks volumes about your strength and bravery. So many of us are crying along with you.

Wishing you, and your family, and everyone who loved that gorgeous boy, peace. Peace in your love for each other and your memories of Jack.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,

What guts you have for even writing about your son. Remember each day to give yourself a break. We are of different faiths, but your trust in yours has taught me something I need to find in my own religion again. I have been dealing with the worst year of my life but for different reasons than what you have experienced. Realize you are touching people with your bravery. I don't think there are any one of us who can say we haven't broken down in a public place in such private pain. As one day blurs into the next, and someone tells you how strong you are and you want to smack them upside the head because today you aren't feeling that strong, just remember there are thousands of us out here who for today, or yesterday or even tomorrow will be strong for you as you have been for us. May your sons memory bring you peace and may this new year be of healing.

Wendy said...

Praying for you now.
I pray that you will feel God's loving arms around you.

Anonymous said...

anna....i dont know you but found your blog along the way....and i have been reading it all night.....there are no words ...I cannot imagine what you are going threw.....yet you give me hope....you have changed my view on life.....I will keep you and your family in my prayers...

Michael Morris said...

Thank you! Having the courage to put up your story and to tell it in all it's rawness. Too many families around the world suffer the consequences of drowning and near drowning incidents.

One of your readers just shared your story via our facebook, and we are glad they did. Our thoughts are with you.

Bourg Family said...

I am so sorry! I stumbled upon pregnantchicken.com tonight(or something like that) & then on to your blog. No parent should EVER have to endure this heartache. You will be in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

You and your family are in my prayers.

Michelle

Gina said...

Anna,

There can be no blame put on anyone for a tragic accident like this. And I am not trying to blame anyone at all but I was confused by the other boy's responses that "He is in the river". Were they not old enough to yell for help or realize that something terribly wrong had just happened. I was just curious that they thought it was funny.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I just came to your blog accidently, and read about your much loved son with horror. I currently have a friend visiting with me who lost her only two children, one to an accident, and one to a rare disease. You will always have Jack with you, as she has her two daughters. They say time heals, but I'm not too sure. It puts a scab over the hurt, but it is always there. Time and talking about Jack will dull the pain, and you and your family's deep faith in God will carry you through. It's hard to see sometimes why such a great God lets such horrible things happen to good people, but I believe that what Jack was put on this earth to do, he finished, and God has taken him home. Certainly, he has touched many lives through your blog, and will continue to do so. Much love to you and yours.

Teachinfourth said...

Anna,

I had no idea when I stumbled across your site that Jack had died. I am so sorry. I started to read over posts and eventually arrived at this one.

I can't explain how my blood congealed in my veins and my heart started to ache for you...a woman I've never met in this lifetime.

Your words reminded me of my mom dying of cancer, and the awful feelings that emanated from that time forth...the weakened woman lying in her bed that was my mom.

I can imagine - just a bit - how you must be feeling because of this tragic moment in time.

I am so sorry.

Anonymous said...

the loss of a child is the hardest to go through. So very sorry for your loss. I miss and love my David so very much. Treasure the memories
www.money-burge.com

Anonymous said...

I came to your blog through a friend's post on facebook. I am reading your blog with tear rolling and with a big lump in my throat. I can feel your pain. I never have posted in any blog so far. I am truly sorry for your loss. Your sweet boy is in a better place. May God give you and your family the strength to cope. My heart goes to you Anna.

Karah @ thespacebetweenblog said...

I can't even express words, I am so terribly sorry for your loss and wish you nothing but light and love.

karen gerstenberger said...

I just read this post, after your "What You Can Do to Help a Grieving Famiy" post. I am so, so, so very sorry for your loss. Oh, my heart breaks for you.
God bless you and your family, Anna, each and every day. He was a beautiful boy. I am so sorry.

smills97 said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. For all of you.

MissingMolly said...

I just read this, and I'm so very sorry for your tragic loss. Jack looked to be a bright, shining light of a person, and I so wish that he was still here with you. Sending much love to you and your family.

Heather said...

My heart aches for you. I found your blog through BlogHer and am touched by your writing, both for its beauty and the painful reality. I too lost my precious son, Austin, too soon at 14. My prayers will be with you and your family...

Eryn said...

Oh, my heart. I am so terribly sorry.

JMom said...

Just reading this for the first time today. Echoing the sympathetic comments. I don't even know you, but my heart hurts as I read and ponder. Peace be with you.

AlwaysARedhead said...

Thank goodness he was ok, as a mother I can only imagine the terror you felt.

Nikki said...

You poor beautiful soul, I cannot begin to imagine the strength it takes you to breathe each day let alone cross that bridge. As I'm reading I'm trying to find a way to truly appreciate each second of life that God gives to us. You are an amazing wife and mother to continue on for your daughter and husband. Truly an inspiration....

KWQR said...

Not sure how I stumbled here today, but reading your words has helped me more than you will ever know. I am so sorry for your loss.

You are a beautiful writer. Thank you for sharing your gift.

Renee said...

Just stumbled across your blog and wasn't quite sure what I was reading, something that was well written,
something a Mother was writing, a Mother who has a son like I do...and I couldn't help but continue to read on... and now my heart is breaking for you.
I'm watching my children play in the rain outside and I know I am changed forever for having read your story.
We are strangers and your son and your story have a place in my heart forever.

Kristen Mae said...

I just found your blog through 'Scary Mommy' ... We lost my brother several years ago in a sudden four-wheeler accident. The pain and the feeling of loss is horrific. Your family will now always be in my prayers. xo

Anonymous said...

Anna,
I don't read blogs often, but your blog was recommended. I read your stories from older to newest today. The loss of your son is just plain tragic. Such courage you have to write about it and share it with all of us - thank you for that courage. I am so sorry for your loss and will pray for you and your family to heal.

DonnaT said...

omg this must have been frightening and I cannot even begin to imagine your loss - may your angel be resting in heaven. Of course I wish he was here with you, where he belongs. Bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I am so so sorry to read this. Your precious boy is, of course, with his Heavenly Father. My heart breaks for you. I pray for the weight of your grief to be lightened by beautiful memories of your sweet child. God bless you Momma <3

Buttercream Bakehouse said...

Can't even imagine the pain you live with everyday. So sorry to know this and that you lived this and most importantly that your little boy lost his life. This is just heartbreaking. Prayers.

Hillary said...

With all the love that I can send, may God bless your family always and bring you comfort until you see your little boy again.

Maureen said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You are an incredible Mother

Sheyla Rojas said...

Anna, I just read your story and I feel so devastated. I am so sorry of your lost. It is hard to recover from losing someone that was inside you and you saw him grow and become the little man of the house. My prayers are with you, Jack and your family.

Lisa C said...

My heart hurts so deeply reading this post. I read about your story on the Momastery website yesterday, and just wanted to express my admiration for your ability to continue to live, love and experience joy despite the knowledge that these things can be taken so suddenly and unexpectedly. It takes great courage to live and Mother on. God bless you and your family.

Melissa Cook Haley said...

Anna,

I am so deeply sorry for your loss. I just came across your blog after reading Momastery today. Like so many others have said, I don't know you but my heart is hurting for you and your family. I will keep you all in my prayers.

Anna said...

Read your story after a friend shared your blog site on Facebook. What a strong woman you are, Anna. And what a terrific mom. <3 I would've let them play in the rain, also... More prayers than you can imagine for you and your family as your life (incredibly, unthinkably, blessedly) goes on.

Amy Austin said...

My son is also named Jack. My heart is breaking for you. I am so, so sorry.

Sunny said...

My friend, Rachel O., sent me here on the anniversary of this horrific event to know Jack's story and hear your message. My heart aches for you and your family. God bless you all and may he continue to heal the pain of such a traumatic loss. ♥

Carissa said...

My heart hurts for your loss, I only read of this tragedy today and I am wearing Jacks name on my hand, as are all members of my family.

Rod Arters said...

No words.. just prayers and hugs to your family from a fellow blogger who has lost his share of loved ones in my life. It has taught me one thing - if not everything... that is God is sovereign.

http://rodarters.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/god-approved-my-flat-tire/

Thank you for writing, in spite of your pain. We are all better for it. Can't wait to meet Jack!

Anonymous said...

I am so so so sorry! I also have a son named Jack and can see myself doing the same thing, telling him to go play in the rain with his friends, to have fun. This could be any parents story, I am so sorry this happened to you and your family. You are all in my thoughts and prayers!

Ryan's Mom said...

I have read this post a million times, hoping that the end is different. It never is, and my heart never stops breaking.

Anna, my deepest condolences to you and your family. And my sincere thanks for making me realize that my son is still here and I need to cherish EVERY SINGLE SECOND with him.

Mandie said...

I have no idea how people survive such a sad event. I'm just now finding your blog and just read the 1 year anniversary post. I am amazed and inspired by your courage and strength, and I'm so, so, so sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I am so sorry. My heart breaks for your loss. Thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, and your beautiful Jack.

Anonymous said...

We can't fully protect our children no matter what we do. Only the Lord can. My prayers for peace and grace are and will be with you. Mom's love children near and far together in a special way. Even those we don't know. God Bless You Anna.

Bluebird49 said...

I am so, so sorry you had to lose Jack....I know what it is like to lose a child, and the way you described the sounds that came from you that day are so terribly accurate. As mothers, I think we always feel it is our job to protect our children from so much--even death. After 14 years since losing our daughter, I still feel the deep loss, the "guilt", the sadness...although I know she is in Heaven. I know your life will never be the same, and I just don't have the words to tell you how much I hurt for you and your family. God be with you, Anna. May He give you peace. I know in my heart we will see Sherry , and you will see Jack, again some wonderful day.

Lucy said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. May God hold you close.

Kristen said...

In tears... this could have happened to any of us... any of our children. I'm so sorry it happened to your precious baby.

Anonymous said...

I just came across you blog today, and my heart aches for you and your family. A parent should not live longer than their children...I lost my son in 1989 and I can tell you that it is a wound that won't heal but somehow you go on and learn to live with this tremendous loss. There are easier days ahead.........

Johnnypsmom said...

A friend pointed me to your Blog today after I discussed my hope to participate in LTYM. I am so sorry for the loss your son, Jack.
The pain is excruciating. My 16 month old Baby Girl passed suddenly 2 years ago. Reading your story I felt again the raw pain, the moments with police and the funeral home. This was in November 2010. Your strength is amazing!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,
You don't know me but I read your blog and I am thinking about you and Jack tonight. I just back- read your posts and tears are in my eyes. My prayer is that the grief I feel for you right now, even in just a small small way relieves you somehow. That you are not alone and even strangers are holding you up and sending you love.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. I know this was posted long ago, but just stumbled across your blog. My thoughts are with you, and I will be holding your family in my heart.

Anonymous said...

Your story is heart breaking. I just wanted to let you know your story is still getting out there, today is the first I have heard about it. New prayers are being sent your way! Your son will never be forgotten!

Peace and Love from Kansas

Lori said...

I just found your blog recently(what a blessing) and have been reading your older posts. Sitting here sobbing and praying for you and your family. I am so so sorry for your loss. I just want you to know that I am lifting you all up in prayer. Thank you for sharing your stories. I have been very blessed to read them.

Charlene @CharChronicles said...

I wasn't sure where else to reach out, but I just wanted to take a moment to say how much your words, your pain, your memories, your love, has stayed with me since you first published your story. I just wanted to let you know that no matter what you have gone through, that there are people like me that will always remember him. Not sure if I am finding the right words, but I wanted to let you know how much I have thought of you and your family over the year. He'll never be forgotten. Many, Many Hugs.

Shelly said...

I am wiping tears and swallowing the huge lump in my throat. I am praying the God of all comfort hold you in His strong peaceful arms. You will see your boy again one day. You will.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna - I just found your blog - but I have known of Jack's story since it happened, because I live in Vienna, and I pass those blue ribbons all the time, and I drive down those roads, and slow down when I see the ribbons, and I think of your sweet boy every time, even though we did not know him. I didn't know you had a blog, and just happened upon it tonight. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Please know that prayers and love come your way even from people you haven't met, who were so touched and so absolutely heartbroken by your story. I am so very very sorry.

aimee said...

Oh, Anna. I am so, so sorry. I know I am very late coming to your blog, but thank you for reading mine and commenting. Even though the circumstances are very different, I recognized so much of my own story, my own shock and disbelief and struggle to understand. Thank you for writing about it.

Veens said...

I am so so so sorry for your loss. Please.. it was not your fault.

Our prayers.

HouseCallDaily said...

I've never met you, but I love you. And I love your family.

I lost my littler sister growing up, and it was and still is the worst thing that has ever happened to us.

Time like this, however, we develop incredible faith and hope in our Savior Jesus Christ.

I know that you know he lives again that we might be reunited with our loved ones. But I wanted you to know that I know that, too.

And in the meantime, it's OK to let the hurt seep in. That's never a sign that you're not faithful, rather I think it speaks to sharing your load with Him.

You have so many people giving you virtual hugs. Please add mine.

Anonymous said...

I love you. My prayers and thoughts are with you. May God's blessings and healing be with you always in the wings of angels cradling you and your family. Love.

Kat Biggie said...

I feel your anguish. Thank you for finding the words to write about it. I am so very, very, very sorry for your loss. I lost a child at 2 days old. Hardly any memories or any time spent together. The grief of your situation just tears my insides apart even thinking of it. Oh Anna...

Liza said...

no words. i am so sorry for your loss. sending you love and hoping for peace for you.

Susan HeadInMyHands said...

You were the best mom to let your kids explore, and feel, and experience. And you did it without fear and trusted that kids are not supposed to die before their parents. Don't let shoulda, coulda, woulda rob your life of your joy.

Anonymous said...

there are no words........ there is only grace for mothers like us who have lost a son. I wish you peace.

Pamela said...

I'm not even sure how I found your blog, but after reading this entry, my heart is simply aching for what you've gone through.

I have never experienced the death of anyone close to me - no family or friends - so I have no real experience to draw from. I only know that your agony can still be clearly felt in your words and your words tell a beautiful and tragic story about your son.

I am so sorry. I send healing waves of energy to you, and I am saying a prayer as well. I can't even begin to imagine all that you've been through. I just know that your story touched me enough that I wanted to write this and make sure you know you're not alone.

Ever.

God Bless you.

Emily Ward said...

My heart breaks, no parent should ever bury their child. Its so hard to accept when its their time. I have no words, just hugs and condolences. :(

Anne Peterson said...

Anna,

I just want to tell you that guilt loves to wrap its tentacles around us. But we make the decisions we make with the information we have at the time. Had you known what would happen your decisions would have been different. Was deeply touched by your story and your ability to share it so beautifully.

I would love to hear more about your wonderful son.

anne@annepeterson.com

rachelkristen said...

thank you for sharing this story. my heart goes out to you, and I shed tears for your pain. Sending love and comfort to you, despite the fact we have never met.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry. I don't really have any words. I'm just so, so, so sorry.

Lea Singh said...

I read and re-read your post for a long time. This is the worst thing that a parent can imagine happening, and I am so sorry for your loss. My children are 2,3, and 4 years old, and this is my worst nightmare. Your son was a very bright and talented boy. He is surely watching over you with love from his place with God.

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Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog yesterday morning and have now read every one of your posts. I am heartbroken for you and your family. I can't get you guys off of my mind. I keep finding myself coming back to your blog and rereading posts. Please know that so many people, even random strangers like myself, are still praying for your family.

God bless you.

Ashley

Meg Riemer said...

Anna, I am new to your blog but let me tell you I LOVE it. Thank you for sharing this story and many others. I stupidly tried to read this post while eating a sandwich. Couldn't get thru it (the sandwich, not the story). I feel like you give strength to so many. I'm truly sorry about Jack. Blessings to you and your whole family!!

Jayme Washington said...

Thank you for sharing your story.Even as the tears flow….You have inspired me to share mine. You are certainly in my prayers.

Ashley R said...

May God hold you and heal you in knowing you are a good Mom.. You were doing your best as we all do. We all want to play in the rain.. :( You are in my thoughts and my prayers..

Cody Claver said...

What you share demonstrates the fragility of life as we know it. It also shows the rawness of the moment and how grief and anguish are so personal. The fact is the world moves forward and that is very disconcerting. It feels like time should stop, even though it does not. I want to acknowledge that your experience and sharing it has touched me and I do feel sad for you not because of the day but because of the days and events that will be missed because Jack is gone. Thanks for sharing! We sometimes get to the Vienna area for work, in fact our offices are in Tyson's Corner, maybe our families could meet someday. All the best, Cody Claver

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Coming over For Your Tears. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and read your story with such sadness. The same thing happened in our family 5 years ago. Not a day goes by that I wish for something different. To go back one day in time ... even a really bad day in time would be much better.

I wish I could give you a hug and tell you that those thoughts of "if only" ... they haunt us forever but we are all human and we are not built to think that every storm, drive in the car, walk or every day things that we do will end in tragedy.

Susan

Teresa Hunt Photography said...

Hello, I just stumbled across your blog. I'm so sorry you know the pain of losing a child. I also lost my 12 year old son and my almost 10 year old son in 2011.

Your post was so beautifully written, and heartbreaking at the same time. Thank you for sharing.

I've also started writing my story. I'll leave the link if you are interested: http://clingingtohope.com/2014/11/the-day-my-world-shattered/

Again, thank you for sharing your story and I am so sorry for your loss.

Teresa

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Jesus is holding Jack in his arms.

Anonymous said...

You are incredibly brave. I am grieving with you.

Kristine said...

I came across your blog as I saw you on social media announcing your birth..As another woman over the age of 40 (thats me!) potentially considering another child, you are awesome! I am so sorry for this tragedy and honestly dont have any words to even say. As a mother, I was in tears reading your post (at work). I am behind on your posts but try to read here and there. I am glad to see that you are happy and Jack is still in your life. One day you will see him again! Congrats on the new baby and I am excited to see all the fun you will have as a family!

Erica said...

I have NO words after reading this...... Sorry seems so insignificant! I do rejoice with your family on the birth of your new little one, but THIS post,.... THPSE WORDS.... agh.... my mothers heart ACHES!! What an AMAZING young man her was,.... WHAT AN AMAZING MOTHER/parents you are to your children. I love how The Lord can bring LIGHT into this world in ways we don't even understand... I am sorry for your pain BUT WHAT A GIFT your son was to this earth and what a gift YOU all are in sharing him with all of us. I cannot imagine this type of loss in anyway....but I rejoice that he is indeed in Heaven with our Lord! Thank you for sharing your story/his story. May God Bless you RICHLY in this new journey of Life!!

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