Friday, October 28, 2011

Jack, thank you for...


Your honesty. You did not lie to us. You did not sneak around. A mom we’ve never met told us how at baseball camp this summer you were trying to get her son out at second, and the ump called him out. But you told the ump that no, you hadn’t quite tagged him. Your honesty and integrity gave us great optimism for your future, because you firmly had our trust.

Your humility.


Your willingness to dumpster dive. Thanks for all the times you helped lift old broken furniture from the curb into the car for one of my many projects. I remember when I had you jump out of the car on the way to school to pick up a weird horse head thing that turned out to be solid marble and super heavy!

Snuggling. During the lice fiasco of 4th grade, when I was going psycho and didn’t want to put my head near anyone else’s pillows, you pointed out that I was becoming a tad obsessed and that it was cutting down on our family’s closeness. Thank you for that wisdom-- wisdom that led to several more years of snuggle time.

Your generosity of spirit. You were happy for other people's joy and success and celebrated with them. I remember how happy you were when Margaret won an American Girl Doll at a toy store. I would have been all up in my mom's business about why I couldn't get something of equal value. You just smiled and celebrated with her.

Not badgering. When you asked us for something and we said no, you accepted that. You accepted that the reason you couldn’t play the same video games your friends could was because we loved you and we thought Grand Theft Auto and those other games were trashy. Your lack of badgering made us want to work with you and give you more privileges. Win-Win.

Accepting, if not embracing, my cheapness. I love the way you came home from school on the last afternoon of your life and said, “Mom, did you buy all my binders at the thrift store again this year?” When I admitted I had, instead of getting mad, you just asked if we could maybe wash off the .69 written in grease pencil on all the covers so everyone wouldn't have to know about it.

Obeying your parents. I remember the Saturday before the accident, when you stayed up late with your cousin in the basement. It was time for lights-out and you asked if you could finish the ½ hour show you were watching. You had seen the first ½ of the episode about 4 times and wanted to see the end. I said no, and you turned it off. Your cousin finished it for you both when he was here for your memorial service one week later.

Forgiving Us. You forgave us our parenting mistakes, again and again. Whether it was our accidentally catching your chubby little baby tummy in the zipper of your footy pajamas, or coming down way too hard on you for things that were really OUR ISSUES, not yours, you forgave us.

Forgiving others. You didn’t hold grudges. When neighborhood spats occurred, and someone or other would yell, “I’m never playing with you again!” I would have written them off. But not you; you always gave it another shot.

Bettering yourself. Whether it was doing 100 sit-ups and push-ups a night trying to finally ace that damn Physical Fitness Test, learning to show patience and flexibility during neighborhood games, or practicing your baseball fielding with Dad in the yard, you worked to better yourself.

Your empathy. When you were very young, you worried A LOT about my dear friend Cynthia. You said, “How is she ever going to find someone to marry if she works in an old folks home?” When she (finally!) did get married, you were ecstatic. You prayed that she would be able to have babies and were so relieved when she did.

Your gentleness. You did not yell at me. As a kid who yelled at her parents a lot, I really appreciated that.

Never wearing a muscle shirt. Okay, there was one that time in 4-year-old Vacation Bible School, but that was mandatory.

Talking to us. Even though you were quieter at home than at school, you were great to talk to, especially at bedtime. You asked mature, thoughtful questions. Sometimes you would say in the dark, “Um, I have another word to ask you about.” I loved that you could do that without being embarrassed. The night before you died you were trying to understand a friendship that was changing. Thank you for talking to me about it.

Liking things that we could stand behind. Thank you for discussing houses and Shakespeare with me and the Yankees and books with Dad. I have a feeling you were a rare 4 year old for being into Origami and word games. Thanks for being obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine and Legos. I know if you had been into Pokemon, Bakugon, and Super Heroes we would have developed a taste for them, too, but I’m glad we never had to.

Your faith in God.

Making us laugh. You and your sister kept us entertained every day. I would have loved for you 2 to have the chance to make each other laugh as grown-ups.

Never blaming. You must have gotten this trait from your dad, not me. I could drop a can of corn on my foot and look around for someone else to blame. And now, I want to blame everyone and everything for what has happened to you, but that’s meaningless, and it's not what you would have done. So, even in this time of pain, yours is the example I want to follow.

There is so much more to thank you for, Jack. Like every family, we had good times and bad, but the good FAR outweighed the bad. I am reluctant to post this, because it is such a small representation of what made you special.

I am thankful to God for giving me an intelligent, quirky, gentle, strong-willed, respectful son to love. And that love will not end.

90 comments:

The Empress said...

You are evidence of God's strength.

You are a testament to what we can do what God is holding us up.

You, I can't even go on...

I'm just a puddle of tears about what I see here.

Mommy P said...

I don't know you, but have been following your blog since Jack's accident. I think of you often, multiple times a day, and am praying for you constantly. You are such a strong person. I read where you had written that you didn't feel strong, but to me just breathing, much less getting out of bed every day makes you a strong person. There is a song that I have on my blog that reminds me of you, "All I Can Say" by David Crowder Band. Thanks for you honesty in your blog and for sharing your raw emotions. Again, constantly praying for you.

Lisa said...

What beautiful traits and characteristics...what a special boy.

I still think of you and your family daily. Many prayers for peace and healing still being said.

I have to go dry my eyes now....

Leeann said...

I am so very glad you had Jack.
I just wish you could have had him much longer.
The more I read about him, the more I am sorry that I did not have a chance to know him while he was here.

aliciamarie911 said...

Oh Wow. He sounds like a wonderful boy! I know you and the people around him were blessed by his life!

The Green Family said...

Thank you ANNA for giving us all a reason to smile, laugh, cry, remorse, and most of all giving us a friend.

Marinka said...

What an incredible family you are.

Mel said...

I feel like through your posts I get to know Jack more and more. He sounds to me like a wonderful boy, one who had many qualities that many strive for in life and he had many of them very early. Be Proud.

Stay strong for Jack, he is with you every day and knows how much he is loved...

deborah quinn said...

Your writing about Jack encourages me to see all that I can learn from my own little boy, who turns 11 very soon, and whose brown eyes look uncannily like Jack's. Your bond with your son reminds me how important it is to keep hugging and snuggling, even though our popular culture might say that "boys don't cuddle." Thank you for being able to share Jack's gifts with us all...

Cheryl said...

Aaaaaaand I'm done. Again. Your faith, love, and perseverance do me in every time. I'm humbled. Thinking of your and your beautiful family every day.

kristi said...

I am so terribly sorry for your loss. You inspire me to love my kids even more and hug them harder EVERY DAY. My son has autism and he is my joy! My daughter is about to turn 16 and days can be rocky but I know I am blessed. Your family is beautiful.

Reenie said...

Anna....as I sit and read your stories of Jack, I have a smile on my face...then the next paragraph I will be moved to tears.

I don't need to tell you... that Jack was a special little boy.

Thank YOU and your family for sharing him with us.

My continued thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

xo

Pamela Gold said...

Tears. Both happy and sad.

The Mommy Therapy said...

Anna, I love to read your beautiful words, especially to Jack. I think of all of you so often.

You make me think more intently about my own children. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for sharing all of this. I wish you didn't have this experience to share, but I am so grateful that you are sharing. You really are touching so many people. You are generously allowing us a window in to something that we can not even imagine.

I pray for all of you each time you enter my mind, which is quite often through my day.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I am a regular reader of the blog Young House Love. The other morning I was enjoying my coffee and I noticed their blog listed An Inch of Gray as one of their "favourites". I openned your blog and started to read about your family and your precious little Jack. Since that morning I haven't been able to stop thinking about you and your family. You are in my prayers. I speak honestly when I say I'm inspired by Jack's traits. I'm newly married with the dream of one day starting a family. Although, I cannot begin to even imagine the depths of your loss, I still find myself compelled to write to you. Young Jack has touched my heart.

The Grady Chronicles said...

Just a note to let you know there is one more person here praying for you and sending loving thoughts your way.

sokphal said...

I love everything about this entry.

ella said...

This post in particular really tears me up.

Thank YOU Anna, for opening up to us, some complete strangers (like me), so that we may know your Jack....and maybe, just maybe provide a bit of comfort knowing how many people care for you and your family.

I could really use some fancy toilet paper to dry these tears. ;-)

Annie said...

What a beautiful tribute to a special, much loved boy. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, Jack. What a lovely mother you have. I imagine God needed you as an architect in heaven. Maybe all that lego prowess landed you a spot as his head re-modeler up there or something. I'm extremely angry and annoyed that you weren't left here to share all your talents with the rest of the world, but just imagine the greatness your mom, dad, and Margaret are going to bring into the world in your name. Anna, you are incredible and I hope you aren't always strong. Sometimes you need to knock out some drywall in the name of complete and utter unfairness of life. I think of you every day.

....Love from a fellow JMUer and Monkee :)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

You raised a beautiful caring son. I think what I hate the most is the phrase "the good die young" and that is truly tragic. We need the good in our world today. My heart is yours. Beautiful post about a very special boy that God blessed you with for a way too short amount of time. ((HUGS))

New Mom said...

I am out in California and don't know you, but I have been keeping up with your story and praying for your family. I am blessed by Psalm 121, which reminds us that we have a God Who never sleeps. Isn't it cool that Jack can ask all those questions for eternity with a God who never goes to bed. Thank you, Jesus, for dear Jack. Thank you, Jack for showing us Jesus. This All Saints' Day, I will be giving thanks for this special young man.

Michelle said...

Your posts are so healing for all of the people who love and miss Jack.

I didn't know him personally, but I sure do hope that my little ones will grow to possess the qualities that you saw embodied in Jack. What a testament to the love and diligence of his parents :-).

Be blessed today.

The Carens Clan said...

What an amazing boy.... Thank you for sharing a part of Jack with us. So many tears reading this, I wish you were not going through this loss. I am continuing to pray for your family every day.

tara said...

Just caught up on two whole pages of posts....they were all so honest and touching.

My heart goes out to you, and my prayers are yours....

What I find most beautiful, most profound, is that God is truly with you and your family...dispersing tiny miracles of comfort and laying bare their connections. Amazing and miraculous, and I'm so thankful for His Grace in your lives.

Meredith Self said...

Oh, Jack! What a beautiful heart that lives on now in so many of us! xoxo

Such an incredible post, Anna. I'm sure there is so, so much more and I look forward to knowing Jack better.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing Anna... sometimes i am just speechless - this is one of those days/posts.. i love Jack - what a great son! Love you too Anna. xo Patty
p.s. i said i was speechless - not so much i guess... =o)

Leslie said...

I can't imagine how hard it was for you to write and post this - and yes, we understand this is not a comprehensive list. That this doesn't even touch on the memories and on his traits, and on the stories you have. It sure is a breathtaking glimpse, though.

I can't imagine the depth of your loss. As you said in the AOL Patch article, he's having a blast in heaven right now, but I know how badly you wish he was still here having a blast with you all. I'm so sorry.

We are always praying for that God-gifted, unimaginable peace for you, Anna, and for Tim and little Margaret.

Anonymous said...

The loveliest thing about reading that lovely tribute is that Jack KNEW that his family appreciated all of his lovely qualities. You shared that appreciation with him while he was with you, and didn't save it up for later.

I would love to read one about Margaret too. Because I know that she gives you much to be thankful for as well.

love,
jbhat

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

A wonderful boy, a marvelous example of perseverance, wisdom and forgiveness.

Beautiful, Anna.

Rach said...

Beautiful. Your son, your words, all of it.

As always, you are in my heart and prayers.
Rach

Jackie Koll said...

Thank you for this post - I sit here with tears in my eyes because today, I lost patience with my kids for little things. This convicted me to look for the things that my kids are doing that are good; to look for the things that they enjoy and talk to them about it; to expand their horizens by exposing them to things that are good; to pray for them daily. Wow. Little did you know that some mom in Michigan would be heartbroken today by what you wrote because I needed it - I needed to understand simple truths and love my children now. Thank you

L said...

Yes, jbhat, so beautiful that Jack did know that his family loved and appreciated these qualities. Wonderful boy, wonderful family.

Jen said...

You are amazing and so is your blog! I do not know you or your family but lived in Vienna for 4 years until transferring with my husbands job this past summer.So I tune into the Patch often to find out Vienna News. What a special community to live in! I know they have all wrapped their arms around you and your family! I am moved to tears about your loss. We have 2 boys - ages 8 and 7 and feel so blessed and lucky - sometimes I feel like we are just waiting for "the other shoe to drop!" I can't imagine your pain, not to mention the anger....the anger that I would have toward God! But what amazing memories you have of the years spent with Jack! It sounds like he was such a gem! I pray for strength for all of you and especially your daughter! Thinking of you!

Kim @ A Brush of Whimsy said...

Those words were so precious! I loved the thrift store folders one, down to the black pen mark. I think about one of Jack's traits often~the one about being happy for others and internalizing that happiness for himself. That is a beautiful quality that I greatly admire! Thank you for telling us about your dear son.

PeachPrenni said...

Anna, This is a beautiful tribute to your son. I loved reading it. It made my heart ache for you too, but I loved learning more about your wonderful boy. I truly wish I could have known him. I think he would have made fast friends with my Jake. As I read this tribute, I was reminded of all the important qualities I want to instill in my kids. Thank you for that. Thank you for sharing. Blessings & Love, Annie

Andrea said...

Hello-
I don't know you but I was reading Young House Love and noticed your blog on their favorites. I read about your son, Jack, and the tragic accident. I can't imagine your pain and I pray for you and your family. I admire your strength. I just wanted to send you a message and let you and your family are in my prayers and I hope your daughter is able to see Justin B. I sent him a message also.

Brandi said...

Thank you for sharing your special boy Jack with us! We miss him too! The best days for us are when we see Margaret out on the soccer field with her big beautiful smile! Brandi and Bailey

Stimey said...

We know that there is so much special about Jack that you could never manage to write it all down, but I love reading about him. He really sounds like he was an amazing kid.

Kelly R said...

Beautiful Anna! You represent him so well. I feel as though I know him and love him through your posts. What an amazing young man, an example for all. Your are always in my prayers.
xo

Margaret said...

This is so amazing. Jack gives me so much HOPE, hope that my future kids can come into this world and be AWESOME like him. I really really hope they are as awesome as him.

I'm another person who started reading your blog just recently, and I'm in awe of Jack and I love you Anna. Thank you for your honesty. you are my sister in Christ.

kimberwidmer said...

Thank YOU for sharing Jack with us. Bless you, sweet Anna. I'm sure you shared alot of that while Jack was here. I know I don't always tell my children the things I love about them. Oftentimes it's just the opposite.

I've had some people contact me (maybe because it's my blog that is referenced on the facebook page?) but I may need to get in touch with you. If you feel comfortable sharing info on how to reach you, fee free to do so.
kimberwidmer [at] gmail [dot] com
Love you, friend.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

Just because you hit publish doesn't mean the list is over. Add to it. One item at a time or a dozen. Repeat yourself.

I'll read it. I'll cry. I'll wish I knew him. I'll recognize those traits in those around me.

I'll care. So many of us do.

Jeanie said...

What a great kid!

Jendy said...

Tears....joyful tears for the 12 precious years you had getting to know Jack's amazing soul; it's clear you did not miss any opportunities to really love and be loved by him. More tears...heartbreaking tears for the loss of time, love and opportunities to see this amazing young soul blossom into the unparalleled man he would have become.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,
I really feel for you and what you are going through. I just want to let you know that your situation has made me assess so much of what I do in my life now. I have an older boy and a younger daughter too and reading through your blogs I recognize so much of what you have written about.
My son has many of the similar qualities as Jack had and I too always wonder how we raised a level headed young man as our first child when I consider all the mistakes we've made. I'm constantly saying now how blessed we are for having him in our lives.
My daughter is a bit more challenging but a lot of that is again my perception and fear. As I learn to let go a little
she is rising up to her potential and becoming a much happier and settled person. We are also blessed for having her in our lives.
So thankyou for your words. I can't imagine how painful things are for you but know that you and your wonderful,
sweet Jack is helping many of us be better parents by learning to let go and appreciate our children for who they are.
Always thinking of you...

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

anna this gives me chills (and tears, too). but i am so glad that you had so much to rejoice in and be thankful for in jack. and these are things you will be eterntaly grateful for.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

How did you hit publish mintues before arriving at lunch looking so fresh faced and clear eye'd??

I have a friend (not a blogger) who says she feels like she knows me better for having read my blog. I feel the same way about you. You just convey something like this in everyday conversation...

Also? This was beautiful.

Also? This is the second time I wrote this comment because I DIDN'T save it the first time when Blogger kicked me out. What was I JUST talking about today?! Aaaaand Control+C!

Aimee said...

Jack definitely had a heart of gold. The more I read about him, the tears just want to flow. ;( Just breaks my heart that he's gone. Unfortunately these tragic accidents just happen and you just never know what tomorrow will bring. ;(

I should have been working today, but I just couldn't stop reading your wonderfully well written blog. Jack will forever live in everyone's heart, esp. his wonderful loving family.

PEACE

Anonymous said...

I type a comment and hit delete, I repeat and delete.

I just don't know how to express how sorry I am for you and your family.

Vodka Mom said...

and we thank you, for showing us that God's works miracles every day. Your faith, your wisdom, your honesty and your amazing courage lift us all up.


And I hope that we can lift YOU up, as well.

K said...

Still reading and praying. Your strength is amazing.

Jenna said...

Such a precious life. Thank you for sharing him with us.

Heather said...

Oh and that gorgeous hair!! Very Beiberiffic in this post!!!!

What a treasure your little man is. Many blessings upon you and your sweet family Anna.

K A B L O O E Y said...

Wow. If that's a small representation, then I'm awed by that son of yours. Once again, I hope I can grow up to be as good a person as your Jack. 47 years and I'm not even close.

Formerly known as Frau said...

Anna thank you for sharing Jack with us all....we are all learning from what a special boy he is to be better people ....like Jack..((hugs))

Shell Flower said...

Wow, every time I read about Jack I am in awe of how sweet and perfect he is. My son (16yrs. old) saw me reading your blog, so I shared your story with him and he was in tears, too. Caleb was never as accepting as Jack, though. He fought me tooth and nail, and still does, over every little thing. I love him for it, but I also know that a lot of it was because I was never tough enough as a mom. I waffled too much. I might have even let him play Grand Theft Auto at 12, yet he is still here with me and that just doesn't seem fair. I know Jack was here to teach you and us all a lesson, the missionary who doesn't have to say a word, as you said in another post. I just feel so sorry that you lost him and I hope it all makes sense to you some day. God's plans don't always seem fair, but we have to believe that in the end it was all for a reason. Your sweet boy is touching us all daily from wherever he is. I sort of see you both as saints.

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Profound. Jack...is missed sorely by those of us that never knew him....I cannot pretend to know how you feel , but I know Jack will not be forgotten and will always be loved. @New Mom: many thanks to the Psalms reference - prayers from Tennessee.

Cynthia said...

Tears..... I wish I knew him even better.

Lady Jennie said...

This is my third time leaving a comment. I've been having trouble with blogger lately switching back and forth between my domain name and my blogger name. The comment loses a bit of emotion each time I type it.

But what I wanted to say is that I think Jack is exceptional. I don't have time to look around at other kids and think they're special, but Jack is special. He is exceptional. He like no other person. I hope I can teach my children some of his traits that are so like Jesus.

kitty said...

What a beautiful son.God really blessed you with Jack and Margaret.You have beautiful memories.Thank you again for sharing.We continue to keep you all in our prayers.Blessings to you all.

Kara said...

Wonderful memories that you have, Anna. I have no doubt that Jack was much more than all these words will ever be able to say, but they are a lovely snapshot of the incredible boy he was. The song Beautiful Boy by John Lennon always is in my head when I'm with my boys, and whenever I see Jack's pictures I think of that song. Praying for each of you.

DawnGes said...

Anna, thank you for thanking Jack on your blog...

How many boys in our Children's Ministries department? Each one is a gift, each one unique.

It's so not about the programs--it's about the relationships.

Praying, loving, caring... Thank you.

kitty said...

Anna,
I don't know if you have time to read every post.But I hope you read this one.I have been reading your post and today and idea came to me.You have said how Jack wanted to be a missionary.And how much he loved legos.I know this is soon after his passing.But have you thought about having a foundation in his name?What about "In Jacks name". A fundraiser for legos.There are so many children who would love to have legos.They are very expensive.Especially in these times.Not just at Christmas but even for birthdays.These could even be donated at hospitals for sick children.What a wonderful way to keep his memory and his dream of being a missionary.I am sure your church could help you organize this.
This is just a thought I had.I hope you do not mind me suggesting it.Maybe it was something you have already thought about.
Blessings to you all.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful young man. What a strong mommy. What a beautiful family. What a raw honest way to remember & to grieve. Just beautiful
Sandie brown

Emily said...

What an amazing boy. I check here daily, comment often, and my thoughts remain with you and your family.

A Speckled Trout said...

How many things have we learned from our kids? More than we could ever count. My son has hauled more stuff off the curb for me, (and in good humor) unlike his sisters who are mortified.

I loved this post. All the more bittersweet, because in the natural order of life, it should be the son writing of his mother who has moved on.

Your family is in my thoughts. Often.

Susan said...

I, like many of your readers, feel as though I am getting to know your Jack through all of your stories...words...
Keep sharing - I love it.

Stephanie Bollini said...

amazing how much he taught you in such a short time..truly a gift from God

Leah C said...

Beautiful words for your beautiful boy. Thank YOU for sharing Jack...a kid I miss without ever having met him. Hugs & prayers...

Steph said...

What a beautiful tribute to a much loved, precious child. Thank you.

Dawn said...

You are right. That love will never end.

Ann Imig said...

The empathy part for your friend Cynthia really touched me. All of it. What a uniquely beautiful, wonderful human.

The word for Jack--for all of these traits combined in yiddish is Mensch. Jack was truly truly a mensch.

Kimberly said...

This makes me sure wish that I had known Jack. What an incredible son and teacher. He continues to teach through all that you share about him.

Lindsay said...

I love reading about Jack..what an amazing boy! Please keep sharing as you can..praying for you all.

Jill said...

Beautiful.

quantico9 said...

Thank you for reminding us all how precious each moment is...

zcan said...

This is a beautiful post, Anna. Always thinking of you, Jack, Margaret and Tim. Love you all.

Deb said...

Such a precious boy. I love reading about all the things that made him special. What a gift he was to you.
Deb

Kirsten said...

Anna - this is just so special.

Lady Courtney said...

Thank you Anna for being Jack's Mom! You all are always in my thoughts and prayers. Donna

Maria Wheeler, Simply Cool Stuff said...

My heart breaks for you, Anna. As a mother I can feel that pain and emptiness; no one will be able to fill it up. Yet your strength is a symbol of little Jack living on in this world. It helps you and others take stock of what really is important in life; your voice and beautiful way of expressing yourself is a strength and a wonderful gift to others who may be in need. God bless you and your family.

Karen said...

Love your words about Jack! He was one special little dude! How blessed to have had him for the time you did. NEVER long enough!

Hugs as you keep trudging through this journey of hell.

Vegan Eden said...

Gratitude is its own reward
I am so happy you found the strength to write this....

Jack is an amazing and incredibly evolved soul.
We love him...
And we miss him

Jamie said...

You, and your Jack, are making this world a better place.

mosey (kim) said...

You remind me to count my own blessings. My daughter is often much more mature and forgiving than I am and I'm so grateful for that. I'm glad that you had such a beautiful spirit as Jack in your life, even if the time was much too short. xx

Mommarazzi said...

I hope I can recognize the wonderful traits in my children like you do. What an amazing person Jack was. I know you feel blessed to be his Mom, but I'd bet he felt the same way about you. Praying for you.

sudicruz said...

a gorgeous tribute! jack's life and his passion for lego's has inspired to finally find my passions in life. when i think of you and your family, i am reminded,'faith not fear'. Prayers and love.

Heidi said...

I read this days ago, but didn't get a chance to comment. I wanted to come back and say I loved so many things about this post, but the thing that had me laughing was the muscle shirt thing - I loathe the muscle shirt. So, I was right there with you.

Megan said...

I can't understand your loss, but I can understand the inadequacy you feel in trying to describe how amazing your child is and how they touch and change your life. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you.