Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You Say Potato, I Say Nut Sack


A few weekends ago, I was sitting in the kitchen with my sister and her son. Her son is exactly 9 months older than Jack. You see, 13 years ago I came home from a few days of helping my postpartum sister take care of her sweet baby boy and gave Tim the “green light,” if you will. The result? Two boys like brothers from another mother. One short, one tall. One from the country, one from the 'burbs. Each the other’s biggest fan.

Jack’s cousin misses him terribly.

He and his mom sat at the counter sharing Jack stories, as my mind reeled with should have beens. I said to myself, “Jack never got to have a phone, or send a text, or go on a date! He never got to read the latest book in the Inheritance Series, which I already promised I’d buy him for Christmas. He’ll never get to ace his PSAT’s, be in a high school play or go to the freakin’ prom! He’ll never fall in love! He won’t even get to be a teenager! He’ll never get to sit around with his friends doing gross teenage guy things like using words like 'nut sack' or lighting their farts on fire. Never, Never, Never!

Eyes filled with tears, I looked up at my nephew, who was still reminiscing, and I heard him say this to his mom:

“We loved looking at that book together. Jack thought it was so funny that the guy’s last name sounded just like “ball sack.”

So there IS that, I suppose.

69 comments:

Stimey said...

I am so glad that you all talk about Jack so much. And thank you for sharing him with us.

I don't believe this to be the same as your terrible loss, but my father died when I was 7 or 8 and we never really talked about him, which was bad. Really, really bad.

Your posts about Jack are so vivid. He sounds like he was such a fun kid. Love to you, Anna.

Beverly @ The Buzz said...

What a sweet story. Anna, I envy you having your blog to voice your pain and anger. And your ability to share those feelings. I didn't do that when my daughter died and so felt like I was going through the hardest time of my life all alone. Keep sharing and venting. Thank you for letting us know Jack through your words.

Vodka Mom said...

ball sack.



and I will always think of you when I hear that.



hmm.

Vodka Mom said...

and Anna, can I tell you something? I am watching and listening and watching and listening. I know your path- and have held my sister's hand as she continues to walk it.

She is an amazing woman- and so are you. Each day is a gift, a burden, a painful reminder and a surprising wonder.

Don't forget that he is with you- and that he is smiling when you smile, and is wrapping his arms around you when you weep. As are all of us. .

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

anna, you can make me laugh and cry at the same time! like stimey, i think it is awesome that you have this, your blog, to share all your stories. i think it is good for the soul to be open and talk. and we will happily listen.

PeachPrenni said...

You're amazing Anna. Your ability to celebrate the humor..the good stuff. It's your gift to us too you know. I think I mentioned I spent the day crying. You made me smile and giggle before bed. Thank you. Thank you. Ever wanna email me? I'm at prenni5@me.com
Blessings and Lots of Love,
Annie P

for a different kind of girl said...

I can't believe I live with these many men/boys and not one of them has ever uttered the words 'ball sack.' That changes immediately, even if I have to be the one to usher it in!

Like Stimey mentioned, I'm also glad you all talk about Jack so often, and share your family with us. It feels like I had the distinct pleasure of knowing him personally, and honestly, his strong, genuine faith is something I've been using as a means of pushing myself forward lately as I've been feeling mine slipping. I'd like to thank him for that, and you for helping instill it in him.

xo

thepsychobabble said...

Your post made me both tear up and giggle. Thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts with us so fully.

cheryl @ nefotlak. said...

you don't know me - i live on the other side of the world - but know that you're posts are such an amazing read for me & that my heart is with you and yours.
jack is looking over you and smiling - im absolutely sure of that.
cheryl xox.

thepsychobabble said...

Your post made me both tear up and giggle. Thank you for sharing your memories and thoughts with us so fully.

PS My word verification is BALLSh o.0

the mama bird diaries said...

I keep bringing up your blog with the misguided hope that Jack is okay and this is just a horrible dream. I want so much for it all not to be true. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. I feel like I am getting to know Jack so much better. The photo is simply precious.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

That photo says so much about those precious boys!

Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

What a beautiful picture. When one of my boys uses the word nut sack, I will laugh and cry at the same time.

S. Taylor said...

Every time I read a new post from you - my soul becomes better.
You are an inspiration. I pray for you and your family daily.
Big Hugs

A Morning Grouch said...

Oh. My husband lost a friend that he had known since birth, whose family was a member of their church and they were like family. When he passed away suddenly - in a motorcycle accident - it took over a year for him to at least function normally. Talking about his friend really helped though, and I made him a little scrapbook with pictures of them together from birth - 28. I make him look at it at least once per year. It helps.

Steph said...

Omigoodness, you make me laugh through tears. Your family and your writing are great gifts. Thank you for sharing.

Jenny said...

You don't know me but I love you already. My brother died when he was 14 (some 25 years ago). I know that it is my parents' faith in Christ that got them through.

I love your Jack and Margaret stories. I love your combination of funny remembrances mingled with the heart-wrenching posts that use up half of box of tissues on my end of the internet.

I just wanted you to know how many lives you're touching through Jack's too short story.

Scottish Lass said...

I will never hear ball sack the same way again.
Inspired by you!

Anonymous said...

Too funny! I was shocked (but cracked up to myself) when my 3 year old boy jumped on my 6 year old boy last week and just laid on top of his head. (!!! I'm thinking, "Get off his head, you're going to give him a concussion!") But Ian just lay there groaning, "Tristan, your nuts are in my eye."
Nuts? Really?
I blame baseball.
Please keep the stories coming. I hope they help.
Love,
Beth D.C.

Julie said...

For the first time I smiled and laughed out loud reading your blog since that terrible day. I don't know how you do it. I am in awe of you.

EatPlayLove said...

I'm concerned you just opened a can of "search engine worms" with this post, Anna! ps...I adore you.

Varda said...

Anna, I love how you are keeping Jack alive in our hearts and minds, sharing both his wonderfulness and your thoughts and feelings about him no matter how raw they are. I imagine every time you look at your nephew you see your a piece of your son, too. A million hugs. And then a million more.

Kirsten said...

What Vodka mom said.

I love these little snapshots of Jack. What a tremendous loss.

Love to you Anna.

Silver Strands said...

Oh Anna! I LOVE your blog!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Anna,

It's anonymous commenter Anna again. I'm a volunteer camp counselor for kids with cancer for a week every summer, and one of my campers passed away when she was twelve. Katie passed away in 2007, and her mom's been keeping a blog ever since then, writing about her own faith and grief journey.

http://karengberger.blogspot.com/

I know everyone's experience is so different, and please know I'm in no way comparing your journeys or your pain. But I wanted to pass along the link in case you ever want to pop over and read from someone who's found herself on this path.

That said, I love hearing stories about Jack! And impressed that he and his cousin were talking about Balzac!!

The Empress said...

What a wonderful blessing..

Maggie May said...

I just find myself sitting here reading your post over and over thinking 'What can I possibly write that won't be so stupid and wrong?' I just want to let you know that I am reading, and praying for you, and that Jack sounds like a kid with a great sense of humor.

Vodka Mom said...

i just stopped by this morning to give you a kiss.

The White Farmhouse said...

LOL! Kids find some of the craziest things funny! They just crack me up! They truly are a precious gift. What a great photo of the two of the together. There are alot of things that Jack did have that I am sure he is thankful for too. I am sure it is easy to be mad at everything that he will be missing out on. You do have to smile though at all he did have and do though. Some people go through a lifetime never knowing those feelings or experiences. Much love to you and your family still.

Marinka said...

Of course! Balzac is just French for ball sack. They are fancy over there.

OSMA said...

By far, the sweetest picture ever. Such trust, warmth, and unabashed love the boys are showing for each other here. May this type of love & warmth sneak into your heart bit by bit and begin to sprawl over the raw center of missing him. I wish this for you and all who ache without him.

luv2run said...

sweet sweet picture! You can really capture how sweet Jack was!!!!

luv2run

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Promise to tell me more stories next week okay?

The Mommy Therapy said...

I laughed out loud at the idea of these two little boys discussing this. Hilarious.

I continue to pray for you and your family, thinking of your beautiful boy daily.

I am so very happy you are writing about all of this. I am glad you are brave enough to vent it all and share it. Keep writing!

Clare said...

Thinking about you every day....last night I was driving home on Leesburg Pike, passing by the roads that lead to Vienna and I thought, I wish I could just go hug her. I've never felt like that about a stranger before.

This post made me giggle, boys will be boys! The picture is too sweet.

Leeann said...

I didn't know Jack but I think about him many, many times each day. I have told my children of him also.

This past weekend, my daughter and I were visiting colleges. We were in downtown Charlottesville, VA and there is a big, long chalkboard there on the Pedestrian Mall. There is now a tribute there to Jack Harris Donaldson.

Love and prayer to all of you.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

Let's think of Jack up in heaven "hanging out" with a new pal, "ball sack"/Balzac.

-- Joan in PA

Kara said...

My son is 7 and still refers to his boy bits as 'frank and beans', which cracks me up. I guess ball sack is just around the corner.

Susan said...

This post makes me so sad.
I'm sorry. I'm trying to leave supportive comments but you got me with this one.
Dear Anna. I continue to pray for you. Tears.

Meredith Self said...

What a picture! What a hug. What love.

Sending so much love.

When I think of Jack, I think of a blue jay (and will often see one and think of Jack).

xoxo

Hokie Grandma said...

Precious memories, oh how sweet they are. I heard your story from a friend whose grandson was a playmate of Jacks. Your brutal honesty in sharing your pain and yet praising Him at the same time will help others get through tough times. We are wrapping our arms around you in prayer and love.

Christy said...

Oh man. Sending you love and hugs and prayers. I love these stories and hope you continue to share them with us.

Law Momma said...

I am glad that you have people who can share memories with you. And thank you for sharing those memories with us.

I love seeing Jack through your eyes.

Anonymous said...

thinking of you today Anna. A quote from Elizabeth Edwards i hope you'll find comforting:

'If you know someone who has lost a child or lost anybody who's important to them, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived, and that's a great, great gift.'"

Please keep writing and sharing Jack stories. <3 <3

Anonymous said...

“I do know that when my children are older and telling their own children about their grandmother, they will be able to say that she stood in the storm…and when the wind did not blow her way – and it surely has not – she adjusted her sails.”

– Elizabeth Edwards

hope i didn't inundate you with Elizabeth Edwards - a woman of great courage and strength... Wishing you a peaceful day and warm memories of Jack.. xoxo Patty

MarkL said...

There's so much we wonder about with respect to Heaven. But I don't think it's at all unreasonable to suppose that Jack is growing up there. Age is about much more than body characteristics, and I see no reason to assume that a child gets translated to some specific age when they go to Heaven.

I don't know if they light their farts on fire in Heaven- maybe they do. But I'll bet it's an awesome place for a teenager to grow up into a man.

Anonymous said...

Anna, we lit a candle for Jack on Sunday. Your precious son has had such a profound impact on so many people. In remembrance of him, I will strive ever harder to be deserving of the love of my own son who reminds me so much of your Jack. You and Tim set the bar high for parenting and for providing such a loving home. You are a role model for all Christian families. Stay strong and don't lose faith. I know Jack is looking down upon you with eternal love. He was so lucky to have you as a Mother. May God bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

How embarrasing that I was unfamiliar with Balzac (I had to look at Wikipedia). I am definitely not smarter than a 5th grader--forget middle school.

You know what? Margaret is going to get to do all of those things. I have a feeling she's going to be the consummate teenager. But I hope she won't go around saying "balzac" with any regularity.

jbhat

Lisa G. said...

I'm with MarkL. Heaven has got to be a great place to become a man, if that's the way it works.

(Though still so very hard on the moms and dads and siblings left behind......you're absolutely missing out on all those things Jack may have done here on earth, and that has got to be so, so difficult. But heaven...is HEAVEN!!! Jack's not missing out on anything, I believe.

But, oh....that mama pain of being left behind for now. Crying and praying for you still....

Leslie said...

This is GREAT. Last year, my 3 year-old was saying (much like Jack's "my butt" phrase), "Oh my nuts" instead of "oh my gosh" or "awww nuts". With his high pitched 3 year-old voice, it nearly made me choke from laughter each time. He had no idea what he was saying. So many parents miss the funny things their kids say because they don't pay attention. You pay attention to SO MUCH with yours! You've documented and blogged these things. How wonderful!

Praying for each of you as you miss him with every cell in your body. Laughing with you at how cool he was here, and how cool he is in heaven.

vegan eden said...

Jack is making everybody laugh...
everywhere....

alongdistancelovestory.com said...

The best way to remember Jack in all his vibrance and life is to reminisce. My Aunt-in-law lost her son a few years ago and she told me that her biggest fear is that people will forget him. Impossible, I told her!
Jack's name and life and legacy lives on through the stories you tell each other! I think it is wonderful that you guys continue to share.
Much love to you and your family!
xo

Debby@Just Breathe said...

My heart ached when you said "He will never get to fall in love" but he did know love from all of you.

Kelly Rojas said...

Anna,
Last night after I read this post I was praying for you and your family. Searching to find something positive from this tragedy... A smile come through my tears when I thought of your Mom. She would have been waiting for your baby at heavens gate. You know she couldn't wait to hug her grandson for the first time and hold her close to him in a way that only a grandma can. For me there has been no other love like the one from your mother's mom, Jack is feeling that love now. I pray this can bring just even a small bit of joy back to your heart.
Much love!

L said...

Tried to leave a comment yesterday and couldn't get it to post. I am glad I came back to read more comments, cry a little and see that my word verification is

sistess

This picture hurts so much each time I see it, and yet it is one of my very favorites. Love you.

Lady Jennie said...

I don't know what to say today, but I wanted you to know I am here.

Love and hugs

Ashley said...

I want to send my love. I'm a stranger from Idaho, but I know the pain and the hurt that comes from burying your child. We lost our 18 month little girl last year. She was our only child time. My husband and I were on a date when we got a call, Preslee had somehow fallen into a canal. A week later she passed away in the hospital. Hang in there.

Love,
Ashley Sullenger

www.patrickandashley.blogspot.com

Kim @ A Brush of Whimsy said...

Oh, Jack! :) I love that picture of him with his cousin. Just precious.

Anonymous said...

I get such a feeling for Jack's humor and personality from you. I agree with the comments; please keep sharing Jack with us.

Some Balzac-isms:

"No man should marry until he has studied anatomy and dissected at least one woman." (Ick!)

"Old maids, having never bent their temper or their lives to other lives and other tempers, as woman's destiny requires, have for the most part a mania for making everything about them bend to them." (Some destiny.)

"It is only in the act of nursing that a woman realizes her motherhood in visible and tangible fashion; it is a joy of every moment." (Every moment??)

Ball-sac, indeed!

Touché, Jack.

Sending you and your family prayers.

--A new Inch of Gray reader

Elz said...

Your amazing writing and spirit through such devastation is amazing.

I have a feeling that the little memories like this will be the things that bring a smile to your face decades from now.

kitty said...

I am glad you can share special moments.That is so important when you are healing.We continue to keep you all in our prayers.

Amy said...

Anna, I stumpbled on your blog from another because of the "inch of gray" I'm 31 and getting grayer by the day.

Then I read the first post about going to target and making a list and Margaret's list.

Then I saw Jack's name and read further.

My heart aches for you. I have a Jack too. He's about to be 5 and I cannot fathom what you are going through.

Please know that this mother, from a suburb in MN is praying for all of you and that your sweet Jack has touched our lives over here too.

Amy

Amy said...

P.S. My Jack just discovered why there's a hole in his underpants. He wanted to throw them out... now he's thrilled that they are there. Thought it was fitting to say with the ball sack post.

Amy

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Someday Jack's cousin will be able to tell his kids about the uncle they weren't lucky enough to meet--and he will have this blog to help him do it.

You're writing makes Jack and Margaret so vivid to all of us. Thank you so much for sharing and know that we think of Jack and all of you every day.

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

Gather up all those Jack stories and keep feeding them to us. They'll take root. And how great that the kids are joking about Honore de Ballsack. Fart jokes are so juvenile.

mosey (kim) said...

You are so kind to us - sharing your well-remembered and well-told stories. And your readers who comment here are as full of wisdom and eloquence as you. Please keep writing - we are listening, loving and remembering Jack with you. xx

one blessed mama said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. I have a 7th grade boy named Sam that reminds me so much of your Jack. (My youngest son's name is Jack)

Please know that in a little town in Washington (the town of Lynden), a mom is praying for you and loving your little family. Although we may never meet, you have taught me so much. Thank you for teaching me to not take one day forgrated. God Bless you dear one.

Mrs4444 said...

LOL, Anna! I want you to know that praying for Jack's cousin(s) and Margaret will be a special effort of mine in the days ahead.

I'm so glad you are writing, and your faith; what a powerful testament. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Wow - I read this and all of your blog and I can't even imagine what you are all going through. My son and his 9 month older cousin are the best of friends and inseparable and I know it must be so hard for you and your whole family and I hope every day is maybe getting a little bit easier. My heart goes out to you