Anna, you are deeply loved....we give thanks for Jack's life, one that is sending continuous ripples into this world. Thank you for sharing your precious and beautiful pictures....
Prayers for comfort, peace, and happiness during this difficult holiday season.
We are making our Christmas card for the first time now that we finally have a baby. We always said we would send one out once we have children, not knowing that it would take forever to have our first baby. Your posts, especially this one, remind me that each day is a gift from God as we don't know when it will be our last. How I wish you could spend this Christmas with your son. I will pray pray pray that you feel Jack so close to you and that you will continue to find more signs and wonders.
Big (((HUGS))) to you. I know how hard this first year of "firsts" will be and my heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing your journey and your memories with us. I hope you will always feel free to share your truth about how things are going for you and your family and will never feel the need to edit or omit what you write to fit some notion of what others are thinking or feeling about and for you.Thanks also for reminding me how each day is such a gift. I've thought of your family often when I'm getting frustrated with my kids and your loss has reminded me that even these frustrations are still a blessing.
These are precious memories and I know your heart is breaking into a million pieces as you look at them.You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. Praying that God will continue to give you strength and comfort as you move forward during the Holidays.
What a wonderful collection of memories. The Snuggie one is by far my fave, although they are all delightful. Your children are beautiful. If you are like I was, you have no idea what you are going to do this year. Boy do I understand that. Just do what feels best and right. I've seen family photos that include a photo of the lost loved one. And, then there are others that don't. Some include the child in the signature and others don't. My biggest problem was I didn't want Hannah to be forgotten, and I didn't want people to think I was "over it" (I'll NEVER be "over it") nor that I was "wallowing" (I don't think I do that either). Finally, I did what was right and best for OUR family. That's the thing with grief, there is no one "right" way. You'll find your way this year. You will survive it. I promise. It just sucks. A lot. Many prayers and hugs,Rach
I don't know you, but each of your blog posts touches and moves me. My thoughts are with you during what must be a very difficult time of the year for you and your family. I wish joy and peace for you this holiday season.
When I get stressed, anxious, and depressed, I think of your brave blog and try to just appreciate all the noise in my home. We never know when our loved ones will leave us. I hate that devastating events like losing Jack happen in this world. Jack is having one heck of a Christmas season. I pray that God will keep showing you signs that all is well with your precious son. How to endure, here on earth, all the loss, I really do not know. One minute at a time, I suppose.
Anna,As a stranger, who only knows you from the outside and perhaps a bit from the inside through the thoughts and words you share, I wanted to tell you how proud I am of you. I am sure you wonder daily how you are going to "do it" (meaning everything - life without your son in your physical presence) and maybe you wonder if you are strong enough, and so many other things...I wanted to say to you that even as an outsider I watch (read really) you with amazement. You clearly have it in you to continue on with an important and fulfilling and joyful life. Take your time with your grief - don't feel rushed to move on, and slowly you will see that you will be able to grieve and continue on at the same time, and the balance will shift to the point where the grief becomes a much smaller force in your life. Sister, a stranger is proud of you and sends hugs your way.
The funny thing is knowing some of the back story behind the most recent ones...the heartbreaking thing is what to do about this year's? I agree with Rach....it will be hard, but you'll figure this sucky thing out. love,jbhat
Even with no words, this could be the most painfully loud post you have posted since the accident. U am so sorry for this terrible loss.
Praying as always during this first difficult holiday season!luv2run
How is it that the kids changed but you and Tim still look so young?Praying for you this Christmas season.
Each and every year looks beautiful and happy. I'm praying for your peace during the holiday season this year. That more of the good memories bring comfort than pain and that you find a way to move through it together as a family.
No words for this. Just some tears.
I can't say anything.Just, I have my hand on your heart right now.Tears for you, my dear, dear lady.
I'm wordless as well. Wish I could bring you some measure of comfort. This sucks.
Oh Anna, I am praying for your sweet family every day.
Sending you love and prayers.
Thank you. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful memories with complete strangers. Since I stumbled upon your blog around the time of the accident, I have been painfully visiting it daily. Reading your posts has changed me. Nothing at all is more important than family. Nothing...and as much as my two kids drive me crazy some days, I cherish EVERY WAKING MOMENT I have with them. You and your family are in my thoughts and I hope you find strength and courage to pull you through your many heartbreaking firsts.
I, too, made it to your blog around the time of the accident, and have been drawn to it daily since. Please know that you have made a complete stranger take the time to enjoy every moment with her kids - even the "sucky" ones :) I pray for you daily and marvel at your strength and grace. As I looked at each picture today, I thought "That is my favorite" and then I saw the next one, and thought the same thing! May you find some peace and joy in this Christmas season...we are ALL pulling for you!
My cousin recently lost his father and just this week his 40 day old grandbaby passed in her sleep. Hard to understand, just like your sweet son's passing. Hugs and prayers...love the cards!
thank you Anna for sharing your wonderful photos of Christmas' past. There are no words... I am wishing so that i had words to comfort. I hope there is comfort knowing that even though many of us didn't know Jack, he'll never be forgotten. Just know that you're in my thoughts and prayers daily and wishing you peace in the days ahead. xo Patty
For being a post with no words, this post speaks volumes.Thinking of your sweet family daily.
the snuggly one was my favorite.. i remember receiving it and laughing so hard..prayers for you
Wow!!! These are all beautiful Christmas cards!!!! Love the pic of Margaret & Jack with the candy canes!!! Hehehe With each year, I see no signs of aging whatsoever. Hoping you, Tim and sweet Margaret have a happy & peaceful holiday, with that special angel looking over his family. ;)
I scrolled all the the way down hoping it was just a big mistake and Jack was there among you for this year's card.I hope that well-loved child of yours visits you in your dreams and brings some peace to these days that continue to be so difficult for all of you. You never stray far from my thoughts and prayers
Praying for you all. My heart broke at the last picture, at knowing who you'll each be missing this year. Keep fighting the good fight, dear lady.
oh my. oh what a beautiful family. oh how my heart breaks for you and tim and margaret. thank you for sharing these with us.
This year we can't find the angel that tops our Christmas tree. I am making a big fat gorgeous blue ribbon to put up there instead. Like so many others who have never met you, I think of Jack every day and wonder how you are pushing through the first holiday season without him. If thoughts and vibes can be felt through the pavement, please know your family is cuddled in warm thoughts and wrapped in peaceful wishes for each moment that hurts, aches, twists, and even soars. Much love to you, Anna.Erin from Falls Church
Did Jack ever give you grief for 2001's outfit?;)
Once a beautiful family, ALWAYS a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing with us...so much love shines through in your pictures , its truly beautiful.
Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. As always, your family is in our thoughts and prayers. You are amazing -- Love, Mariann
Anna,All of your pictures are so beautiful. You are always in my thoughts and I pray that you feel Jack close to you every second in every minute every day during this holiday season. xoKelly
Absolutely beautiful, all of you. Do you not age or what?!?
Anna- I am sitting here with tears running down my cheeks. I am praying for a bit of happiness for you this Season...that you can reach beyond the pain and love the moment you are in. Blessings-Diana
They are all gorgeous! Love the fuzzy sleepers, too!
Anna - I'm sorry I have been away. I'm still reading every day; I just got behind on my comments. I love the Christmas cards; all of them!! I have to say that my favorite is 2010. You have such a beautiful family. XOAnnie
I'm sure that looking at those pictures is like a dagger to your heart. I was in Target tonight picking out a Christmas card for my 6-year-old daughter. I chose one that said something like, "The best gift is having you to love." Usually, the sentiment would seem like just another Hallmark cliche. But today, I thought of you and Jack, and remembered that every day with the people we love is a gift that should not be taken for granted. Sending love to you.
I see so much love! (hugs)
words are inadequate right now...Instead I hold You up to our Universe's Healing Wealth and pray that you find some comfort as this season passes.
Oh my goodness Jack in his holiday shorts next to Margaret is so precious.And .... I'm praying, I'm praying.
I was dreading the idea of taking my kids' Xmas photo pic this afternoon until I "read" "Wordless Wednesday." A picture is worth so very much more than a thousand words.Please know that, although we've never met, you and your beautiful family are never far from thought and always in my prayers.
I have no idea why your son whom I have never met is always on MY mind and seems to be helping ME be a better person/mom but I love that he is there. I hope you take some peace in the fact that Jack is living through a lot of us this holiday season. Your pictures shine with love.
Another stranger whose life Jack has touched. Thinking of you all so very very much xxxx
I've heard from friend's who lost a child that family photos are a tough one. One friend waited a few years. Another friend includes the child's name as "Angel Jay". I know you will create new ways, traditions, greetings...and as you do, we are loving you!Oh...and your rare bird is loved!
If I received any of your Christmas cards in my own mail, I'd think "I love this family!!"And your 2006 hair color was FIERCE:)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-16068672Picture number 6 made me think of you. (I think it works out as number 6 - but if not you'll know which one I mean) xxxx
Dear Anna,This made me cry. I'm sorry. I read and read and I still just can't imagine your incredible loss. I'm not a praying gal but for you I will pray this Christmas. Wishing you love and strength.
I think this sums it up best..."Another stranger whose life Jack has touched." Your blog is a reminder for me when I'm losing patience with my three.So sorry you have to go thru this. Many prayers for you all!
*HUGS*What a beautiful collection of memories you have here. The snuggie picture is my favorite. We are all here for you, reaching our arms around to comfort you. I hope you find some peace this holiday season. XOXO
My thoughts are with you this holiday season and every day after.
Praying you, Tim, and Margaret through this holiday season. May you feel Jack's sweet presence with you and may you know that Jack will never be forgotten, even though I didn't know him. May God bless you and your family each step of the way. Much love.
There will never be words will there?! A few years ago I finally tracked down Sandy Zembruski's mother at Christmastime. Sandy's brutal and senseless death was a crushing blow to me -- but with 3 children under the age of 4 there was simply no way I could make the long trip to her funeral to hug her dear mother in person. It took me more than a decade, but I finally found her brother through Facebook... who assured me that it was not only ok, but a gift, for me to call her mother. I was at a loss for words but I figured I could at least figure out how to visit Sandy and make a tribute. I was a little taken aback that her mother want to meet me at the grave sight... and almost backed out just knowing that I had nothing miraculous to say.It was a wonderful, horrible meeting. There will never be words to express her loss or yours. But, ironically, it seemed like talking about it was like remembering and honoring.... and it provided a little balm.I asked her if she would like me to send her Christmas cards. Would it be too painful to see one of her daughter's best friends with a growing family... knowing what she missed? Or would it be a welcome reminder that Sandy was so dear that I can never forget her? For her it was the latter.I will never forget Jack even though I only met him for a second. I love the pictures. xxoo
Anna, :( There are no words. You have the most beautiful family, including an especially bright angel in heaven.love,Cat
Anna, I don't know you, but I came to your blog through Momastery around the time of the accident. I have been deeply affected and not a single day has gone by that I haven't thought of you. There was a morning when I thought of you while drying my hair and I shut off the blowdryer and got down on my knees in my bathrobe to pray for you in that moment. A week ago, when I opened our family's box of ornaments to put on the tree, and saw my daughters' handmade ones from years past, I immediately thought of you and how you would be opening a similar box and would find things with Jack's name on it, Jack's picture, etc. and I immediately started praying for you and that God would comfort you each moment during the Christmas season. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it will be. Please know that I think of your son so often and that I pray for you every day. Sarah from Alexandria, VA
Gorgeous sunset in ViVA this Thursday! 4:55pm
That was an amazing voyage thru holidays that have come and gone and a family that shifts and changes, but will always be yours. Wishing you peace and contentment now and always. When my daughters look at photos of their brother or their parents before they were here, they ask, "Where was I? Where am I?" When I say, "you weren't born yet" they respond, "fine, but WHERE was I." My 8 year old, many years ago, started to say, "you were with God." This satisfied them. This was his spontaneous response and nothing he ever heard from us. We are a spiritual family, but not religious. But he said what he KNEW to be true... And I just love it... Our kids were always "here" even before we knew them... and they always will be. X Meredith
Thinking of you, especially on this Thursday the 8th. Love, love, love.
So we're sitting on the couch watching goofy Hallmark Christmas movies, and every little while I peek at your blog. I've studied your Christmas pictures a dozen time....such happy, simple, perfect pictures. And I think of the grumpy teen son up in his room wrangling with his calculus, and the other teen boy experiencing his first college exam period. And I ponder all the days,months, years we've had together. Scrapping, loving, crying, worrying (me mostly....single momdom will do that) ...just living our lives together, and every day a gift. All this time, I had no idea. But thanks to Jack, I do now. Bless all 4 Donaldsons....you are in my thoughts this first and hardest Christmas season. Much love.
We've never met but I think about you and your family every day. I wish that those of us who are thinking and praying for you could help ease your pain and offer you some solace. Each time I drive by a blue ribbon it makes me smile and my heart ache. I went into my oldest's room the other day and thought about how it would feel to never have him here with me again -- it took my breath away. How, dear Anna, do you find the strength each day to carry on? Your writing seems like a release for you - please continue to write. Thank you for sharing your truth with us, and allowing us to grieve along with you. I like what someone said about how each day you are not only moving farther away from the day you lost Jack but are also moving toward him. Jack must be feeling the love we are all sending him, and I hope you do too. Wishing you peace and praying for you, Jack, Margaret and Tim every day.
And yet another tear in my eye for you & your seriously beautiful, photogenic family. I'm not sure if you realize how many people Jack is touching..you are touching..MANY. Including me.As I look through your beautiful memories of Christmas past, it's fun to see each of you grow through the years & smile in each others' presence. And you still have that presence - it may not be physically next to you this year, but Jack's presence is EVERYWHERE. In your house, on your tree, in your hearts, in the trees on your walk..you are, and will always be, your Family.Find a fun, creative, Donaldson way of celebrating Christmas 2011 with Jack. My mind goes to each of you holding your favorite photo of him, with a smile, by your tree? Perhaps. You'll know what's right; my guess is your phone will play "Good Life" or another rainbow will miraculously appear for you.Watch for those signs. They are Jack. He is WITH YOU.Merry Christmas Tim, Anna, Margaret & Jack.Jules
Sending you love today .
What a Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful Family....Thank You for sharing something so precious..I am glad you have these to remember....remember the love and happiness you all share....I too love all of them...gotta love an awesome snuggie photo:) I read this today...and wanted to share as I think it was written for you...it is a daily devotional at Proverbs 31 ministries... Perhaps you already are aware of this site....todays devotional on 12/9 is When Christmas is Hard... so when you have a chance today...please read http://devotions.proverbs31.org/2011/12/when-christmas-is-hard.html I think of you everyday...I pray for you everyday.... and every 12 year old boy I see I think of your handsome, vivacious son.... as Pam Priester said.. Jacks life is sending continuous Ripples into this world! Hope you hear some God Whispers Today.... Your Sister In Christ, Melanie in NC
Anna, I've become a stalker...I come every day to check on you and make sure you are "ok". I came here through Momestary when Jack left this earth for our Lord's arms. I wish I could absorb some of the hurt you are all feeling...enough for you to be able to breath. But, since this is not possible~I pray for you each time I stumble here. I am praying that your darling daughter will continue to feel Joy this Christmas season even amongst the sadness of loss. I pray you and your Husband find comfort in each others arms and continue to raise your daughter with love and light. Jack has shown you so many tender signs of his life after death embrace them and know you are loved~
Praying for a bit of peace for you, Anna. Wish you could go away somewhere tropical and different and memory free.
Prayers continue for you and your family.What beautiful memories you have from those photos.BTW you and your husband seem to never change.You both look the same as when Jack was a baby.
So many tears and prayers. This must have been brutal but with moments of joy at the same time (as I imagine is your every day). You're family is beautiful. It was amazing how much Jack changed from 2009 to 2010. His baby face starting to change. At mass today the priest said that we focus on Joy during the third Sunday of Advent. I pray for you, Tim and Margaret to experience breakthrough moments of joy (and peace) this Christmas season. lovelovelove
I am an avid follower of your posts, Anna. I don't always comment though (actually, I think I've only commented once) -- mostly because I feel like what I have to say is not necessarily noteworthy for you, e.g.: we think about you constantly; not a day goes by that I don't say a prayer for you and your family; I don't know how you are doing it through this holiday season; I can't believe what has happened; WHY?; thank you for continuing to write, communicate and share . . . I am a "distant" friend from JMU and just this morning I was reading your blog with my 3 year old girls (twins) looking over my shoulder. They kept asking "who's that" and "who's that", etc. I continued to tell them, "That's Jack, that's Margaret, that's Tim, and that's Anna." They could tell I was in deep thought/emotion and said, "Mommy, I like them. They look like very good people." I just wanted to share this with you since you said you welcome any and all emails. You will forever be in my daily thoughts, Anna. Please don't ever worry about Jack being forgotten; it is simply not possible.
I know every day is hard but this time of year, the holidays, must have it's own extra challenge. Thinking of you all. xo
You guys are a beautiful family. And you always will be.Wishing for as much grace and peace as possible for you during this season and every day.
Prayers. And love. What a beautiful family.
Sending you and your family love.
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