Friday, January 13, 2012

Margaret Non-Update and What Happened to "Anna See?"





For almost 4 years, this blog was semi-anonymous. I lived with "Jake," "Molly" and "Tom" in an undisclosed town in an undisclosed state. From photos one could see that we lived in an area with deciduous trees, but that's about it.

The kids knew when I took pictures for the blog to step away from car license plates and cover up the name of their school on their uniform shirts because I was too lazy to learn how to Photoshop that stuff out. I tried to balance the desire to protect the kids' privacy while also telling funny stories about them that begged to be shared. I never mentioned my job and, thank the Lord, tried not to write about individual people who drove me to distraction and madness, unless you count "Tom," but he didn't seem to mind being fair game. I didn't put my blog on Facebook or actively seek readers among friends and family.

On September 8, 2011, as prayers, tweets, frantic phone messages and news reports flew around locally and across the country when Jack was missing in the water, "Anna See" and "Anna Donaldson" became one in the same.

People have asked me if I mind that the blog is no longer anonymous. Not really. I would not trade the loving support my family has received from so many people just to have stayed private. And for some reason, I think the blog will be able to reach and help more people if it is not anonymous. Real people. Real names. Real miracles. Real crap.

I also realize, after having the unthinkable happen to my son, that my desire to control and protect "No M-rated games! No personal info on the net! No sleepovers at x, y, and z's!" while prudent and well-intentioned, didn't protect our little family from tragedy in the end.

As a blogger whose kids were getting older, I was having to change my writing a bit anyway. You see, when I started, Jack was 8 and Margaret 6. In recent years you may have noticed that Margaret featured more prominently on the blog. Well, first of all, it's because that girl is MIGHTY entertaining. But also, as Jack got older and we shared experiences either poignant, tender, or difficult, he would say to me, "You're not going to blog about this, are you?" and I would have to say no.

I think a lot of "Mommy Bloggers" find it difficult to figure out what to write as their kids get older because while diapers, bodily functions and mom wanting to lock herself in the bathroom with a Diet Coke are pretty universal (at least I hope so!), as kids age, they are less likely to want their "big kid" selves shared in the blogosphere. A blogging mom also has to balance the fact that while she wouldn't want her kids to put anything about themselves online, she herself does so regularly.

Margaret was not there yet, seeking privacy over blogworthiness, but I believe she is now. I don't want to make her feel more vulnerable and exposed than she already does as the "girl whose brother died." Margaret just wanted a normal family life, and as normalcy eludes us right now, I don't want her to feel like I am sharing her bid'ness for everyone to see. I want to tread lightly as my spunky child does not like having attention drawn to herself right now. Go figure. I did say EVERYTHING has changed, didn't I?

I'm writing this today because I have not mentioned Margaret prominently in recent posts, and I know she is on your mind and in your hearts. Instead it's: "Jack, Jack, Jack." I write about him now because, well I must. I want you to know what he was like, and what his spirit IS like.

But I want to assure you that Tim and I are here for Margaret. We are parenting, we are reading the books, we are seeing a social worker to talk about how to parent at a time such as this, we are watching cooking shows and "Cupcake Wars," and yes, we are going to the mall. Margaret is smiling, laughing, and being Margaret. Please keep praying for all three of us, even when my posts mainly center around how I am feeling and my experience with grief.

The good news is that both of my kids loved to write, so perhaps there will be a "Molly/Margaret" blog in our future where she can share her experience with us. Of course I'm afraid I'll probably be the "fair game" in that one.

59 comments:

Briana@SweetCGrace said...

Great post. I have a 3-year old son; I haven't thought about how the blog will have to evolve as he grows up. I'm glad that there is healing and laughter and trips to the mall. God bless your family. :)

Kim @ A Brush of Whimsy said...

My kids say that,too ~ "Are you going to put this on the blog?" I love how you said you were writing about what Jack's spirit IS like. I LOVE that, Anna! I totally understand Margaret's need to be left alone a bit, too. :)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Totally get this post. How can you not write about Jack. I love getting to know who he is and this is your journey with grief. You are helping yourself while helping others. We also know that Margaret is getting loved beyond measure because you and Tim are wonderful parents.

Julie B. said...

As always, words seem so inadequate to follow one of your posts. You are truly a beautiful person and it shines through each and every one of your words. I could only hope to be half as strong as you have been in walking the road you have been summoned to walk. I read your words and my heart breaks for you. You are living what is our worst nightmare as a mother. But, you are doing so in a way that (I KNOW) God is proud of. You are honoring Him; even in the midst of such pain and heartache. And your sweet Jack radiates through your words and I can only imagine the kind of special he must be. As a mom of a son with special needs, I know that you know what a special bond there are between moms and sons. I will continue to pray for you and keep you in my thoughts -you, Tim and Margaret. Although I do not know you, your strength and courage to share your journey through this is inspiring to me. You make me want to care more about the moments and less about the "stuff" of life. I pray that God will fill you with peace that passes all understanding.

xo

S. Taylor said...

I think each time you go to post, I start leaving a comment...and then delete it because I feel like ?!?!? What is the point? I can't fix this, my words are going to 'help' blah blah blah.
Please just know that each night my nearly two year old and I pray for "Jacks Family". Most nights she just has her head resting upon my shoulder...last night when I said "And we pray for Jacks family" - she lifted her head off my shoulder and clear as a bell said "Jack" then "Amen".
May God and Jack help you feel all the love and prayers coming your way from all who read!
Hugs from Michigan

Sami said...

As you get used to your "new normal," your readers will support you in however you choose to blog. From a new reader who is honored to get to know your son through your writing, you ARE helping others through documenting your journey.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the update on Margaret, and I'm glad there is some normal for you folks, can't imagine what you must fell and it's hard for you all I'm sure. Keep your chin up, love your blog. Mary

Leah C said...

Just as Jack will never be forgotten...Margaret isn't forgotten either. As always, I'll keep all three of you in my prayers.

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

My son has battled depression, but beyond that statement,as a man it's his story to tell.

I pray for Margaret daily, you and "Tom," too. I have no doubt you are encircling her with love.

Perhaps she will feel the need to start a blog, in time. My husband the counselor says, you can always tell that someone is healing by their want to help others in the same spot. It's a special club you've all joined, a crappy club to say the least, but your words must be helping others.

Lisa said...

So happy to read that Margaret is doing great, and I completely respect her need for privacy. Center stage is overwhelming, especially when thrust there due to reasons not of your choosing.

Mother in Heels said...

Thanks again for sharing your inpirational words with us. My older son is 14 and he is always saying, "You aren't going to put that on the blog, are you?" I think that is a universal theme. :-)
My family will continue to keep yours in our daily prayers.

Recovering Church Lady said...

As the parent of grown kids, 25 & 29!! Yikes, still feels weird! anyway, I understand your wisdom on stepping back from stuff about your daughter.
But OMG, having "kids" that are adults really has some interesting stories!!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I don't think anyone could doubt that Margaret is your #1 priority right now. It makes sense that your 10 year old will want more privacy now - and of COURSE you are honoring that.

And I would LOVE to read Margaret's blog! Looking forward to catching up next week...

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I don't think anyone could doubt that Margaret is your #1 priority right now. It makes sense that your 10 year old will want more privacy now - and of COURSE you are honoring that.

And I would LOVE to read Margaret's blog! Looking forward to catching up next week...

Vi said...

You are an amazing mom and Margaret is so lucky to have you help her through life. Much love to your spunky girl. From the pictures and your stories I can tell she is truly special!

Rach said...

My blog was relatively unknown, only read by family and close friends, and that was about it. Then, overnight, my life changed and suddenly my blog was blocked from me because Blogger thought it was a spam blog I received so many hits. My anonymity was gone.

Like you, I didn't mind because the love and support that was so generously offered and given was far more important to me than that anonymity.

I've been pondering what will happen as the girls get older, what direction the blog will take. I understand Margaret's need to just "be" and live as normally as she can.

Thank you for that non-update. I worry about her. Lily was only 19 months old when we lost Hannah and while in some ways it was harder (she just didn't understand where her beloved big sister had gone, nor why she wasn't returning, and for me, devastated Lil would never get to know her amazing big sister), on the other hand, it was so much easier because I only had to worry about MY grief and how *I* was doing.

You and your beautiful family pop into my head so often, and each time you do, I say prayers for you.

Please keep sharing Jack with us, I've loved getting to know him.

Hugs,
Rach

MaryBeth said...

You are an amazing woman Anna See.
I can't help but pray for that pretty girl of yours - eveytime I see Justin B's face I think of her. (and I work in an elementary school so I see him lots)
Bless you as you all learn to walk through the valley!

Princess Kate said...

Anna - your words always seem to comfort me and it shouldn't be that way. I should be comforting you. I know that you WILL be with Jack again one day (all of you) and I believe that with all my heart and soul. And I pray that I too, threw the Grace of God, will get to meet Jack and say thank you. Thank you for teaching me what's important in life.

I drive over that damn bridge every day and I have such a mixed bag of emotions. I get so mad at God for letting this happen to your family, I get scared that it could happen to my family, and then I pray and I pray hard. I will continue to pray for your family always and I'll keep coming back to read more and more about Jack, Margaret, Tim and Anna See. Don't worry one minute about Jack being forgotten. Not going to happen on my watch that's for sure. Peace to your family.

Anonymous said...

Regarding people being forgotten: There was a 16 year old guy who joined my youth group after God transformed him from drug user and partier into a gentle big-brotherly type. After a few short months he died in a freak drowning accident. That was in 1989 and I still think of him from time to time, especially in June, the month he drowned. I barely spoke two words with him, but he left an impact on me with his faith. Maybe this will be the June that I let his mother know he's not forgotten. I've always thought she would like to know.

Gigi said...

I didn't start blogging until a couple years ago; so my son was about 15-16? But even without being told I knew there were boundaries....even though I don't think it's really hit his radar that I actually blog - and occasionally about him. I also understand your initial need for privacy. Your "outing" was beyond your control - it's what you are doing now that is courageous and commendable. I keep you all in my prayers. And am glad to hear that you are finding your way slowly to a "new normal" but am heartbroken that you have to.

Lilia said...

Praying.

New Mom said...

It's so neat how the Spirit works because as I was thinking about and praying for your family this morning I found myself wondering how Margaret was doing. I decided I didn't want to ask you about her since I am not a close friend or family member, but I took it as an opportunity to pray for her specifically today. This idea that I am a 'stranger' but care about a girl and her family across the country made me think about how you must want so badly to trade all the prayers and well-wishes from strangers to just have your Jack here. For that reason, I am sorry that I know about your blog, but I just have to keep saying THANK YOU. Thank you for your special witness and sweet mother's heart that you share with us.

Leeann said...

I totally get that. My kids are 10, 13 and 16 and I certainly don't feel that I could blog freely about them. I will ask them if I can blog about something I found particularly funny or poignant and then I either do or don't, based on what they said. The truth is that I don't blog their embarrassing or difficult moments because it doesn't feel fair.

So, totally get it.

kate said...

I think about you, your family, and your Jack everyday. I pray for you and wish you the best.

Pip said...

I started reading irregularly in July last year, and at the time (not having delved into the archives I must confess) I'd noticed 'Molly's' stories were just that bit more prominent. After everything that's happened, checking in on you most days, learning more about Jack's quiet spirit, I understand now :) We interpret and tell our kid's stories and eventually they own and can tell them themselves. Please keep telling Jack's stories, they are your stories; we are entwined with our kids, our parents; family stories together over generations. With love from Australia x

The Empress said...

I know.

Your real name, last name, everyone's name was in every newspaper in America.

We already knew.

The decision was made for you, under the saddest of circumstances.

I love you.

Katie @ Cayenne Paper said...

I have a graphic on my blog with a baby that says "My entire life is being blogged" because that just about sums it up for my twins. I hadn't thought of when they actually get old enough to have an opinion about it- what a good point.

Hugs and prayers for all of you! :)

Katie

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

I'm so glad to hear this! I have thought of her often, this is such a "big" age as it is. I assumed you were protecting her and I think that is wise. I remember once at church a mom mentioning that she no longer shared those "difficult days" stories about her children, knowing one day they were going to grow up. She didn't want church members saying "I remember when your mom told us the story" .... I respected her decision and thought it was one of deep respect for her children. Your a great mother Anna!

carol said...

I pray that, like you said, this blog can reach out to real people as your real identities are out there now.

Erin said...

I never doubted that you and Tim are 100% present for Margaret, even though your blog posts are more "jack centered" right now. Keep loving each other and supporting each other and we will continue to pray for you. You really are an amazing mother and have such a beautiful spirit. You are never far from my thoughts.
xo,
Erin

Geri said...

i love how you said that you write about Jack now because you MUST. yes, you must. reminded me of talking to my grief counselor, and bringing up our daughter and her saying, because she is very very wise, "I know that you adore rachel, and think about and are concerned about her, but it really is okay to talk talk talk about Nick now". As others have said, never doubted for a nanosecond that you and tim weren't being amazing parents to margaret, and that you aren't taking her feelings and needs and wants into account every step of the way. That you talk about Jack in no ways diminishes your love and concern for margaret, i know some people want to say "focus on the living child", which heck, of course we do, but it isn't an either/or thing. it is an and/both thing. and yes, it is hard to be "the girl whose brother died in the flood", or "the mom whose child died", I have felt that so many times, when people look at me, "oh she's the one whose son overdosed and died". We are those people, but are so so much more also. As always, your writing resonates with me, and so touches my heart. In whatever way or form, please keep writing.

Lady Jennie said...

Hi to Margaret (waving).

I do understand her wanting to fly under the radar, and I also wonder how my kids will act later on where my blog is concerned. Now, they recognize it if it pops up on the screen and I show them the pictures I post of them, but I'm not sure they really understand what it's all about. I'll need new fodder, I suppose.

I'm really glad there is laughter and malls and cupcakes involved in all this.

Deb said...

And my kids are at the age where they "tweet" what I say...apparently I'm hilarious!

DawnGes said...

Dear Anna, See the love we have for you and your family--all 4 of you?

Margaret is beautiful, inside and out. Every time I see her inside a building it seems like she's bottled up a bright sunny day and brought it indoors to everyone around her. Being a bottle of sunshine is her gift to those she's around.

Love, prayers, hugs.

Martha said...

Like so many people, I discovered and have been reading your blog since the accident. I've tried on many occasions to make a comment, but they always sounded trite or insincere somehow. I think of you and your family every day, and I wonder if the fact that there are so many people out here sharing a little piece of your grief and praying for you helps at all -- I hope so much that it does.

When I was 12, my same age cousin, John, died suddenly. Shortly after the funeral, I noticed when I visited John’s family that his photos had been put away. I began to pick up on the fact that nobody was talking about him anymore, and I asked my mother why this was happening. She told me that she thought it was too painful for my aunt and uncle to talk about John, but, although I probably shouldn’t mention him anymore to them, I could talk about John with her and my dad whenever I wanted. This made me so sad, and I felt really bad for John’s younger brothers and sisters – it was as if he had never existed. Anyway, this is something that struck me about you and your family -- how you have dealt with the loss of Jack by talking and sharing. I admire you so much for your courage and strength and the choices you have made.

I love hearing Jack stories, and hope you will continue to share them. He's such a unique and darling boy.

Ann Imig said...

You're a wonderful Mother. I admire your thoughtfulness and respect for your children, and the fact that you factor in your needs as well.

Anonymous said...

You are just so normal..you know what I mean don't you? Certainly not for having suffered the loss of a child, but for reading our minds and being able to imagine what it must be like to be following along as strangers in your life. I am watching 2 of my children play injured dog, and as always Jack comes to mind and I try to enjoy the "regular" moments I am given.xo

Anonymous said...

I never had the slightest doubt that you were/are doing everything you possibly can for your daughter. And the image of the three of you sleeping together in the same bed (shared in a previous post) is one that sticks with me. It speaks to the whole range of human experience: the brokenness and heartache, the love and comfort, all of it. Love to all of you.

starnes family said...

I still have not commented after reading your blog for some time now. My kids are 11, 5 and 4 and I've been haunted and touched and inspired and saddened and in thought of your story since I first heard it. You have amazing strength. Your will to be a fantastic mom shines through and I know that your daughter sees that. Prayers for you and her.

Aimee said...

The Donaldson family will forever have my prayers. :)

I had to laugh about the urge to lock myself in the bathroom with a diet coke! Lmao..... Been there several times!

I really admire you, you're such a great mom!

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

You're a gooood mom. Tell Margaret that any time she wants to pop up and blog hi to the hundreds of semi-annoying cyber-friends of the blogger formerly known as Mrs. See, we'll be here to pinch her cheeks, tell her how grown-up she looks and ask if she has a boyfriend. Oh, wait... that's why she needs some privacy. Gotcha.

Anonymous said...

I think I knew that this was what was going on....but it's good to read it. You and Tim (although I really still want to call him Tom) are amazing people and parents. Molly, er, Margaret is lucky to have you both be there for her.

love,
jbhat

Meredith Self said...

I wrote about Chad waaaay more when he was younger, too. You could write about spiders and it would be interesting. I'm happy to read whatever you write and love learning about Jack!

Stimey said...

I think we all absolutely understand this. You are a good mom to respect her wishes that way. It's a complicated business, this writing about our lives, isn't it. I think that you have tread (trode? treaded?) that road well here, especially under such devastating circumstances. Plus, I love reading what you write about Jack. I like getting to know him better here.

Pam@OurAdventuresInHomeImprovement said...

My kids are in college now, so I don't put anything about them in my blog, but I'm sure if I'd started blogging when they were younger, I probably would have.

You and your family continue to be in my prayers.

Take care,
Pam

SouthLakesMom said...

What a great and wise mother you are, Anna. Always have been. My kids don't want to be blogged anymore (they're well into high school years) so my blog has just lapsed...ah well, it was fun while it lasted.

the mama bird diaries said...

I think about that all the time as my kids get older and how it will effect my blogging. Prayers to all of you. xo

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you all and praying...Have been thinking of Margaret..

Lisa G. in CT

Anonymous said...

I completely understand where you are coming from and have the greatest admiration and respect for your honesty, faith and parenting skills.
Mandy x

Laura said...

Popping in from Kansas . . . just to let you know I"m thinking of you.

Always am.

Heidi said...

You are a beautiful person, Anna. Just beautiful.
I can only imagine how funny Margaret's blog would be...I would totally read that.

for a different kind of girl said...

I love Margaret's total face grin. She is a beautiful girl, and I bet she'd have a clever way with a tale.

Unknown said...

I have grown up kids down to five years old and the grown up kids don't mind if my blogging events of them are written in ways that honor them and things that may help other moms. It's hard to keep it completely private, but in the end with facebook, and so much out there how will we ever be able to keep our laundry inside anymore. Haha.

PeachPrenni said...

Great post Anna. I can totally understand Margaret wanting to be that "normal girl" and I respect your decision to leave her out of your posts for now. You are an awesome mother--that has always been apparent. Bless your sweet family!

Jen said...

She is so lucky to have you as a mom. :)

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

I have absolutely no doubt, dearest Anna, that you and Tim are doing the very best job and everything possible to parent and love Margaret. And I continue to pray for all 3 of you every day -- you are always on my heart.

Chantelle said...

I love how you write about your son. it makes me sad and comforts me at the same time. See my brother was killed when i was nine and he was eleven. I understand how your daughter doesn't want to be known as the girl who's brother died. It changes you. I'm forty now and i still miss my brother so much. Thanks for sharing your story and your life.

Carrie said...

So amazing that you posted this update about Margaret. On the same day, I was in my car with my kids at an intersection with 3 blue bows and listening to Justin Bieber (they got the CD from Santa). One of my girls said, "Mom, how do you think Jack's sister is doing, you know the one who met Justin Bieber...do you think she told him about Jack and what happened?" I told them, "I don't know how she is doing, but I imagine she misses him terribly!" The other girl said, "You know he was her best friend." I just said, I think we should pray for her right now and for her mom and dad!" And so we did and we continue to pray for you all. Thanks for sharing all of this with us!

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