Monday, January 16, 2012

Way Too Hard to Leg-o






Remember how I told you Jack was patient? Well, that's why we had Gamestop giftcards from his birthday last March to spend today.

Every few months he'd have me put the cards in my purse, and we'd go "look." I guess he hoped that someday the perfect game that interested him would intersect with one I'd actually let him buy. Didn't happen. He never whined or badgered, just said, "Not today," and we would leave, puttting the cards away for another time.

Now I question whether I should have just lightened up and rewarded him for being the great kid he was, realizing that stupid video games would not have made my peace-loving son into a violent person. Oh well, there are a lot of things like that to think about, and I have a long, long time to do it. But today we took Jack's gift cards to Game Stop to buy "Just Dance 3" for Margaret. Tim and Margaret are dancing in the basement to a song called, "Let's Go to the Mall!" Oh my. Thanks Jack, I think.

I also don't know what to do with his Crunch bars in the kitchen cabinet. The week before school started a mom called and hush-hush asked what Jack's favorite candy was. I didn't know, but Margaret said definitively: "Nestle Crunch" On the first day of school, Jack found 4 full-sized Crunch Bars waiting in his locker as a back-to-school treat. Did I tell you our whole family had a feeling Jack would love his middle school experience? Oh my yes.

We drove home that day in the rain, and during homework time, Jack opened the first Crunch bar. He seemed so happy, and his movements struck me as somewhat ceremonious, kind of how I imagined Charlie slowly opening the winning candy bar in Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Jack divided the bar into 3 sections: one for Margaret, one for himself, and one for me. I got the "CH."

It's not unusual that his candy would still be in the cupboard, even month later. After all, I recently threw out Jack's Halloween candy from two years ago, but having a kid who saves his candy is vastly different than having a kid who is no longer here to eat it.

I don't know whether I want to eat the Crunch bars, throw them away, or run over them with my car. It all just hurts so much. The gift cards and candy are emblematic of so many things I wonder about right now. Like the jigsaw puzzles and games in our game closet. We used to leave a jigsaw puzzle out on the dining room table for Jack and Tim to work on when they had a chance. 3000 pieces was their biggest one. But Margaret and I don't like jigsaw puzzles, and most of our games are too hard or too sad to play with 3 players.

We tried to play a game with 3 people last night and the episode ended in anger and tears. What a far cry from that Wednesday night in September, the first day of school, when we all played Clue together. You may recall Clue had been touch and go in our family over the years, but that night it was perfect. Jack won. Margaret accepted the win graciously. Life was good.

But now we are left with the Clue board, Jack's room, his toys, his clothes. There is certainly no rush to get rid of anything because that part of the house sits empty now, and we don't need the space. I am just so angry that the things that meant so much to our little boy are just that...things. Things to be dealt with at some point. Things that mean nothing without our boy here to enjoy them.

The same boy who saved his Halloween candy also saved the box from every Lego set he bought. I remember asking his pediatrician about this during a checkup, hoping the doctor would back me up. "Doctor, is Jack a hoarder, or at least a very neat one? Shouldn't we throw away those boxes?" The doctor asked him about his interests and concluded "Jack is not a hoarder; he is a collector. To a Lego collector, those boxes have value. The boxes can stay."

And now, with hundreds of Lego sets, their boxes, and neat piles of instructions in pristine condition, I wonder if that will be yet another way Jack will be helping me as we decide, someday in the future, how to deal with his treasures. I don't think my heart could withstand throwing all of his collections willy-nilly in a donation heap. But perhaps with boxes, instructions, and all the pieces intact, I could fathom getting them to new homes someday.

I don't know where I'm going with this post except to say I miss him. I miss all aspects of his personality that made him so special. That made him a patient person. A saver. A creative spirit. A collector, who took good care of his things. I miss liking what he liked. Doing what he liked to do. Looking forward to this next phase of his life with him. Talking to him. Holding him. Ruffling his hair with my hands. Kissing the world's softest cheek. Walking around the block after dinner.
Wondering whether he would ever choose to eat his Crunch Bars.
Every Last Thing.

129 comments:

Lisa said...

*wipes tears from eyes* I am glad I can type because I am too choked up to speak. I can only imagine your pain. Hugs and prayers, as always...

kitty said...

We continue to keep you all in our hearts thoughts and prayers.I feel your pain with the words you type.But I don't know what to say.Just know that we do care about you all.Even though we have never met.

juli said...

You and your family are still in my thoughts every day. I am so sorry for what you are going through. Please know that healing thoughts are continually being sent your way.

Rene Foran said...

beautiful, Anna.
The things will find homes, in time...
for now, they have value as they help you through your grief.
Savor the memories,
and those crunch bars :)

Rene

The Green Family said...

Anna, your posts don't need a reason or direction. I hopenyou can feel my love, thoughts, and prayers clear across the country. I'm sending them daily.

Stefanie said...

Oh, Anna, I think of you and your family every day. Holding you in my heart, wishing you peace. Every single day.

Kristina P. said...

I always feel like anything I saw comes out as trite, but I think about and pray for your and your sweet family, often.

Fiona, LilyfieldLife said...

hi Anna - I'm so sad for you. As a big lego fan myself I would say keep the lego - Margaret's kids (or your nephew) may want it one day and would treasure that its from Jack. I still have my childhood lego set (boxes intact) and my kids love that it was mine as a child.
hang in there!

Child of God said...

Anna,
I am just praying and praying for you. My heart just aches knowing how much you ache.
While reading your post I had a momentary flash of your feelings and I was devastated. I only know that God will heal your hurt and pain.

Praying for you family.
<><

Anonymous said...

save the legos for you may have grandkids one day that will love them, and it will be something special from Uncle Jack.

Molly said...

I'm sorry. It's not fair that he's gone. He sounds like he was a truly incredible little boy who was turning into a truly incredible pre-teen.

Leah C said...

I don't know what to say, except I'm so, so sorry. Hugs & prayers...

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

My husband always tells me to just listen, to not offer advice.

I read. I'm listening.

Pause.

Okay, now the advice:

Save the Lego for your someday grandchildren. In time, other things will be easier to part with. (Note, I did not say easy.)

My son is alive and well, and he doesn't think he's going to have kids. But he will not part with a single Lego brick. They're for the "children I'm not going to have."

These toys, these wonderful toys that mattered to him will matter to others you will love.

Jeanie said...

So sweet and thoughtful of him to share his Nestle Crunch. Prayers continue for you all.

Wendy said...

Oh, Anna. My heart just hurts for you and your family. I am praying for you.

Lindsay said...

ahh...my heart just aches for you all. I feel for you so deeply and keep you close in thoughts and prayers daily..sending lots of love.

Meredith Self said...

I'm sure whatever you choose to do, Anna, will work out in time. Whether you save them for grandkids or pass them on to other kids or just save them. And all the other million decisions . One by one, you've got this, sister. You can do this.

What an image of Tim and Margaret playing that game! Holding so much love for you as you discover new family activities together. So, so, so much love.

The Empress said...

Oh, I'm sobbing.

Sobbing.

And I will continue to sob with you, because, in my foolish heart, I somehow think that if I can shed some tears for you and with you, that perhaps some of your tears will be lessened?

How silly of me.

I am here for you.

ALways.

Anonymous said...

love....and I so wish we could all take your pain away.

Lisa G. in CT

needsatimeout said...

I too am wiping tears from my eyes and sobbing. I too wish I had the right words to say to you and your family to fix things to make things right again. All I can do is read and cry with you and others.

barb sigelbaum said...

I never met him but, through your words, I miss him too.

Mrs Changstein said...

*hurting with you* I prayed for you this morning on the way into work. Grace, love, and ease for your souls. I'd hang onto everything. Ev-ree-thang. Until you KNOW.

Anonymous said...

Oh, dear woman,I continue to pray for you and your family. Your tremendous loss has touched me to the core. I think of you often and pray.

Sister in Christ,
Gina

for a different kind of girl said...

I know it can not compare at all, but I find that I miss Jack, too. I love that you share these pieces of him with us, but I find that I miss the stories about him you would have shared as he grew into the young man he was becoming, stories that hadn't even been written yet. Most of all, though, I miss him because I know you miss him, and that makes my heart hurt. But it also makes me pray, too. I believe Jack prompts me to pray more now than I ever used to, and I appreciate him for that. I also send you all my love.

Kim @ A Brush of Whimsy said...

Hugs to you, Anna.

Still Playing School said...

Your pain is so palpable and relate-able to me. I wish we had gotten the chance to get to know what my daughter may have collected, savored, loved. No time is ever enough.

Stephanie Shier said...

HUGE lump in throat and tears are streaming down my cheeks.
I can not begin to imagine how painful this is, but thank you for sharing your day to day life with us. Reading your blog reminds me daily that the hustle bustle of day to day things are NOT important. P.S. You write beautifully.

Anonymous said...

You are doing this. You are processing. You are surviving every day. I miss you on Sundays at church. I worry about you every day. Jack's death has really changed me and everyone else in Vienna. Your friends care for all of you so much. I'm so very sorry that all I can do is pray, and believe. God bless you all.

Anonymous said...

My husband (John) brother (William) died in Vietnam before he was born. Apparently on his last visit home it was Easter time. He forgot his chocolate bunny that he had been given. After he found out that his mom was expecting he told her to given the bunny to the baby as a gift. That was the last letter they received from him. John mom said to took her years to finish it.
You and your family are in our prayers everyday.

Annie said...

I have a three-year-old who doesn't yet own a single Lego, but I have had the thought - the awful, outrageous thought - about what I would do with all of the trains that he adores if something ever happened to him.

I never reach a conclusion because I can't. But, if you ever decide to sell a set for a charity that Jack or you support, I would love to have my son's first set come to our home in that way.

Recovering Church Lady said...

so very sorry. The tangible reminders can be so sweet and so terribly painful at the same time.
I have a book I borrowed from my mom, we always traded books, and it is still sitting on my bedside table even though I have finished reading it and she passed away in May.
Love you and pray for you often.

Courtney Kay said...

when you are ready... I know that a foster child, or an orphanage would be honored to play with Jack's legos. still praying for you!

Marguerite said...

I don't even know what to say except I weep for your family and I pray for your family and your courage and strength at this time are truly, truly, an inspiration to me. Much love to you all, I will Pray for you every day.

Cindy said...

Holding you all in my heart...all the time. Much love.

Kelly said...

my heart weaps with you. Still praying many times each day for all of you. For your strength, comfort, healing and the peace that passes understanding. Sending love.

Vodka Mom said...

It's a heavy coat you wear, the one soaked in grief. And I offer my hands to help lift if for a moment- just moment,for you to breathe....




xxxx

A Speckled Trout said...

The image of this boy methodically dividing a Nestle Crunch, holding onto gift cards for the perfect spend and saving Lego boxes warmed my heart. So did your pediatrician who sounds too good to be true.

At the same time, the loneliness you must now navigate as three when four was so perfect breaks my heart.

Kate said...

Aching with you and loving you. You didn't ask for advice, but I for one would keep all of the frekin' Legos and their boxes. I'm guessing that you will know if and when it is time to share them.

ella said...

I just don't know what to say tonight, Anna. I'm praying for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Loving you....don't let go. Hold on tight for as long as you need to. We are all here for you. XO

Stimey said...

Love to you.

Uniquely Me said...

I have no words to ease the deepness of your pain, but I can pray for your, and ask God to comfort you. Prayers for strength and peace as you continue to live without your patient Jack.

Savvy said...

My heart hurts for you and your loss and the awful tragedy you have all suffered and continue to suffer. Your pain is virtually palpable. I came across your blog in the last week and have found myself thinking of your family, of your Jack. I hope somehow that knowing the reach of your words, your story, and even the wrench of your pain, might give the slightest relief, like a vapor dissipating into a larger and larger room.

mgh said...

This post hits so close to home. Because I have a lego and puzzle lover. She is a money saver, too. But she is no Jack... those Crunch bars would be gone in a hurry... in the style of the Fantastic Mr. Fox. (If you have not seen that movie, you will LOVE it!) Thinking about her graduating from high school this year... my version of Jack... makes so so SO sad for you.
I say (and I am sure that Emma would back me up here) save the puzzles and save the legos until you are sure you are ready... and you have found just the right person to treasure them. We STILL have hers... we just don't trust anyone else with them. At this point there are no boxes. But they are bagged in sets, labeled and most with the instructions, too. We always glue the puzzles together. We have stacks and some framed. I don't think either of us will every be able to give them up... they are so much more than 'things'.
Love you.

Suburban Correspondent said...

I really don't know how you are managing to deal with all of this. Except, of course, you have no choice. And, as Corrie ten Boom put it, God hands us our ticket (or courage) when we need it, and not one minute before. I wish you hadn't needed it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not telling you what to do....I'm just making a suggestion for a zillion years from now if you are even ready then...there are still "homes for children" in this country and they accept opened toys. Unopened toys can be donated to Childrens Hospitals. Perhaps something like that would be meaningful. Maybe.

Geri said...

the amy grant song "missing you" comes to mind. she wrote it for her son who went to college, but it so hit me that when we made a CD of Nick to send to people, it was one of the songs we chose to put in it. "missing you is just a part of living, missing you seems like a way of life, I'm living out the life I've been given, but baby I still wish you were mine." Oh how I wish your Jack was still with you. I always was at a loss for words to describe how hard it was to lose a child, but you do so, with strength and grace. every little thing, yes.

Anonymous said...

My first thought was that, finally, here was something I could do that might really be helpful to you. I don't live very far away. And I really like Nestle's Crunch bars. So I could stop by, and .... (Heavy sigh.) Golly, this is really crass in the face of all the tearful and tender thoughts that others have expressed. Here, let me try again.

Allow that Jack himself set the precedent for what to do with the Crunch bars; he shared the first one with the people he loved, his family. Why not continue what he started? Remembering how he 'seemed so happy, and his movements ... somewhat ceremonious,' you could have a ceremony for each bar left, and each of the three of you give a toast to Jack and one of your most fun, happy or laughable memories of him. Take a bite of one-third of your one-third share with each toast. That's three ceremonies of three toasts, three happy memories and three delicious bites each. Wouldn't Jack just love it! (Or did I get him wrong? I didn't know him personally.) Just remember, this is supposed to be 'so happy;' no crying!

When you are ready for this, I think Jack will be there for you. Let him always be that happy, ceremonious fellow that he was that day. Join him in that. No one likes to be happy alone.

--Kathy from Vienna

Franny said...

We blog readers miss him, also. My heart aches for you and for every time you feel like someone is kicking you in the gut because you think of his loveliness, which I realize must be almost every second of every waking hour.

Anonymous said...

Prayers, hugs, and more prayers. My heart is heavy. I do love the photo of you and Jack. After the tears, hold him with your heart and let God hold you both. I like the idea of sharing the chocolate with Tim and Margaret and sharing, no, savoring the stories too.
Hugs and a prayer,

Anonymous said...

My heart is breaking for you and your family during this sad time for you.

steph said...

Oh you wonderful woman, writer, and mama. Wish that I (or anyone) could lessen your pain. Peace to your dear, sweet family.

web development india said...

I am very pleased with the thought and don’t feel like adding anything in it. It a perfect answer.

Anonymous said...

Love to you as always, dearest Anna, Tim and Margaret xxx

Jill said...

You have an amazing gift for telling all of us how you are feeling. I hope also that in writing your feelings it helps in some measure. I'm one more of many praying for you across the miles.

Leslie said...

Anna, Tim, Margaret, I am so sorry. I beg the Lord, BEG for him to help you understand, to take pain away. I am so sorry and will always be praying.

Princess Kate said...

I hope and pray that there will come a time when you know exactly what to do with those treasures. Until then, I will continue to pray for peace and understanding. On a side note, I'd run over those Crunch bars a hundred times. Hey you have to get your anger/frustration out somehow and what better way than that. It might even make you laugh.

Always here and available for leaning.

Domestic Diva said...

I get so emotional reading about your sweet boy and how much you loved him, especially since I have a Jack as well. It breaks my heart that he was taken from you. I have nothing profound to say, except that I am so sorry and I am sending prayers of comfort and lots of cyberhugs <3

Laurie J. said...

I would hang on to the legos and games for the moment. An opportunity may present itself when you could do something really good with those toys. A young family in our town lost their home and everything in it on Christmas eve after losing their father last year. Many people came together to give those two toddlers clothes and gifts. You may find some time in the future, a home that could really use those toys. Perhaps Jack would like that.

Lady Jennie said...

This post is a punch in the gut for me, so I can only imagine how much of that is a daily reality for you. Sending you hugs and hugs.

Save at least some of the lego sets - it's a long way off I know, but my mother-in-law saved all the legos from her 5 boys and now her 10 grandkids all play with them.

michelle said...

Anna... your words are beautiful, soulful, perfect. I don't "know" you, but I wish I did.

My faith in God is solid, but I firmly believe it is ok to get angry with him. To me, it is part of having a relationship, just like with a spouse or sibling. While I don't feel entitled to be angry, I still feel angry. Angry that I never got to spend a moment with your precious Jack, angry that beautiful, sassy Margaret does not have her sibling to vent to about mom & dad in a way that only a sibling will understand, angry that you can't gaze into Jack's deep brown eyes & smile contentedly, angry that Tim doesn't have a puzzle partner. And sorry because I don't have the right to be angry on your behalf.
It is ok to be angry, or immobile, or tired, or energized, or peaceful, or whatever you are feeling.
I am remembering & praying always.
And I can borrow my neighbor's Hummer & we can pulverize those Crunch bars together!

Anonymous said...

All of us who follow your blog imagine how we could go back in time to save Jack. The night it happened I was bailing water out of my stoop and then out of my house. Without hesitation I would have stopped and run to try and save Jack. This whole tragic episode has put life in a different perspective for all of us. The recent posts about the "why" really don't matter. Your son is gone (but in a much better place) and there is nothing we can do about. I think the toughest thing about your grief is the sense of helplessness. I would be lying if I said I understood your pain, no way I could. But I do know that I could not handle it as well as you have. I can't explain the "why" but I do know for certain that your lovely sweet boy has had a LASTING impact on all of us who have followed your blog. He has caused us to reconsider our priorities and cherish our family. Every time you post about Jack you resurrect the memory of the times you cherished with your son and remind us to do the same. I may or may not have my children as long as I am alive, but darnit I will cherish every minute with them. There is "meaning" in our lives and it has nothing to do with our petty successes but how we bond with one another and share our joys as well as our pains. You have done both. I wish and pray for God to alleviate your grief and continue to bring you signs that your boy is well within his loving embrace. Your son Jack has enlightened all of us to what is important. I know that doesn't bring him back, but please do know that he is having a lasting impact EVERY SINGLE DAY in my life. Blessings to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Crying like the first time I read the story of the horrible day. I am so so sad for you I can't handle it.

Rach said...

Oh, Anna, I've been there. I'm so sorry. I'm typing with tears in my eyes. You'll know what to do when the time is right. It may be the time is right tomorrow, it may not be until 10 years from now.

We found a wallet filled with Hannah's allowance (she too was a patient saver) and I agonized over what to do with that $20. When Easter rolled around, we added the money to our Lenten "rice bowl".

But, what to do with her precious treasures? That was another story altogether. It was agonizing (almost a year out) and I felt as if I were losing my little girl all over again.

I guess I'm trying to say, don't rush it. When the time is right, it feels right and doesn't hurt as much.

My prayers for you all.
Hugs,
Rach

Anonymous said...

The photo of you and Jack is precious.

Jen said...

Anna, thank you for sharing your heart with us--what's in your heart, and your sweet Jack. I think of you and your family so much throughout the days, and my heart aches for you. I miss Jack though I only know him through you. I think he and my 11-year-old son would have been great friends.

Jen Luebke said...

You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. We too are Lego collectors and I don't look at a set without thinking of your precious family.

Please save them for family members. What an amazing treasure from Jack.

Anonymous said...

The photo of you and Jack IS precious, plus you have killer triceps in it too. They and your smile made me smile.

Your writing stuns me. I don't know if you labor over how to put something that is hard to express into just the right words, but you really manage to find the exact right way to share your feelings in a way that we know is unique to you, but also in a way that makes them universally relatable. I don't know if I would have thought of running over the candy bars with a car, but I do know that that powerful image will not be leaving my head any time soon. And that's just one example. You are so gifted.

I miss him so hard for you and your family right now. What a special person Jack was.

jbhat

Theresa O said...

As I sit at work and had to scramble frantically for a tissue before anyone walked by, tears roll down my cheeks. Strange - I went to Game Stop today - to get Zach something he needed with HIS money. And I ate a Nestle Crunch bar today -because they are my favorite :) My thighs will pay for that decision! Oh my heart aches for you each day Anna. Just to be able to hold your boy. Each day I give Zach a hug, or kiss his check or say "I love you" as I drop him off in the mornings - I think of you - wishing you could still do the same - and knowing how lucky I am to still have my son...because this could happen to anyone, any tradegy of any kind. I wish it didn't happen to Jack and your family. And I pray for you constantly and can't imagine what you go through each day. I hurt for you, and wish I could take your pain away. So many good people out there in the world are praying for you. I hope just somehow that will help you this afternoon, tomorrow, and days to follow. Hugs.

Salvimom said...

Bless You Anna, and your lovely Margaret and of course Tim. Hugs, hugs, kisses, and so much love from across the coast. Your experience has helped me appreciate my children better. I know that is bittersweet, but thank you, love. I cannot say, "it'll be okay", but I can just sit here quietly and send you a whole heap of good thoughts and caring. I don't KNOW you but I LOVE you. And that is what I can do.

Ury
Seattle, WA

Anonymous said...

I love this post. It it perfection.

Anonymous said...

I love this post. It it perfection.

Anonymous said...

Two of my high school friends that passed away had younger siblings who have since named their children after their departed older sister and brother. Maybe one day Margaret will have her own baby Jack and can play with the Legos his angel uncle left for him.

Nelson's Mama said...

I miss Jack and I didn't even know him...

Susan said...

Anna, God. This moved me to tears. It has me thinking of my own boy...in some ways so similar to your Jack. Minus the waiting to use gift cards part. He would have us running as soon as the envelope was open.
But the Lego. The boxes. The chocolate. The hoarding. The saving. For I don't know when.
It's heartbreaking to read.

A Mom said...

My suggestion is to keep the toys. Your daughter may have children one day and it will be a nice connection they can have to their uncle. Or perhaps hsi cousin's children.

I think there will be a situation that arises and it will become clear what to do with all Jack's things so that they aren't just 'things' again. Some of these times may arise sooner than others, some may not be for a very very long time. But when the time arrives, you'll know

Joyce said...

You don't ever have to question where you are going with your post. You come here to wirte and to share, because sharing makes you feel connected to Jack.
We all feel connected to Jack and your family.
xo

Anonymous said...

Anna, my heart aches for you. Do not get rid of Jack's things. You do not need to. Keep his room the same. Margaret will have a little boy one day who will love spending the night in his "uncle Jack's room". Don't feel that you need to get rid of anything, or change his room, especially if visiting his room brings you comfort. I am praying for you.

Anonymous said...

I miss Jack so so much.

Anonymous said...

Keep the legos. Forever. Who says you have to give them away? Also, I know a family who lost their 13 year old daughter last October in a car accident. A comment left by someone said something to the effect that they should find joy in the knowledge that they made her feel more special and loved in those 13 years than a lot of kids feel their whole lifetime. It was clear to me that that family loved and cherished their daughter every day of her life. She knew it. She felt it. I don't know you but I can easily say the same thing about your family and your precious Jack. He felt loved and cherished every day of his life. I pray you can find peace and joy in the fact that you gave him one helluva life. One that you can all be proud of. He only lived 12 years--but what great years they were! And one day you will kiss those cheeks again. I believe that with all of my heart.

Much love to you Anna~

Kathy Fisher said...

Keep the Crunch bars where they are. When you're ready, you'll know what to do with them. Sending love and hugs from Florida.

Anonymous said...

he will be forever in your heart... Read the other day about a woman in CT who lose her 3 little girls in a home fire on Christmas day. no one knows the pain of losing one child never mind 3... you are doing great Anna.. keep on trucking (giggle)... you are loved so much by all of us who have never met you or Jack, Tim and Margaret. We are all rooting for your continued strength. xoxo Patty

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I tried to write a comment on this last night - but everything sounded so trite.

If anyone ever says "I just can't even imagine" about what happened to you, I tell them to read your blog. Maybe they can't KNOW - but your words make it possible for them to *imagine* how this must feel...even if it's just a fraction of the whole.

I know you are writing for yourself, but I can't help but think about all of the grieving people who can come here and feel understood. And not hear about how others "can't even imagine."

Love you Anna.

mariann said...

Dear Anna, I hate that you have to go through such unfathomable pain.
My thoughts on the candy bars -- when you don't know what to do with stuff, do nothing. The Lego collection is special because of Jack -- someday Margaret may have children or your nephew may have children and that collection will be an amazing link to Jack. And, you will want some of the collection so when your grandchildren or your sister's grandchildren come to your house, there will be toys there for them - and you can tell them about Jack as you play. My mother's brother, Michael, died when he was 16 (my mom was 12). Nothing of his was saved -- I WISH I had even a handkerchief or wallet or something to give to my Michael to tell him that 'this' belonged to your Uncle Michael. Do nothing until it feels right to you -- I am certain your beautiful boy will send you a sign. (((hugs))) and prayers -- Mariann

Anonymous said...

Just sending you love xxx

New Mom said...

I've written at least five comments and deleted them all. I keep praying about what to write, but there are just no words, except I am so deeply sorry.

Romans 8:26 "The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." And Romans 8:34 - Jesus is at God's right hand and He is interceding for us.

L said...

Missing him with you. Missing seeing him grow up and do amazing things. You are doing amazing and impossible things. I often want to run stuff over with my car. I love you.

Patricia said...

What a lovely, loving, "deeply touch my heart' post....Please do hold onto all these 'things' for now Anna - they hold many memories, even though they are just 'things'. You will know, one day, just what to do with all these things - Jack will guide you. You are teaching us all so much....

Anonymous said...

I think and pray for you, Jack, Tim and Margaret every day. I only wish it could take away your pain. Thank you for your words, your honesty and for sharing Jack with us. He will never be forgotten.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I am sure that Jake would enjoy it if you shared one of his Nestle Crunch bars. (one of my favorites)
You can only move forward one day at a time and those decisions will come along the way when you are ready for them to be made. I do want to suggest that you have a memory quilt made with his t-shirts when you are ready. ((HUGS))

Donna said...

Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. I have no doubt that Jack will find the perfect place for his Legos, all at once, or once set at a time. Maybe you can each pick your favorite set and hang on to them for future generations to have something that belonged to "Uncle" Jack.

Heidi said...

"Kissing the world's softest cheek" Oh, Anna. Just. There are no words. My heart goes out to yours.

Kristie said...

Anna,
I found your blog after linking from a comment in another blog. I have been reading it for the last three days, starting with your most recent entries and going back. How you must miss your beautiful boy. I have a 12-year-old son and a niece born on 3/19/99. I can't imagine how horrible this has been for you and your family. I've been waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about you. As someone else commented, it's not fair. I'm so sorry.

PeachPrenni said...

Oh Anna. Another great post. And I know I have said this before but Jack reminds me sooo much of my almost 11 year old, Jake. I had to laugh when I read this because Jake saves every piece of candy he's ever received. I don't even think he likes candy, but he saves it in a special box in his closet. And Lego boxes--yes. And Lego instructions--yes. I too have wondered if I have a little hoarder on my hands but I prefer your term "collector." Once again you have inspired me to appreciate these unique qualities in my son. You always inspire me to be GRATEFUL. Thank you for that!! -Annie

Kara said...

You must be feeling so lost these days. I wouldn't know what to do with all the 'things' that now hold such precious memories. I suppose you'll just know. I just love reading about your boy - and your sweet girl, too. I am so grateful for you sharing your heart.

HeatherV said...

Just need you to know I'm one more that is still here, still thinking of your sweet boy and praying you all continue to navigate his loss with such grace, honesty, and love. Bless you.

notmeowing said...

Oh Anna. This is so hard. I still have 1 or 2 Crunch bars from my baby shower in feb. 2006. My son, Joseph died when he was 3 1/2 months old. Slowly but surely I have found new homes and places for the things that belonged to my baby. There is no rush. I want you to know that I think about you all the time. I have a Jack too. He is in 7th grade. My heart aches and just want you to know that I am praying for you and Margaret and Tim. I also have a daughter, Lexie. She was just about Margaret's age when her baby brother died. I know I am a total stranger to you, but if you think Margaret would like to spend some time with another girl who lost her brother too, I would love to get them together. Lexie is now 14. She is a dear girl, very sweet and fun. She loves God very much. She is also wonderful with kids. She even helps out at McLean Bible Church with the babysitting and their respite nights from time to time. I am a Monkee, my name is Susie. I have been following Momastery from the beginning. I feel like I know you from all the comments we would share! Please let me know if you want to talk or get together 571-263-4058. God bless you Anna See! You are in my prayers.

Junie said...

It doesn't matter where you wander in your posts. We are here to wander with you.

I am so sorry you are hurting so badly.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing the holes one young life can leave behind. Thank you for continuing to share that, with grace and even humor. Thinking of you daily.
Beth

Jan said...

This very night, I spied the two most recent Lego boxes in my son's "building room"- our extra room that he's claimed for building. I opened my mouth to suggest it was time to get rid of them and then decided against it. Now, I'm glad I did. Peace.

macmac524 said...

Reading this post, as the mom of 7 year old Lego loving little boy, my heart physically aches for you. For better or worse, your words have given me insight I've never had into the complex world of grief. Your pain is so raw and real. I would give anything to be able to provide you a minute's comfort. I am so, so sorry....
I've wondered several times how and when you would ever be able to sort through Jack's things. I've got to believe there'll come a day you feel strong enough to face the task.
I've prayed many a prayer for you and your family. I won't ever stop....

Kris said...

Anna, I have recently found your blog through Stimey. I live in NoVa and remember hearing about Jack (although I didn't know his name) as I drove through the rain on NPR. And thinking about this family I didn't know.

This post is a wonderful tribute to your boy. I get a sense of who he was just from the every day things you describe, like the Legos, saving gift cards and the wonderful way he took care of his things.

It is interesting to read as this is the polar opposite of my messy, loud boys who hate Legos and would have eaten all those Crunch bars in one afternoon. And yet made me think of all the things I love about them and by extention love all the "things" that are important to them and that they love. (I even cried when their lizard died this past weekend even though I hated it. But to see my 8 year old crying uncontrollably made me realize HE loved that animal and so I did too.)

I cannot imagine what you are going through every day and how unimaginable it must be to try and decide what to do with Jack's things. I would keep them for now.

kelleygirl said...

My friend - your loss still stabs my heart at every turn and I think of you and pray for you each night I tuck my Isabella into bed. I am so thankful for your blog and the reminders to "let go" of the unimportant things in life that we tend to dwell on as parents and to just seize the moment with my one and only child whenever possible.

I am praying for you, Tim and Margaret -- that each day will bring a smile amidst the tears and that your heart will find peace one moment at a time.

Sending you a very loving and big hug.

Kelley

Anonymous said...

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
- Matthew 11:28,29

Ann Imig said...

I hope that amongst all these painful details there are also hidden treasures--a memory to resurface, something that makes you laugh.

Sorry isn't a word big enough for what you're going through.

xo

mia said...

your words break my heart. I cannot imagine your pain. I think of you every night i tuck my little guy in bed. I pray that Jack continues to send you sweet signs and you find comfort in all of your wonderful memories and pictures. I am just so very sorry for this unimaginable pain:( Hugsxoxo

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

Last night I watched a show about John Walsh's son Adam and all the details, that happened during his abduction and death in 1981. And my thoughts were with you. I wish I had words that could take it away even for just a minute. I am so terribly sorry and I can't imagine a life with the filter you have, everything is different. I know there will come a day of joy but I also know it will always be different. Know that I am still lifting you up!

Aimee said...

Total tear jerker... I'm feeling your pain, it really hurts... I cry for you and your family, daily as I drive over the bridge and see that wreath with the blue ribbon on it. Must seem so unreal.... I just can't imagine... but bad things happen and it seems so so unfair.

Treasure Jack's Lego sets and keep them!:) I'm also quite sure, that your sweet loving Jack, would like for his loving family to eat his crunch bars.

What a unique and special boy Jack was, never will be forgotten...

Anonymous said...

We're all here in this life for such a short time. All of us. It's just a blink really. What I mean to say is, you'll see him again soon. Not soon enough of course! And then how do you cope with the totally unendurable pain until that time? One breath at a time. Erica

Loukia said...

I feel the realness of this post so much. Believe me, as a mom, I can understand this pain, and believe me that every day I think about your family. Your story, what you're going through, what happened, it keeps everything in perspective for me. Cherish every second. Life is previous. I Amos sorry, Anna. Nothing I've read since becoming a mom has touched me to my core like your story, your son. God bless you all. Always in my thoughts and prayers.

Shell Flower said...

I love Jack stories. What a great kid. Maybe you should divide his things like he did, some to keep for the grandkids, some for you, and some for the children out there who are in need that Jack would want to help.

I love that you asked the doctor about his saving and the doctor deemed him a collector rather than a hoarder. That is just so cute.

Ellen said...

Anna, I feel your grief pouring through my screen, and I hurt for you. I hope that writing helps alleviate the pain in some way, and that you know you are helping others who may not be able to articulate what you can. Like Rach says, there are no timelines for decisions like the ones you ponder; the answers will come. And perhaps Margaret will want to help decide.

anymommy said...

They aren't just things, I think. They are also connections to him and all that he was and is in your lives (and in all of our lives too). Loving you all every day from afar.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Oh, no. It's all too hard. Hugs from a stranger far away.

Auntie Mip said...

There are just no words. And there are just too many. And NOTHING seems adequate to soothe your weary soul. I am so sorry that what brought Jack such joy hurts you so very much. I am so sorry. Please know you are prayed for.

Anonymous said...

You are a great mother!! Thought you might need a reminder.... we are listening.....

Jen said...

Some of your posts simply touch me, while others seem to pierce right through me. This one pierced. I keep telling myself "I have to stop reading about this - I'll only end up in tears!" But I keep coming back. Because your family has found a home in my heart. Because I find myself thinking about you at random times during random days. Because, often, when I pick up Legos off my floor I find myself thinking about Jack's Legos going unused and wondering how in the world you are getting through this. You are amazing, inspirational, faithful, and honest and I thank you for continuing to share all of that with us. It really does touch hearts and change lives.

Keep the Legos - someday Margaret will have children and you will delight in seeing them played with again. And how about this for the chocolate? Keep your eyes out for those people that need a little comfort, a little "thank-you", a little acknowledgement. Maybe someone who does something that Jack would have approved of. Give them a candy bar. You don't have to tell them why or where it came from, just give it as a little token of love and friendship. Then do it again with another bar. Then do it again. Buy more bars and keep doing it - keep giving out these little treasures whenever you see something good in the world that needs to be acknowledged. It can be your thing. You'll be the Crunch bar lady. :) Maybe that will help you slowly let go of those bars on the shelf, and do it in a way that helps you feel like Jack is still giving, still sharing those special parts of himself.

Just a thought. Either way, we'll all be here for you as you make your way through this new and unknown territory. Love and prayers, as always, to all of you.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you every day.
No rush to take care of Jack's things. Take the time you need. It speaks volumes that all of these "things" really are stories... it's so evident that you LISTENED to your son every day. I am learning patience from your stories, both present and past. - Coach Jess

Princess Kate said...

Just thought I would stop by and say I said some prayers for your family today. I hope you felt comforted if only for a second. Thinking of you all often.

Vodka Mom said...

THose painful "what-if's" are surely the devil's work.

Don't let him in. He can knock ALL HE WANTS, but please, please don't let him in....


xoxoxo

Jenny said...

Just sending you hugs and wishing that I could somehow ease your pain, if even for just a short time.

the mama bird diaries said...

We all miss him. xo

Rebecca said...

Wow... Anna, I have just discovered your blog and your story, and I am at a loss for words, of course. Your Jack is/was an amazing little boy... I can only imagine the pain. I know a family who lost their son when he was 19, and only 30 years later did they manage to find a place for the last box of his they had. I'm pretty sure nothing helps, and nothing anyone can say can take away the pain... but my hope is that you find out how this becomes a part of you... I think you are doing just that by writing about it. I am so sorry for all you and your family are going through and for the loss of your beautiful son.

heather said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings and about your son. They say grief is like a wave, and eventually the waves get further apart. May your healing continue to move forward. Keep sharing your thoughts and stories. May God keep you in the safety of his arms. Thoughts and prayers to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

How can i read this and not have something to say that could bring you comfort? My tears flow and I pray for you and your husband and your precious daughter. I read part of this to my 16 year old son and he also wept. Jack is home safe in the arms of Jesus and you will see him again until then know that you are always in our prayers!

Anonymous said...

Your words have made me think of my 12 year old son and his lego built and displayed neatly in his room. He wanted to keep his boxes but I tossed them all. I am so fortunate to have him to hold and love and I do - every minute. I am so sorry that you don't have your Jack to do the same with. I am so sorry. Lisa L.

Christen said...

This post is perfect. What a loveable, extraordinary boy he was.

I always have so much I want to write to you and can never quite get the words right... I'm sending love and prayers to your family constantly

irv family said...

this one broke my heart. Hugs to you Anna....big hugs. Take those Lego's to his school and let the kids there enjoy them when you are ready. That's where our "educational toys" go...so I can still visit them if I need to and watch other children play with them like mine did.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could change things for you. This sucks and it's not fair. All that helps me with grief is to believe that it's in God's hands. Otherwise, life would always be impossible, not just sometimes. Hugs.

Michelle