Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cleave or Cleave?

I loved teaching vocabulary to high schoolers. A bunch of 30-somethings out there probably still remember their weird young teacher throwing her arms open wide and bellowing “CA-PAAAA-CIOUS means SPAAAAAA-CIOUS!” to help them remember.

And what about the word CLEAVE? I mean, how many words have 2 opposite meanings? I loved that!

Cleave:
1) to adhere closely; stick; cling, to remain faithful
2) to split or divide by or as if by a cutting blow, especially along a natural line of division, as the grain of wood.

When I think of the hell our family is enduring, I would have hoped and prayed and even imagined that we would be living out the first definition of cleave, but that’s not really the case. We are trying, believe me, we are.

But these past few weeks have felt more suited to Jerry Springer, a Dateline Special, or at least an emergency episode of Super Nanny than our previously “Cleave Definition Number 1” kind of family life. Sometimes it feels as if were are splitting apart. Yet our splitting, or cleaving, does not follow along a “natural line of division” and is therefore brutal and messy and jagged. For there is nothing natural about losing a child. We are sad and angry and confused. This is beyond shitty.

I’ve been reading a lot about grief and how one person’s life and death mean so much to a family, and to the world. Every life matters. As Jack’s accident and death gradually become more real to us as we approach the wretched 6 month mark, the enormity of what happened down by that creek feels like such a blow to our family and to the future.

John Donne’s words resonate with me:

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece
of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by
the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's
death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and
therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for
thee.”


Being Jack-less make us all feel like so much…less. Our family and our world woefully diminished.

And when I think of Margaret without her Jack, the idea makes me sick. I am simply not okay with it. Never have I witnessed two siblings who complemented each other so well. In my “Mother’s Keepsake Journal” from when Jack was a baby, I wrote: “Jack, your world is going to change in a big way. Mommy is pregnant! I wish I could protect you from the inevitable strife that having a sibling will cause, but then I would also be depriving you of the joy that comes from sharing your life, your childhood, your world view with a sister or brother. You will be connected with him or her longer than any other person in your life…”

Ugh.

Perhaps Jack remembered a time without Margaret, but she never knew a day without him until now.

“Connected” is right.

Jack and Margaret shared secrets, games, and a quirky language. They loved going to camp and school together. The summer of 3rd and 5th grades, they would look at each other and say in weird voices, “OH! I thought it was the carburetor!” No one had a clue what that meant, but it sure cracked them up. We have tons of video clips they made in the back seat of the car that summer, killing time on long trips, making crap up. Weird voices. Weird faces. Precious memories.

They shared a bedroom at the beach each year, even though Jack could have easily ditched his little sister for a berth in the guys’ bunk room. On our last trip, a week before the accident, they watched a Ghost Hunters Marathon on tv. When Margaret got freaked out, Jack comforted her by talking to her softly and sleeping right next to her. Jack never left Margaret out, and she acted as his wingman in the neighborhood.

This summer he came to me and said “Mom, I’m worried about Margaret. She’s not being as good of a sport as she used to and I think people are starting to notice.” This was not tattling but was genuine concern from a boy who had suffered the stigma of sore loser-ship in his earlier years and wanted to prevent the same thing from happening to his “cool” little sister. He wanted what was best for Margaret. Always.

And THIS situation? Does not feel best. Most days it doesn’t even seem bearable. It seems wasteful and heartbreaking and wrong.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m glad our family was close. I am grateful our children had each other for the time that they did. The four of us were bonded, intertwined, sticky, and faithful. But those qualities do not a clean separation make.

Cleave.

video
video

91 comments:

RachelSD said...

I've been thinking about you all day today Anna. Don't know why. Sending you good thoughts and prayers from Southern California.

Elisa @ What the Vita said...

Thank god for videos and photos and memories and everything that we can look back on and say, There. This I remember. This happened.

I often am at a loss for words when trying to comment on your posts because you always say it all beautifully, poetically, and painfully. Just know that I and legions of others are reading and feeling like we are with you and loving you all the while.

Anneke {RustiChic} said...

It's like 1:30 in the morning, but I was thinking of you and want you to know that I am praying for your family.....

SouthLakesMom said...

Anna, a lady in my CBS group who lost her brother in a skydiving accident last year told me part of her grief is in coming to realize that everyone who knew him is missing a piece of themselves -- the part of them that was "his" -- so almost everyone she knows who knew him is walking around with a wound, trying to make sense of it all.

Praying for you all.

Anonymous said...

Every time I think that my life is difficult or my children are causing me stress I think of you Anna and what you have and are still going through. Your strength gives me strength BUT I so hate the fact that you have lost your beautiful son. Life is just so unfair!!
I wish I could wave a wand and change it all for you but I can't. All I can do is send you lots of love and pray that you all find your way through this difficult time.
Always thinking of you Anna....

L said...

Love you. Hate this.

Geri said...

Oh Anna. Thank you, again, for putting into words what it is like to lose a beloved son, brother. It is indeed brutal and messy and jagged. Feels totally unbearable some days, and like walking through the fires of hell. And then something will change, and it will be somewhat bearable again, until the next wave crashes in. These past few weeks may have felt/been a jerry springer show type time, but it will change again. Your family is strong and loving and deeply bonded. And yes, that bonding can make it all the more difficult, but I hope and pray and believe it will eventually be what helps you all continue on, even without dear, sweet Jack.

scgrits said...

Woke up groaning about my sniffly boy keeping me up most of the night. Now, I'm in tears thinking of how lucky I am to have that opportunity. Thank you for sharing your story and helping me put things in perspective. I wish you peace.

Marguerite said...

I am just sobbing here...there are no words I can say to you that you don't say to us much, much better. Anna you should cry, rage, scream, and yet my feeling on reading every post you have written, especially about Margaret, I feel like you will cleave (the first one) once again. All my prayers for your beautiful family of four.

Anonymous said...

Your last post gave me the feeling that things weren't going well. Sending lots of love and best wishes to all of you that you fine your way together through this mess.

Mariann said...

Anna: I have been driving around town and seeing blue ribbons everywhere -- I even saw a dog walker wearing a blue ribbon -- My heart is heavy for your family and my days are filled with thoughts about and prayers for you. Thank you for sharing your heart. Love, Mariann

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

it does make me wonder why loss of such magnitude needs to happen...surely something of equal/greater magnitude in a positive aspect happens that we just can't see? i am so sad for you, a complete stranger to me...it's heartbreaking to imagine even just a fraction of how it must feel. i continue to pray for you and your famiy. xox

ALI said...

Grief.

Profound, soul sucking, all encompassing grief.

I so hate this for you. I hate what it is doing.

I'm not sure if you listen to Bruce Springsteen, but I've thought a lot about you as I've listened to the lyrics of his "The Rising" album.

Huge hugs!

Leeann said...

I really loved watching those two videos and the explanations of them in your blog. I am so glad that you have them. I wish that you had Jack, I truly do. I was just visiting Rhode Island this past weekend, to see my brother and my nephews, and I spoke to him of Jack. I find that I often tell Jack's story or think of him. I am also thinking often of Margaret.

Much love to your family.

Mediterrangirl said...

This is brutal. Thinking of your sweet family, crying for your unimaginable loss. We are all behind you, praying, sending you healing vibes. Hugs to you, Tim and Margaret from a Vienna mom.

Anonymous said...

I wish we could all wake up from this terrible nightmare that doesn't make sense. Wishing you find peace.

Anonymous said...

(((HUGS))) and prayers and love and support from a mom of a Jack and an Anna who share a very similar irreplaceable relationship as your babies. The Yin to each others' Yang. You are loved and supported by so many and my hope is that it will at a minimum, give you a soft place to land during these "shitty" times. (((HUGS))))

Lizbeth said...

I'm thinking of you. From miles away but close at heart, hugs.

Leigh-Anne said...

Thank God you have words. Tim has running and you have words. Your post really, really reminded me of a poem my dad shared with me after his sister died. You may already know it:

http://thebestamericanpoetry.typepad.com/the_best_american_poetry/2009/01/perfection-wasted-by-john-updike.html

In case the link doesn't work, it's "Perfection Wasted" by John Updike. I think Margaret has a little bit of Jack's brand of magic. It will carry on in her and all of you.

Please keep reading and writing, and we'll keep lifting you up, and someday you will turn the corner on the most visceral part of the pain.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine how Margaret must be feeling, but your words help me to do so. Definition 2 has you in its wrong and awful clutches, but the I'm hoping that the first definition will help see you through.

6 months? How can this be? It doesn't feel like it. I think I might have to give up on time markers with this one, since it seems to be all out of whack.

love,
jbhat

Heidi said...

Wow, what a breathtaking post. Both sad and beautiful.
It is senseless to me, too. I can't pretend to understand Jack's death. It is beyond comprehension.
I think of you so, so much and my heart aches for you today.

Rach said...

I'm sorry. It IS shitty. It DOES suck. It's sheer, unadulterated Hell and I truly wish you didn't have to go through this.

Thank you for sharing more precious memories and moments of your beautiful boy.

Prayers and hugs,
Rach

the mama bird diaries said...

Think and pray for you every day. It's all so wrong. He is so sweet and love seeing them together. xo

Kim said...

Thinking about you all day, too, and how horrible this all is, and wishing you could just wake up and have jack back, and believing that one day you will wake up and all be together again, and trusting that on that day, you will never remember the pain of not being together and never have to imagine the pain of not being together again. Someday. heaven.

Lisa said...

I don't know what to say other than I am thinking of you all....and praying. Hugs.

E. said...

It seems to me that the two opposing definitions of the same word are just opposite sides of a coin. I know you are drowning in the heartbreaking side but the sticky, clingy, and interwined side is never far away. It will flip someday. You are brave, strong, loving, kind, and faithful. Even though we have never met, you and your family are in my prayers daily.

Peace,
Eliza

Anonymous said...

ARGH! I ache for you and your family, even though I never met you. I lost a brother at 18 and for a long time after that would think I saw him approaching when someone who resembled him showed up on the street. (My vision always was poor.) What a blessing that Jack and Margaret were so close as siblings, but it does not make it any easier now, I guess. Beautiful that they had that time together though.

It does seem sucky and unfair -- no way around it. Only way to get through hell is to keep on going. But why could this not have happened in a family where the kids did not get along? Why did it have to be sweet Jack? As another poster said, perhaps there is a greater good at work, but it is hard at times to appreciate that.

Caring thoughts coming your way from PA,
from Joan in PA

Anonymous said...

The only true guarantee in life is change. I hate that this change in your family is of monumental proportion. For you and Tim, my only advice is to stay open to the fact that the feelings that you are having will change (good or bad) and won't, like anything else in life, last long. These feelings also won't happen on the same timeline for each of you or even make sense. Ok today, wallowing in the pit tomorrow while the other may be a day or two behind or ahead which makes dealing with each other almost impossible. As fast as time has passed, it has only been that long - seems like yesterday, you all are still in the infancy of this change. Take time, away from each other if necessary, to feel what only you are feeling and heal in your own way. The key is to stay open to the fact that the other's feelings are not right or wrong, just different and that is ok. Grief is the most independent and single journey that one takes, it is not easily understood or shared. Even with a soul-mate. But with time, it will change again. Margaret, on the other hand is approaching change in her life of Grand Canyon-size proportions even without the devastating, unimaginable loss of her brother. She is growing up - just entering that oh so easily navigable path of the pre-teen, has lost her life-long companion, has lost her family as she has always known it, has lost her parents as she has always known them, has lost how the world perceives her as she has always known it. Plus, add to that the fact that she has no life experience on how to handle such things. I was in this situation as a child and can totally relate. Rebellion is the preferred response to everything as it doesn't have to make sense because trying to make sense of anything in that situation is just too hard to do.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Thinking of you often. And there is some classic poem (you probably know) that has the line, "It is Margaret you mourn for." Witnessing her loss just magnifies yours. So, so hard.

Oh, it was Gerald Manley Hopkins, "Spring and Fall." Not really relevant, in its original sense, but you may like it, just the same. There's nothing like poetry for grieving. It gets to the heart of the matter better than does prose.

darcie said...

Sending peace and light to your sweet sweet Margaret. I hate this for her, and for you.

Princess Kate said...

My heart just aches for you Anna. Oh how I wish I could ease your pain (even if only for a moment). I'm praying EXTRA hard for strengthen and comfort right now for all of you.

Jana said...

I'm so sorry, Anna. I am seeing this happen with my friend and "shitty" describes it perfectly. Praying for all of you every day.

Jana said...

Yesterday's post at http://preachermike.com/2012/02/21/when-a-child-dies-12-the-aloneness-of-grief#comments...

Anonymous said...

It hurts.

I'd like to suggest a book that has nothing directly to do with grief but is about moving through life and all its suffering and is both wise and funny. It might be a momentary distraction of some minimal value.
Bring Me the Rhinoceros: And Other Zen Koans That Will Save Your Life
by John Tarrant

But the main thing is just ... it hurts, it hurts, it hurts. And the only way out is through.
It sucks,
Erica

DeeBee said...

I can't tell you how grateful I am for your candor. This blog is so raw, and often painful to read, but it is an honest and perfectly expressed representation of grief. Real grief, in the moment, in real time. It is an incredibly important thing you are doing here. I wish, like all your readers, that I could make it so you didn't have to write about this because the accident didn't happen, but life doesn't work that way. You are making the unimaginably horrible into something clear, alive and beautiful. You are a strong artist with a powerful voice.

Anonymous said...

Tears and prayers are plenty for you today.
xo
Joyce

Salvimom said...

Dearest Anna,

Your heartbreak is felt so palpably, and is breaking my heart as well. Lord bless little Margaret in the unasked-for independence that she is having to endure. Lord bless you and Tim having to endure this as well. Like many other moms on here, I want to just wrap you in my arms and make it alright. The only word I can think at this moment towards you is LOVE. And as merely an outside observer, I would say your family is always Cleave, definition 1, otherwise the pain would not be so deep. Love, prayers and hugs from my family to yours.

Ury
Seattle, WA

Gina said...

Yes, this is beyond shitty and extremely f*cking shitty doesn't even come close. I remember when I lost my first daughter and how my mom told me that her grief was doubled, not only losing her granddaughter but watching her daughter suffer through grief as well. None of this is right or fair and it makes my heart and stomach hurt for your family. Anna, I am specifically praying that God gives you beauty for ashes, the oil of JOY for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. May God's grace, mercy and peace fall upon your home and family in such a way that even those who enter can feel it in a physical way! Don't know you but love you and your family.

Jess said...

continuing to think of you all each day. i have no doubt that your family will soon cleave (the first one) together again.
some thoughts from an only child: margaret is surely NOT an only child. she has a brother and always will. however, growing up as a true only, i have a thought to offer. does margaret have a very close friend that is comfortable tagging along on family outings, etc? this other child will never take the place of jack, but rather could be someone for m. to connect with on a "kid-level" during these times that she may feel jack's absence the most. those kid things (entertaining yourself in the car, making up funny sayings, etc.) can be so much more fun with a friend! just a thought that was important for me in my childhood... not sure if it's helpful for your family or not.
margaret is in very good hands! keep hanging on, m, t, and a!

Cindy said...

Some days, the only consolation is knowing that we are one day closer to being with Jack again. I know, little consolation in the here and now, but it does give me hope. I love you, T, and M so much.

ella said...

Lots and lots of tears for you today.

Jeanie said...

I never cease to be amazed by Jack's specialness. Prayers and hugs to you.

LauraBeth said...

Anna...

Continuing to send prayers and hugs to you, Margaret, and Tim.

Love from the other side of town...

NanaDiana said...

It is so very, very hard for those who are left behind..to try to pick up the pieces, any pieces, and make sense out of them. I hope, and pray, that your family survives together...for any other losses (by divorce or separation) would make an already sad event even sadder....and it does happen. Working in a hospital I have seen it happen many times. You need to stay strong for each other and when you feel alone and lost try to lean together and look up to God...because there are NO answers here in this old world.

Blessings - Diana

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

There joy in each other shines so clearly.

Bourg Family said...

Praying your crappy days turn less crappy very soon. I found your blog by accident a few weeks ago. It makes me ill to think about what your family is having to endure at this point. Death is just so...permanent for those of us who are without our loved one. Praying your memories of Jack can sustain you until you all see him again. Hugs & prayers from New Orleans, LA.

Claire P. said...

Ugh I am just so so sorry. Sending love and prayers and wishing for peace in your heart.

Love,
Claire

Aimee said...

I just want to hug you and precious Margaret and squeeze the pain/anger you are feeling. :( It's not fair, he shouldn't be gone.

Jack-less or not, Jack is still very much with his lil sis, dad and ever loving momma.

Saying a special prayer for the Donaldson family tonight.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you, along with your husband and daughter will have to cleave (divide) before you can cleave (adhere) again in a new, strong, albeit different way. That is my hope for you. I see that unfortunately things will be jagged and shitty - how could they not be with the incredible, enviable love and bond you shared as a foursome for so many (but not enough) years? And then you'll become stronger as you rebuild. I'm so sure of that. Love is the answer.

Anonymous said...

How to endure such heartache? I can't even fathom. Praying for you and your family.

Shell Flower said...

That's a really cute story about Jack worrying about Margaret. Maybe remind her of that story next time she is in rebellion mode. Some good comments here, like the one about bringing a friend on trips and also the fact that she still isn't really an only child. To have had Jack and lost him, surely that is better than to have never had him at all. He's still watching out for his little sister. Good luck with the cleaving. Sorry things are so shitty. If only we could all take some of the pain, pile it into backpacks and share the load...You know we'd carry some of that if we all could.

Murray Family said...

Praying for Cleaving #1, not Cleaving #2.

Sara x said...

It's so hard, when the shock wears off the rawness of the pain tears your soul. As mom to surviving children we have to face our own pain whilst watching our children struggle. My three girls were so lost, my older two turned to each other but my baby she was Livvys buddy she hadn't a clue how to cope how to face the pain. She became so fearful of everything, scared to be alone, scared to feel, scared to love. My heart was breaking four times over. Three years on we are still struggling, emotions overwhelm at the craziest times, but now at least the girls enjoy life and will talk about Livvy with joy as well as pain. We clunge to our memories so much, like a life vest they kept us afloat.

My only real advice (as grieving is such a personal journey) is to talk about Jack, we say things like remember when Livvy did this, or Livvy is watching from heaven thinking we are real jerks. Anything to allow the girls to remember to vent, to cry. I think when the kids go quiet that's when the real problem starts.

If I can help or you just want to chat please feel free to email me. I'm not a know in all I'm just farther down the journey I guess. Big hugs and prayers to you all.

Sara xx meredithtribe@blueyonder.co.uk

Emily Elizabeth Stone said...

Thank you for sharing your world with us. No other words seem to fit the experience of reading your posts. As a therapist, mom, pastor's wife...I have written on grief and the garbage it really is, but I am not sure how helpful words are during this time. Your openness inspires me and many others. God's peace be with you.

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

I wish I had something to say that could help.I'm just so so sorry and won't stop praying.

Carol LaGue said...

excruciating

do this life one day at a time,
and, with God's help you can get through it

Sally said...

There's a really great book about sibling loss. It's a memoir titled "Name All the Animals" written by Allison Smith. I recommend it, if not now, maybe later. Wishing you peace.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that my thoughts and prayers have been with you and continue to be with you and your family. I wish you peace.

Meredith Self said...

What an insightful perspective of the paradoxes within grief, death and life, too.

Love the videos. Here with you!

Daphne said...

I just don't feel comfortable lurking here when you are writing so beautifully and honestly about your grief. I hold you and your family close to my heart and in my prayers. I found your blog only a month ago but I've been slowly catching up...and it is so painful to read backwards. You are an amazing mother and a gifted writer. It is so important to share these feelings and I give you such credit for doing so. I wish you and your family peace and patience.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I cry tears with you Anna yet I know, or at least I imagine, how incredibly deep your pain is inside of you and that makes my stomach ache. What precious videos.
I am so sorry for the "cleave" in your life. I wish there was a quick fix I could send to you. How difficult it must be to read your journal on the change that would happen in Jack's life only to know now how profound those words are today. Each day on this earth is precious and we take it for granted. In the blink of an eye it is gone and I am so sorry for this journey you are walking. Please know that I care and keep all of you in my prayers. ((HUGS))

Lady Jennie said...

Anna - I thought I posted a comment, but I think it didn't go through. But I always want to be there for you - every post.

I think that what feels like fissures separating you is really scars forming, intersecting through your lives and binding you together. And scars are tough - stronger than normal skin.

So you are that kind of cleave really, although it is not apparent now.

My heart continues to ache with yours.

Leslie said...

Dammit. I'm so sorry. I pray every freaking day for God to make sense of this for each of you, to MAKE SOME SENSE. I don't know of a time in my adult life that I've downright angrily BEGGED God for something this hard. I don't even understand what I'm asking him, I just want him to do something here. I'm so very sorry.

Praying HARD for each of you.

Princess Kate said...

Anna, I'm here and I'm praying for comfort and hope.

Anonymous said...

Oh Anna, your kids are so beautiful and crazy. Wishing I could bear some of your pain. Pipxx

gillian said...

lots of love from kansas city.

Jen G. said...

Love what Lady Jennie said--hopefully as the wound heals your scars will bind you tighter. Praying for you to feel God holding you, Tim and Margaret.
Jen G.

PeachPrenni said...

I am trying to think of what to say and there really aren't any comforting words. This situation sucks and your family is going to have lots of ups and downs. I do believe though that the foundation you layed will save everyone and keep you together no matter how many bumps in the road lie ahead. You are always in my prayers and thoughts. With Love,
Annie P.

darsden said...

So Shitty and wrong on so many levels.. Prayers to you and your family.

chris said...

i have tears running down my cheek as i view the videos...it is almost unbearable for me to watch jack and margaret play in the second video..that video could have been any one of our son's --- playing with their sister...being silly...living in the moment...i am so sorry that it was your beautiful son jack....i am so sorry.....

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I've read this a few times since I read it a couple of days ago. And I still can't put how I feel into words. I'm just so glad that I'll see you soon. All I have is a hug and tears. And so much love.

Mama Mary said...

Your words are on the page (screen) are helping so many people, including yourself and your family. This intense grief is going to have a dividing affect to be sure, but from everything I've read about you all, you will find a way to be united again. Continued love & light to you.

Faith said...

I came upon your blog and could not stop reading, crying, laughing and praying. My poor husband is trying to sleep and has heard more than a few sobs and snorts of laughter. I will have some explaining to do tomorrow for these red puffy eyes. Your family will forever be in my thoughts and prayers. I also believe in signs...mine are in the form of butterflies instead of rare birds.

Law Momma said...

I have been thinking about you and your precious family, and I'm sorry I havne't commented as much as I should have. But you are always in my thoughts and in my prayers... especially Margaret, who I ache for as though she were my own. I hope that one day soon "Cleave" will take on the first definition again for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

When my brother died suddenly, I really connected to this Robert Frost poem—the inexplicably horrific death, the faith the couple musters to start walking, after they’ve been comfortably riding along in their buggy. I wish your family the strength and faith you need to keep walking, the rest of the way.

The Draft Horse

With a lantern that wouldn’t burn
In too frail a buggy we drove
Behind too heavy a horse
Through a pitch-dark limitless grove.

And a man came out of the trees
And took our horse by the head
And reaching back to his ribs
Deliberately stabbed him dead.

The ponderous beast went down
With a crack of a broken shaft.
And the night drew through the trees
In one long invidious draft.

The most unquestioning pair
That ever accepted fate
And the least disposed to ascribe
Any more than we had to hate,

We assumed that the man himself
Or someone he had to obey
Wanted us to get down
And walk the rest of the way.

michelle said...

Praying you all through the weekend Anna. I'll be damned if I know how to make it better, but I'm by your side through the twists & turns. You'll never remember, cry, plead, or pray alone. xoxo michelle

Leah C said...

My heart aches for you...and I can't think of words that will ease your pain or haven't already been said. But I do know this, losing Jack diminishes us all. Hugs and prayers, dear Anna...

Rosalie said...

I wish each one of us could carry a little bit of your pain. it's too much to bear and i'm terribly terribly sorry for the loss of your beautiful son. beyond unfair. life can be so cruel. i'm sorry for Margaret and all of you. big hugs from Northern California. keeping you in our prayers and praying for peace in your heart.

Suburban Correspondent said...

I'm thinking "Name All the Animals" is not such a great recommendation right now. No offense to whoever mentioned it, it is a good book; but I don't think it would be helpful at this point.

Anonymous said...

there's an old adage, that everything in life contains its opposite. cleave is the perfect word for the marriage of love and grief. it is both a beautiful and terrible word, which explains how you are able to write so beautifully of something so terrible. i'm so sorry for your grief.

Cynthia said...

Ouch, this video kills me....

connie said...

...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind...
What incredible words Anna. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers as you and your family navigate this wretched time.

Ky Shiksa said...

Anna, I found you right at the time of your horrible rainy day. I came looking to spray paint an ugly lamp, and left a better mother. The absolute unfairness of your loss and your honest grief has slowed me down and focused me. School mornings are no longer punctuated with shouts and sighs and tears. My girls leave knowing they're amazing and important. My little boy gets extra kisses and 1 more story at bedtime.
Jack mattered. And matters. His beautiful and gentle and wise energy shot out like a trillion pings of light. He has affected this continent. This main.
My 3 kids are growing up with glimmers of Jack. And so is Margaret. I think of you all every day. I hope so many thoughts from a stranger can help. Somehow.

for a different kind of girl said...

I wish I could tell you beautiful things, beyond the fact that you raised Jack to be such a beautiful, kind young man, and are doing so in her own right with Margaret. I wish she had her brother, and that you and Tim had your son, and that there were more of those sorts of videos in the future. I wish it, and I pray. Love to you.

Ann Imig said...

Sending love to fill up at least one atom of the space in your jeans.

Okay that sounded wrong and is totally out of context, but I'm just catching up and all the posts are one in my head.

Praying for you guys, and mourning for the missing piece.

doseofreality said...

I just sat here and wept. The true just head in your hands pure weeping that comes from reading about loss so profound that you cannot say a thing but I am so sorry.
Siblings are supposed to be forever.
Thinking of your family in whatever cleaved version you are today.
Ashley
www.thedoseofreality.com

Ashley said...

Hello, I'm new to your blog but feel an immediate connection. I lost my younger sister to a drowning accident and the pain has not gone away...I can't imagine how it feels for the parent. My parents kept their feelings away from us kids and stayed strong in front of us, but I really appreciated this I know for sure I wouldn't be able to handle any more pain.

One more thing, as a sibling of the one we lost, I felt like I was at fault for the accident for many years. I'm 22 now and felt that for most of my childhood. The ONLY thing that helped me was my relationship with God. He does care and grieves with us despite the tragedies we go through. I'm sorry for your loss, it's like learning to walk again without a leg.

Cat@Home said...

I hope that I can offer some words. I live in a neighboring county ... and like your Margaret, I had a big brother who was 2 years older and with whom I was close - so close that we almost SHOULD have been fraternal twins. He was my best friend and told people who wanted to be friends with HIM that they also had to be friends with ME ... we were a package deal the entire time we were growing up. We complimented each other and understood each other in a way that I can't describe. I have been living without him for 13 years this May - he passed away unexpectedly when he was 32 and I was 30. I watched my parents lose THEIR only son ... and I did my own cursing at the unfairness and un-naturalness of a parent living longer than a child. I look now at my 5 year old son - named partially for my big brother - and wish that I could have "Butch" around to see his namesake nephew.

I may not understand exactly what you are going through. But I do "get it". I get your side and I get your daughter's side. I know what it's like to feel that you're getting those communications from him - and I want to assure you that a) I believe you, b) he IS communicating and c) he will continue to contact you at odd times. My brother kept in touch - especially 3 years, one week and one day after he died when our mother also died unexpectedly at the age of 55. You're NOT alone. You're NOT crazy.

IrishRN07 said...

Thinking of you today Anna.

The Empress said...

Oh, Anna: your family.

Anna, your family.