Monday, March 26, 2012

Yikes






So I was with a few other bereaved mothers last night, all who have lost sons.

They concurred with something I've read a lot lately-- that the SECOND year of grief is harder than the first.

Oh shit.

This is not something a lot of people realize. I know I never even considered it. We think about the first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first birthday. We absolutely know those are going to be brutal.

And they are.

But the second? Why would the second be worse? Apparently, the shock wears off and that coincides perfectly (!) with those around us needing to move on with their lives.

Yikes.

I get it. The shock thing.



I am still in shock that 3 boys went down to the creek and only 2 came back. It's like, as one of Jack's classmates said to me, "Maybe he's just hiding in a bathroom somewhere." I keep thinking somehow, some way, Margaret will not have to grow up without Jack by her side.

I try to dig deep and examine my flawed belief systems.

I never, ever would have admitted it to myself or anyone else, but I think down deep inside me there was always kernel of, "If I live a good life, make good choices, love God and my neighbor, I will be spared heartache." Not the regular-grade heartache of waking up in your forties and wondering what the hell happened to your dreams and aspirations, but the gut-wrenching heartache of losing a perfectly healthy child to a violent, senseless death.

Flawed belief, for sure.



And now, if I examine my belief systems again, perhaps way down deep you would find a kernel that says, "Maybe if I try really, really hard to lean on God and others and live out this first year without Jack in a dignified way, I'll reap some reward." Not that I think God would just plop Jack right back down here on earth right in time to go on our annual family camping trip, but NOTHING less is acceptable to me.

While I don't consider the SECOND year meltdown a sure thing, everyone I've talked to and everything I've read has backed it up.




Just thought I should let you know.


116 comments:

Danielle said...

We will remain here for you - standing in the gap. Lifting you up in prayer daily.

It's not enough, but it's a promise.

Laura said...

I wish there were some way to make some sort of sense out of this tragedy and heartache, but there isn't. Some will move on, but I can't help but think there are countless others who, like me (and a complete stranger at that), have Jack and his sweet family permanently embedded in our hearts and minds. Praying for peace and strength for you and yours daily.
xoxo

Anonymous said...

I second that, we will not forget and move on like so many will. I think about how you must be feeling at some point every day. I don't see that changing in the second year or beyond. I pray that those close to you do not take your "happy face" for granted and think you are better. xoxo

Anonymous said...

I actually have heard that, hoping you'll be teh exception. Mary in NY

Anonymous said...

I would not have thought of that either. That sounds horrific. If you're still here, I'll still be here too.

ella said...

Anna, I for one am not going anywhere. We've never met but we are connected in a way I'd never be able to explain. I love this community, and feel like I've gotten to 'know' your other regular commenters. I look forward to what they have to say, and continually pray that this group, along with the support group you have in 'real life' will be around for a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

Anna,
The second year is hard. I haven't lost a child but I have lost several very important people in my life. Continue to surround yourself with loved ones and keep your faith in God. It doesn't get easier, but unfortunately, it is a new normal(and not one that is fair).
God bless,
Meredith

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

This was true when my parents died, so it makes sense it would be a worse truth for when your child dies.

People will move on, that's natural, but then again those who have been with you longest will move on AND carry you with them.

Your sister, her children, your true friends. Even some bloggy friends whom you've never met.

I've always hated the idea of "getting over" something or someone. You don't get over the pain over the death of someone important, it becomes a part of you.

As for the second year, how about you get through the first one? Give yourself that time, and don't wish your life away. It's hard to imagine, but we will all be together much sooner than we can fathom.

luv2run said...

I'm here for all the years to follow, praying, listening, donating, supporting!

Hugs!!

luv2run

Mimi said...

I can't imagine the shock wearing off for me, so that also means I'll be here as well as probably most everyone else for as long as you need. That is the good thing about living a life god would be proud of, he has blessed you with an abundant community of believing friends to surround you in his patient and never ending love.
Hugs to you mama. This life is only a blink of an eye compared to eternity.

Geri said...

I did find the second year much harder, for those exact reasons. the shock wore off, and it really started to sink in, he is gone, he is really really not coming back. my therapist tells me it takes a long time for that to truly go all the way in, that they are gone. i had the same core belief, if I did this, this and that, then this or that would happen. (my childhood was kinda shitty, so I thought God would give me a pass during my adult life, too. silly me). it is hard to lose them, and then find that some of what we believed to be true isn't true. i read somewhere "they take a lot with them when they go". i have found that to be true. But you will, as they say in Finding Nemo, just keep on swimming. The third anniversary of our son's death is just around the corner, and it is easier to bear. A little anyway, don't feel like I am hanging on by a thread anymore. (And still trying to figure out what I believe now, but that's okay). People don't bring up his name as much (some not at all) anymore, but that's okay too. If I want to talk about him, I do. And as others have said, if you are still here, we will be here for you.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I will NEVER need to move on with my life when it comes to this. It is part of your life and you are part of my life so IT is part of MY life. IT can just move on with me. We can talk about it and question it and rail against and accept it and then start the cycle all over again until we're 80 (then the family dementia may take over so I can't make any promises after that). But I won't move anywhere without you. Or it.

Just thought I should let you know.

Varda said...

Yikes, indeed. Thinking of you.

Megan said...

My husband lost a friend early in high school to a brain aneurism. All of his group of friends went to his parent's house on his birthday to help celebrate the first year. I think through the first year they would sporadically drop by. But soon high school and sports and life just took over and everyone stopped. When we got married my husband invited the parent's to the wedding. He debated for a long time. He didn't know if it would be nice or if it would be rubbing their face in what they didn't have. I told him he could invite them and leave the rest up to them. The parent's came. They seemed to really enjoy seeing the whole gang together and catching up. I think that with 9/11 and how the world stopped for like a year or so, but then we all just moved on (except for the anniversary). I don't think of 9/11 daily and most people don't. It just isn't part of my everyday life. The people who lost someone though do. I guess my point is I can see how the second year would be hard. Every time you share though, we think of Jack and you and your family. As long as you are here to share, we are here to listen. I cannot even begin to comprehend your loss and I am so, so sorry.

LauraBeth said...

Anna...

I so love that photo of Jack and Margaret. Know that I will always be here, lifting you and your family up in prayer, for as long as you'll have me.

Love, prayers, and hugs from the other side of town

Meg Loftis said...

My 88 year old grandmother lost a son when he was 18--Aug. 1968 and for the longest time I never knew about him. I use to think how sad that was but when we did start talking about him I could tell much it hurt her STILL but yet made her happy to talk about him. So you'll never be the same but you move on and enjoy you daughter and all that she'll go through and Jack will always be part of that. If life could stand still when Jack was here that would be great but for it to stand still and for you to remain in the shock and despair of losing him would be unbearable. I wish I was a friend of yours because I'd always be by your side to remember Jack and walk with you through this.

ALI said...

A friend of mine wrote recently about the grief she still feels today over the loss of her twin girls.

We've all moved on. They moved back to the US. They've had two additional children. They have lived 6 years without their girls.

She still feels the pain. She still mourns their loss.


Remember, you are human. You will grieve at your own pace. You will grieve as you need to in your own way.

Huge hugs!

Sharon said...

It sucks that life is so unfair. I tell my kids all the time that no one ever said life would be fair when they complain that something is "not fair!." I wish I didn't have to tell them this. I wish life was fair. There is no sense in all of this. I cannot even begin to fathom what you and Tim and Margaret are going through. I hope that it does bring you some measure of peace to know that we are all here for you, complete strangers who you've never met but feel as if you are our friend. I pray for you and Tim and Margaret daily. I remember Jack daily, and I try to be a better person every day because life is too short to waste on all the crap we tend to get caught up in. God bless you and Tim and Margaret. xoxo

Anonymous said...

I have experienced a similar loss but not in your way, gradually losing my son to autism. I had made excuses for his behavior but just this weekend I came to the glaring realization that I couldn't explain everything away. I have him in my life, but not really, not like the 12 precious years you had with your Jack. And only now after about a year of ignoring, making excuses, having others make excuses did my situation completely dawn on me. It wasn't a gradual process, but struck me like lightening out of the blue. This Saturday I started to see things I had never "seen" before. Like you there was a kernel of hope that perhaps it was just a bad dream or couldn't happen to someone that walked the straight and narrow. And I believe that my grieving process has really now only just begun. Different from you but similarly I grieve for a life that he will not have and pray for God to give me strength to be the best parent for the "new normal". Yes, I still have him in my life, but I still grieve. I pray to God to be as strong as you have and apologize for using your blog as a sounding board. I pray for Jack each night.

Anonymous said...

Keep blogging. We'll be here for you now, the 2nd year, and all those after that.

Michelle

Leah C said...

From my experience, grieving is harder the second year. Yes, you made it thorugh all the "firsts"...but then the "seconds" {& then the "thirds" and so on} come around and the loved one you're missing is still gone. But, please take heart, dear Anna; you will not be alone. Hugs and prayers for you, always.

starnes family said...

Please keep writing and we'll be there for you year 2, 3 and beyond.

And, if you ever need to vent, cry, scream, etc.......or even laugh, I'm willing to help. Maybe a stranger would be comforting?

-Casey
www.thestarnesfam.com
starnesco@yahoo.com

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Anna, I hope you continue to surround yourself with people who love and care for you as you continue on your journey. There will be ups and downs ahead, but you will keep moving forward, I know this for sure. Hugs to you Anna!

Meredith Self said...

Well, that sounds like shitty news to hear when things already feel hard.

One of the resources you've shared pointed me to a a book I started reading called 'When Bad Things Happen to Good People.' Sounds as if it is fairly common to feel if we are good we will be rewarded, it will be easier/better, no punishment, etc. The author dad faces/reevaluates that belief in the book.

I guess there are so many changes.

I deeply wish for peace to accompany every moment of your life...now...year two...always. I hope you will continue to experience grace, support, love, hope and joy amongst any other feelings of loss.

Anonymous said...

hi, Anna..

I am so sorry - I've heard that also, that the second year is harder than the first. I'm praying that those around you, IRL and in BloggyWorld, will continue to be here for you. I am so thankful you share your life with all of us, and allow us to pray for you and your family.

Love and prayers,
Lisa G.

Karol said...

I am sorry to say that the second year was far more difficult than the first. Yes, the shock wears off and we are left with the gut wrenching reality that this is our life. Others have gotten on with their lives and will expect that you will too. But I think for me it was due more to my own relationship with my Lord. In that first year, I was so broken, so raw that the only thing I could do was to cry out to Him. In the second year, life begins to get in the way we begin to focus on something other than our monumental loss and are not as fixed on Jesus. He is still there every step of the way but it begins to be more difficult to see and feel him. our broken and wounded souls begin to feel very much alone.
While I know that it is more difficult, I also know that you can and will get through it.
Blessings to you

Harvesting Joy said...

We started our second year after Christmas and it is still really hard in so many ways. I'm so amazed the way it can still just creep up and level me. I don't think the grief ever goes away or lessens, you just learn how to work around it. And the missing sibling thing is way hard. My son misses his little brother so much; it break my heart every day. Hang in there and keep faith that God is redeeming this and us, somehow.

Mrs Changstein said...

It's true. The 2nd year does indeed suck big wind. As the following years very well may also. I find it's less about getting over (yeah, like that can happen) and more about getting through and surviving. The flip side is that time has given me such perspective on how God was with me in those absolutely crapola times. It's a comfort in hindsight, because it gives me strength to keep battling forward, and be assured that He is with me now, in THESE crap times. Loved this today:
http://withoutwax.tv/2012/03/26/loved-beyond-your-wildest-imagination/
One of my fave blogs. Besides yours, of course! ;) Doing my best for you by holding you up in prayer! And that won't stop. I'm so ocd. But it works for you! :) xo - Cindy

Suburban Correspondent said...

I think we need those flawed beliefs just to get by with this parenting thing. It reminds me of those cartoon characters who run off a cliff, but they are perfectly fine and keep running - until, that is, they look down and realize that things aren't quite as safe as they had assumed. As parents, we all ran off that cliff the minute we gave birth, we just didn't know it; but then there are those of us who have been forced to look down.

The second year? I can see that as being totally worse. That's when it sinks in that whoever is missing is not coming back. And everyone else is growing up without him/her. And other people think you're done with the grieving thing and have moved on.

I'm just the bluebird of happiness today, aren't I?

Anonymous said...

We will be here as long as you are. Thinking, praying and reflecting on life, however it turns we're with you.
mandy xx

Jen said...

The entire time my son Nick was growing up, people told me to prepare myself for when things would get harder. "Just wait until he turns 2!", they would warn, when I was busy enjoying watching him try to stick his chubby baby feet in his mouth. "Just wait until he becomes a teenager!", they threatened, when he was making me laugh with his silly knock-knock jokes. The thing is, Nick at the age of two wasn't the terror everyone seemed to think he would be; and when he became a teenager, he was still making me laugh with his jokes, helping out around the house and kissing me goodbye in front of his friends on the school bus every morning. Everyone's parenting experience is different. It's been almost 4 months since Nick died and I'm recovering slowly but the pain is still extremely intense and like you, I can't imagine how much worse exactly it's supposed to get in year 2 or 3. Maybe, in the same way that parenting became more difficult for some people, my grief recovery will get harder at some undetermined point in the future- but I refuse to accept that possibility as an unalterable reality. It's good to prepare myself for it, I guess; so that I'm not surprised if it does happen, but in no way am I going to accept it as the inevitable process of my grieving. Everyone grieves differently. YOUR strength, YOUR faith, YOUR support system, YOUR instinct to survive- all of those very individual personal traits will affect how long and how intensely you will grieve; not some arbitrary date on the calendar. I refuse to think that it's going to get worse. I just can't handle that thought. That's the most discouraging, disheartening idea I can think of right now. I CHOOSE to believe that regardless of others' experience, it's going to get better from here on out. Will some days be harder than others? Of course. In faith though, I'm claiming my full healing just as soon as I can get it! You remain in my thoughts and prayers. XOXO

Theresa O said...

There are days when I think of you so often and think my words will comfort you in just some tiny miraculous way - I walk out to my car each morning to leave, I see my magnet on my car and think about you, your family, Jack....I can't even go outside and play badminton with Zach now without thinking of Jack -because we play in the little grassy area where we let balloons off to Jack in Heaven on his birthday. Nobody is going to forget you, your pain you going through, or Jack. Whether it's 2 days, 6 months or years from now. Your son has touched so many of us in different, amazing ways. His smile makes us melt..and your writing about him and all the lovely memories you share with us, have captured so many of us to stay tuned for more....you are stuck with us. I will always be praying for you.

mariann alicea said...

Well, now that you have heard it from others, yes, the second year is harder, but in a different way. The second year there is a sense of 'having gotten through the first year'.......and let's be honest, that in and of itself should be more than enough for any one person......and having gotten through it, our reward should be that the nightmare is over, our precious loved one should be returned to us, and that should be it. The first year, you have survived Christmas, birthdays, other holidays, an entire year of events...somehow by he grace of G-d, the first year is behind us.
'Okay, G-d? I did it. I leaned on you every single second. You carried me every single second. Now, please, can we have him back?'
And then the second year starts....and there is the realization that minus a little of the shock, a little of the stun, a little of the spending every day feeling like we are in the spin cycle of a washing machine, our precious loved one is not coming back. If there is a positive, it is that one says to one's self: I did this last year and "I was in much worse shape than I am now. I can do this." And one does. THAT is why the 2nd year in some ways is so much harder than the first year. And, I'm glad that someone else told you. Love you -- Mariann Alicea PS -- still praying

Salvimom said...

We are here for you Anna. And we will not forget or leave you without prayers or support. Though I don't know you personally, and may never have the pleasure of meeting you, moving on from caring for you and your family through prayer and positivity is not an option. You have put yourself out there, so to speak, and we cannot leave you hanging. God bless you and yours.

Ury
Seattle, WA

mariann said...

Just re-read what I wrote -- I am not 'glad' that someone else told you -- I am relieved that what I honestly believe is the truth is out. that doesn't sound much better, but I think you know what I mean. mariann

Anonymous said...

Not only do I pray so very often, but I pray that you are covered in prayer at all times.

spedhead said...

I have posted before about how grateful I am for the honesty with which you post. It has not only caused a bunch of stangers to fall in love with Jack and care about your family, but also taught us how to care for a grieving friend. It have never had to think about it, but I guess it makes sense that the second year would he harder. They are STILL not back, shouldn't they be back by now, etc. My intuition would probably be not to bring up someone's loss because they SEEM to be doing so well. But now I know that people WANT to talk about their loved ones and know they are not forgotten.

You guys should do the annual balloon launch. People who want to support you but just dont know what to do would be glad to have a way to show they care and still think of Jack. And always will, though the opportunity to express it may diminish.

Your "real" community and your virtual community will make sure you never feel alone as the years go by. I hope you continue to "take us with you."

The Lamfers said...

I, too, was told while having lunch with another widow today just before coming home and reading your blog that the second year was worse than the first. OH NO IT CAN"T BE was also my reaction! Well, either way I guess we cannot stop time and the second year will come for us in July. Continued prayers for your family. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.

Susan said...

Well that's just not ok. Here I, like you, thought the second year and every year after that would somehow get easier. Even now, typing it, it seems silly. Of course it won't. It will be difficult always but I think holding onto the memories and remembering the happiest of times is what makes it bearable.
Love the picture. They look like twins!

zcan said...

I wish this weren't true. I wish that every day could just somehow get a tiny bit easier. That would only be fair. But I guess we know that life is definitely NOT fair.

I will always be here for you, no matter how many years have past. Love you forever!

Child of God said...

Hi Anna,
I'm glad to hear you were able to get together with other grieving mom's. I am quite sad to hear that is harder in the second year. :( I'll be here praying for you along with all the others on this blog who are praying. Yes life moves on but we will be standing beside you and standing in the gap praying and praying.

<><

Geri said...

Jen, you are right. everyone is different. and when people told me that during the first year, I would actually get very mad. time will tell, and maybe it won't be a harder year for you, or for anna :)

Julie R. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie R. said...

My first Husband had a brain tumor. I was 29. Surgery,left him a bit more than a vegetable and less than a toddler. I lost him.

I had a one year old child. Fast forward nine years. I have a second husband, a 10 year old child and a one year old child.

I find I believe that I should be exempt from bad times. I've been there, done that. I survived. I've been good and kind and loving. I must get a smooth ride from here on out...

But life goes on, bumps, some much bigger than I expect. So I pray, and cry and remember I've been though much worse. People call me brave or strong. No, I just do what has to be done. And then I cry a bit for what was and is.

Hugs to you. I'm so sorry. Hang on. Deal with as much of it as you can. And then deal again. I remember I used to walk around saying, "This isn't the life I planned". Then I'd laugh at myself and pray for the life I did have.

Still Playing School said...

It's not even been quite 5 months. How can I survive 24?

Cindy said...

As someone who is supporting you, I am thinking of this first year as "training" for the years to come. I am learning about what works, and what doesn't, when it comes to walking by your side. I will be ready, able, and willing to be with you as long as we are together on this earth. LOVE YOU!

Vodka Mom said...

well crap.



crapity crap.

(But we're all here with you- holding your hand and mumbling prayers every single night.)

Anonymous said...

I haven't read all the comments but I agree with most what everyone is saying we will remain here for you. I hope that helps just a little bit

Jeanie said...

I hope for your sake this isn't true. It seems like it would be impossible for anything to be worst than the "firsts." Prayers and blessings.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I do believe that blogging will help you feel connected. Did these other woman have blogs? When my friend lost her son 12 years ago I remember taking to the funeral director who had also lost a child. He said that the hardest part comes when everyone goes away which is pretty much what they were telling you. It will never get easy because it is your child who has left earth too soon. Children are a love beyond measure. I have been reading blogs of women who lost children/babies for almost 3 years now. It breaks my heart but I do believe you learn to enjoy life again but in a totally new way. God will help you find your way. I will keep praying for you and your family. My heart is yours and it aches for you.
((HUGS))

Rene Foran said...

and you get through it, breath by breath, one moment at a time.

love to you all.

Lisa said...

In my experience, the second year is more difficult...and this is in regards to losing my mom...for you, Anna, I hope it is not.

And, for what it's worth, I will be here during your journey...as long as you write, I will be here to support you & your family.

Anonymous said...

Will continue checking in on you Anna, sending you love and hope.
Pipxx

Gilsner said...

Although I can't relate to the enormity of your situation I can relate to the second-year thing. The first year has milestones... you can say "a year ago today he..." or "last easter we..." but that second year? You can't say that. That's what I had problems with, at least. But don't let everyone talk you into fearing what lies ahead... everyone is different and, regardless, we'll be here. *hugs*

Maddison Snook said...

We will be here for you in the second year of grief.. and the third, and the fourth...as many years as you need. You are loved and we are praying for you and your family.

Maddison x

B. said...

Bless your heart, you precious, hurting thing. Again I find myself thanking you for sharing.

Dani from NC said...

I lost my father and in my experience, the second year was harder. It felt, to me at least, that everyone else was ready to move on. My world still stood still. But Jack's death, and moreso, Jack's life, has affected me in a way words cannot explain. So I will still be here, reading and praying and sending peaceful thoughts yall's way. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. Jack's light will shine on. xoxo

Renee said...

I do not know you personally, but this stranger is not going anywhere. As a Mom, I know that I would be feeling the exact same way as you and others that have lost a child. Even though some people close to you will move on and try to forget, others will step up to the plate and will not let you walk alone. If you ever feel lonely, or that you need to talk, just look to your online blogging community. We are here.

Jenn said...

I'll still be here next year and for the many years after that, giving you support and strength. I love you!

Fairy Godmother said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I will still be here in year 2. promise!

Anonymous said...

I'm still hear for you. I plan to be here to pray and support you from afar during your journey. I know I'm not alone. I hope you can find some comfort in your online supporters around the world. We're here and we'll never forget Jack. ox

Anonymous said...

Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking" may help you feel you're not alone in your beliefs. I don't think your beliefs are flawed, but that they are scarred with grief. We want Jack back for you too. Of course nothing less is acceptable. I totally get your struggle with that and the bottomless frustration of the reality you now face. I know I'm stating the obvious when I say that while he won't physically be with you, he still IS very much with you. As a child, my dad used to say to me, "I am you and you are me." You are Jack. I believe Jack IS with you and IN you. Not just in the signs and messages so clearly sent by him, but with you every step of your life, in your heart and soul. Not just your deep love and longing for him but he is truly WITH you.
I hope somehow the second year isn't tougher for you. No matter what, you will have the love and support of so many near and far. Love and blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

@ Anoymous 8:55 AM, who wrote: "I have experienced a similar loss but not in your way, gradually losing my son to autism...I pray to God to be as strong as you have and apologize for using your blog as a sounding board."

Do you know Stimeyland? Jean, the mom who writes the blog, seems like a wonderful woman. (I found her through another blog; I don't have a child with autism.) Jean is very genuine. If you like Anna, I think you will like Jean. I don't know where you live, but they live in the same part of the country, if that makes any difference to you.

I don't know your son's age or what autism is like for him, so I apologize in advance if the blog feels like a poor match with what you are going through. It's more about finding a community of mothers than a perfect match.

Although I agree this should be about Anna, your desire for a sounding board is a good thing.

http://www.stimeyland.com/

Jean also writes here:

http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/autism-unexpected/

Jill said...

Well hot darn, that just plain sucks.

As always, thinking of you and sending love. Now, a year from now, and always.

Xxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

I totally understand what you mean about having a belief system that says if I am a "good" person or if I tick all the right boxes I'll be spared from any pain in life. I have felt the same way.
However what I've learnt from you and many others is that there is such a randomness to life and that bad things can happen to anyone even good people which really sucks! But this realization has helped me to accept my humanness (don't know if that's a word). I am still a person that is going to choose right over wrong but not beat myself up for the occasional wrong. And as you say your relationship to God changes from spare me from pain to give me strength.
I pray that God is giving, and continues to give you, strength.

Always thinking of you Anna...

The Bipolar Diva said...

Your journey is not an easy one. I wish I could say it gets better, but it only changes with time. One day soon after Isaiah died I saw a picture in my head of a tapestry, maybe I've told you this already? But it was the underneath of the tapestry. All the dark strings and knots were showing and it wasn't beautiful at all. It didn't look like the work of the Master's hands. It looked ugly and convoluted. It was then I realized I was only seeing a small part of the big picture. Even though it didn't, ans still doesn't, take away the sting of losing Isaiah I know that on the other side of the tapestry all of the knots and ugliness hold together the most beautiful masterpiece ever made. I wish I could make it easier for you. I wish I could live this next year for you, especially since I've already lived it. The only real word of advice I have is to live it, to breathe it, to try to feel it. It only gets harder if you don't. Trust me. I didn't and now I'm struggling greatly. I ignored it, I pushed it away and it's coming back to haunt me.

Http://www.fromthemudroom.com said...

Your writing is so raw and powerful. I literally must sit here and try my best to process this unimaginable road you are traveling. Prayers, prayers and more prayers are headed your way.

Julie

Erin said...

Hardly seems fathomable or fair. But, as another reader already pointed out, just focus on putting one foot in front of another and getting through this first terrible year. Love, Erin

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

Today is enough, give yourself the gift of not being concerned about what you may feel tomorrow. (hugs)

Lady Jennie said...

I know about this, except when I lost my brother everyone went back to their own lives (and expected me to too) a lot quicker than one year. A child is different though - I recognize that. I came to much the same realization as you did (that second kernel deep down inside of you), although I wouldn't have put it so eloquently.

I will still be here for you in my small online way.

Anonymous said...

What "The Bipolar Diva" (I am so sorry I don't know your name!) wrote was really amazing. Tragic, absolutely, but a reminder that the mess here on Earth is part of something far more perfect that can ever be imagined. God must have had a reason to borrow Jack from you too early: but he will be returned to you one day. Thinking of you so much; this year and the next. xxx

Anne said...

I am still here praying for you for all of you.I think of you so often.Driving I see a bird I think of Jack.This sweet little boy whom I have never met.He has changed my life forever.I wish he could come back.I wish your heart could heal.I am so very sad for you all.So all I can do is pray.And I will.
Anne

Anonymous said...

You've mentioned reading about grief and heaven a couple of times now. If you ever wanted to share with us, I'd be really interested to know what you've been reading. Any books that made you feel understood? Any books that are supposed to be helpful, but didn't do anything for you, or even irritated you? Just overall, I'm interested in how your reading has been, not formal book reviews, but what it has meant for you.

Two years! Oh, I am so very sorry!

agent99 said...

My 14 year old daughter has Rett Syndrome. I cope the best I can, and try to live as normal a life as possible. Yet, I experience on a daily basis, things that remind me of how profoundly damaged she is, and how our life is far from normal. Just when I think it will get a little easier, I hear one of her age mates is head of the cheer leading squad, or first chair in the high school orchestra. Ouch. A marital therapist suggested I was not finished grieving. Um, the grieving never goes away.....it just gets manageable. By facing it head on, as you are doing, it does not overcome you. Listening to your journey inspires me.

Deb said...

Anna, I know I have wondered how to be supportive of grieving friends after the first year has passed. If you are still writing about your journey into the 2nd year, you can bet this community will be here with you. Through your gift for candor and honesty, we will learn more about your ongoing needs and those of the bereaved in general. This will not only make us a better support to you, but a better support to the other grieving friends and loved ones we will inevitably encounter in our lives. I guess my point is, there is no doubt things will continue to be difficult, but since a lapsing support system seems to be one of the reasons things get harder, perhaps through your writing you can bring greater understanding to this terrible process, and by doing so, make it better, not just for yourself, but for others too. I think this post is already a step in that direction. You already have 76 commenters gearing up for year two. No one is going anywhere! :)

Anonymous said...

There's much truth to what was said in your bereavement group.

One day, one dinner, one prayer, one breath at a time. When I read the comments on your blog it's wonderful to see a community of smart, strong, loving women who are pulling for you. Lean hard on this precious gift - it's for you!

Thank you for sharing what is tender and unimaginable.

Lifting your beautiful family up to Him.

Princess Kate said...

I want SO much to write something in this space that makes the pain go away for you but I can't. I keep reading this entry and I can't find the magic words. I DO know that you are loved. It's so evident by all the support near and far from family, friends and even people who don't know you. Hold onto that. God has sent us to support you in your time of need AND we are not going anywhere. Hugs from me to you!!!

Anonymous said...

PS I commented at 7:17 AM and checked back because I like to read what others have written...that was supposed to be "Year Two! I'm so sorry!", not "Two years!" Hopefully you knew what I meant, but I still wanted to correct that.

Anonymous said...

I am learning so much from you, dear Anna. It is such a good thing you are doing: shedding light on this grieving process and bravely asking for what you need--continued and ongoing support. I give mine to you freely.

love,
jbhat

Jen G. said...

Sweet Anna,
I hope you can feel the love and support of all of us as you and your precious family walk through this. As Jack's legacy is forever embedded in my heart and will forever change the way I view my children, the good that comes from his death is just no balm for the grief and pain you all are enduring. I have a good friend who lost her 4-week-old son to SIDS a few years ago, and have always admired how they include Jacob as a part of their family and show their children how thin the veil is between Heaven and Earth. The daughter they adopted from Russia a couple of years after Jacob died knows she has a brother in Heaven, and the baby girl they had after they adopted knows too. The oldest of the three, born before Jacob, remembers him and still talks about him, and they encourage that. They continue to live, just with a Jacob-sized hole in their hearts. I promise I will be here through year 2 and beyond, and pray that God fills the Jack-sized hole in your heart in ways that only He can--with peace, and comfort, and hopefully some joy one day--until you are reunited in Heaven. Thank you for sharing with us. Your transparency is such a gift.
Jen G.

Kathleen Fisher said...

While you learn how to live without Jack in your midst, we are learning how to support someone who has had a devastating loss in their life. I don't think regular readers of your blog will ever look at anyone who is in your shoes the same way. We are all changing. Baby steps, Anna.

mgh said...

This has occurred to me. Sadly, this happens to a lot of people in our society, I think. We give them everything the need to survive... support them, support them, support them physically and visibly. And when it looks like there is enough support or someone else comes along at a crisis point. Often we don't understand that those of us on the outside looking in are really poor judges of when others feel strong enough to fly on their own.
I see this as I watch Grace. And as I watch my sister. It is not just for people experiencing deaths but all kinds of grief and suffering. We just tell people to get over and move on. Get back in the saddle. Put you boots back on -- and all that other Texas tough stuff. As a society we don't like crutches -- we seem to believe they are crippling. Really?! Very silly... some people need support forever, some wounds will never completely heal. If the crutch is holding them up, why pull it away?
This is one of the reasons your blog is so important. Your honesty is helping us to understand and learn... we will never understand completely and everyone experiences grief differently. But you are offering us a unique opportunity to learn about you and for you. Just maybe we will be of better service to you and others who are suffering in the future.
I'm in this for the long haul with you. Jack is in my life daily. I can hardly imagine what I did without him.
Love you!

Lesley T. said...

Not sure what to say, but I'm thinking of you and have been ever since I learned about Jack.

Anonymous said...

There are no set timetables for grief. Grief is a very personal journey that you will travel alone (even with your supporters by your side). Please don't compare your journey to anyone else's - as it puts a preconceived belief in your head that would not take root if that seed was not planted. If year 2 is worse than the 1st, then is year 3 better, same or worse than the first 2? Placing a time frame on grief just reinforces the dreaded misery. Once I gave up counting the days since my grief began and started looking fore-ward (not forward) to each new day as a new day in grief, the pain started to subside. I cannot recall if year 2 was worse. Always in some state of grief, but not always grieving. The key is to know that it is ok for some days to be less hard.

Stacy said...

You'll always have your readers to continue the support - in the second year and beyond. Just keep writing and we'll keep reading and keep you in our thoughts.

Heidi said...

I'm here. We're here. To stand with you and for you. First year, second year, always.

The Empress said...

We're here.

I know that it's not something tangible that we can put on your broken, aching heart..but, we're here.

Forever.

LOVE TO YOU. ANd prayers for you, every night of my life.

Lou said...

Listening, loving, lifting, and leaning into you no matter what for the long haul. Love, Lou

DawnGes said...

Dear Anna, What an incredible community you're surrounded by each day. I promise to "Jack-Up" my prayers for you, Tim, and Margaret through the coming months and years. You are loved, beautiful Anna. xo

Anonymous said...

Your circle of love and prayers will be here for you always Anna and your family.
xo
Joyce

Franny said...

Every time I come here I think it will get easier, but often it seems like it doesn't. Every time I come here I wish so badly that this didn't happen to your family. That there was not this possibility of this happening to my family. It is just so heavy, your loss. I don't think it is helping anyone to consider what year 2 will bring. I think you will just need to do this day by day for many, many, many days. All of us here want to see you through whatever time it takes. My prayer right now is that God will make this easier than you think it will be, somehow.

Brwynn said...

Anna, I think of you *EVERY DAY* and my thoughts are actually little prayers to God and He hears me thinking desperately that He will bring you hope daily and some peace as often as possible and even some kairos moments in this wretched new " normal" you are living. I think about Tim and Margaret too, willing all my faithful might the same for them. As the mother of four fabulous girls, I can't help but hold a special pocket in my heart and in my mind... the way your writing gives me a slight glimpse (because I know it is so greater than anything words can encompass) at your immeasurable and unbearable pain and when I think of you and your desperation to have Jack, to look into those beautiful brown eyes and ruffle that adorable hair and to hold him and never let go... I am overwhelmed with reminders to soak in as much of my girls as I possibly can. Thank- you, thank- you, thank-you for sharing your heart breaking loss... you have touched my life in a very profound way. And I promise you will have my thoughts/prayers all the way through that second year and beyond. LOTS OF MONKEE LOVE GIRL!! Brwynn

Laurie and company said...

ohhh, boy. not sure how I'd missed that fact about grief. I'm so sorry, Anna. Your Jack is a beautiful boy...We lost our Jack last summer too...knot in the cord kinda tragedy that makes no sense.
Praying for you and your family. Peace that passes all understanding.
Know that you are encouraging others to keep going.

Rach said...

The second year was definitely harder for us. The first year we were just trying to make it to each milestone, like it was a check-off list. The second year I said, "Okay, God, I get it, ha ha. It was a funny joke, but I did it, now send her home."

There are no more firsts. It's so hard. You get through it the same way you do the first, with grace and prayer.

Many hugs,
Rach

Gina said...

Clarke's Commentary on the bible:

Romans 12:15

Rejoice with them that do rejoice - Take a lively interest in the prosperity of others. Let it be a matter of rejoicing to you when you hear of the health, prosperity, or happiness of any brother.

Weep with them that weep - Labour after a compassionate or sympathizing mind. Let your heart feel for the distressed; enter into their sorrows, and bear a part of their burdens. It is a fact, attested by universal experience, that by sympathy a man may receive into his own affectionate feelings a measure of the distress of his friend, and that his friend does find himself relieved in the same proportion as the other has entered into his griefs. "But how do you account for this?" I do not account for it at all, it depends upon certain laws of nature, the principles of which have not been as yet duly developed.

Anna,

Shock? Yes! I do not personally know you or your family and I AM IN SHOCK! When I look at pictures of Jack or Margaret or read your posts my heart and stomach are twisted with grief. How much more YOU and YOUR family?!

There are NO words to make this better for you but we can stand by you and hold you up....

Exodus 17:8-13

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

Much love to you and your precious family!
Gina

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Camille said...

I tend to be skeptical of others so I am prone to think, "Of course you say you'll be here because that's what people say." (Isn't that awful?!) But Anna, can I say (for what it's worth from a usually glass-half-empty complete stranger), that I honestly believe your friends, family and readers when they (WE) say, we truly will "be here" for you in Year Two and beyond. That beautiful boy of yours has captivated many hearts, including mine, and so many feel such a deep connection to you.

My mom lost her first husband at a young age, and she has always taught me to "be there" for people in the weeks, months and years after - after the fuss and attention and shock have died down and you are left in the quiet. That's when to come in and support and love and pray and remember. So I will obey my mama and keep you in my prayers, even when it seems like life has moved on. Not just the "I will pray for you" mantra, but actual PRAYERS. It's important for this cynical woman to make that part clear. Actual prayers for you and your family. Much love to you, my sweet friend whom I've never met.

May I also add, the beauty of your blog is a certain time-release capsule effect. People who weren't following you from before that horrible night are following you now. And I just jumped on board the WE LOVE ANNA train in March through Momastery. So Year Two might be a daunting prospect, but you will continually get new hands to help hold you up, best we can over the internet anyway. I think about you often, not just in sadness, but with absolute admiration for your beauty in words and spirit. You truly are inspiring, even if you don't feel like it or even want to be! I am going to quit jabbering now and go pray for you. For realsies.

Jamie said...

I wish I could tell you the 2nd year was easier, but 2 1/2 months into my 2nd year and well..... it's just not. It's hard and it both surprises me and infuriates me that it's harder rather than easier. I went on a little mini vacation this last week with 15 other people and not one even once mentioned my son. It made me mad and sad. They have moved on while I'm just stuck. I don't think we're meant to move on as mothers. I think we just learn to handle it better, though apparently not yet. Take advantage of the support system you have. Keep people praying for you. Covet those prayers. Do whatever you have to do to survive. Praying for grace and peace and strength.

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Well, I missed Jack's birthday because I am kind of a putz like that...but I wanted to tell you that I will think about you and pray for you and your family every day, even though I don't come by every day. Sending love...and cyber balloons...

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

That was supposed to be "do" think of you, not will think of you...

anymommy said...

We'll be here, loving you.

Mindy said...

My heart and snd soul go out to you. If we could understand the unexplainable events that happen to us...maybe it would be too simple. Just maybe there is a good reason God has for us to go thru such heartache. In any case, you have my prayers, my hope and my wish for you to have joy in this life.

Stimey said...

We're not going anywhere, okay? Love you.

mribaro said...

I was deeply touched by the sentence "I am you and you are me." that the Anonymous wrote on March 26, 2012 7:40 PM.

I've lost my dear dad two years ago, and the second year was tougher to me than the first. In the first year I'd pretend and imagine that, when I was visiting my mom, the reason I didn't see him in person was just because he was in the bedroom, taking his nap, or he was in another town for a couple of days, visiting his brother/friends. I couldn't understand he was gone, because he was so vivid in my memory. Whenever I lacked his physical presence, I could imagine him so clearly - his voice, face, shuffle of his slippers, what he would say, the way he laughed and the kind of funny comments he'd make, the feel of his hair and skin, every wrinkle on his face... I have the exact same hands as my dad.Whenever I was caressing my children's heads I'd remember him, because that was the same gentle way he liked to caress them, and I found comfort in that - it was to me like he was still caressing them through my hands. My daughter is now 5 years and the son is 2 years old. I am so grateful that my dad had the chance to see and hold my son in his first month of life.

The second year is tougher because it sinks in he's not here anymore - for good. Also a realization that one whole era is gone. At times I am overwhelmed with nostalgia. But on the other hand, I think how wonderful life my dad had - loads of friends, loads of mountain climbing trips, a very loving wife and daughter, all the special little things we had (some songs, some rituals, some sayings we'd repeat)... and I conclude it's only worth trying to make my own life wonderful (in my way, 'cause I can never replicate the life of my parents, of course) and make my husband and children feel the love and cheer I have for them - this to me seems the most worthy thing.

Like my grandma, who was left with a 6 month old daughter (my mom) alone without the husband she adored (he was killed in the WW2), and without the support of her family, but still 7 years later, married my grampa (I call him that because he was such dear grampa to me, nevermind that he was not a biological grampa to me), got another daughter (my auntie) and lived happily till I was 11. To this day she has a big impact on who I am today. My mom and my auntie are very bonded and I am stunned to remember how she was a neat lady, always ready for a joke and took good care of all of us and was returned this love from all of us. I am stunned because she never mentioned her first part of life, she was always so devoted to make the best of what she had at the moment and took care to enjoy life with those that were around her in real life. Though one can only imagine that the sorrow was still burried somewhere deep in her heart.

I hope some other great joy awaits you in your future and am sending you all my love and understanding.

Ross said...

My best friend lost his daughter in Oct of this year and I'm seeing just how much it's pulling him apart. Like you say you keep expecting him to be there. We never understand why God throws these curve balls at us. Praying for you all the time!

Gina said...

Anna,

I heard this song yesterday and thought of you.

The Hurt and The Healer by Mercy Me


Why?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn't come from the explained
Jesus please don't let this go in vain
You're all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe
Sometimes I feel it's all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It's the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all the scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say "It's over now"

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide [x2]

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here

Ann Imig said...

We're here. You're not alone. xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

It is not all bad... the "heavy, great coat" of grief will be lifted more and more often... you will be able to see what is beyond it and it gives you the strength to get through year 1, year 2 and forever. You will figure out who are the ones who will forge forward with you, while not forgetting that you've changed forever and that you always want to remember. - Coach Jess

Princess Kate said...

As I was driving home last night I saw a beautiful rainbow right over your neighborhood. I know that was from Jack. I hope you got to see it and it comforted you. Hugs and prayers for you today and always.

OSMA said...

I saw the very same rainbow Princess Kate saw last night and I thought the very same thing.

Thinking of you more than I know how to say and pushing strength to you through rainclouds.

the mama bird diaries said...

We will be here for you. xo

Leslie said...

I read these from my phone when you posted and couldn't comment. I wish that in year two we could make it never have happened. If that's not possible, then I'll be here commenting, and more importantly, praying.

And all of the other years, too. You're part of my family, though you don't know it.

Candid Lily said...

I've never commented before, but you and your family are in my prayers and I shall keep you in my prayers, even after the one year mark has passed. I know your other readers will too. Praying that you have even more support during the second year.

Meredith from A Mother Seeking said...

I just recently wrote about the "timeline for grief" on my own blog and how I am throwing it out the window! You just take your time and feel it out. You need not feel committed to feel a certain way by a certain day. Be gentle with yourself!

~ Meredith From A Mother Seeking
http://www.amotherseeking.com

A Mother Seeking...

Mellow said...

I am finding this to be true. I wish I could tell you it gets easier, but, I think we just learn to tolerate a little more. The longing remains. I think the fog clears after the first year which has made the second year harder than I expected.

I am praying for you and your family. I wish I could do more. Hang in there. It's a rough and wild ride.