Tuesday, April 24, 2012

From Tim

A year ago, Jack and I took a trip to San Diego for Spring Break, headed for the Legoland, the Mecca for Lego fans young and old. The trip was a late brithday present. I remember Jack asking why we were taking this big trip for his 12th birthday. "Shouldn't we wait until next year when I turn 13? That's a big birthday." I don't know why we decided to go last year. Maybe we were concerned that Legoland would not sound as cool to a 13-year old boy about to complete this first year of middle school. In any event, we made the trip, and I am so grateful that we did. We stayed with Anna's cousin Mark while in San Diego, and he was a great host. Jack and I drove to LA to watch the Dodgers, Jack's little league team last year. The game ended in dramatic fashion with a walk-off home run and high fives and fist pumps all around. But the next day was the big event: a day at Legoland. And it did not disappoint. Jack (and I) were in awe of the hundreds of Lego creations. While other kids sped by each display, Jack methodically examined each one, from every angle possible. I felt an urge to hurry him along, concerned that we would not be able to see everything in the park. But I backed off and let him enjoy the day at HIS pace. This day was for him. Jack made me take pictures of everything. At first I insisted that he get in each picture, learning from Anna that photos are much more fun to look at later when they have people in them. But after awhile I got tired of making Jack pose, so I just kept clicking away at the hundreds of Lego diplays, until the battery on my phone died. Recalling our trip a year later, I am so thankful that we shared that time together. It is one of my favorite memories of Jack and is special for me because it was just the two of us spending time doing the things that we liked to do the most. But at the same time, as I reflect on our trip a year later, I am so disappointed and angry that Jack and I won't have another opportunity to get away, just the two of us, and seize the day like we did in San Diego--at least not in this life. I love you, Jack.
P.S. From Anna-- As I drove the kids home from school that rainy Thursday in September, Jack asked again why we had given him his "big trip" when he was 12. I can't remember what I answered. Margaret then said she would be more than happy to wait until she was 13 if it meant we would let her go somewhere "really good" like the Bahamas!

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tim, thank you for touching all of our hearts. I can't imagine how awful this is for you, and I'm sure you're tired of hearing the same things over and over -- how sorry we are, how sad we are for you, and how much we are thinking of you -- but I'll say them again because they are true.

Talking is hard. But keep doing it anyway.

We've never met, but I love you all.

L said...

I am so glad Tim shared this. Such a special time with your wonderful boy. I am angry and disappointed too, that they won't get more trips like this. I am also so glad they didn't wait until 13!! Love you Tim, Anna and Margaret. Love and miss Jack.

NanaDiana said...

What bittersweet moments each day brings. I think God was letting you have a day like that to remember for this Earth life. xo Diana

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story. I too lost my daughter. It makes you wonder about taking a special trip like that when he was 12 and not wait until he was 13 , I am a true believer in signs! There was a reason!

Mrs Changstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thank you, Tim for your words. And yes, all who care about your family share your anger. It's not fair. So glad you took the trip when you did and have those treasured memories and that you can hold them close. The pictures are awesome.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Oh Tim, you will cherish those memories forever. I am so sorry that you and Jack will not have more trips to share. Love and prayers for your family today and everyday!

DawnGes said...

Dear Anna and Tim,
Thank you for sharing your stories and your grief. What wonderful memories you have with Jack. I'm deeply sorry.

Hugs, prayers, love.

Anonymous said...

Tim, Thank you for sharing this with us here. There are no words to convey how sorry I am that you and your family have to live without Jack. I am glad you took that trip. I bet it meant the world to him to have that time with you - so glad you have those memories. I hope you feel the love and prayers coming your way. Praying for you, Anna, Margaret and Jack.

Claire Plante said...

Tim,

I am sorry too, and so, so sad that you have to experience this.

Thank you for sharing that story. It sounds like such a wonderful trip and you can see in the pictures that Jack was really happy.

Thinking of you all the time and praying for comfort for you, Anna and Margaret.

Love,
Claire Plante

New Mom said...

Thank you, Tim. I live just inland from Legoland and it's really cool to see Jack so near. Thank you for sharing such a sweet memory! My husband is a pastor, and one of our parishioners recently lost her daughter to cancer - this sweet, faithful, Godly parishioner is 80+ years old and she just looked to me and my husband and said, "This sucks!"
I hate that expression, but there really is no better way of putting it. I am so sorry and I just pray for so many blessings to wash over your family.

Anonymous said...

What an absolutely amazing family you are. Jack continues to feel your love every single day - I just know it. How wonderful to hear from Tim. One day we may even hear from Margaret too! I continue to think of you all daily, and I send good thoughts and prayers your way. Jack must be so very proud of you as he watches you every day from heaven.

Loukia said...

Not a day goes by that I don't cry for your family.
Tim, thank you for writing this. What a wonderful memory to hold on to forever, this special trip you two took.

Lisa said...

Tim, thank you for sharing your precious memories. While you may not remember for certain the impetus for going when he was 12, you can always cherish the wonderful memories of your trip together..and not have regrets about never having gone. Prayers and hugs...

Shell Flower said...

Wow. You knew it was a "big" birthday, but didn't know why. It's awesome that you went on that trip together and have those memories. Also cool to see your perspective, Tim. The family that blogs together, um, pets dogs together? Well, anyway, it's cool.

This blog has helped so many learn about grief and how precious life is. My friends' lost a son this year in a freak accident, also. Between you guys and them, I have been reminded not to take my son for granted. To enjoy the little moments when he's playing guitar in the next room (which might have driven me nuts a year ago) or to make time to go do something fun with him. You just never no when those you love will disappear.

This post is yet another reminder to go to Legoland now, and not wait for a bigger birthday, or whatever. I'm just sorry that you have to experience this crap for all of us other parents to wake up and enjoy our kids while we have them. Always praying for y'all that it gets easier...

ella said...

Tim, thank you for sharing this. I'm sure disappointed and angry barely touch the surface of your emotions. It's just not fair!
So glad Jack got his big trip.
Love you guys.

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

the joy on jack's face in these pictures is obvious! what a special time. thank you so much for sharing, tim.

Anonymous said...

I can feel how very much you love your son, and what a caring and thoughtful father you are. You wanted Jack to have this special trip at just the right time, and gave him the space to enjoy it in his own way.

I'm so truly sorry. God bless you.

spedhead said...

Thank you for posting Tim, and sharing Jack with us. Thank God you guys made that trip. That would be a painful regret instead of a lovely memory. I hate that Jack was robbed of his future. We appreciate you, Anna, and Margaret taking us with you as you figure out the balance of holding on yet moving forward. Jack must be very proud of you all from his vantage point.

OSMA said...

Dear Tim, Anna, & Margaret,

I pray the same force that pulled you toward this wonderful trip is the same one that will pull you through the anger and disappointment of your days ahead. You gave Jack the time and patience he needed to soak in the intricacies of what was before him in Legoland. Now it's time to give yourselves that same time and patience to understand the intricacies before you in a life that might not feel like your own right now.

P.S. For a second I thought you guys were really in the French Quarter. Very intricate indeed.

Mrs. E said...

Do you know how many times we postpone events, trips--until it is too late. Thank God that you didn't. What a special memory, even though it is bittersweet knowing that there won't be another. I'm just another anonymous blogger, praying for all of you. Your story touched a chord in all of us.

luv2run said...

Nice to hear Tim speak.....I felt the emotion and the love he has for his son!

Hugs to all of you!

luv2run

Melanie said...

I was in Florida on vacation this past week and we went to the new Lego Land in Florida. All I could think of was Jack. Jack would have loved this place! So imagine how happy I was when I logged on to read the blog today to see an entry from Tim to know that Jack did get to experience Lego Land for his 12th birthday. It was a very touching post. Please know that you have touched so many people. For all I could think about was your sweet boy and how much he would love this place if he were here.

Mrs Changstein said...

Tim (& Anna), thank you for sharing your memories...I'm so glad you have this one to hold to, and that you took so many pictures!! My heart aches for all of you...especially when I listen to (& smell, if you get my meaning) my boy be, well, a boy. Especially yesterday, in all his boyness, my son reminded me so suddenly & sharply of all you've lost, tears came to my eyes in the middle of the goofiness. I'm so so sorry for your loss, and will keep holding you all up in prayer, every morning. I love that the Lord said His mercies are new every morning, and you can bet I claim that for you. xo Cindy

Anonymous said...

So good to hear your "voice" Tim. Thank you so much for sharing those precious memories and great photos (some very impressive Lego sculpture there -- wow!). Sending continued prayers to you and your family from New Hampshire.

Peace & blessings,
Jenn

Gina said...

Tim, We are so glad to hear from you and your heart! I can only imagine the grief you must carry as a father who has lost his son. It is obvious from photos and both you and Anna's writing that you both loved your son very much and had a special relationship as a family as a whole. I don't know y'all but I feel like I do and not to sound creepy or stalkerish but the loss of Jack feels like a loss in my life as well. I always want to comment and be able to say something so profound that it cuts the heavy weight of grief for your family and brings immediate healing for you all. I don't know that those words exist except to say that you all are loved, cared for and prayed for by thousands who know you and those who don't. Lastly, I am grateful for the promises of God and that one day you all will be reunited with Jack and will be together for eternity. I am sure as this earthly life goes on day by day that that concept seems of little comfort but in the scope of eternity this earthly life is but a grain of sand on the beach. Still I wish you didn't have to live this earthly life without your precious Jack.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say but I read every post and think of you all so much and wanted you to know that.

Your loss is unimaginable and no-one who knew Jack will ever be the same. It is testament to his character and his life - and you as his family - that those of us who didn't meet him, but have learnt about him, will never be the same either.

So glad you took that trip.

Millie xx

ALI said...

Huge hugs... And prayers of strength as you continue to deal, absorb & survive this horrific loss.

I'm so glad you have these pictures & these memories... Memories to treasure & comfort you, sustain you.

Thank you for sharing them with all us, your thoughts and your anger. I hope in some small way, by sharing you find comfort & peace.

Anonymous said...

It's so curious that Jack asked again about the big trip on that day. Something mysterious is at work in our universe...

I am so glad that Jack DID get to go, and that it was such a special time for Tim and his boy. I think the thing that affected me the most in the story of being at Legoland was Tim sharing his realization that he should let Jack set the pace, and not succumb to the very parental urge to rush through. Knowing that Jack was in charge makes me feel so happy.

I miss him so much for all of you that it hurts.

love,
jbhat

Salvimom said...

Dear Tim,

Thank you for sharing your feelings. This is a beautiful post. I'm so thankful that you got to spend that time with your boy, and I'm so sorry that the time was limited. I'm so happy God opened your hearts to do something like this seemingly for an unknown reason, while he was still with you. God Bless You with peace and I continually stay in prayer for your lovely family.

Ury

Anonymous said...

Wow, how wonderful that Jack and Tim took that trip when they did. It reminds me of my elderly mother's comment that she never regretted the special things she did, only what she did not do. Your family seems to be very good at doing things together in the present and not waiting for "some time in the future." What a blessing for all of you that Jack and Tim took that special trip when they did.

Thanks for sharing, Tim. You and Anna and Margaret are in this stranger's thoughts often. Your family is an inspiration to me.

Blessings to you all,
Joan in PA

Rach said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your son and your special trip with him with us.

Many prayers and hugs for you and your family.

--Rach

Emily said...

I am sorry for your loss. I think of you all often. I am glad that you were able to have this special trip with him.

Meredith said...

Just one more way God prepared your family for this difficult path...

Sami said...

Ok - at the risk of sounding like a nut-job, I feel compelled to tell you about the song that came on as I was reading Tim's post - the exact same time. I have never heard the song before, so I had to look up the lyrics. It's from Needtobreathe called "Keep Your Eyes Open." It gave me chills. I know our loved ones reach out to us in all kinds of ways. I have no doubt that Jack is in a permanent state of pure bliss and joy. It's just too hard to get out of our heads and hearts long enough to truly grasp this concept through the grief.

xoxo
Samantha

Meredith Self said...

Tim, thank you for sharing your love of Jack. I've learned so very much from your family.

I was just at lunch talking about a trip this year as Chad turns 18...and I felt compelled to not put off the trip we want for a better time...that now is the time to love. Thanks for your reminder of living that way.

I'm so very sorry for your loss and pray for your family every day.

All my love. Meredith

Princess Kate said...

My heart is broken. Reading this entry just brings every emotion I have out. Praying really really hard for peace, understanding and hope.

Beth from Vienna said...

Welcome Tim! Let us wrap you up in love like we've done for your wife. Your boy and your family are awe-inspiring. As a mother of two young boys who doesn't know you, yet drives over that fateful bridge every day...I thank you for your honesty, your willingness to put yourself out there and your openness to let us wrap you in love and prayer.

Aimee said...

Beautiful post Tim. My heart breaks for you, Anna & Margaret. Jack was awfully lucky to have a great dad like you. My thoughts and prayers continue for the Donaldson family.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

This was beautiful Tim. Sending so much lov to you and your girls.

Beth said...

Thank you for sharing that with us, Tim. I am learning so much about parenting from you and Anna. So much parenting advice focuses on the hard times, the toddler years, discipline and time out. But you and Anna have a way of parenting that really seems to focus on the positive, having fun, being together as a family, and cherishing each other. Living in the present moment. I am so glad you had that time together with Jack, and I hope that my husband and I can remember that and have those kinds of experiences with our boys.
Peace to you.

Erin said...

Tim: thank you for sharing such sweet memories of your trip with Jack. It is so bittersweet that you will not get more of those special father-son trips, at least not in this life, but I'm so grateful that you have this one amazing memory to hold close to your heart!
Love,
Erin

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,

I'm disappointed and angry, too, that Jack will never be able to join us on our backpacking trips.

We pray for all of you often.

Best,
John

Kasey Galentine said...

My kids too want a "big trip" for their 13th birthdays. It was going to be 12, b/c mom wanted to go this year (HA), but my daughter chose a puppy instead of her trip to NYC. So we'll go next year at 13. My son, who is 9, has said he wants his big trip to be to Yellowstone...I bet once I tell him there's a place called Legoland, he'll change his mind. He LOVES legos too. Thanks for sharing. I love your posts and especially your pictures. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you had your day at Legoland. Remembering the details about you slowed down to let him enjoy each creation in his own way rather than rushing like the other kids - that is really special and shows why you and Anna are such great parents. Jack looks so happy and contented in his Dodger hat. Really feeling for you guys... Hang in there. Coach Jess

Heidi said...

Beautiful, Tim. Much, much love to you and Anna and Margaret and Jack.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Thank you Tim.((HUGS))

Lady Jennie said...

Tim I'm glad to hear from you too, and to have your express your grief. I talk to my husband about you guys all the time and now if I say Tim, Anna, Margaret or Jack, he knows who I mean.

I don't think I can say anything that won't sound lame, but I'm really glad you got that trip just the two of you.

Anonymous said...

I love these photos!

As it happens, my son and I are taking a little trip next week just the two of us - down to San Diego. For his 12th birthday.

I will certainly be thinking of you and Jack.

Sending huge love and hugs, Anna.

XO

A.

Anna Lefler said...

Okay - I don't know why that last comment came up as "anonymous_ - but it's from me, just so you know.

XOXO

Anna L.

Kara said...

So glad you took your big trip! This is a good reminder for me to take our family on trip, to make special time for each child. So glad you took all those pictures.

Paula said...

Thanks for sharing about your trip - Love the dad-son adventure. I'm so thankful that you both share stories but are frank about your anger. Jack's death makes me so angry and hopeless but then to see how many are touched and how open you are about the time you did have with him makes me grateful and touched. Thanks for sharing about Legoland ~

Princess Kate said...

Just thinking about you guys this morning. Prayers always coming your way.

TamaraL said...

Your boy was just wonderful...I have so enjoyed reading all of your stories, thoughts, and memories. I am so sorry for your loss.

SheriJane said...

i check your blog often yet have never commented, i guess because i dont think i could say anything that would help but i'm sure something is better than nothing, i think of your little family often and wish i could fast forward your family till you're all together again and you've overcome all these tests and trials and our Heavenly Father can tell you well done........ because personally i think you two have done and are doing your best, and that is all he asks. keep it up for that day WILL come!

Laura said...

Just stopping by to let you know I'm thinking of your sweet family as I go about my day. You are so often on my mind.
Tim - I am so sorry for the hurt you feel, but happy that this most perfect of days for you and Jack is etched so beautifully in your mind and heart.
Thoughts and prayers for a good weekend ahead for you, Anna, and Margaret.

for a different kind of girl said...

I'm so glad you had that time together. I think of your family ever day, be it from seeing the pictures of Jack Anna posts, or seeing something in the day that reminds me of him and your family. I've never had the pleasure of meeting any of you, but feel honored that Anna introduced us to your family. That's my long way of saying I wish you and Jack had more time for trips like these, Tim. I wish all of you had more opportunities for adventures. If God gives us our days, those days were precious. Prayers for you all.

Anonymous said...

Jack was a blessed boy! No words can fill the void you feel in your heart Tim. Our emotions are a healthy part of our grief. I would not allow myself to feel when my mom died so young. After losing my dad in Oct I knew I did not want to crawl back in that dark hole. It is not always easy, but time is a wonderful healer, and I believe there is no limit on that time. Each day brings new emotions with new feelings. let yourself feel them.
Much love to you, Anna and Margaret.
Joyce

mythoughtsonthat said...

"While other kids sped by each display, Jack methodically examined each one, from every angle possible. I felt an urge to hurry him along, concerned that we would not be able to see everything in the park. But I backed off and let him enjoy the day at HIS pace."

Oh, this is my nearly 12 year old boy EXACTLY and I loved hearing about your boy who has similar habits. My boy has been to Legoland every year since he was three and I'm wasn't sure we could afford it this year but....I will make sure we afford it, somehow. Because life is way too short. Peace.

Jana said...

Don't know you, Tim...but been praying for your family from afar. Thank you for sharing these sweet memories of your boy...who looks EXACTLY like you, btw :)

Leslie said...

Tim, please know that "Tim, Anna & Margaret" is how we pray in our home - you are remembered in every single prayer where we beg God for things on your behalf.

Reading this is so, so unimaginably hard - we love Legos and baseball in our family as well. I understand every bit of this post.

What an awesome earthly Dad Jack has, and what an awesome heavenly Father. What a blessed boy, that Jack.

We love your family and will be praying for you until we all meet up in heaven.

Mama Mary said...

What a special memory! Ironically, I live a few miles from Legoland and go here frequently with my kids (in fact I do work for them too) and I think about Jack every once in awhile when I am there. I am so happy he was able to experience its magic and have such a specials trip with his dad. Love and light!

Fiona said...

I have only just found your blog what a handsome boy Jack is and it's such a huge loss to your family. I lost my five year old son suddenly in December.
We live in Scotland but we took our kids to legoland in England last year as a last minute surprise. We had intended to go this year but on the spur of the moment we tagged a two day trip onto our holiday plans.
I, like you, am so grateful that we took him before he died.
Sending you love and compassion from Scotland,
Fiona
Xx