Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shower Power








We have two showers in our house. The one in our teensy master bathroom rocks! All four of us used it, although not at the same time, ever since the kids graduated from baths. Even Shadow got her rare shampoos in there.

The shower had the perfect water pressure—hard, but not, “I think I just lost a nipple down the drain” hard. Super, duper hot-- just on the edge of scalding. My sister called it “glorious” and invoked her sisterly privilege to use it when she visited.

Sometimes, when we were in a hurry, I’d see if the kids would use the other, perfectly serviceable shower, and occasionally Margaret would oblige, but Jack would not. The kids’ shower was newer, their bathroom brighter and more spacious, but the water pressure and showering experience just could NOT compare.

So a few weeks ago I noticed a leak. We now have a ripped up ceiling, and our master bedroom shower needs to be replaced. We have neither the funds nor the energy to deal with it right now. Tile shopping and grout color selection? No thank you.

So the three of us have been traipsing up to the kids’ shower. We balked at first, and Margaret is taking even fewer showers than USUAL, which is saying something, but, we have adapted.

While at first I couldn’t imagine using another shower, my desire to be able to go out in public broke down any lingering resistance. And now, after several weeks, the morning routine and sub-par skin-sloughing have become part of my day.

It made me think of Jack. Well, doesn’t everything?

Our new daily living has become a poor substitution for the life we wanted for our family. We trudge along, in a world that seems off-kilter, trying to adapt and make the most of what lies before us. We do it, but that doesn’t mean we like it. It doesn’t mean we don’t consider what came before to be far, far superior.

But we do it, out of necessity, and bit by bit we get used to it. It has been so long since the accident, I’ve got to say it would seem a little strange to have Jack come racing down the stairs today. To tell us about how the middle school dance went. To talk Margaret into playing outside.

Because we have started to adapt to his absence.

I suppose one can get used to almost anything.

But that doesn’t mean I’m okay with it.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Arghhh. I doubt you'll ever be "ok" with Jack's absence, but I feel certain that you and your family will create a life for all of you that's fulfilling and meaningful. In time. And I don't begin to know what "time" means In this context.

It probably seems far off and maybe unthinkable. But with your love and faith, you'll get there.

Katy said...

Rip that shower head out, plant it in the yard, carve his name in it. That's what I would do, but I'm crazy. I would not dance around it though, because maybe that would be too close to an "Aaron and the golden calf" moment? not sure.

When did Jack have braces? Looks like he got them off before 6th grade, just wondering.

I love that kid. With every post.

Mrs Changstein said...

I don't think it will ever be ok. Until YOU'RE absent from the body & present with the Lord. And His posse. Jack. What a wonderful reunion that will be!! Praying for you all. xo Cindy

Suburban Correspondent said...

I totally get this.

Jessica said...

I understand this. Life goes on and we follow it because we have to but it's never really going to be okay because what it was supposed to be will never be again. Four years for us and I still can't wrap my brain around that. And do you know when my eyes welled in this post? When you said "the three of us" because I know how hard that must be to type.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

You don't ever have to be ok with it Anna! But moving forward, one foot in front of the other, one day at a time is a good thing. It's what you need to do. It's what Jack would want you to do. But you don't have to be ok with it, not even a little bit!

Recovering Church Lady said...

Adapting does not mean that you agree with the new "normal". It is just doing what must be done. I have been resisting our new normal, and though it is not nearly as drastic as yours, resistance is futile i'm afraid.
I am praying for you often.

Megan said...

I lost my brother almost a year ago and I can feel your pain and loss. My parents and I continue on with our lives and are getting used to being without my brother. Or trying, I guess, as it's a hard thing to adjust to. We definitely don't like anything about it but you're right on the fact that life moves on and you need to focus on what lies ahead. I have a daughter who will ask about her uncle but doesn't understand the concept of death. She's the one I move on for. She gives my family hope. You have that in your daughter too.

S. Taylor said...

Continued prayers and hugs from Michigan!

Fairy Godmother said...

I love reading your words. You are teaching me so much.
Andie

IrishRN07 said...

Thinking of you on this rainy day in Hometown USA.

Kirsten said...

Thinking of you Anna and sending love.

Anonymous said...

It is a process, like all of life is...

http://www.glowinthewoods.com/home/2012/4/17/see-magic.html

Kim @ A Brush of Whimsy said...

Still thinking of you... :)

Lady Jennie said...

ugh. (sob).

Many many hugs and prayers and much love from over here.

That gentleman's lady said...

So very true. Just because you get used to something doesn't mean that you're ever okay with it.

Hugs to you

spedhead said...

That is an interesting parallel. I hope you are reunited with your shower very soon, far in advance of your reunion with Jack. I guess we can learn to adapt to just about anything. Continued strength to your family, I think of you all the time.

Geri said...

yes, we adapt, adjust, accept, but that doesn't mean we are ever, ever okay with it. and what was before is far superior to now, it is just that simple. thank you for speaking the truth. I had a few acquaintances tell me that I don't know that maybe the "best is yet to come" in my life. It irritated and angered me when they said that, because, well yes, I do know that the best isn't yet to come, I had the best, before. Still good times to come, that is true, but no best (unless one thinks of heaven, then we can say that).

anyway, thinking of you and praying for you all, as always. and the line about the nipple going down the drain? well darling, that make me spew coffee out on my computer screen. thank you for that.

namaste.

Japolina said...

I love this post. I'm certain that by writing about your life, you are helping people. xo

Princess Kate said...

I woke up with you and your family on my mind this morning. I remember when my dad died, I SO wanted the world to stop if only for a minute. I hated that life just went on but now looking back life moving on is the only thing keeping us going (literally). You probably don't feel this way at times but you're making it Anna. In the midst of all this sh!t, you are making it. Proving yet again that nothing is impossible with God.

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Don't think for one second that you'll ever be okay with it, because you won't. But adapting is good, and it sounds like you are adapting.

I remember the anger and frustration at the world for moving on. But it does move on, no matter how much we want it to stop. Adapting is the only way to survive and live the life Jack would want for you. You honor his life by living yours.

Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

One of those times where I don't know what to say, but I wanted to say something, so that you know I am still listening and still thinking about you and your family

Millie x

Kara said...

Bleck to leaking showers. I don't like picking out tile and grout in the best circumstances.

I still pray for your family. I was reading Psalm 84:1-4 and it had me thinking of Jack.

Mediterrangirl said...

fungenti gersonDear Anna, yesterday the service at VPC (we attend the 11:00 service) was led by youngsters and it was beautiful. And your Jack was mentioned more than once. I was so energized by these beautiful kids and yet so sad for your family. This is brutal, you are right. I cried for most of the service. The sermonette stories shared by the beautiful youth were very touching, and I cried for your Jack. Then I stopped afterwards and got a Legos cross and put it on my 5 year old's shirt. We talked about your boy, that he is in heaven. Praying for you and your family.

luv2run said...

Hugs!

luv2run

Meredith said...

I got together with one of our mutual friends this weekend (who I see rarely and you see more often...she is the one who first shared with me about Jack) and told her that I am an Anna Donaldson stalker (internet only, I promise!!). Your words touch me every time I read them. Though I never knew Jack, and I don't know you in real life, I feel like I did and that I do after each post I read. I know you have heard it over and over, but you and your family are thought of and prayed for by so very many people around the world. I hope that we can help ease this horrible burden, even the tiniest bit.

Anonymous said...

Oh Anna. You have hit the nail on the (shower) head with this one. I am hoping an angel will swoop in and at least get that leaky ceiling fixed up for you guys pronto. Maybe one of those good-looking HGTV guys?

I'm sorry about the weekends. They really must be so hard!

love,
jbhat

Meredith Self said...

wishing you a sense of being fulfilled and showered with love, courage, strength, vulnerability and peace.

NanaDiana said...

You know, Anna, the thing that gets me every time I come here is that I am always overwhelmed by the vitality of LIFE that jumps at me from Jack's pictures. It is like he is just going to step off the screen and materialize in front of me. I can't imagine what YOU feel when you see these images.

Blessings to you and your CLEAN family! xo Diana

Lisa said...

I totally understand the adapting, but not liking it. And you know, that's ok...it's totally allowed. ((Hugs))

Salvimom said...

Anna,

I once read somewhere that, like you said, a human can get used to ANYTHING--even torture. But who wants to get used to that? However, I am glad that time is allowing you to get used to the absence of your beautiful son, although I wish it were in my power to make that absence be gone! Since it is out of our hands, I just pray that anything that brings you "an inch" closer to peace I am all for. You don't have to like it. I don't either. But I suppose the more you give up even that control to God, the better our understanding of acceptance? I don't know, not trying to delegate how you feel. Just want peace and love for you and yours. Continued prayers are coming your way.

Ury

Anonymous said...

I don't know if there was anything especially brutal about this past weekend, or if it was just, totally understandably, very hard, but I'm so sorry.

It sounds like sharing the other shower is working out for you, at least for the time being, and nothing wrong with that.

Mellow said...

We do adapt. Hating every minute of it though. Thinking of you and your family as you learn your new normal.

We certainly don't have to like it.

Michele said...

I hope you blow up that first picture of Margaret and Jack to a 20x30 canvas. It's absolutely beautiful.

Continuing to pray for you and your family.

Margaret E said...

Oh Anna, of all the things you have written over the past few months, of all the beautiful words and thoughts, your post today broke my heart. Because the cruelest reality of death is that life goes on and on- despite our wishes that it wouldn't.

Wishing you peace,

Margaret

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Sorry about your shower issues. Of course we can get use to things when they change but my heart just aches for what you are living through. Always in my thoughts and prayers. Your posts are always excellent. I laughed about the nipple down the drain :)

A Speckled Trout said...

I went to a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner this weekend our church was having. I see this family all the time and don't know them so I decided to introduce myself. That's when I found out that this man's wife died in January from cancer at the age of 46 leaving him to raise his two boys. I had no idea.

But I sat down and listened to him talk and cry and I didn't think of a reason to get up and leave. That may be a little of my mother and a little of you.

I'm sorry about your shower. I'm sorry about all of it.

Grumpy Momma said...

Tears...

Ugh...the heartache that it would be STRANGE to have your son bounding down the stairs...you paint such very vivid word pictures, Anna. Thank you for letting us cry with you.

I remember a few days after my mom died (she was 49), grieving not only HER, but our FAMILY. Our family was GONE. In the place of our 5 member family, we were left with 4 broken, different people. That 5 person unit was gone.

How much harder when it must be when it's your child who is gone...how you lose the people the family would have been had that person not been lost (though this is where I often see God show up - where He can work some of that redemption - I wouldn't change the person I have become through my losses)...the million other "losses" that maybe no one else gets, all from the Biggest Loss.

tears, prayers, hugs, and hope,
Lisa G. in CT (aka Grumpy)

Jenn said...

I don't know how in your grief you can still find a way to make others laugh out loud and smile??? I love you for that and for many other reasons...It will never be ok, but you will continue to put one foot in front of the other and be in the moment, for now.

Heidi said...

In one of the chapters in my book (sorry to mention 'the book'. I swear I will not become one of THOSE people) I talk about how my life became a series of adjustments. I didn't want to adapt, I didn't want to adjust, and I had to do just that. Those little things can be some of the best things and the hardest things, all at the same time. Like that shower head.

I feel for you. I really do. I'm with you and for you. Always.

Kent said...

hugs - just big hugs!

Loukia said...

You will never be okay with it. But I believe you're an incredibly strong mom who has this amazing faith and power to believe, and so, you will be fine, and you know you'll be reunited again. I'm sorry, and I feel so so much emotion for you and your Jack and your family. I can't tell you enough how often I pray and think about you all. xoxo

Anonymous said...

I love how much you write about Jack....it makes me feel a little "justified" (and isn't that stupid?) to miss my Mom so much still. I try to remember that the pain of missing her is only a reflection of how much she was loved - and that comforts me. Every tear you shed for Jack shows how loved and cherished he was. We will see them again, and what a happy day that will be!
CV

Lesley T. said...

I never know what to write in my comments here since you are such an amazing, succinct, and powerful writer and anything I can proffer is so insignificant in response to your raw talent and enormous grief. But I choose to comment to let you know that strangers are still reading your entries and thinking about your family, and while I don't have children, the loss and sadness you convey are palpable.

Patricia said...

I agree with many commenters - you'll probably never be 'ok' with, or 'used' to Jack's absence from your lives here on earth, but, you will in time, forge ahead with different lives. Different from what they would have been with Jack in them, but God Willing, also fulfilled and one day, happy lives....I think Jack would want that for all of you....

Leslie said...

Always reading, always praying, always! Been reading from my phone, which is harder to comment from. But I'm on the office computer today! Bawling at my desk, which my coworkers now are used to a few times a week. (Seriously.) I just say, through tears, "Anna's blog" and they know.

If everything (EVERYTHING) reminds me of Jack, and you, Tim and Margaret, and I've never met any of you, then I truly cannot imagine how much more everything reminds you of Jack, even showers.

Anonymous said...

i hope at least you guys are still using the premium TP! (i remember you mentioning that several months ago...that's an adjustment to keep for sure)

Anonymous said...

Though I've never met you, you and your family are often in my thoughts. I sometimes think I'm living life differently - better - because of the lessons you and Jack have taught me. I'm an elementary school teacher, and Jack's story reminds me to keep what is REALLY important for children and their families in mind. Happiness is more important than subtracting fractions... or can we do both? Also, my coworker recently lost her husband to a sudden heart attack, and, thanks to you, I felt comfortable offering the support and care I could offer, rather than backing off and giving her space and time to be with others 'more imporant' than me, as I would have once.

I check for posts nearly daily hoping Margaret is happy, hoping you and Tim are finding peace, hoping you've seen more signs that Jack is checking in on you from time to time... and, apparently, I read to learn how to love those around me as you love your family and friends. Thank you for writing about Jack.

Mariah said...

I think you are doing fine. Today is the anniversary of our friend's son's death. It happened last Easter. I wish I was wise. That I could make it all okay.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Love you Anna. I really wish you didn't have to get used to something so awful.

IrishRN07 said...

Dear Tim,
I read your post first thing this morning. It brought tears to my eyes and I have been thinking about it all day. I don't know where but I know that somewhere in the bible it says something like "Tears will be turned into dancing." I look forward to the day when we can all dance with you in joy - for now we are crying with you in your grief.
Thank you for sharing such an amazing chapter in your life with your beautiful boy.
Love and prayers to you and your family.

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 and new feelings. let yourself feel them.
Much love and prayers to you, Anna and Margaret.
Joyce

Anonymous said...

sorry, I meant to post the above commnet on your blog tim.
I love the pictures and this post!

The Empress said...

How could anyone ever be OK,

How.