Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Storm


It's been a weird weekend over here. Friday night's storms ravaged our area, as they did so many other regions. I didn't even know the storms were coming until late Friday night.

It reminded me so much of that terrible day in September. Those storms were rain, rain and more rain, as opposed to the crazy wind and lightning we had on Friday night, but the way they grew out of hand with so very little warning was eerily similar. I feel like when a snow storm is coming, or a hurricane, that's all anyone can talk about around here, but that has not been my experience with other storms.

For instance, in September, I had heard NOTHING about the potential of flash flooding until it was too late. This was very different from all of the extensive hurricane talk of the previous week.

On September 8th, I just went to work and plugged away in my windowless office until it was time to pick up the kids from school. I am assuming it was similar for many people that day. The lack of awareness led to an almost carnival-like atmosphere as the kids in our neighborhood traipsed off of school busses into the rain, got soaked, and invited my kids to play that warm afternoon.

Similarly, last Friday night, Tim's softball team cluelessly played all the way up until 10:30 pm, leading to very dangerous drives home through the worst of the storm.

By the time Tim made it home safely, our power was already out, and the three of us tucked ourselves in bed as we have for the past 10 months since the accident. Crazy storm. Little warning. No power. How could we not compare these experiences?

Saturday was a beautiful, hot sunny day, just like the day after Jack's death. People walked outside, blinking in the brightness, taking stock, wondering what exactly had happened.

This time, I was just one of the many people talking about power outages and whether our milk had spoiled. 10 months ago, I was someone whose life and future had been forever altered, whose heart had been broken.

And as I learn more about this storm, I now know people died. So I'm praying today for those who unwittingly and unwillingly joined the shittiest club on earth this weekend. I am so, so sorry.
***


"This is the last sentence Morrie got out before I did: 'Death ends a life, not a relationship.'" Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

66 comments:

Varda said...

My heart breaks open again. you are in my thoughts.

Lisa said...

When I read that your neck of the woods was getting slammed, I immediately thought of you and your family, and prayed. And then to read about the lives lost in the paper...just broke my heart. Those families, and those who understand their ache are all in my thoughts and prayers today.

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

Falls Church and the storm damage there was featured on the news, so I thought of you.

But then I think of you every single day. Jack too.

Anne said...

Anna,
I think of you all everyday.And we all continue to pray.And our hearts and prayers go out to everyone with this latest storm and those horrific fires in Colorado.
(((((Hugs))))
Anne

Suburban Correspondent said...

I thought of the similarity between the two days, also. Back when I moved to this area, one of its assets was that it DIDN'T have extreme weather.

We have power and AC, if you need it.

Stimey said...

I was thinking of you during the storms and yesterday during the power outages. My heart also goes out to those who lost people in the storm.

Leeann said...

Yes, Anna, the similarities of the storms came to mind immediately for me as well.

I thought of your family and my heart just hurt. I figured you were without power and felt grief wash over me as I realized what memories would arise.

Blessings and love to you and your family.

Meredith Self said...

I was thinking of you all through the storm. Totally surprised by it, again. Also send love to the families affected and mourning...knowing all too well the devastation. So sorry for your loss and pain. Love you.

Christy said...

I couldn't help but think of you all all weekend. Hugs, prayers and love Anna.

Amy said...

I was thinking of you on Friday. My prayers continue to be with you.

Mimi said...

I'm so sorry you have having to live through this deja vu weather. I know now why I had been having Anna on my mind 24/7 for the last week or so. I always think of you and your family, but this last week, there have been only a handful of times where something didn't make me think of Jack. Without ever knowing Jack, it is in awe that he is so omniscient in my life. Really reminds me of how God is also everywhere.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to those who have joined that terrible club. I'm so sorry.

You and your family remain in my prayers.

Nomads By Nature said...

As soon as I heard of the storms, you and your family were in my thoughts immediately along with friends and family in the area. Reminders again that relationships and faith are what matter most and that life is precious and fragile. Holding you in prayer through.

Recovering Church Lady said...

I hate how there are SO VERY MANY memory triggers for you time and time again. But then again, there are other memory triggers that you will cherish as the years pass. I am so sorry that the absence of your Jack has to keep jabbing at you the way it does. I am praying that the pain can be turned to thankfulness more often than not.

Lisa said...

Love you all so very much

zcan said...

I thought of you so much during the storm, knowing that it was going to feel horribly familiar to you. Love you.

Kimberly said...

I was thinking about you during the storms, and even more during the news of the aftermath. Praying for you, as always.

Also, random trivia. My cousin Dan played Shawn Daley (the obnoxious football star) in the movie version of Tuesdays with Morrie. Love that book.

OSMA said...

As we sit outside cooking dinner on a Coleman stove and grilling pounds of thawing meat, we are counting our blessings the only thing lost here is electricity here in trampled on Falls Church. I, too, thought of you during the storms and prayed nobody got caught in those insane winds. So glad Tim arrived home safely. They sounded like what I image a tornado to sound like and the derecho looks something out of science fiction movie!

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you... Hoping there are moments of peace...

Lots of love
x

Jane said...

Anna,
I just finished the book This Is How, by Augusten Burroughs. Thought of you through a few parts of it, although I don't know you. I highly recommend that you at least stand in the bookstore and read the parts you think apply. Amazing.

Laura said...

Oh, Anna.

Love and prayers ~ always.
xoxo

Princess Kate said...

Thinking of all of you. Still strong in my prayers and thoughts for peace and comfort. Jack's blue ribbon was strong out there on Friday night. It was the first thing I checked Saturday morning.

NanaDiana said...

Anna- My throat still lumps up every time I come here. It is a club no one ever wants to join- xo Diana

A Speckled Trout said...

My husband is an avid cyclist and does many charity rides. This weekend, a guy he had met last year and experienced bike rider, called his wife to tell her he was nearly finished and on his way in. A few minutes later, he was hit by a car and died on the side of the road.

The randomness of death and the fragility of life take my breath away. I can't imagine what it does to you.

ella said...

So much love being sent to you, Tim, and Margaret. Stupid storms.

Anonymous said...

This one snuck up on us, we weren't tuned in to tv. We huddled together too. The next day I saw the news 2 dead in Fairfax. That's all, just a ticker tape line in the bottom of the news screen but my mind went to who's son? Daughter? Mother? Sister? Father? Friend? Wife? Husband? Someone's life was changed in an instant. I'm do sorry Anna.
Sandie brown

Claire Plante said...

I think of you so often, but especially during storms. It snuck up on us as well and I am so glad to hear Tim made it home and that the three of you had each other for support.

Sending love and prayers as always,
Love,
Claire

Unknown said...

Thank you for your words that I am not sure how you find. Thank you for your humble ability to put into words the most devestating heart break and bring it to a touchable place. I pray for you and your family almost as solidly and forcefully as I pray for my own... sometimes more. You have given me a gift... for one circumstance, for one moment perspective mingled with grace. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I worried about you with the storm- I think of you daily and read my husband several recent posts as we were on a long car trip with our kids. He seemed to "get" that my reading of a few blogs is more than just "for fun" but is inspirational for me as well. You and your family are in my prayers, as always.

Stacy in B'ham AL

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I think about you whenever we get storms and power lines go down. Love you Anna.

Geri said...

A month before he died our son was home for a visit. We saw a really bad car accident, and when the ambulance pulled away slowly, I started to cry. He asked me why I was crying, and I said the person in the ambulance was dead, or it wouldn't be driving slowly with no lights, and that someone was going to get THAT call, the one that says their loved one is gone, and their life will never be the same. Little did I know in one short month a policeman would knock at our door and the same thing would happen to us. And I thought of you, again, when I heard there were deaths from a storm, and what a horrible deja vu that must have been for your family. I am so so happy Tim made it home, that must have been so scary for you and Margaret. We always say life can change in an instant, with no warning, and I cry and pray for you, and for me, and for all the people who have that as their reality. Take care, and thank you for sharing that quote at the end.

New Mom said...

I have been without internet access for a few weeks and it's been so hard not checking in here! It's such a blessing though that wherever I go and whatever experiences I have, my heart and mind often wander to Jack and all the special lessons I've learned from this sweet blog.

I too immediately thought of your family as I read the news about the crazy storms in your area. I'm in California, but your state is making the top stories on our local evening news. You're so good to reach out to others who are now mourning and it's a good reminder for us all to keep those families in prayer.

Bless you!

Anonymous said...

@Geri, I'm so sorry for your loss. I appreciate that quote at the end, too. God bless.

Hunter said...

Anna,

I check your blog everyday--something a normal 17 year old teenage male probably does not do--and my heart breaks every time. I am amazed by your ability to use words to make us understand the pain. I am really sorry and I honestly think of your family quite often. I thought of you when the Weather Channel said the East Coast was getting slammed.

I just recently returned from the East Coast for a school trip, and while travelling along the George Washington Parkway, I couldn't imagine how such a seemingly peaceful location in our country could change in an instant and create such pain in not only a family, but a community as well.

Sending you happy and peaceful thoughts.

Hunter

Lesley T. said...

Wow, Hunter, you sound like an incredibly mature and awesome 17-year-old! Reading your comment made me feel hopeful for the future.

Anna, you were in my thoughts during the storm as well. I'm in Richmond, and it came on so suddenly while I was outside trying to run that I was almost caught in it about half a mile from my house. My husband drove out to find me and urged me home.

The intensity and severity of these storms are overwhelming and frightening. I hope we have fewer of them, but when the next one inevitably pummels us, I hope you can find some small comfort in the fact that many people are thinking of you and hoping for the thunder, lightning, rain, and wind to pass by quickly without leaving more damage and despair in its wake.

Cyd said...

Anna,
A friend told me about your blog and I have been following since you lost your son last September. Your writing is beautiful. Is there a way to e-mail you? Thank you!

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your ongoing pain, Anna! We send our love and prayers. :-)

Love your cousin, Emily R.

mgh said...

Anna, I've been thinking about you all weekend. The storm blew up so quickly here that pieces of our lawn furniture were in the neighbors yard before we realized it. Emma thought I was being ridiculous when I called to warn her to be cautious on her 20 mile drive home. It was a beautiful day, she said. Turns out she drove right into it. Taking her more than an hour to get home. I almost worried more... Jack has taught me that life can change ... Life can end... In an instant. I'm not eager to join your club. But I'm so thankful for all that I've learned from you.
Lots of love xoxox

Kara said...

Its so strange that there are storms raging in your part of the country, when here in the midwest we're in a terrible drought. I sometimes feel angry that you all have to deal with so many reminders of that night and then here you are praying for others and reminding me to do the same. Your heart amazes me and inspires me.

IrishRN07 said...

Thought about you often this weekend. Life changes without warning; I never get used to that. Sometimes the changes are good. As for the next major "without warning" event in your lives... May it be one that causes tears of joy, not sorrow.

PS: Love the line from Tuesdays With Morrie.

Me, My Life and I said...

Anna,

My love and prayers are with you always.

Anonymous said...

You were included in my prayers this morning. Thoughts of you and your beautiful Jack fill my mind daily as I watch my own boys.
I pray to God that you find some comfort through my prayers and the prayers of so many others.

Take care, Jackie in NY

Gina said...

Yes, it is a VERY SHITTY club for those of us left behind. The pain of losing a child is like nothing else on this earth. It feels like a walking death sentence on this earth. Like a part of you had died but you still have to try to find a way to live. Yet the whole point of being a Christian and loving Jesus on this earth is the promise that one day we will enter heaven. My seven year old daughter and I drove past a cemetary yesterday and she asked me "Mommy, one day does everyone go to the cemetary?" and I answered "Yes, honey, one day everyone does." and she said "Even Jaedyn?" and then I tried to explain "No, not Jaedyn". I chose to have my first daughter creamated after her death because as morbid as it sounds I always wanted her with me. I was the mom who slept with her bouncy seat on the bed with me for weeks after she died so I could somehow feel close to her. How do you explain all the intracacies of death to a seven year old? Hell, how do you explain it to anyone of any age. I have a feeling when we all do enter the gates of heaven we will perceive death as a precious gift that we no longer had to live in these bodies that are dying daily (2 Cor. 5:2-4). But until then we see through a glass darkly and have to trust His heart even if it is difficult to understand His hand.

Anonymous said...

I loved the comment from Hunter.

Anna--this was scary to read about. I'm glad the three of you are safe. But I'm sick that there has to be more weather-related death and destruction so close to home...or anywhere for that matter.

love,
jbhat

andnowwearesix said...

We've been following the WPost storm updates and emails from family and friends closely, even tho from afar. And thinking so much of you and yours and wondering how you were enduring storms, power out, and flooding. There are so many, many days when we think and talk about you and pray for you, but this weekend seemed "urgent."

PS: didn't get to post in a timely way, but I laughed out loud about Taco Bell. Please, please, please write a book

Theresa O said...

I also thought of you during the storms Friday night....and continue to pray for all of you.

So another odd thing happened the other day - my parents were staying with Zach and I, due to power outages ---I was coming downstairs and I heard Zach telling my mom about his imaginary friend - Jack. And mentioned his age as being 12, which I don't think I have ever mentioned Jack's exact age to Zach (and I know he would've been 13 a few months ago), but he was going on and on about a boy named Jack. It gave me goosebumps....and thought of you again. For some reason, Zach brings up Jack - a lot. Maybe it's because Zach has always had a hard time imagining me going to Heaven and leaving him behind, he had a fear about me dying for awhile -not ever sure why (I often wondered if he knew something I didn't!)...he use to talk about Heaven alot...so maybe there is a sense of him being worried for Jack, wondering if he is ok in Heaven.. but there is something that keeps bringing Jack's name to Zach's ADHD's busy little mind...and I think it's pretty awesome.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

As one who lived with those wild storms for 4 years (tornado in our part of Loudoun one day right when I was expecting my youngest home on the school bus), I tense up whenever I hear about such weather.
I moved across the country last July, but Suburban Correspondent told me about Jack in September and I've been following ever since. When I read the news on Saturday, my heart seized up, thinking of you... and others who have unwillingly joined the club that no one wants to join.

Lady Jennie said...

I just read my friend's blog about the storms in the DC area and I immediately thought of you, wondering how it was for you.

Hugs.

Princess Kate said...

Just stopping by to say I'll be praying you thru another holiday without. Comfort, peace and warm thoughts for all of you.

LauraBeth said...

Anna...

Prayers for a peaceful and peace-filled July 4th holiday...

You, Tim, and Margaret are in my thoughts and prayers, now and in the coming days.

Love and hugs from the other side of town...

Anonymous said...

Anna, like reader who posted, I checked to see if Jack's blue ribbons were intact since we live 2 neighborhoods away from you. I worried about some of the ones the kids and I tied, knowing they weren't knotted. And yet not a single one disappeared; they are all there, resolute, along Lawyers Rd and the other streets around town. Jack is definitely present and watching over the three of you, I'm sure of it.

You are always in our thoughts and prayers - my 5 year old noted, out of the blue a week or so ago, that she prays for Jack every day. Jack has inspired so many of us, as you have with your amazing and courageous writing.

Anonymous said...

Keeping you in my prayers this holiday.

(hugs)

Michele McGovern said...

I'm also a member of the shittiest club on earth. Have been since 1997. Losing my son changed me forever....

I remember, at the time, thinking, "How in the hell am I supposed to live like this? Without my child"? I didn't think I could do it. I didn't want to do it, quite frankly.

So much has happened between then and now. I learned that I *could* do it. That God never left me. That he slowly unrolls every crappy thing in this life to reveal something shiny. I didn't believe he could do it back then. I do now.

Praying for all of us. We know pain like no other.

Franny said...

Every time I hear the med flight I say a little prayer. I know lives have changed forever. So instantaneously, so tragically. This leaves all the parents who still have their children here with terror in their hearts, and holes for all the parents we know have lost a child. Praying for you all who have lost too much.

Laura said...

Stopping by to wish your sweet family a happy 4th ~ and praying you feel Jack's loving presence nearby.
xoxo

Laurie said...

Thought of you during these storms, even though I don't have any connection to you or your family except through what you have shared in your blog. I wanted to tell you that last Sunday, I was driving on an unfamiliar road in northern Virginia, and I was thinking of you and praying for the families who lost loved ones in last Friday's storm (because yes, some of my most heartfelt prayers are said in the car). And then I noticed the car in front of me had one of the blue ribbon sticker/magnets with Jack's name. To me, a sign.

kimberwidmer.com said...

I of course, thought of you immediately when I heard of the storms in your area. Every time it rains hard here, I think of you, as my family was hunkered down in torrential rains during that time… and it was not long after that I received the call.
I'm so sorry that you're in that shit-club, Anna. To have your heart put through the meat grinder like that. I hate it for you.
But you, dear Anna, are bringing forth beauty from ashes. You are. In your grief, you are.
Even though I'm a suckky blog-follower {thank you iPhone} I think of you all the time and your family is always in our prayers. Always.
Hoping you have electricity now. Praying for your physical comfort and your healing hearts.

Marinka said...

I think of you every day, Anna. All of you. xo

Princess Kate said...

On my way to work this morning I was thinking of you and your family and saying a little prayer (do we all pray in the car? I know I do since it's the only time I really get peace after dropping all the kids off). Anyway, I was thinking of your family and the next thing I knew I saw a car with Jack's blue ribbon on it. It made me smile.

Anonymous said...

There are stars whose light only reaches the earth long after they have fallen apart. There are people whose remembrance gives light in this world, long after they have passed away. This light shines in our darkest nights on the road we must follow.
--from The Talmud

Mama Mary said...

I love that quote from Tuesdays with Morrie, thanks for sharing that. ANd of course, thank you for sharing all of your heart. We are here to listen and uplift you with prayers.

OSMA said...

Stopping in to say I'm thinking of you four. Hoping the weekend is busy and stormless. xoxo

LauraBeth said...

Sending a few more prayers your way today...

Mrs Changstein said...

Thinking of & praying for you these summer days. xo Cindy

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I will pray for those whose families are now in mourning. My gut hurts so deeply for your pain and loss. ((HUGS))

Ann Imig said...

Yes, I've been thinking of you. As I often do.