Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I Wanted

My mom had 3 kids in 4 years.

Our closeness in age did not make for conflict-free sibling relationships, but did steep us in a family culture that decades later I can't describe adequately but I can conjure up in an instant by remembering a song, a smell, the sound of the squeaky manual pencil sharpener mounted on the side of our kitchen cabinet, or the crusty feel of not-very-clean shag carpet under my feet.

Much of the time I thought of my brother and sister as my adversaries, conspiring somehow to take what was rightfully mine and rob me of my much deserved joy. Yes, I was a dramatic child.

But I loved that I always had siblings around testing the waters, just ahead of me in school and life. My feather-haired, smart-alecky sister an 8th grader to my 7th, or my good-natured, good-old-boy of a brother who was a senior in high school when I was a freshman.

Sure, they never wanted to let me ride along in their friends's cars to school, so I took the bus a lot. Mom had to listen to my whine-filled reasoning, "but we're all going the the same exact place!" Occasionally, she would force them to include me, but sitting in the back of a 70's panel truck with my brother and his friends, or in a Datsun with a bunch of older girls as they pulled into 7-11 on an early morning Diet Coke run didn't feel as great as it would have had I been included on my own (feeble) merits.

But even when I didn't belong, I knew I belonged to something. We were the Whiston kids. We were family. I knew if I needed something, my brother or sister would defend me-- would "have my back"-- even though we didn't know the phrase back then.

And as I remember being excited and intrigued as my brother got his first "girlfriend" in 6th grade, watching him play football in the high school stadium on hormone-charged, electric fall nights, or swapping Forenza sweaters with my sister and her cool friends, I realize more than ever, how much Margaret has lost in losing Jack.

For Margaret and Jack were as close as any brother and sister I have known. They had their own language. Private jokes. Each spring when the school yearbook came out, they would stretch out on the floor, heads together, dissecting it page by page, photo by photo, no teacher or student left undiscussed. In school, we knew whatever projects Jack did, or books he read, Margaret would encounter a short two years later, probably with much less complaining. Jack knew he was, to use his words, "The Practice Child," as we tried to figure out how to draw boundaries and parent through any particular stage. He blazed the trail, and Margaret followed.

I counted on Jack figuring out middle school first. Then high school. I wanted his friends to come over and hang out around our kitchen table, the same table where my brother and his friends attempted to eat spaghetti through their noses more than 25 years ago. I knew that if Margaret would get used to having boys around, she would see them as a cadre of protective older brothers-- not just as conquests or conquerors-- but people.

You see, my brother and his friends were the ones who vetted my dates. They were the ones who showed me that guys were not some rare, exotic species that I needed to put on a pedestal or work too hard to impress. Instead, they hung out at our house. They played games. They made me laugh. They sat on a stool in our kitchen as my mom cut their hair. I counted on this same easy familiarity being one of the many benefits Margaret would experience by having Jack for an older brother. Jack could help de-mystify boys for her, just as my brother did for me.

Plus, I wanted Jack and Margaret to keep sharing secrets and experiences, because unlike friends, siblings know how far is too far afield from a family's culture and values. They know a family belongs together. I pictured funny, yet fundamentally straight-laced Jack being the cute older brother driving Margaret and her friends to youth group on Sunday nights. I wanted him to be the brother who knew, even if it meant cutting his own fun short, that he needed to get his little sister out of there if a high school party got dicey.

I wanted. I wanted. I wanted.

Yes, the loss of 12 year old Jack is painful and devastating, particularly when thinking of how much his lttle sister misses him today. But the Jack I'm mourning today is 17 year old Jack for 15 year old Margaret.

84 comments:

Arnebya said...

I have no words. I never really have words that I feel do your writing justice. We forget sometimes, at least those of us who have not experienced such a devastating, life altering loss, the effect that the loss of life, of a son, of a brother, a nephew, a friend, a student -- has on EVERYONE that he touched.

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

wow. The realities of loss are difficult to face in the moment, even when we are surrounded by those that pour out their affection and their love. It is the realties of life AFTER that moment - when everyone else still goes about their business - but impact those that have experienced the everyday pains of that loss are unbearable. I feel you.

KEEP BELIEVING

Ellen aka Ellie said...

One day it will be the groomsman to her groom, the uncle to her children, the brother to stand beside her as her parents grow old.

You will always, always miss him.

I shall do my best to always, always remember him, but I know that is poor comfort.

Jack, Margaret's big brother. May she think of him and know, "What would Jack tell me?" "How would Jack want me to handle this?" (I wish I could italicize in comments, because I would italicize know.)

Sandy P said...

I have attended the funerals of 2 college students. Both of them were former students of mine. I remember looking at their sisters and aching for them as they grew older without their sibling to share experiences. I can only imagine how you must ache.

Zoey said...

I stare at the comment field, wanting to put into words the lump you leave in my throat, and all I can come up with is Oh sweet Anna. How sorry I am, for you, for Margaret, for Tim... just so, so sorry.

Theresa O said...

And even though I never met Jack, I'm missing him with you - horribly. And wishing you, Margaret and Tim could still have all that and more with Jack. So wishing..... Many prayers and so many hugs!!!!!!

OSMA said...

This undoes me. Absolutely cannot see keys to type because I felt every word. My boy and girl remind me of my brother and me growing up exactly how you described with your siblings. For Margaret to be robbed of all the future Jack is inexplicable and unimaginably harsh. I'm so sorry you, Tim, and dear Margaret are faced with mourning Jack on countless levels. Today, I'm imagining a 17 year old Jack with his lanky yet lean arms around a 15 year old Margaret who knows forever that her brother adores her.

xoxo

Christy said...

Oh Anna, I know. Margaret's words that awful night have crept into my head so many times. She didn't want to be an only child. I know you didn't want her for that either. Oh how I wish I could take away even a smidgen of your pain. Hugs, love, and PRAYERS. xo

The Empress said...

I hear what you are saying.

I do.

Life, forever altered, you, all of you stumbling on an unknown path that leads to somewhere you never planned on going.

I love you, Anna, and pray for your heart, Tom's, and Margaret's.

Every night.

xo

LauraBeth said...

Tears...
Hugs...
Love...

You, Tim, and Margaret... This day, every day, are in my thoughts, prayers, and heart.

With love from the other side of town...

Ashley Austrew said...

I never feel like I have the right words to comment on these posts. Your words are so simple and so powerful. They cut right to the core. I can't begin to imagine the loss you're facing, the loss you'll continue to face. I miss Jack without ever having known him.

NanaDiana said...

My heart aches for all of you-especially Margaret. She has truly been dealt a terrible blow- losing her best friend AND her brother- I can't imagine- xo Diana

Gigi said...

I'm with Ashley; I never feel like I have the right words. But know that there are many out here who care and are continuing to keep you all in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

It's true. He would have helped her immensely, in ways big and small. But he still will, somehow. She'll get winks from Jack, or perhaps just a feeling inside,....from remembering and having known what a good boy is like.

Your having put this into words, words that you can share now or someday, will help her immensely too.

love,
jbhat

thedoseofreality said...

Simply as devastating a post to read as any you have ever written. I just had a conversation with my sister last night about movies from the '80's we both loved. It was that kind of conversation that you can only have with a sibling.
It shreds my heart to realize that your child will not have that experience. Because as you said so eloquently, it is the future Margaret who needs the future Jack. And I think it is just absolutely sucks that she will not have him.
And I know, I know that sorry simply doesn't mean shit in this case.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I didn't have an older brother - and I think that would have been a very good thing for me growing up. So it particularly pisses me off that Margaret actually HAD a big brother...all of the "should have's"...

But I do like to think that there will ALWAYS be a big brother to help guide her away from dicey situations no matter how old she is.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sweet Anna,
I am so sorry for your loss and for your pain.

Shell Flower said...

You had me laughing at Forenza sweaters, but crying by the end of this. Aw siblings, how we love to hate them yet love to have them, too. It's really lame that 15 yr. old Margaret won't have 17 yr. old Jack, but I believe that Jack will still have her back. Call me crazy, but I know he's watching out for her and always will.

meredith said...

Anna, I lost my dad when I was 11. I hated being different than everyone else and sad that I didn't have the same experiences as my friends. I envied their father/daughter relationships. But for what its worth, the dicy high school experiences? He was with me every step of the way. I always knew when to leave a party or not be a part of a situation because I could feel my dad and knew he was with me. And that was comforting. God bless. Xoxo

Suburban Correspondent said...

It's the ripple effect - there is the horror and sadness of losing him initially, plus all these ripples of grief spreading out from that tragic event. Like ripples in a pond, they do get fainter the farther out you get, thankfully.

We tend to assume a lot when we envision our children's futures, not aware of the unknowable bearing down on us. There are so many ways of losing a child, a sibling....I know this from experience. We really cannot count on ANYTHING. Except God's love, of course...in the end, we are alone with that.

Ann Imig said...

The losses keep coming at you. I agree with what the others have said--she will always have Jack and know his guidance.

Bethany said...

Thanks for another funny and insightful post! But I know it will never be the same. It may be touchy - and I understand that nobody could ever replace Jack - but if I might suggest adoption? I have a love for orphans, both preteen and infant, and you might too.
If God has carried you this far, though, he will carry through the rest of the way. But all of this won't make Margaret any less of the wonderful woman she is becoming - it will make her stronger and indomitable: who God is shaping her to be.

Fiona, LilyfieldLife said...

I can so understand this sadness. We have our expectations of how our lives and our children's lives will be. hard to let that go. You have a beautiful gift of writing - thanks for sharing once again.
thinking of you all
Fiona xx

A Speckled Trout said...

Jack will forever remain perched on Margaret's shoulder whispering advice when she needs it most. In her still moments, she will hear him. Always.

Geri said...

Oh Anna, again, your words. So simple and true. And heartbreaking. We have lost so much. Our daughters have lost so much. And yes, we know that we still have so much. But still....

agent99 said...

I cannot feel YOUR pain.....but I understand in some small way. My older daughter is affected by Rett Syndrome. To her younger sister, she will never be someone to confide in, get advice from, or tell secrets to. While my younger daughter is her sister's fiercest advocate, it is essentially a one way relationship. One of the things I mourn for is my younger child's "only child"-ness. I love them each as best I can, and hope that will be enough. I know this experience will give her strength and compassion beyond her years; it's just that those weren't the gifts I had hoped to give. I think the only way to handle it is to be open about the terrible loss you have all had, and share the grief. Sending you peace and comfort.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Margaret will not have the same life she would have had with her big brother Jack. And it is okay to be sad about that. It stinks! But she will have an amazing and happy life. She is blessed to be surrounded by people who love her deeply. Through the sadness and the tears, hold on to that Anna. Hugs to you and your precious family!

IrishRN07 said...

Prayers for your brave girl and her family. May you all experience grace more deeply grief.

Delenn said...

Not only did this remind me how loss is a gift that keeps on giving...it also made me want to hug my brother (younger) a little more.

[[Hugs]]

Laura said...

My eyes drip such heavy tears when I think of dear Margaret's loss. Still, though, I can't help but think that an angel the magnitude of your sweet Jack will forever be there when she needs him most.

I know . . . not even close to the same as being there in person ~ as he should be ~ but he'll always, always be looking out for her.

Praying for continued strength for each of you.
xoxo

Connie said...

Anna you have such a gift when it comes to illustrating a feeling! I certainly understand the want, my kids are only 1 year and 3 weeks apart so they do a lot of sharing experiences. When they bicker, I tell them how they should get along because they are the only two who will take this walk (siblings in the same family sharing the same daily routine, etc) together. When they grow up they will be unbeatable at Pictionary - not because they are good artists...but because they have their own shorthand...they will know what picture to draw to remind the other of the key word. Just as my sisters and I are unbeatable. I get it, I get what you wanted. I am so sorry for Margaret's loss because Jack would have lead her well. God has a path for her to walk and learn. But, I get it.

Anonymous said...

You wanted, and now you know a want that no mother should ever experience. Margaret is just the sweetest, and I'm so sorry. It seems that there are always new dimensions to your loss, and yet you still give me strength. Every single day that you get up and go about your day, is an amazing accomplishment. The comments preceding mine are so heartfelt that I don't feel I'm adding anything new, but I still wanted to say that.

Mandy said...

So eloquently written! I love the way you capture hearts with your words. You made me think about my relationship with my brother (my only brother, 2 years older than me), and you made me think about my 2 little boys. Siblings share a bond that is hard to describe; but you did so beautifully. Thank you for sharing.

Hugs and prayers to you and your family.

Connie said...

Anna you have such a gift when it comes to illustrating a feeling! I certainly understand the want, my kids are only 1 year and 3 weeks apart so they do a lot of sharing experiences. When they bicker, I tell them how they should get along because they are the only two who will take this walk (siblings in the same family sharing the same daily routine, etc) together. When they grow up they will be unbeatable at Pictionary - not because they are good artists...but because they have their own shorthand...they will know what picture to draw to remind the other of the key word. Just as my sisters and I are unbeatable. I get it, I get what you wanted. I am so sorry for Margaret's loss because Jack would have lead her well. God has a path for her to walk and learn. But, I get it.

anymommy said...

I'm crying for your losses and your grief and your pain. I also recognize the incredible gift in this essay. I worry so often about the "cons" of four bunched siblings, the rivalries and annoyances and cruel words and divided time. You have made me see with such clarity the positives. xoxo.

Connie said...

Anna you have such a gift when it comes to illustrating a feeling! I certainly understand the want, my kids are only 1 year and 3 weeks apart so they do a lot of sharing experiences. When they bicker, I tell them how they should get along because they are the only two who will take this walk (siblings in the same family sharing the same daily routine, etc) together. When they grow up they will be unbeatable at Pictionary - not because they are good artists...but because they have their own shorthand...they will know what picture to draw to remind the other of the key word. Just as my sisters and I are unbeatable. I get it, I get what you wanted. I am so sorry for Margaret's loss because Jack would have lead her well. God has a path for her to walk and learn. But, I get it.

The Bipolar Diva said...

that's powerful Anna. ♥

Jill said...

After finally meeting Margaret a few weeks ago, the pain of this hits me even more.

Tears and Love for you girlfriend ...

Lady Jennie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lady Jennie said...

Okay my last comment made no sense so I deleted it. I'm trying to say that my heart is filled with your loss.

Love you.

Varda said...

Okay you have me crying all over the computer again this morning. What a beautiful essay for such painful thoughts.


Also it really stirred something in me, as I read about the friendship your children had.

I in my own way have also had to let go of my dreams for what a family might be. Raised as an only child who longed for siblings, I was thrilled that I was having twins, thinking they would never be lonely. But with Jake being autistic, Ethan is as lonely as I was as a child but without any peace, as he has an intrusive, loud brother he can neither play with easily nor talk with. I hope someday they will develop some sort of close relationship, but right now I live in the house of anger and resentment.

My heart goes out to you once again my friend. (And I am so glad to have had the chance to meet you in person at BlogHer.)

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

Oh, Anna. Thinking of you and your family every single day...

Annabelle said...

Anna,

I miss Jack and I didn't meet him until after he was already ahead of me. (But I do know I will meet him later.)

Shell Flower is right. He will take care of her. Remember all the times we all have seen him already from Indiana to VA. That Still.Small.Voice will be Jack for Margaret. And the prayers for that girl - she will have more covering now than she ever would have without all this. (little consolation, i know.)

Oh Anna. I'm a fixer. You stretch my faith. I am so sorry. And thank you.

Much love and blessings,
Anne

Chrisy said...

I can only try to imagine...and even then, it's selfishly painful for me. My heart aches for you, Tim, and Margaret. xxxooo and a kiss and hug for Jack, too xo

darcie said...

I have no words, for your words, but I didn't want to lurk and not say something, anything.

My heart aches for you, and for Margaret.
Thinking of you -
xxoo

mgh said...

Praying for you. If you're like me I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how last year at this time I had no idea how my life was about to change. My heart aches as I wonder if you are recounting those last weeks and days, trying to cherish them and commit every mundane detail to memory.

I loved the beginning of this blog:
"My mom had 3 kids in 4 years. Our closeness in age did not make for conflict-free sibling relationships, but did steep us in a family culture that decades later I can't describe adequately..." It makes me happy to know that I have something in common with your mom -- 3 kids in 4 years -- and that you now recognize it as a blessing.

with lots of love xoxoxo

ALI said...

I grew up in a very different family. My brother never had my back like that. And infertility pretty much sealed the deal that J (a miracle blessing that hs is) will be an only child for us.

I mourn this loss as well. I mourn it, but I've learned over the past 4 years to celebrate it as well.

I'm sure it is so very different for you because you had Jack. You had to show you what kind of person he was & what kind of brother. Margaret is lucky because she can hang onto that as she ages. Every man can be compared "will he care/protected/cherished/etc. for me the way Jack would have?

She is lucky to have such a great measuring stick & example to look for in future suitors.

Hugs & prayers.

Karen said...

My kids are 2 & 3 (18 months apart). I’m counting on all the same things you counted on for Jack and Margaret. When I read your posts, my heart aches because you’re living one of my biggest fears. Your words remind me to never, ever take a single moment for granted. Even when they’re pushing each other or when my son locks his sister out of his room so he can play with his Legos in peace. I’m not at all saying that the tragedy of losing Jack happened so that I can appreciate my kids a little more but I do hold them closer and thank God for another day when I read your words. You make me want to be a better mom because none of us ever knows what the future holds. All we have is right now.

the ::packs:: said...

I feel your pain. Poor, sweet Margaret. Love this post. xoxo

Issas Crazy World said...

I've thought about this post since you put it up. I can't get over that last part. Missing 17 year old Jack for 15 year old Margaret. I can't even imagine.

Huge hugs Anna.

Hopefully when the time comes, Jacks friends will step in a bit.

Stimey said...

I get this so much. I know how powerful that bond is and I'm so sorry that Margaret won't have that. I know it hurts. I'm so sorry. XOXO

Steph said...

I am blown away by the enormity of your family's loss. So very sorry for your loss. Wishing you peace and love.

Lyndsay said...

No words of mine could do justice to such a beautifully written post. I wish I could say - no! It won't be so bad! But you're right... you're totally right. What Margaret has lost (what all of you have lost) is so immense and irreplacible. You're in my prayers.

Marinka said...

One of my oldest friends lost her brother to a tragic accident when he was a teenager. She misses him daily, and even though I met her after his passing, I feel like I (and all of her friends) know him. I know she feels like he watches over her.

xox

Mama Kat said...

My Dad died when I was 7 and the morbid sense of humor my siblings and I developed over the years has us sometimes speculating all the horrible things that might have happened if Dad had lived.

If Dad had lived we never would have moved, we would have gone to different high schools and maybe made friends with drug addicts, we would have dropped out and married men who locked us in closets while they worked and we would have resorted to large amounts of alcohol consumption to survive each day.

By coming up with these ridiculous stories we'd be all "So really it was probably for the best!" Though we don't really believe any of that, it helped a little.

Isn't it altogether possible that Margaret might have fallen deeply in love with one of Jack's less than stellar drop out high school friends and could have run away to marry him at just 15 years old?

Okay probably not possible, but sometimes thinking like that softens things.

I wish I could bring him back to you.

spedhead said...

The loss is just so devistating.... I love to read your posts so much but how I wish it was just beautifully written fiction.

Sharon said...

Every day, I remember Jack. I need to remember Jack so that I don't get caught up in all the petty BS that I can sometimes get caught up in. Every day, I try to remember to "be kind, pay attention, think, play, never give up and to share others' joy" so that I can fully appreciate the gift I have in my children and in my family and friends. Every day, I remember Jack and try to be a better mom, a better sister, a better daughter, a better friend, a better co-worker because of him. Hugs and love to you and yours Anna.

PeachPrenni said...

Oh Anna. I want that for Margaret too--so much!! God will provide those big brothers though. They will come in the way of cousins, youth group leaders, and just good Christian friends. Plus she has 2 exceptional parents leading her down the right path and that is big stuff! I think of you every day and I think of your sweet boy too. Especially when I see a bird!
Love you,
Annie

Heather said...

Prayers and hugs for Margaret tonight...and for all those future "big brother needed moments" in her life to come. While we know their big brothers are still watching over them, just from a higher place, it doesn't dissolve the pain.

Truthful Mommy said...

Nothing anyone can ever say can make this easier on any one. You all lost him but he is always with you in your heart and Margaret will have that with her always. I am so sorry that you all have to go through this. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

I have a 16 year old son and 13 year old daughter so I can really understand what you are talking about Anna.

They are getting to the stage where they are squabbling less and becoming each other's strongest support. The impact of loss would be extremely devastating for either. I can't imagine the pain you, Tim and Margaret are going through.

I send love and pray for you all.

Always thinking of you Anna...

Mommy Mo said...

This post took my breathe away and brought tears to my eyes. I don't know what to say. My oldest is a girl and then two younger boys but I want the same things you wrote about, but from the other side. Hugs.

IrishRN07 said...

Dear Anna,
I saw this quote today and immediately thought of you and your family: "What is to give light must endure burning." -Viktor Frankl, author, neurologist and psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor (1905-1997)
Please know that your family is giving light to the world.
-Maureen

Sherry said...

When I think about your family's journey, I often think about your daughter and the weight of losing her only sibling. You captured that special and irreplaceable bond perfectly.

One crazed mommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Green Family said...

Anna,

I'm here and I'm listening. So many people are holding your hand through cyber air each day.

Keep writing. I'm thinking of Margaret today and sending you both strength and hugs

One crazed mommy said...

just recently found your site through another Blog and after spending time reading, and reading and reading your past posts, I found myself in tears over and over again. I lost my brother when I was 14, and although I don't know the loss as a mother, I have been in Margaret's position - and my heart goes out to her. It is hard losing an only sibling...to this day (24 years later) I sill wonder what if...the possiblities of nieces and nephews, phone calls for advice, and just reminiscing about old times. He was very protective of me, and we were close, despite being 4 years apart in age. So, being an only child sucks...I just look back and thank God that I had 14 years to spend with him - that is better than nothing at all, and I cherish all the memories. I also have found myself in complete and total awe - your sweet Jack sounds soooooo much like my 7 year old son Marshall. The similarities in their personalities, their likes (especially LEGOs), and even the use of witty language (transient joy...my son says odd things like that too - phrases that are too old to be coming out of a 7 year old mouth)- they just struck me - it's eerie! My heart aches for your loss, and for Margaret - we may never know the answers as to why this happened, but hold strong to your faith and know that this is just a temporary state - you WILL see Jack again. Hold that close to your heart when it gets too hard to bear. Big hugs to you!!!
Sorry I originally deleted this post...I had more to add.

Jenng (from SC)

Princess Kate said...

I read this post a few days ago and haven't been able to stop thinking about the "what ifs". My mom had 4 kids under 5 (and one more down the road) and your words about pictionary broke my heart. One of my sisters is my best friend in the world and pictionary is always filled with crazy pictures that no one else gets but us (WE ALWAYS WIN TOO).

No words just reminding you that Jack lives in all us now and we won't let that stop. Love and hugs to you all.

Mexmom said...

I have no words to answer your beautiful writing, but I know that Jack would ALWAYS be there for Margaret.

Gina said...

Anna,

I think about Margaret often. I think about how her world has been impacted. Is she lonely without him? Is she scared? Is she worried about losing one of her parents? Is she.......well, just fill in the blank. My heart aches for her in a way that I can't explain because I am an only child. I DO BELIEVE THIS THOUGH...I do not believe that God allows anything to be taken from us to leave us empty. I believe he fills the emptiness. I pray that as Margaret walks this path that she will be keenly aware of other kids who are hurting because of loss, abuse or lack and will be able to reach out and bridge to the Lord because he has filled her hurting heart as only HE can.

Prayers always going up for your sweet family.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 children, 9 and 12 year old boys and a 6 year old girl. As I sit here reading your post, my home fills with 3 more boys, bringing the innocence of Pokemon cards, talk of this weekend's soccer tournament, and whispers about who-likes-who at school. My daughter is used to it, takes it all in stride, it's just a normal day for her. I get it, I totally get what you're saying. I can't begin to grasp the depth of your loss, your present loss and your loss of the future. THANK YOU for opening up and sharing your thoughts. I'm so glad I discovered your blog.

Kablooey said...

Again, no words suffice. The "what ifs" and dashed dreams for the future will haunt you and your family, I know. As they do for others who have experienced such a terrible loss. That sucks, plain and simple. I hope you can assemble a tribe to help Margaret through those times when Jack would have been there to blaze the trail. It won't be the same, I'm not trying to suggest that it would, but I hope that loving tribe is there when she needs it.

Cynthia said...

Ouch so painful. I hurt foe margz.

ellen said...

My mom had 3 kids in 2 1/2 years (and then the caboose about 5 years later). I'm 13 months younger than my older brother and he died 14 years ago from brain cancer. Losing a sibling is tough; I still miss him every day. His daughter is visiting me right now (she's 17). She looks so much like him. And every time I look at her it reminds me that he's gone. I hope Margaret feels some peace from wonderful memories and a great relationship she had with her brother.

Kara said...

Loss is so hard and so long reaching. A dear friend lost her mother this summer to a terrible disease. Her mom was too young to die, but my friend also seems too young to be without a mother. Standing with her after the funeral she said that she didn't think she would understand how much she had lost until one of her children hit a huge milestone that her mother wouldn't be there for. I couldn't stop thinking about that as I read your words this morning. Praying that God will keep special people, and bring new friends in, to carry her through the times when she feels the loss of her sweet brother. Praying for all of you, still.

Four in Costa Rica said...

I'm so sorry, Anna.

I continue to pray for your family and your tender hearts. Jack and Margaret were so blessed with each other; and Margaret will continue to blessed by Jack's memory. I have to remind myself that life on earth is truly the blink of an eye, though in our human grief and struggling, even seconds can seem eternal. I hope our continued prayers help make the hardest moments a little more bearable for your precious family.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Hi Anna. I wish I had some perspective to share with you. I wish I had some really wise words to give you. I even wish I could just tell you a joke that would make you be less sad. But since I cannot do any of those things, I will just pray for you. No words I - or anyone - can say will take away your hurt. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

Margaret will always have a part of Jack with her...she will hear his wise voice, and she will never walk alone.
Love, Coach Jess

Lisa said...

There definitely is something about the bond between siblings. I've cherish my sisters..I am so, so sorry. The loss is so palpable in this post.

Mrs. LaNeave said...

My children are 3 years to the day both may 2 babies and are currently 1 and 4. They are tremendously close. I have a student who lost her older brother this past school year at Christmas in a boating accident. She was in 7 th grade and her brother was a senior. I found your blog after trying to figure out how to help her through her grieving. She and her mom wrote me the most beautiful thank you letter at the end of the year afternrefrring them to your blog. Your difficult time and inspiration and raw feelings are such an eye opener. God bless you. I pray for you and your family. And I thank you for making me realize the bond between my children is so phenomenal. I was on only child so I don't know. Much love.

Beth

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Deeply sorry for the loss of Margaret's brother and the protection he was going to provide for her. My heart aches. ((HUGS))
Another award winning post from you. In my thoughts and prayers.

Laura said...

I am like Margaret. Except I am the older sibling who lost my very close in age sister and only sibling in a car accident when she was 18 and I was 20. Our birthdays are 2 years and 2 days apart. So every birthday that comes for me is a reminder that we didn't really get to celebrate hers this year. It will be 8 years since she has been gone at the end of this September and I have to tell you; I promise it gets easier to breathe. There's not a day to goes by that I don't think about her and wonder what she would be like, now at 26. And now that I'm married with my own home, a career, and thoughts of starting our own family., I still often find myself pining for her and the what-could-have-been. But eventually enough time goes by that we are just able to simply breathe again and live. And that dark and heavy weight has subdued allowing for healing and more memory making with the ones left living. Hold on, Hope hard. And don't be afraid to grieve. Thinking of you and your lovely family all the time.

karen gerstenberger said...

Though our situation is reversed (our son's younger sister passed away), I understand what you are saying. Oh, the pain of their losses - and how that compounds our pain! To watch David's suffering, his courage and shouldering of the burden of his loss, without being able to alleviate that loss, is a kind of quiet torture.
There is a wonderful group in California called griefHaven which creates a newsletter for grieving siblings. I don't know if it will help your daughter, but it might be worth investigating. I've found their DVD and newsletters inspiring and hope-giving. Bless you and your family!
-Karen
www.abundantlivingaftercatastrophe.wordpress.com

Terb said...

Thank you for this post. I lost my 26-year-old older brother about 20 years ago to cancer and your blog has relived some of my favorite memories of him. We were also quite close, and I miss having him around. I'm currently 3 months pregnant and when people ask whether I want a boy or a girl, I always say I want a boy first then a girl because every girl needs an older brother to look after her. I am sorry that your daughter has lost her brother just as I had to lose mine.