Monday, October 22, 2012

Is That How it Works?

So I'm doing what I've been doing a lot of lately, drinking hot tea and staring at a blank computer screen. I type a few words, and my wonky computer sees fit to delete them at random, or insert what I'm typing right in the middle of my previous sentences. This is annoying and unsettling.

My braces keep getting snagged on the inside of my cheek, but I'm too lazy to go get my wax. Did I tell you I now have braces on my lower teeth? Oh yes I do, and coupled with the Target reading glasses I got on Saturday, I'm now able to rock both sides of the age spectrum on one face!

There's so much I want to write about, but I'm not sure if I have the wherewithal to battle the annoying typing gods to do so.

Today I'm thinking about how our family seems so out of balance these days, and how that makes coping with the big and small news of life difficult. Margaret is living the life of an only child, but it's so different than a typical only child's experience because of our circumstances. She's more lonely child than only child, because she knows what's missing. Not the idea of a sibling, but a real big brother. Hers.

Not only is the safe rhythm of give and take and compromise of her first 9+ years absent, there also seems to be a great sense of responsibility on her shoulders for wanting to hold this family together. I don't want that burden for her.

Before, when Tim and I would bicker, which was fairly often, Jack and Margaret could roll their eyes at one another, knowing that while neither of them liked it, everything would be okay. They knew they were on firm ground. Sure, Jack said it would be fun if we got a divorce because then we'd spoil them by buying them lots of presents-- smart boy-- but he truly felt our family and our future was solid . 

Now, I can tell that our bickering stresses Margaret out. I think it's just one more way she doesn't feel anything's certain anymore. A simple cough could be whooping cough. One beer could be the path to alcoholism. And if mom starts to cry, what if she can't stop? In the past few weeks she has seen families we admire breaking up, Tim's and my peers get diagnosed with cancer, and, hell, she had the reality of  her brother going out to play with her in the warm rain and never coming back.

Jack and Margaret used to worry that I'd die young, as my mother did, and I'd convince them that there was simply no way that would happen. Nope. Been there, done that. It would not happen again.

So, basically, it comes down to credibility, and mine's shot. I didn't manage to keep my kids safe, I am not able to keep cancer at bay. Tim and I have a strong marriage, and breaking up has never been on the table, but who am I to say Margaret is crazy to be stressed by such things?

Impossible things happen.

Prior pain is no protection against future pain.

Life is not fair, for good or for ill.

A few months ago Margaret asked  me,
 "Mom, did you have a good childhood?"
"Yes, it was wonderful," I replied. "Why?"
 "Because you're having a pretty bad adulthood."

She went on:
"I'm having a pretty bad childhood, but I hope that means I'll have a pretty good adulthood."

Wow.

Oh, Sweetie, me too.

84 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love to you both...

Arnebya said...

Oh, I hope her words ring true. Yes, your adulthood right now is pretty crappy but overall? Overall you have her, you had Jack, you still have years ahead (I WANT to go the whole "maybe" route here but I won't. Why? I know you did it anyway). It just all sucks. All of it. That Jack is gone, that you have this new life you didn't ask for, that her childhood isn't looked upon as fun with abandonment. And worse? Worse? These damn braces! (I have them too). My inner right cheek is screaming and yet. Yet, I cannot seem to get up and get the wax. Maybe, just maybe, this is our way of giving in to some kind of pain that we could otherwise abate but we choose not to. Why should our mouths feel better when our hearts hurt so very much?

Thinking of you and knowing you will give your girl all that she needs. All.

Erin said...

If life had a face (and if I thought it would help), I would totally slap it on your behalf.

You are amazing to me...and I don't even know you in real-life. I can only imagine how amazing you are to Margaret and to your husband. I pray that God touches your heart today and gives you the words to say when your sweet girl shares her feelings with you.

I think of Jack and pray for you every time I see a bird. And since my little town has been deemed a "bird sanctuary," just know there are a lot prayers going up for you.

Much love from NC- Erin

kristi said...

Hugs to you all. I cry about my teenager graduating. But at least I get to see her graduate. I should be more thankful.

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

wow- i am crying now for margaret, that poor kid. i hope she has the most amazing adult years life has to ever offer anyone. she surely deserves it.

IrishRN07 said...

Your sweet daughter has amazing parents and an amazing brother. I am confident her childhood will be a happy one, even with this terrible burden. It will not crush her, she will grow strong enough and resilient enough to carry it and thrive. Same goes for you and Tim. This will not crush you, your faith in God and love for Jack is too strong for that.
Sending hugs and prayers.
-Maureen
PS: Tim ROCKS that pink and green. :)

One crazed mommy said...

Oh bless her sweet heart! I know I've written about it before, but I sympathize so much with Margaret. I lost my brother when I was 14 - he was 2 weeks shy of 19. I was in middle school and looked up to him so much. I lost a lot of my confidence after he passed, and it wasn't until after I had my first child that I had a lot of my confidence return. I guess I felt that my safe little world was no longer what I thought it was...people aren't supposed to die young...but then they do. You learn the reality of unfair pretty quickly - and my heart hurts for Margaret. I've been there and done that, and it sucks...bad! But not all of childhood was bad - but there is always a piece of childhood that was lost and can never get back. The gap never fills, but it does get easier to bear. Please give her a big hug from me - a virtual stranger from SC who has been an "lonely" child.
Jenng

Kristi said...

I have tears in my eyes for your sweet Margaret! You inspire me with your grace, strength, and honesty! My love to you!

Anonymous said...

Me three, Margaret. Me three.

And while knowing that the After may never be as good as Before, I am also hoping for a good adulthood for your mom, too. Peace and comfort...

Lisa G. in CT

The Empress said...

Oh, Anna: what can I do for you?

I remember being young and thinking that since crappity crap happened to me when I was so little, that I"d be safeguarded from any other future crappity crap crap.

I remember thinking that so plainly.

I love you all so much, and can cry only for you, because I wish this wasn't life.

But it is, and it is for so many others, too, how do we make it??

xo

Christy said...

Oh my gosh. My heart aches for her (and you guys, too, of course) SO MUCH. Praying hard. xoxo

Suburban Correspondent said...

It seems to me that most of us walk around assuming the opposite of those 3 maxims, until life up and smacks us in the face. And then we wonder how we could not have realized that they are so damn true.

By the way, for 320 dollars, you can get a decent laptop at Staples (at least, my Staples) this week. Marked down from 480, I think...

Jillian22 said...

Prayers for you, Margaret. I can't imagine my life without my little sister... how it would change how I define myself. I don't know how you do it, Margaret (Anna, this goes for you too!) But you are my hero, little girl. You have a smile on your face and you face bravely into the wind of a not-so-good childhood and you WILL overcome and grow up into an amazing woman that your brother Jack will be so proud of. We are all rooting for you, girlie!
Love, a stranger but sister-in-Christ from WI

Masala Chica said...

Oh dear Anna,

My heart aches for you but yes, your concerns for Margaret are natural. She is going to be an amazingly strong girl and while your "adulthood" might suck ass right now (sorry for the profanity, but sister you have been through so much) she will see her parents again when adulthood is good. And while she knows what she is missing in her life without Jack, imagine what she would have missed if she never had jack. I pray for your family and have you in my heart often. The writing, when it comes, gets across what you are feeling beautifully.

Sending love, hugs and so much more.
Kiran

Masala Chica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amber said...

I resonate so much with your feelings, struggles, and words. Our situation is different but still hard. My daughter was diagnosed with cancer just shy of her 3rd birthday and battled it for 2 yrs. She endured chemo, radiation, and 7 surgeries, and was left with lifelong disability. She is now cancer-free, as of her last scans, but our family will never be the same. Both our children were profoundly affected by the experience and the suffering. Life in the pediatric cancer world is so hard. We have buried so many friends that walked this journey with us. Last summer 12 children from our clinic died and this past summer 9 more. My son's best friend is terminal right now. You cannot attend that many funerals for children you love and walk the path of grief with their parents and siblings (many now "onlys") and be okay.

I know God has changed us and we are better people today. We have a more eternal perspective and a powerful testimony to share, but I still struggle so much. All of this, as well as my own autoimmune disease struggles has made it so hard to be the wife and mom I want to be and that my kids deserve. I get so angry that they have to deal with all of this. Seriously, how many kids have buried 21 friends? My daughter still struggles with PTSD and regularly sees a counselor. The happy-go-lucky, optimistic, encourager we took into the cancer world is a stark contrast to the child we brought out. I am on my knees praising God every day for the gift of another day with her, but I can't help but long for the life she had before.

I know God has a unique plan for each one of our lives and He is preparing them for something, but I do pray for more simple childhood joys and hope-filled hearts in all of our kids' futures.

Much love and prayers!

Recovering Church Lady said...

I understand the doubts about the glib promises we make to our kids sometimes. The other night I had a panic attack while my husband was working the night shift. When I started to pray for his safe motorcycle ride home, I immediately recalled that I had also prayed for my sons safety but he had still been hit by a truck and still suffers from it. Yes he survived, but still the doubts can swirl can't they?
Life is so not fair.

Anonymous said...

I know Miss Margaret is precious to you, and it must be so, so hard for both you and Tim to know she's suffering. May God bless your beautiful daughter.

I'm so sorry to learn of the other losses and hardships mentioned in the comments, too.

PS You all look great in your eighties clothes!!

Jamie said...

I think this has taken the innocence away from all of us. We know that the worst can and does happen, and not to just other people. It's hard to deal with as an adult. I can't imagine how hard it is for a child. Love and prayers for all of you.

Karen L. said...

One thing to try with your typing (in case it's the simple thing I was also doing without knowing it) is to make sure you're not accidentally hitting the "Insert Pause" key right above your backspace key. It will affect stuff just like you're describing them.....just hit it and see if it stops the madness. Praying for all of you often.

Anonymous said...

Missed your writing. And was worried about you! I can really relate to Margaret's comment- My dad died when I was 2 and my mom had cancer when I was in high school- so I thought that surely the adulthood part had to be better! (My childhood was a great one, despite the hardships, though) You are both so blessed to have each other. For what it's worth, your writing inspires me- to just enjoy the moments. Which can be really hard to do when you are a controlling mom of 3. Thinking of you.

Stacy in Birmingham, AL

tracy@sellabitmum said...

Oh gosh. So many hugs coming to you all. I love you. Oh so much.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Oh Anna, I really believe that one day Margaret will look back on her childhood and the happy moments will outweigh the sad. No doubt that she should have had more time with her dear Jack, but thoughts of him and the lessons he shared with make her smile. She may be smiling through tears, but she'll be smiling. Hugs to all of you Anna!

Jennifer Swedlund said...

I'm holding you and Margaret in my heart.

Maggie May said...

Anna I am always so grateful when a post of yours pops up in the screen. Blogging has changed a lot, and those who still write the truth of their lives are few and far between. You are one of those, and you write with so much intelligence and heart.

Does Anna love to read? I can't remember if I've seen you talk about it. When I was a girl her age, my life was horrible, for different reasons. I found my greatest solace in books. Rilla Of Ingleside was such an inspiration to me, a young girl who had no mother and then her father dies of cancer. She goes to live with her intimidating Aunt and begins to write poetry. Or Anne of Green Gables, another orphan. Same author, I think? Anne was very important to me. Books where children suffered and lost reflected life as I knew it, but also offered comfort, hope, laughter, a view to a new day.

Much love to you.

Anonymous said...

My first husband had a brain tumor when my Daughter was 10 months old, I was 29. I was told by everyone, "you got the bad over, the rest will be easy" I was in a dark sad place for a long time, I believed I had no control over the world and that my decisions were pointless. I believed fate would happen and I couldn't control anything. I came back around and even in my adult mind I thought I was over the rough patch of MY life. Live goes on, it still has sad parts, parts that are hard. I was only forced to look at my beliefs again. Life is life, I have lots of decisions I can make that will make things better, but many that are still well outside my control. I think it is harmful to believe that since there is one rough part that there won't be more rough patches. It surely set me in the wrong mode when those rough times came around again. The rough patches give us a way to help others when their rough patches happen. I know it is ok to say, "I don't know anything that will help, but I'm here to listen or just be together". Hugs to all of you!

SheriJane said...

I'm bettin she does have some pretty big blessings coming her way..... hopefully soon!...... given the choice, i'm sure she'd rather have him full on in body right there with her but not many sisters have an angel brother watching over them!

Becky said...

I always read but don't always comment but this post... I want to give you both a hug.
Your honesty is beautiful Anna.

Thinking of you and Margaret...

janzi said...

I'm in awe of how much you have all had to suffer with the loss of Jack,.and your poor little girl is really thinking things out isnt she? I am sure with the distance of time, she will value all the happy days she did have with her brother, and she will come through this stronger and more patient and less demanding of things that in the end have little value..peer pressure will not place its heavy hand on her,she knows what is real and what is not.. the fact that you all talk, is so important, and of course he is watching over you all the time, that little boy is with you forever and you all have him in your hearts and that will stay with you forever. I am so distressed at times with my own life, but reading your blog makes me appreciate so many other things in life happen , one cannot spend time worrying or crying all the time.. Hugs and sweet thoughts from across the pond.. J

Anne said...

My heart still aches for you all! Yes you are all still and always will be in our hearts and prayers!
xx
Anne

deb said...

I just read your post, and all of these heartbreaking comments, and am still left wondering, are you going to explain why you look like you are going to a prom or ball in that beautiful blue dress??????

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Margaret, I hope so too!!!!!!

I love reading your posts, you know that because I say it all the time. Things I haven't experienced with outcomes I could only guess are expressed here. I learn, you teach me which in turn gives me knowledge to comfort those in need of compassion. ((HUGS))

Anna Lefler said...

Oh, my goodness.

Anna, your posts never fail to take my breath away.

Sending love and light to you all.

XOXO

A.

Gigi said...

My heart absolutely broke reading this. Poor Margaret. It's a hard thing learning how sucky life can be. But I know that you will teach her to look back and treasure the good. To treasure the memories. Because that is what keeps us going forward in our daily lives. The good.

Sending love and prayers your way....as I do every day.

Robbie K said...

My heart breaks that this has become her life now..that she is no longer on firm ground. Her insight is spot on though.

Meagan Francis said...

Oh Anna - I'm a long-time reader but first time commenter (I think?) and this just made my heart hurt for you and Margaret.

I had braces up until a couple of months ago and my gums were constantly ripped up because I would forget to buy the wax. I can still "feel" it!

Marinka said...

I don't remember if I already told you this (hey, I'm old!) but one of my closest friends (and my son's godmother) lost her brother when they were both kids. She's one of the strongest people I know. And her brother is alive in her family-- her son is named after him.

I think of your family every single day, many, many times. xo

doseofreality said...

And just like that the tears flow. Oh Anna, this is gut-wrenchingly painful and so incredibly sad. Death brings such a feeling of untethering. Of everything being fragile and breakable. And I am just so sorry.

From Tracie said...

I'm praying. I don't have the words, not the right ones, but I know He does.

Jenna Ginder said...

Thinking of you all, Anna. Thank you for your honesty and candor in sharing your heart with all of us. Praying for you guys.

Anonymous said...

Oh, your poor little girl.

It's true that nothing in life is certain but she's young and, like all children her age, Margaret deserves comfort and reassurance.

Hoping for the best doesn't bring the best and expecting the worst doesn't bring the worst. I feel that good or bad things happen irrespective of our wishes and irrespective of our expectations and irrespective of our previous good or bad luck.

She deserves all the comfort and reassurance for her own happiness and to be free of anxiety at such a young age.

By the way - When I say she deserves it, I mean it in the sense that all of you deserve it, not at all in the sense that you're depriving her of it... I wanted to be clear! She deserves it because she's young and this is all too much.

Sending you all my love xxx

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I've told you about my friend Megan. She and her brother, Rob were so much like your kids. Megan went through a lot, but she is one I the strongest people I know. She knows what is truly important in life and she is passing this on to her incredible children. And I'll tell you something else - She didn't have HALF of the community and family support that Margaret does. She also didn't have Margaret's innate confidence and spunk. There is no easy road for any grieving sibling - but I have seen what is possible, and I believe in Margaret. And in your family. And In YOU.

Meredith Self said...

SO much love to you as you find your new balance! I love you!

Bluebird49 said...

I remember when our kiddos were in school, so many parents were getting divorces. One night one of them said, "Mama, you and Daddy won't ever get divorced, will you?" Both of us said, "No, of course not!" That has been something we've done, stayed married. But--how could we promise that and a list of other things that we may have had no control over!? There are SO many "IFS" in life, but making promises is just something we do to "protect" our little ones, making them feel as safe as we can.
That being said, there are just things that happen in life that we cannot foresee...and thank goodness for that. If we could, we would change a lot, but that would make us God, and Him we are not meant to be.
God bless Margaret's sweet, thoughtful heart! Anna, you are and you will continue to be the best mom to Margaret. She is such a fortunate girl to have you. As moms, we just pray that God gives us and our children the strength to face whatever lies ahead....the good, the bad and the horrible.
Love, Sherry's mom

Anonymous said...

Praying for you and your husband...I cannot imagine how hard this must be for each of you. Praying so hard for you both! Praying for Margaret, too. Always praying for your family.

OSMA said...

While there are no guarantees in this life, I can't help but hope with all I have that your family is spared any more heartache. It should work that way. It just should.

I also can't help but think how awesome it is that Margaret is talking to you, really communicating with you about how shitty this is for her too. Obviously you know this but some kids bottle up to implode horribly years later. The pain you are walking through (working through, bickering through?) is laying the healthy groundwork for her adulthood. And hopefully lending a
helping hand to your own journey through this hell.

She is so insightful and strong, Anna. She comes by it naturally.

xoxoxo

The Mommy Therapy said...

She seems like such an intelligent and wise girl. I hate that your adulthood and her childhood include this sadness.

I love the idea that you have braces now. I honestly just listed getting my braces off as one of the greatest gifts from God on my James Bible Study workbook. It felt inappropriate, but it was such a huge gift to have them and to have them off. I hope they do their job and then get out of there fast. :)

Praying for you guys as always.

the Hawks said...

oh sweet friend. I had to pause a good 2 minutes before I could write this next sentence; now that I have a daughter and I see how she lights up when her big brother even breathes in her direction (and she's only 7 months!)---The husband and wife Tim and you are, especially in front of her, is preparing her for a very good marriage one day.

You bless your son so much with your life. I am deeply honored to listen to you.

NancyS said...

me too

Lady Jennie said...

It has taken me awhile to figure out what I want to say, and I'm still not entirely sure if I'm going to express it well.

Margaret, my childhood was not easy (although not as difficult as what you are going through), and my young adulthood was much, much worse.

But ... BUT - I wouldn't trade any of it because I'm so strong now - my faith is so strong. I don't expect a perfect life anymore. I've given that up completely, and although there are still tragic events that happen to me, I see how God is working, the same way he is showing you he is working through Jack.

I see all the perfection and beauty he has surrounded me with, more than I see the tragedy.

In Proverbs 31, which talks about the wife of noble character - in vs 25 it says, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."

This is the future that awaits you, my dear. This is the confidence that you have - that the righteous need have no fear of bad news (Psalm 112:7), that you will have the strength to face all trials, that your blessings will outweigh your sorrows, and that you can laugh at the days to come.

Much love

Elizabeth said...

Margaret, I hope you have an amazing adulthood!

"Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope. With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream. If you have hope, you hvae everything."

Sending many hugs and prayers.

Jessica Watson said...

Oh our own pain is hard but dealing with our child's pain is so much worse. Sending a hug to you and lots of strength to help Anna through these days.
Oh and I just got my braces off, I may have cried over them more than once, just keep using the wax.

Stephanie said...

Oh Margaret. You are amazing and beautiful and smart and witty. Great big hugs to you Margaret.

Peg said...

Anna-
While our circumstances are different, I too am living with grieving children. We adopted my two nieces after their parents died. We constantly have to field questions about whether or not we're going to die from our five year old and I really don't have credibility. Moms and dads sometimes die. Big brothers die. We recently had a health scare with my husband and it was really hard to reassure that he was going to be okay.

My prayers to you guys and Margaret in particular.

PeachPrenni said...

Anna,
I'm sorry. I know this is all part of figuring out the new normal, but it's hard. Margaret is going to be fine because she's got 2 loving, amazing parents and a strong faith in God. You and Tim are going to be fine because you have loving, amazing Margaret and your own strong faith. God will get you through this.
Love, Love!
Annie
xo

Leslie said...

Dammit. I wish we could change all of this. I wish it every day for you. Which is completely unhelpful.

I like Annie's comment above mine. She's right.

Always praying.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pic of you ladies. Keep your chin up. Lot of hugs coming your way. Mary in NY

Sara said...

My heart hurts for Margaret. I lost my younger sister suddenly to an accident - she was riding her bike to work one morning. Our stories are different - my sister was 28, and Jack only nine - but our realities are familiar. She'll never stop missing her brother. She'll only learn to live with it, and one day know again true joy. It's been my experience that one can know joy and sorrow at the very same time. Blessings.

SouthLakesMom said...

Remember Anna, that her worries are absolutely normal for her age, although intensified by what she has experienced losing Jack. All kids in the middle school zone go from normal (a drink, a cough, a spat) to drama in the space of seconds. The challenge for Margaret will to learn to not stay in the intensity zone as a habit. Counseling is a GREAT thing for this age group, particularly for her situation. In fact, I'm thinking ALL 11-13 year olds should have counseling so their parents can handle the stress of raising them.

Oh wow -- my verifications are: 63 (Go read Psalm 63) and Unityvu -- which I choose to read as "Unity View" ... Aslan and Jack are doing some work here!

Anonymous said...

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

...And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
~Emily Dickinson

Kim Poncin said...

Oh Anna, she will. She has an amazing Mom and Dad showering her with tons of love. She has so many people known and unknown to her praying for her. She has a heavenly Father who will bless her life, even in the midst of this horrendous tragedy. Sending you a HUGE hug from Purcellville.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your journey, your pain, your trials and your joy.

andnowwearesix said...

We're reading "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and I am thinking so much of you and yours. We're nearing the end and I've dog earred so many pages in this last chapter with you in mind. xo

PS: don't forget that a flat in London is ready for you anytime.

Geri said...

I keep coming back and rereading this because I felt exactly like margaret did, right up until 3 years ago when our son died. That I'd had a fairly shitty childhood, and that I would somehow get a pass on big pain for my adult life. Not sure where that core belief came from, but it was something I wailed about more than a few nights. I'd already paid my dues, life had extracted it's pound of flesh or whatever. Not fair, not fair. I don't have a clue how it works. The mystery of life. Indeed.

A Speckled Trout said...

I am always amazed at Margaret's insight. She has an old soul. I work with somebody like that. She is at least fifteen years my junior and some of her observations stop me in my tracks. Years from now, Margaret will have a perspective that is light years beyond her age. It will serve her well.

Margee said...

Oh Anna I hope she does too. She has a great life ahead. Love to you all. Margee

Lisa said...

I hope her adulthood is filled with many blessings and goodness. She has suffered greatly. I hope she remembers the bible passage that resonated with her. She will gain strength...strength she never knew she could have...

Thinking of you all. Sorry to hear that there has been other strife lately.

Anonymous said...

sweet girl....tears for her. hugs for you all. she is a smart cookie - I believe there is a balance to life somehow and good WILL come to her. I hate the unsatiated (is this a word?) loneliness she must feel. I hate it... Jack is reaching out to you through that computer, I believe it. I have had the exact same issue with mine since my mom passed and usually only when I was typing about her or in some way related to her...

jenlar3 said...

Often its the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self. ~Karen Salmansohn notsalmon.com


I saw this on my FB wall after reading your blog tonight. Thought it was fitting.

jenlar

ALI said...

You know - there might be a method to Margaret's maddness... I know friends where the boyfriend now husband sucked as a boyfriend but rocks it out as a husband & vice versa.

Huge hugs & prayers to your family...

Anonymous said...

I know you know this, but just in case you need to hear it -- Margaret is not having a crappy childhood. This, the loss of Jack, is the most craptastic pile of crappiness. And she's gone from having a great childhood to having a desperately hard one because of it. But not crappy, because she has you and Tim and your extended family. She will realize that (she probably does now on some level), but I hope you do, too.

Anonymous said...

Dear Margaret,

As unfathomable as it may seem at the moment, you will be happy again. Overflowing joy, glee and happiness. It will happen.

No doubt there will be times in the future when you'll feel sad or uncertain. But you've got through the absolute worst that life can throw at you. You can get through anything. There's a certain strength that comes from knowing that.

It also gives you a perspective. You cherish and savour the good times. You cherish the times you have with the people you love.

It sucks beyond words that you've had to learn these lessons so early. I am so sorry. But you have a great future ahead of you. You're going to make your brother so proud.

mgh said...

Oh my. Anna, I so remember thinking just like Margaret. Hope the odds would play in my favor, that my ticket would NOT come up again so that I could have a good adulthood.
I am so grateful to offer her good news! I LOVE adulthood. It has hard spots. But it is good, great even.

We all work with internal statistics. We are naturally INductive thinkers. We base our best guesses about how the world works on what we've previously experienced. The problem is that even those of us that are pretty good at math sometimes forget to include ALL of the data in our calculation. It will take some time to help her to remember to 'zoom out' and think about the ratio of good to bad things in life. Right it is all thrown off, but over time that will change. Focusing on the good will help to see that number change.

Too much math for a writer... maybe... but I've been studying all about the new Common Core State Standards Initiative so it seem appropriate to throw out some applied math :)

Love love love you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. As a mother of children the same ages as yours, it's pretty easy for me to imagine the pain and suffering you are going through. But dear Margaret. I will pray for her more specifically in my future prayers. She seems like an amazing and insightful child.

Elizabeth R said...

Margaret seems like a very observant, thoughtful girl. With a comment like that she is bound to end up all right. And anyway, she has a big brother angel watching out for her now.

Heidi said...

I believe in you and Margaret and Tim. With all my heart.

Anonymous said...

We’ve been meaning to donate some money in honor of Jack…is there any place to do that? Still Samaritan’s purse or is there some specific fund?

Anonymous said...

oh Margaret, and Anna and Tim and Jack, me too.
Emily H.

Jana said...

This cuts to the quick, Anna. But it's oh-so-true. Bless you all, especially Margaret, as she fast-forwards to such painful truths and realities. I'm so sorry.

Kari C in SC said...

I have been following your blog for a while now. I lost my 21 year old son in a car accident 2.5 years ago. He left behind a 5 year old brother and an 11 year old sister. That first year for my youngest son was extremely hard. He was angry and could cry at the drop of a hat. It finally occurred to me that if "I" wanted to cry all day, then why should I think he would be any better. The second year eased some of his anger, but the pain is still there. My daughter took the roll of being strong for mama. They are homeschooled - so there really was never a time I could hide and cry. I would try to not cry in front of them all the time, but there were those days - that the tears could not be stopped. She was always, always there to hold onto me. One night, I thought she was asleep and I just was just sobbing in my bed. She came running in and crawled into bed with me and stayed. It is HARD for siblings. Like you, I had another tragedy earlier in life. My sister-in-law (best friend) was murdered. I remember thinking that there was no way this could be real. I couldn't have to survive losing not one, but two people I loved in a tragic way. I now realize that there are no promises. I still hurt and I still miss my child like crazy, but I do have more better days than I did. My kids are doing better, but I still watch very carefully to be sure I am not missing something. I wish we didn't share this story in our lives, but I am glad to not be alone in some small way.

Kari C in SC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kari C in SC said...

I wrote this blog post awhile back about my little boy dealing with the loss of his brother. I don't know if it will help you or not, but I thought I would share it with you. www.crazyeverydayblessings.blogspot.com/2011/10/little-pieces-of-sebastians-heart.html

Julie said...

Prayers for you today. And thanks for helping me remember what's important.

Samantha said...

Oh my. Just started reading your blog yesterday and this is prob the most moving post. My great-grandmother always told me, "Samantha, just remember half your life will be tough but if you make it through, the other half will be great and it's up to you to chose how you handle each of them. Prayers for you're family and sweet Margaret.