Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hop on the Bus, Gus


Yesterday I dropped Margaret off to board a bus for a Middle School church retreat.  She was anxious about being so far from home and so was I, but after some deep breathing she bravely climbed on the bus with her friends. I hope it will be an exciting, meaningful weekend for her.  
As the parents prayed in the parking lot for safe travels and for God to bless the retreat, tears streamed down my face.  I tried to hide them behind my sunglasses so Margaret would be neither freaked out nor embarrassed as she looked out the bus window. Of course she saw me. My friend Jenn gave me a hug and said, “She’s going to be fine.” I buried my head in her shoulder and choked out, “I’m not crying about Margaret.” She answered, “I know.”

So many moments that should be easy and joyful are so damn hard. Yesterday was just one small example, of the little battles and struggles that weave their way through every single day of loss. It’s as if our brains are operating on two tracks, and integration of these tracks could take a lifetime. One track is the here and now of living and loving and school and work, but there is always the parallel track of loss and what could have been yet will not be. Jack should have been on the bus with Margaret. The moms standing next to me talking about 8th grade boys and how they always want to wear shorts in the winter should have been hearing me tell my own stories about Jack heading out to school or the retreat foolishly underdressed. I want my own 8th grade boy stories about how fast they grow and how much they eat, but I don’t. Won’t.

Grievers function within society, and most days it appears pretty seamless. We volunteer at school. We shop. We stand around in prayer circles. People need to feel okay being open and natural around us, so as not to drive us even further apart from the world. We are not aliens, even though it feels that way. But there is a constant undercurrent of loss, a schism in our brains, which we gradually learn to adapt to. Most days we are able to operate on the level of the here and now, but sometimes the other part leaks out in church parking lots, and that’s okay too.

There must be safe places to be able to bring the loss to the forefront, to open the pressure valve of pain a little bit, without worrying about seeming completely hopeless or obsessive. I remember when Tim and I walked into our first (and last for now) meeting for bereaved parents just a few weeks after the accident. We came out so depressed and depleted. You see, we were still in a state of shock about Jack’s death, but also a state of being tenderly held up by the spirit of God. We sought hope and meaning in Jack’s death, and were so earnest in our desire to “be okay!” for Jack’s  sake  and ours. To see these parents who were still suffering  greatly many years after their children died, gave us a window into despair we didn’t want to see. Surely we would feel better than they did at 5 years out!

I didn’t realize then that the meeting was their safe place, as this blog is mine. Their pain and desire to tell their stories didn’t mean they weren’t functioning in society, holding jobs and taking care of their families. It just meant that in the day in and day out of living with and adapting to the two track existence of life and loss, those meetings were one place to openly talk about the one track that is less visible, but very present.

I wonder if my dear friends on this blog worry that I’m obsessed with Jack and our loss. It would be natural to think that, and I too have wondered that about others who have loved and lost. It’s a natural concern. We want our friends to get better. We want them to thrive. We wonder if it’s healthy to talk so much about the one who is gone.

When I write about grief, you don’t see much about the soccer carpool and Girl Scout cookies and math homework (gah!) and shoe shopping and school projects, and cooking (double gah!) but they are here. I promise.

 It’s okay to worry. This is a worrisome situation.

But in days filled with soccer carpools and Girl Scout cookies and the like, this is a space I have like no other, a place to do the hard work of grieving that might so easily be swallowed up by those other things, and my TV watching schedule. Here, I can turn over ideas in my head, hold them up to the light, and examine them. I can cry out in the missing, the longing for the boy who should be with me in body, not just in spirit. And you show up to lift me, again and again, and to root for us.
In the examining and crying out, I’m hoping that someone else can be helped, either in her grief, or in supporting someone who is grieving. I don’t know how that works, through words on a screen, but I’m just trusting God on this one.

 

145 comments:

TupeloLove said...

I love this post. And your example of the two tracks is perfect and spot on. Thank you for continuing to share all of this with us.

~Molly from Charlotte

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

i don't worry at all that you are obsessing over your loss... i don't know how you could NOT think about it. after all, jack was in your life for 12 years, 13 if you count when he was in your belly. how can you not feel that void every day? i am not trying to make that sound harsh, i just mean, i understand that a part of you that you had for 13 years is gone.... i don't expect you to be ok with it after only a year and a half. i don't expect you to be ok with it in 5 years, 10, or ever. a mother's loss of a child is unfathomable to me (and frankly i hope it always will be). just know that i think you are a role model because you are willing to be here and share your experiences, your memories, your joy, your grief. margaret has experienced a loss, too, and i think she understands your feelings, and she will even more one day when she, too, is a mother. your love for her and tim comes across in this blog as well.... fear not, friend. anyhow, that was a long comment, but i had a lot to say. much love to you, anna.

Ellen aka Ellie said...

I was at a friend's wedding about a decade ago. Mac, my high school aged son, was my date. He willingly danced with me, and the mother of the groom came over to us after the dance and hugged me and exclaimed something. I couldn't tell what she said, but I hugged back.

When I spoke to the groom about it later, he said he imagined seeing a mother and son together touched her because all joyous events brought forth joy, of course, but also great sorrow due to the death at age 8 of her first son. Seeing Mac and me together, even though she was delighted at the marriage of her youngest son, stirred the 20 year grief she was living with.

Though I wouldn't dare say I understand, I can simply say she didn't seem obsessed or pathetic. It didn't steal a thing from the day to know she was missing her first born.

You love your son. He is, he will be, part of your story.

Dawn said...

Yes that is very important too. I am glad you are still sharing your grief. It helps to understand, and yes it helps us when we are dealing with fresh grief of friends or relatives to remember how you were and how you are. And I also understand about having a safe place to examine your own, and I feel privileged that you share it with us.

Victoria said...

There are more than enough blogs about mothers running car pool. Yours is one of two blogs I read regularly. And I read it because somehow I feel like if all I can do is show up on here and know how to pray it might help just a small amount. Most of us don't know you personally but we love you and we care. And I wouldn't have a clue how to deal with someone who had lost their child and had 'moved on'. Jack will always be a part of your life and, thanks to this blog, he's a part of ours too and I'm grateful for that.

michelle said...

It's absolutely important. You will always be Jack's mom as much as you are Maragaret's. If you were to suddenly stop talking about and posting pictures of Jack- that's when we'd worry about you. Keep on keeping on, mama. You are doing so much more good than you know.

Lisa said...

Dearest Anna,

I found your blog several months ago and have been dying to comment, but have never had the words or the courage until just now. Let me first say that I love reading here—I find your posts to be painfully honest, witty, thoughtful and beautifully crafted. (I am not a writer or blogger or anything, but I’d like to think I know good writing when I see it, and I certainly do see it here.)

After having stumbled upon your blog, I read, spellbound, for an entire weekend (laundry and dishes be damned!), word for precious word, about your spectacular Jack and the vicious way he was taken from you. Late one night, as I lay reading and weeping for you, one post really got me: the one in which you described how, as your nephew lay his head on your lap, you “could also close my eyes and pretend, just for a few seconds, that the boy I held, and probably squeezed a little too tightly, was my boy, not hers.” Oh dear, I had to quickly grab a pillow and heave my sobs into it so as not to wake my sleeping husband beside me. (You may be able to imagine how puffy my eyes were that next morning!)

I want you to know your writing has been tremendously helpful to me, for I too, have experienced great loss, although not remotely on the same scale as your having lost Jack. I still struggle, and often fail, to get up and put one foot in front of the other. Your blog encourages me to keep trying, so thank you for that. It is helpful for me to see how people like you continue to move through life, what their daily lives look like, knowing that dishes still get done, homework finished, jobs resumed, relationships nurtured. This, I can only imagine, requires herculean effort, for there remains a relentless, uninvited, 10-ton monster of grief clinging to your back. It is a mystery to me, really.

Please try to ignore those who intimate that you should move on in some way. (Perhaps those wishing for lighter fare may head over to Kelle Hampton instead?) It is crystal clear that you love Margaret madly, desperately, and yet, you remain and will forever be Jack’s mommy, so how could you not write of him often, post photos of him, help us to remember him?

You are doing good work here in your little corner of the internet, Anna, and are helping many others in the process. Please know this. Your words and photos are powerful, and they matter. They matter. And Jack matters, even to me, a perfect stranger.. Keep writing and grieving and processing and I will keep reading, at times with tissues in hand, but always looking forward to Jack.

Thank you for sharing him with us.

-Lisa from CA

PS: Sorry for the rather loquacious comment, and thank you for listening!

katrynka said...

Others have said this more eloquently than me, but thank you for your sharing. Thank you for allowing us into your safe place.

Momza said...

Never apologize for loving your children. That's a right that is yours to claim forever and always.

Jen said...

I think it is wonderful and beautiful and right that you continue to write about your Jack and the process you have gone and continue to go through. I am so touched by your honest, thoughtful words on the subject of grief, healing, faith, family, love and so many other things. I know those well-meaning souls just want you to be happy, and for your pain to lessen. But I think we all understand that that pain will always be a huge part of you and that you will ALWAYS be Jack's mom. Thank you for sharing that with all of us. I will continue to come here to feel the bits hope and peace in my soul that I get from reading your story, and I hope that you will continue to share it.

Leeann said...


The idea of moving on- of Jack not being a vital part of your lives now and forever- is preposterous. For you to not mention Jack along with you, your husband and Margaret, would be so empty somehow. Or something. I don't know how to define it, but I guess what I am saying is, if you were to stop talking about Jack, putting up pictures of Jack etc on here, I would feel like he was lost to us all over again.

We welcome your stories of Margaret, your family, AND Jack.

janzi said...

Of course you must write about him, and how you feel now that he is not with you... he seems to have been such a darling child, quite wise beyond his years, and well bought up, his legacy will impact on you and your family forever, just as it should be... we all love reading your words, and admire your steadfast spirit in trying to make some sense of all that has happened and why.. You carry on, and each day, although he is not there, will become a little lighter and faster and happier as time moves on... God bless you all, thank you for sharing. janzi

the Hawks said...

Dearest Anna,
When in fourth grade an older acquaintance (6th grader) lost his mother. I commented that people should just stop talking about her so it wouldn't hurt him so much and another parent replied, "oh no, it is better to embrace the hurt and carry it with them. It would be a sin to think that her life was no longer in his."

You are so right I can barely stand it: "I'm just reminding the world that I have a son, too."

My friends who lost their first child to miscarriage still cite him in their lineup, and in doing so they've given the rest of our friends the freedom to acknowledge their lost babies and children, too.

Once a mother to each child, ALWAYS a mother to each child.

We love you

Recovering Church Lady said...

You are doing it exactly right Anna. The comfort or discomfort of others is not your concern. As I read the beginning of this post, I was so thankful that you have this place to vent and that you had a friend that day at the bus who understood.
You are doing it exactly right.

Gill Ridley-Fink said...

What a moving post . I love your blog and thank you for sharing it with us here in England . My thoughts and prayers are always with you Gill

Anonymous said...

Anna,

Don't stop talking about Jack. Ever. People who feel uncomfortable can just not read your blog, or not go to your Facebook page. You don't have to accommodate them. And you make such a difference when you do talk about him, because it makes it a little bit easier for the rest of us who are grieving to speaking honestly and confidently about our pain. I don't know what I would have done without this blog over the past year and a half.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Quite simply Anna, this is your blog - a place for your thoughts, your feelings and your observations. I for one am honored to be here. Don't ever feel that you have to meet anyone else's expectations about what you share here or how you navigate through this journey. That is for you and you alone to figure out. As always, thank you for sharing. Hugs to you Anna!

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a painful moment in the parking lot, and I'm so sorry.

Your friend's comment was hurtful. It is not appropriate to ask you to change your behavior to accomodate worry. I don't mean this unkindly, but any need for reassurance should be met by someone else. You're dealing with enough.

Thank you for your honest sharing! I hope Margaret will enjoy her time there, and hopefully it will be a good weekend for you and Tim.

Anonymous said...

PS I don't like how Stuart Smalley-ish "thank you for your honest sharing" sounds. I started to write "thank you for your courage," but that didn't ring a bell, even though of course you do have tons of courage. How about this:

thank you!

Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful post. I think one of the reasons people think someone should "move on" in their grief is because, if we haven't experienced it, we can't possibly understand what it's like to live it. And, as you said, you continue to go through the motions of life, so people do not always see the grief. Through this blog- your safe place - you are teaching so many of us what the hell of losing a child might actually feel like. I lived through the pain of infertility for 4 years before adopting my beautiful children, and the pain was intense for me. I had no idea it would be so painful. Most people didn't understand it and I didn't want to talk about it much. I would have loved a safe place such as this to write how I really felt. So, please keep writing and sharing. We really care.

Meredith Self said...

two tracks...ahhh...what a vivid description.

happy to share both life tracks with ya

Jacquie | @After_Words said...

This is a lovely, lovely post. Thanks for continuing to share Jack with your readers.

Jenn said...

I never thought about loss that way...two tracks. I can see it. Not a day goes by without missing Jack and continuing to love Margaret, you and Tim. Love you my friend.

Bonnie said...

Amen, sister. AMEN!

Sheryl said...

To answer your question, yes it does help someone else who is grieving. Your words remind me that I am human, my reactions are normal. The tears still come at odd times, but I am becoming ok with that.

Please continue to share your stories and memories.

Christian said...

I am glad you wrote this post. I find you so honest and brave, and I find solace in your words. I have been reading for over a year now, and always say "this is the post I will comment on" but I don't. So today is the day. There are many of us here, reading, loving you and being helped by you.

Anonymous said...

You go ahead and write all you want about jack. We love hearing about both your children! Love to you. Sharon

Torey said...

I know what you mean. I lost my mother to cancer a 4 years back and then my dad to a sudden heart attack just 2.5 years later. I'm only in my 30s and I have 3 small kids. I'm constantly reminded that my kids don't have their grandparents and I shouldn't have had to bury my parents so young. Most days I am okay, but there are many days (especially around birthdays/anniversaries) that I am just overwhelmed by my loss. You can never be the same person that you were. And you can never just move on.

MM3 said...

I lost my Mom unexpectedly almost 3 years ago. I still write about her, post something about her on her birthday, mention how much I miss her and always honor her and my dad's anniversary. Generally, I get crickets. Most people don't know what to say. Leaving us to feel awkward. And some people don't know what to say, but feel they must say something, and you get the FB comment. Someone who has been such an important part of your life will always be an important part of your life.

Grief is a strange and tumultuous ride. And it's yours. No one can tell you what is right or what is wrong. You must do what is in your heart and what is right for your family. What ANYONE else thinks or comments, well, it doesn't matter. No matter how similar or dissimilar their situation, only you know how best to handle your loss.

It's beautiful the way you honor your son. You also honor your daughter and husband.

You have described the horrible grieving process so eloquently. I can totally relate.

And assure you, if I was there, I'd give you a huge, warm and understanding hug. That wasn't nearly as creepy as I just made it sound.

Stephanie D said...

You amaze me Anna -- I love your strength, your honesty and your forthright words. Post away about Jack.... post away about Margaret.... shoot, post about picking out strawberries at the grocery store. :) It's your blog and your words and I appreciate your putting them down for us to read.

Patricia said...

You will continue to live, and to love your life....You will continue to love and raise Margaret and to feel joy as you watch her grow. You should not ever feel that you have to "move on"... Is there any 'moving on' ? Jack is and will always be , your son. You should never stop loving him,talking about him, and thinking about him.....

Sherri said...

Anna it is through your writing about your grief that has helped me through the loss of my brother. I don't feel like it ever gets "better", its just gets "bearable" !

Anonymous said...

Like many others, I have followed your blog since you lost your beautiful boy. I have also wanted to leave a comment many times, but haven't. This time I will be brave enough to do so. I lost my brother at 18, almost 16 years ago. He was the baby of three and had fought many health odds to live till 18. Then a single car collision, on the 4th of July weekend, took his life. At that time, my father was just starting treatment for his cancer that would take his life just a short seven months later. My mom, other brother and I were told many times to "move on and that they are together in a better place". Yes, but we still, to this day, want them here. I want a grandpa to fish with his two young grandsons and an uncle to spoil his two nephews. I have held my grief tight to my heart, following the silly advice from unknowing friends and family. Following your blog with your "new" grief has taught me so much on healthier ways to deal with my "old" grief. I have a better understanding for what my mom has felt, and still feels. I have felt so much appreciation for how you are also so tuned in to your daughter's process while still blogging about "normal" life activities. It reminded me that a parent can miss their lost child but still love their surviving children with all of their hearts. Your balance is amazing and how you travel these "two tracks" so admirable. After all these years, I can say that it does get easier, but I still miss them with every ounce of my being...and I know I always will. My biggest personal hurdle is being able to be so happy for others while feeling so sad for myself. Thank you for your blog and your honesty. It has made a huge difference for me.

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

I'm so glad you are going to write a book, you have a voice for the feelings that some people can't say so beautifully. This is your journey and your grief and it seems to me that a very wise woman once said that this grief she is going thru is the most important thing she'll ever do :) do it your way Anna.

Martha said...

I have been reading Cheryl Strayed's books this week, and the sentence I can't stop thinking about is this one: it will never be okay. It will never be okay that Jack is dead. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Alice said...

It makes me so angry on your behalf that a FB "friend" (and I use that word loosely) would make that comment to you. I am so sorry. I have to think that "whatever gets you through the night", and days, etc. is what you should do. And, while I'm not your FB friend, I love hearing about Jack through your blog. And I have to agree with you that it's got to be healthy and hopefully healing for you to write about him. Blessings to you and yours, for your writing blesses me.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog daily, when you haven't written I re-read old posts. I love your writing. I pray for you. I don't know how you put one foot in front of the other every day. Your Margaret is beautiful and seems to be doing so well. Your Jack - breathtaking. I cry and laugh with you.

csmith said...

A friend, whose daughter died at 16, says that people ask all the time if she is okay and she says yes. But, she told me that she will never be okay, nothing about losing your child will ever be okay. She says that she will spend the rest of her life waiting to die, wanting to be with her daughter again. That doesn't mean that she won't live the best life she can in the meantime, or that she won't give her other children the best life, but she feels that she will always be waiting. On one hand I thought that was heartbreakingly sad, on the other hand I totally understand what she means.

Anonymous said...

Another PS, about what you said, that you are not "aliens, even if it feels that way." I'm not sure what that means, so I'll give my two cents for both ways.

If it feels that way to YOU, then I undertand that at times grief makes you feel as isolated as a creature from another planet. Sad, but understandable because it is tragic, even though you are coping with such amazing strength, and it's not easy to understand totally without experiencing it.

If what you meant is that it feels that way to US, that's incorrect. Nobody here is sympathizing with you out loud, but privately thinking you are alien-like or less than human, and I'd rather you not label yourself. You're suffering enough as it is.

Maybe I'm overthinking, but those are my thoughts after returning to read the comments.

Anonymous said...

I watched in horror as my parents-in-law lost a son (and my now-husband's brother) nearly 30 years ago. He is a vital part of them, and talking about him keeps their memories alive, keeps the family laughing at the funny memories, and helps the family keep his spirit within the family space - somehow. My sweet in-laws, who have been so hurt by their loss, hold each other up still on the hard days, and they find it within themselves to live and give.

Thank you for writing so honestly about your grief. I didn't really understand parental grief until I read your blog. I think I'll be a better daughter-in-law thanks to your poignant sharing.

Trish Mathison said...

Anna, I read your blog regularly although I have seldom commented, I feel the need to do so here. I mostly come away from reading your blog in disbelief at how well you do at balancing talking about M and T and everyday life as you do of talking about your precious J. I am mother and were I to lose one of my kids I don't know that I could handle it with as much grace and faith as you. Please don't take an offhanded comment from someone on FB as truth. There are many readers who sit in amazement everyday at YOU, through it all- Trish

The Empress said...

You're his mother. There aren't enough pictures in the world to post of your baby boy.

I, for one, want to see every single one.

xo

Jeannine Edwards said...

Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 8:03 A.M. I, too became a grieving parent. It is so different than the death of a parent or anyone else. No one actually "gets" it unless you have been through it yourself. It's a lonely path you must travel alone. Your husband is right beside of you, yet he also has his own path, which I assume is just as lonely. Reading your blog does help. It tells me we are not alone.
- Jeannine -

Lesley T. said...

I comment on occasion and never truly know how to articulate my feelings about your beautiful and painful posts, but I'm a faithful reader and think about your family often, although I only know you through this blog.

By remembering Jack, you're honoring your past and your present, your everyday life, your entire family, your identity as a mother, your grief, all of it. It's all important. I'm sorry that some people (well-meaning, I'm sure) don't wholly understand that--though if they read your blog, too, I'm not sure how they don't.

Leslie said...

I think of this all the time, Anna - I will be doing something simple in the middle of the day and I'll think, "how can Anna or Tim do this? How can they wash a dish and not be thinking of Jack and the loss and just fall on the floor?" I don't know how you handle the two tracks. I never, EVER EVER EVER think you've forgotten your sweet daughter, nor do I think you're obsessed. Rather, I wonder how you breathe. I think that's as honest as I could possibly be on this blog. I wonder how you breathe. Then I think of how thankful I am that you and Tim and Margaret are saved, that you know the Lord, and then I pray again for understanding, for PEACE for each of you. Then I wonder if He will ever give you that. I think of the nurse I met last year after Brett's surgery who told me she wrote a book on grief after her teenage daughter died in a car accident, and how I found her in a hallway to ask her how she's surviving and started crying and she assured me she does feel that she's healed, that the pain is nothing like it was, and that she's doing really, really well. And I feel hope for you. But then it starts all over again and I go back to wondering how you're living the two tracks. But I keep on praying. So does Brett.

Please don't ever stop writing this blog, I hope you don't worry for a minute what anyone else thinks, and I'm sorry that you do have to waste a minute wondering what we think. Every photo of Jack you find, post them! We love looking at your son and remembering him with you, Jack's mom.

Praying, always praying for each of you, Anna.

Still Playing School said...

Your blog name resonates now, like The Grateful Dead Song, "Touch of Gray."

A family member mentioned this topic to me this week, "I guess you're still grieving over a year later..." My daughter died 16 months ago. How do I ever stop mothering her, too?

Saire said...

Beautiful! I remember so well the period after my father's death, the two tracks of daily life and grief running side by side.

Geri said...

"What is there to do when people die, people so dear and rare, but bring them back by remembering" - May Sarton

Seeing Each Day said...

I've never thought you are obsessive - honest, humorous, heartbroken, yes - but never obsessive. I had tears forming even reading your first few lines of this post, way before I read you cried. Renee.

Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids said...

My husband lost one of his brothers when his brother was 17 years old. I met my husband a few years later, and the grief was still heavy. Even though I never met Greg, I still think about him daily. It has been over twenty years now, and we still talk about him, we laugh about things that he did, and we also cry. I miss the brother-in-law that I never met. My husband misses his brother. My children miss the uncle who would have loved them with all of his heart and soul. And, my in-laws miss their son.

Grief is hard. There is certainly no timeline for it. Yes, it does get better, but it never goes away. If we never talked about Greg, looked at pictures, or prayed for him to visit us in our dreams, that would make me even more sad.

I have been in the family for 17 years now, and I can definitely say that the grief is not as heavy as it was. However, we all still have our moments of great despair, mostly because we miss the man who he would have been, and we want him here with us, not just watching over us.

Thank you for sharing your story. It helps me to see a glimpse into my own mother-in-law's life over 20 years ago, and it makes me love her even more.

deedee said...

I come here to learn about Jack...plain and simple. I love hearing about him and learning what he meant to you and your family. Because of your loss I am finding out what a special soul he was and still is. It's odd, but I really don't see this as a blog about you, I see it as a way to connect with a boy I never had the pleasure of meeting.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

No doubt you are parenting Margaret, sure it may be different than it should have been but that is okay. Things are different and not just for you but for her. She is also grieving her brother. Life will never be the same and that is the sad truth. You are all doing the best you can do with a chunk of your heart missing. I feel like I can understand your grief but I am not living your grief and anyone who has not been where you are cannot comment on where you should be. I think you are exactly where you should be and God Bless you for living each day and sharing your grief with us. I know you don't/didn't want to be a teacher on grief, you didn't want to give your child to God to be our mentor but you are so inspiring. I hold a piece of your grief in my heart. May we all hold a piece of your grief to lessen your burden. ((HUGS))

Lady Jennie said...

I just want to weep, but I can't because two small boys are having a very loud pillow fight next to me right now.

It seems like there are two kinds of - those who have been through grief and/or have a natural sensitivity to pain, and then those who don't. It's hard for those who haven't gone through it to get it.

I really, really love every single post you write, no matter what it's about. And I don't think I'll think it one bit strange if you are still posting pictures of Jack in five years.

Michelle DeRusha said...

When my cousin Ellen died at 29, I remember my aunt saying that she just didn't want her to be forgotten. So yeah, I get that you keep talking and writing about Jack and posting pictures of him - you just don't want him to be forgotten. You know YOU won't forget him, but you don't want others, too, either. Keep talking. Keep writing. Keep posting his pictures. We love remembering with you.

Jamie said...

It is important! One thing I worry about is people forgetting that I have a son. Even though it has now been 2 years, your blog does help me. It reminds me I'm not alone. Yesterday, I went to an all day thing for my nieces. Skits, puppets, choir, quizzing. They did great. But always, always in my head and heart is that I won't ever get to watch Sully do any of that. Margaret just getting on that bus shows just how much she is loved and is coping. You are safe here, but there will always be some that are just too uncomfortable with grief.

Carla said...

Loving you and Tim and Margaret and Jack more and more...

Judith said...

Thank you, again, Anna for your open honesty. Everyone grieves in their own way and there is no stop watch keeping track of the minutes, hours, days, months and years. I believe that you have found your "best" way to normalize here on your blog. I, for one, believe that you are touching SO MANY LIVES by sharing your world here. I also believe that you are fully engaged in your life with Tim and Margaret and all that they need, want and enjoy. Your faith and unflagging spirit come through even on the posts that hurt so much to read. I would much rather be here with you, feeling compassion and wanting to "make it better" for you and your family than anywhere else in blogland. May God continue to bless you all as only He knows how to bless.

Marissa said...

Do what you need to do, don't let others tell you what "normal" is. We love you, and I love you sharing stories and pictures of Jack.
Anyone who knows the Justin Bieber story knows that Margaret is not forgotten. And this is your forum to do what you need to with it.

You are not just grieving--you are loving Jack, as a mother should.

Rach said...

I "get" it.

Be safe here. You are loved.

Hugs.

Anonymous said...

I have never thought you were obsessed and I am very grateful for your blog. You have helped me in dealing with my own grief and I'm sure you've helped many others. I think our society has a problem in dealing with death. I wish more people were open like you are about sharing their feelings and their grief. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, your soul, and your beautiful Jack with us.

Anonymous said...

I have never thought you were obsessed and am so grateful for your blog. You have helped me through my own grief and I'm sure you've helped many others. I wish more people would be as open as you are about sharing their feelings about their grief. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, your soul, and your beautiful Jack with us.

DeeBee said...

In my experience of grief, the desperation other people feel for the grieving to be eased causes them to want you to "be over it". But there is no place called "over it" for the bereaved, especially in the case of those who have experienced th death of a child. And the giant, crazy irony is that the "not being over it" is what makes it possible to keep going on. This blog is so important. It never reads as wallowing. It is a place for those in grief to gather, and it is a powerful resource for those who struggle to understand.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for all the losses mentioned, both the "old" and "new" kinds of grief, as someone put it so well.

@Jamie, your son Sully isn't forgotten. Without knowing you, you strike me as having quiet strength; I believe Sully won't be forgoten because you won't ever let that happen. I'm sorry that your happiness in watching your nieces grow isn't free from pain, yet I feel those girls are very lucky to have you as their aunt. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Anna, you should and can post pictures of your son whenever you want (I love seeing all of the pictures of him on your blog, from when he was a baby, a toddler, a child, a young adult). He is your son forever. You are Jack's mom forever. He is Margaret's brother forever. Sending love & prayers your way.

Anonymous said...

there is another blog I read...a mother of five children, though she lost her youngest almost two years ago. Every time I read a post of hers, I look for her to mention something about the sweet boy she lost. I love that she includes something about him, or a picture, even if she is writing about her other childrens halloween costumes, or trip somewhere. He is a part of her life & their life every single day.

OSMA said...

I once asked my boss (who lost her 18 yr old daughter in a car accident) how she moved forward. I'll never forget her response. She said, "I move forward by not leaving her behind."

I can tell you that 20 yrs later, this mom spoke of her daughter every day, said her daughter's name often to the point that none of us felt uncomfortable about bringing her up ourselves, Laurie became a part of our lives too.

Maybe in those ways, and many many more I never knew, she was not leaving her daughter behind, but bringing her forward with her, with us.

Thank you for allowing us to learn from your journey.
I feel honored to come here to your place of refuge. My hope is to be another voice lifting you when you need it or quiet company when that's good too.

xoxo

Renee said...

Anna, You write and post about whatever subject matter you want. I am one of many, many readers that will read and love whatever you want to talk about. It could be about the past, present or future...it could be about Jack, Margaret, your husband or even the dog. That Facebook "friend" needs to "move" on.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I cringe to think of some of the things I've said and done in the past - trying to "subtly" impart a little wisdom (cringe again).

One thing I love about the way you keep Jack present and part of your life is that others are listening and possibly learning, relating, feeling validated, finding a little peace, showing others grace (a word that I'm made my own since you YOU gave it to me).... He IS here and we want him here because he is doing some amazing work in the world through your sharing.

P.S. Post more pictures.

susan gilbert said...

Anna,
your honesty is a comfort to all of us who have lost children. we find ourselves in a vulnerable and lonely spot. we lost our william in july of 2011 from brain cancer when he was 15. i have found myself on multiple occasions explaining the tears, "no, these are tears for william". the only difference in my grief is perhaps that it is a bit more predictable, in that i can avoid the triggers if i need to. and then it can sneak right up when i least expect it. i cherish every moment i have with william's brother and sister. and i celebrate the true miracle-ness of healthy and happy children.
thank you for your honesty, thank you for sharing hard hard things. and thank you for a forum for those of us who need to hear and share about others who have lost our angels.
susan

kara said...

Please know that your words on my screen, help tremendously. My best friend lost a child 7.5 years ago. Some days she seems so fine and other days the wound is fresh, as though it happened only days earlier. I feel helpless much of the time and my worry for her is great. Thank you for sharing your grief with all of us and showing me how I can be a better friend to my friend. I am so sorry for your loss. God is using you and using your precious Jack in such profound and immeasurable ways. Sending love from Braeden, Ian and Greyson's mom to Jack and Margaret's mom.

ella said...

Two tracks....I get it. What a great way of explaining grief. Love you.

Lynnette said...

Anna - your description of "two tracks" really sums up what I have observed in my daughter's grief journey after losing her baby son a year ago. I search and search for ways to understand and help her. Your words are so helpful in that regard. I am sorry that you have had to experience such pain to be a resource to help me understand. I picture a heaven where your Jack is playing with our sweet brown eyed baby Barrett. Thank you for your willingness to share your story. Your family is always in my prayers.

SouthLakesMom said...

I'm sure your FB friend meant well -- FB is one of those places that we communicate imperfectly. One of those MANY places.

Not in any way the same - but my dad died last Monday night and I'm in Texas helping my mom sort through things. I want to post every photo and every memory on my blog but part of me wants to hold on to them for "just our family" for a while too. I don't want to share this loss yet.

Jack's death was so public and so tragic that many were and still are touched. I was telling my mom yesterday about how your blog has ministered to me in so many ways (even before my dad died) and I teared up -- understanding a little bit how that pain just wells up at unexpected times.

I'm glad this is your safe place to grieve and that you share it. And I agree with you. Math homework -- GAHHHHH!

Vanessa said...

I've read your blog for years, before and after that terrible night. When devastating loss has affected my loved ones, I've recommended your blog like I'm writing a prescription. Your honesty, love and faith are a light in the darkness for many and I'm so thankful for you!

Sharon @ Desert Willow Lane said...

It's your blog Anna. You don't need to write for, or please, any one except for yourself. Only people who have lost a child can even begin to fathom your loss. I don't think you're obsessed. I think I am obsessed, with a boy, a family, whom I have never met, yet care so much about? I've stopped questioning that and just chalk it up to God speaking to me in his mysterious way. We know you love Margaret, we know you are a great mom and that you are not neglecting her. Write what you want, do what you want. We are here for you.

{hugs}

Steph said...

Never once have I thought you were obsessed. Your writing about the loss of Jack is incredibly honest, raw, and painfully beautiful. Please ignore those who think you should "move on." It is so obvious that you treasure your precious Margaret. Wishing you love and peace.

Kelly Pack said...

You're not obsessing. But I want you to know I whole heartedly understand and have experienced the same things. It's hurtful to me; it hurts really bad. You are beautiful and your grieving seems more than healthy. You are Jack's mommy forever, he's such a wonderful boy. I've decided some people just don't understand and all we can do is pray they never have to. xoxo

Kiri said...

Thank you Anna. I feel the same way about my blog, a place to work things through apart from the everday busyness that you use to push the grief aside. I also felt this quote that Glennon posted on the Momastery blog explained so well how I felt about sharing it:
We like to make a distinction between our private and public loves and say “Whatever I do in my private life is nobody else’s business.” But anyone trying to live a spiritual life will soon discover that the most personal is the most universal, the most hidden is the most public and the most solitary if the most communal. What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. – Henri Nouwen.

Marinka said...

I love every word you write and every picture you post, Anna. I cry with you and I laugh with you, and I pray for your family every day. I'll add an extra prayer for math homework. xo

One crazed mommy said...

You know - I can remember when my mom went to the meetings after my brothers passing - she went for about 6-8 months, and stopped going. She said the same thing -it was depressing, and she wanted to get past the depression and learn to live again. She had friends who worried - and since then, sadly, her friend circle has changed somewhat. Some close friends didn't know how to handle my parents' loss, while others are still around and embraced them and supported them through it all. Shortly after my brother passed (the summer before my 9th grade year) my marching band was going on a trip to London. My parents weren't going to let me go - it was too soon, and they weren't ready for that - what if something happened? They finally decided that they couldn't do that to me, but they couldn't let me go alone -so they signed up for chaperones. I know it's not the same, but it just shows that something that should have been completely joyous ended up being a source of strain and pain for them -although the trip did end up being fun, and I am SO glad they were there to enjoy it with me. Your friend - what she needs to understand (and unfortunately a lot of people don't) is that you can move on, but you can't ever forget...and you shouldn't. Jack is your son, just as Margaret is your daughter, and he should always be kept alive in your memory. That is what makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but you need to do whatever is best for your family in the grieving process. Big hugs to you!

ashley said...

Sending hugs your way, Anna. What a beautiful post. Please keeping posting pictures of that handsome Jack.

~Ashley in Louisiana

Kara said...

I love that you share about your grief. It is healthy. I do not know what you're going through, but I know others who have and what you're expressing seems normal. I had an older brother and younger sister, and both died very shortly after birth. My mom and dad never talked about them, and something always felt off. I had memories of being at a funeral when I was very little, but no one would talk to me about it. Finally, years ago when a dear friend lost her 5 day old son, my mother broke loose. I think it is unnatural, and unhealthy, to 'move on' as if a person is no longer part of your life. Jack will always be part of your life, and you will never stop grieving your loss. Some people are uncomfortable with grief. That is their issue to deal with, not yours. Love and hugs to you all.

Thrift Store Mama said...

I love Victoria's comment: "There are more than enough blogs about mothers running carpool."

I think sometimes that it's hard for people who don't blog to understand the value of a blog for some of us. When I dump stuff in to my blog, it clears that space in my head to deal with other things. All of my problems are first world problems, let's be clear, but the writing still really helps me nonetheless.

So when you are writing about Jack or posting picture of Jack, you are remembering him and acknowledging him in this space here so that the functioning in your everyday life is just a tiny bit easier.

Ali said...

I recently got a new pair of running shoes but was hesitant to get rid of the old ones. The ones with the bright blue ribbon knotted tightly within the laces. 15 minutes and a toothpick later, I was able to untie the ribbon and move it over to its comfy new home, where it will continue to get me through those particularly rough moments on my runs.

We all carry a piece of Jack with us. For that, I thank you.

IrishRN07 said...

What a wonderful post. You ever notice that when you tear up you can see more clearly? I know there's a metaphor to be had there, but I'm too busy crying to figure it out. :)
By sharing your experience of grief you are a teacher, a writer and a mother, all rolled into one. I can't thank you enough for all you teach me about faith and love, loss and motherhood. (I'm still hoping to be a mom one day; it's all I've ever wanted. It's not looking optimistic though. If I have to grieve that loss I think the lessons I learn from reading your blog will help me to figure out how.)
Thank you Anna. Hugs and prayers...
-Maureen

Theresa O said...

I went through the car wash yesterday, and normally I remember to remove my Jack Magnet from my car....as I got into the carwash, I realized it was still on my car! I had this panic run through me that it's going to get swooshed away in the carwash (as I truly consider my Jack Magnet a guardian angel that rides with me all the time!)..the dumb blonde came out in me and I wanted to get out really fast and run to the back bumper to grab it....I would've been a drowned rat...so I prayed that when I pulled out of the wash, it would still be there...and yes it was...Jack stuck with me!!! Reading your blog makes me so sad for you dear Anna. Praying for peace each moment of the day for you....

sdjhae said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sdjhae said...




Anna,
This is your blog and I think you should do what you want and feel is right for you. I love your blog and have read it for a long time. I enjoy stories about both your children . I think you are real about things, funny and the fact that you share not only helps your family it helps others. What a blessing!
Jen

Anonymous said...

"it's all I've ever wanted."

@Maureen, I hope you'll feel God close to you; you are his beloved daughter. I'm sorry. Prayers.

Gayle said...

I have lurked here for a while. Your words hit a little to close to home. I lost a child to cancer 25 years ago. And yes, life went on. My then 6 year old daughter is now 31. Happy and well adjusted. My goal after leaving the hospital the day my son died was to make sure that my daughter had a good childhood. And I succeeded. But today, you put words to thns I have never been able to speak.

Yes, almost everything else kept going. But there was then, and still is now an empty place where my 35 year old son should be. There are grandchildren I never got a chance to experience.

And there are a few people that see a few tears, and understand exactly what they are for, without words being spoken.

But if blogs had been around 25 years ago, mine would have looked a lot like this. And my readers would be helpng me share the pain that could not "leak" out in public as much I would have liked!

Thank you for sharing, and letting us shoulder a few of your tears.

And Margaret will be fine. And someday, being able to read your word will help her understand things that she will need to know then, but probably isn't ready to know now!

Princess Kate said...

Jack is YOU and YOU are Jack. Never stop writing. Jack is part of me now and I cherish every story you write about him (and YOU).

Hugs and prayers always.

Mary Ann said...

My heart aches for you. I can't begin to fathom what you have been and are going through. I can't say it will get better, because I don't know that. Just know that people out in the world feel your suffering and pray for you.

claire plante said...

Anna,

It is a privilege to listen. Keep writing and I think I can speak for many when I say we will keep listening. Always.

And, to touch upon your last paragraph, your writing does help so many people so very much, me included.

Love,
Claire

Stephanie said...

You write so well. SO well. I have never lost a child. But you write in a way that makes it easy for me to relate to the emotion you feel. Of course not exactly. Without having gone through something similar, I'm sure I could never really relate. But while I read your post I felt like I could completely understand... in my own way... with my own feelings of loss. Thank you for sharing.

Christy said...

Of course this space helps other people. ZILLIONS of them, I'd bet. You are so amazing Anna. This post brought me to tears each of the three times I read it. You have the power to do that! Over and over again. Love you. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Oh how I love this post! I'm putting my virtual arms around you and squeezing hard. You'll never know how much you help those of us out here struggling too.
Patti

Debbie from Houston said...

Lisa from CA wrote so beautifully, as do you. I have several friends (very sadly) who have lost children way too early - lost them after they developed personalities and quirks and endearing phrases for their moms - and you capture the essence of that pain with your writing. I have encouraged them to visit here and to maybe even start a blog of their own, so they have this very private yet very public way to grieve. May God continue to help you find the words to express yourself this way, and may He bless your entire family as you all continue along these 2 very difficult tracks.

kateypie35 said...

I would be worried if you WEREN'T still talking about dear sweet Jack - it is never too much, and never will be too much.

Annie said...

Your writing is so beautiful and poignant. I choked up reading your first sentence, and by the time your friend was hugging you, I too had tears streaming down my face. You have a beautiful way of really speaking to your readers. Just because of that, I am confident you are reaching and touching many other bereaved parents. God bless you.

Lori said...

((((Anna)))) Sitting here watching my sweet baby granddaughter sleep while tears run down my face. I cannot help it. The raw emotions of this post and putting myself in your shoes I cannot help but sob. I love to hear about Jack and I love that you have this special place to write out your journey.

I have not had a child die although I did have 2 still births. Both girls and if they had lived the eldest would be 32 and the other would be 29. I so very rarely talk about them because it really wasn't acceptable for me to talk about them back then. I was a young woman and was told over and over I would have more. And I did but not one of them replaced the daughters that I didn't get to keep. I think when we go through hard things like death it makes many people uncomfortable. One of the things going through this has taught me was to allow people their grief and to just be there for them in their loss. Every time I read one of your posts I give myself permission to grieve the loss of my baby girls. I let myself remember. Thank you. I do pray for you and your family as that is what I would want someone to do for me.

Mandy said...

This is your place to grieve and my place to understand...through absorbing your beautifully crafted words, your profound faith and your clarity of thought. Thank you. x

heather blair said...

Beautiful post. I used to explain that child loss is like a cracked windshield. You can still see out of it, but it is different and there is a constant reminder always with you. prayers...

Sherri Newman said...

I understand exactly what you mean. The hardest thing to be around is a bunch of mothers of 8th grade boys carrying on about clothes, dirty rooms or incomplete homework. I know I was once like them and wish to God I still was. Thank you for putting these thoughts down in such a meaningful way.

tracy@sellabitmum said...

It's all important. And I'm so glad you have the space to share here. xo

Erica said...

Your words are beautiful. I'm glad that you have this safe space to grieve. You inspired me to write a letter to a friend of mine who lost their young daughter years ago. It looks like they have moved on, but I know they haven't either. I'm not sure that you ever really do. Thank you for your inspiration.

Erica www.beautifullifemadeeasy.blogspot.ca

mia said...

you are so strong... you are not obsessed, Jack is your baby and we know that it must be impossible to be without him here on earth...i am just glad that you continue to work through your grief... you will thrive... Love and hugs...mia

A Speckled Trout said...

I think I've read this five times - each time stunned by your life, your grief, your Jack.

Why would someone ever suggest that you should stop posting pictures of the son who is your thoughts all day and night? You have all made us fall head over heels for the soulful brown eyes of someone the world will always miss. One can only imagine what was behind the smile.

Kim said...

Your heart and your words are beautiful. Radiant.

Blogaholic said...

I love your blog and the way you string words together is such an art form. It is a treasure to read and I have tears in my eyes everytime I read a post. I am buoyed up by your strength, which shines so eloquently through your writing. No better way to honor your incredible son.

Lorenne said...

My friend gave me your blog address, and I'm so grateful she did. I lost my 4-year-old daughter last February in a driveway accident. I can relate so much to what you write. This post describes so well the state I've been living in and the thoughts I have. It was so validating and so helpful.

Even when you described the first few weeks after the accident, you seemed to be expressing my very own thoughts and perceptions, worries and hopes of that time close to my daughter's accident, and my current perspective on that time.

And now, like you, I wonder if people think I'm obsessed. I'm so glad to not be alone in this terrible grief, which parallels our normal, happy life among the living. Thank you so much. Your words were a gift I needed tonight.

Varda said...

Your honest, beautiful words are so important to so many. Hugs, love and light to you, my friend. I hold you here in my heart.

Anonymous said...

hugs, love, and understanding to you. This post leaves me feeling understood too. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I lost a sister to a debilitating illness that took her away from us slowly, in front of our eyes. Her death was not a surprise, but it still hurts.

I started a job 4 days after her death, I couldn't reschedule my start date. And a part of me feels like I boxed up all the grief and emotions so I could be functional at my new job.

That was 3 years ago. When I read your blog entries about Jack, I feel like I let a part of me deal with my emotions about my sister. I am worried that if I face them head-on, I won't be able to recover.

So thank you for your entries about Jack.Please keep writing.

Heidi said...

I'm so honored to be let in as you love and grieve Jack here. Grief is sacred and no one should put a time limit or any kind of limit on it for you. So much love to you, dear Anna.

Peg said...

I sometimes worry that people judge me for still being stuck in this grief or still struggling with accepting our new life. I am constantly amazed at your strength and your ability to continue to mother your little boy even though he's no longer with you on earth. I think people want those who have experienced loss to "get over it" because it makes them feel uncomfortable and reminds them that something similar could happen to them.

Liam got tons of legos for his 6th birthday and we had an I Spy / Lego themed birthday party...I thought about Jack that day.

thank you, as usual, for your clarity in writing about your grief. It makes me feel not so alone.

Lynnette said...

Jamie. So sorry for your loss. My grandson died of SIDS a year ago on Friday. You ARE NOT alone.....keeping you and your son in my prayers.

Irene Bean said...

Anna:

I read your blog for several reasons. You write very, very well and you lead me through my own grief and you’re the only person I know other than myself to use *gah and double gah*.

My terminal diagnosis has given me the luxury of reassessing, grieving, and celebrating my life. Weekly, I visit with a psychologist whose specialty is people like me with a serious illness. I once asked him if he thought I was in too much denial because my days brim with huge doses of positive thinking. I’m paraphrasing, but he essentially said that an element of denial is good because it breeds hope. He also assured me that I was doing well. I think this ties in with your concern about being too obsessive. I think you have to have a certain element of obsessive focus in order to *cope*. You are so open with your pain but I never feel you are wallowing in it – with your words I feel you are trying to define it, your pain – not only for yourself, but for those who read you. The byproducts include your own catharsis and our better understanding of you and ourselves.

I remember after losing her son, a friend saying, “I’m so afraid people will forget him.” She, too, wrote about her son and the loss. That was over 40 years ago. I still think of her son every day. I treasure the beautiful book she created – a composite of his life. I still miss him with my whole heart.

Keep writing.

I know there’s a huge difference between grief support groups and support groups focused on illness. I am veryveryvery careful about support groups at my hospital or online. I attend only when the professionals give a presentation – the testimonials suck. (The only story I’ve heard was by a man who spoke about the Muslim lungs he’d received. His testimony was disgraceful.) There are also online support groups and I mostly avoid them because there is too much anger and *why me* crap.

I also live with two tracks. There’s my public brave self who’s facing down death with courage and humor. And then the private self who weeps. Sometimes I want to scream at people who are too full of praise regarding my courage. It’s like some insane *Best of Show*. I definitely ride two tracks. The balance is hard only because of the burden I sometimes feel to make other people comfortable.

Keep writing. You not only gift yourself and your son, but your readers’ lives are graced by your honest insights and heartbreaking tenderness.

P.S. The folk at Vanderbilt have asked me to write for one of their publications. How kool is that! I also spent some of my time with my therapist today talking about you and your insights on two track living. Good stuff.

margee said...

Beautiful Anna. Love you - Margee

Anonymous said...

@Irene, May God hold your heart.

Anonymous said...

Keep sharing! We are listening... And somehow it is helping us all get through. Much love to you!

{sue} said...

I don't understand exactly because I haven't been through it, but I can understand the two tracks from reading your words and from other friends who have suffered the loss of a child. I always have that in my mind when I'm with someone who is grieving.

I want to read every word you write about Jack. I think most people who blog do it to speak their unspoken.

Db said...

Make a new plan, Stan... Love this post. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing with all of blog world!

Listen To Your Mother Spokane said...

Your words are so spot on, so deeply instructive. I recognize myself as I slowly come to grips with my own two tracks and my own smaller grief. I recognize others and how they must be feeling each and every day. Thank you so much for giving it words. I don't find it at all odd that this is your safe space. I hope it always is. I hope you always trust us with Jack.

Anonymous said...

Where's the *Like* button? Great comments.

Sharmaine A said...

We love you and the skill you have expressing your feelings. The stories in the comments show you're not alone in feeling this way, you're helping so many peoplew with your honesfy and insight, and that Jack will never be forgotten.

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Anonymous said...

Remembering Jack near his birthday and hope your family is doing well. I love that all the blue ribbons are refreshed and *everywhere* in the area. we all remember and always will!

Anonymous said...

I know that every day contains its own sorrow and reminders, but I'm especially praying for you on Jack's birthday. He and your family are loved and cared for even by those who never got the pleasure of meeting him.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you today and wishing Jack a Happy Birthday.

Kierstin said...

Happy Birthday to your sweet Jack today! I hope you have a day full of good memories xo

Michele said...

I actually wonder how you can function at all after such a tragic loss - not that you obsess too much about the loss on your blog. You are a strong, wise, and compassionate person. Your feelings are there, whether you articulate them or not. By sharing them, you are hopefully helping yourself but also helping others to reach out to you. Thinking about you today with much sadness.

ashley said...

Happy Birthday to Jack! I am sure he is having a big bash in Heaven.

~Ashley in Louisiana

Laura said...

Thought of Jack this morning, while watching the sun start to peek over the trees outside my kitchen window. A beautiful day to remember a beautiful boy. Wishing him a happy birthday ~ and wishing you and yours strength and happy memories as you remember your sweet boy on his special day.

Dayna said...

Remembering Jack and all of you on what I'm sure is a most difficult day. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to Jack! Thinking of Jack especially today (and you, Tim and Margaret). I love you, Anna.

Ellen Jones

Erika said...

i don't know if you'll read this far down in the comments, but i want to thank you so much for this post - it has uplifted me today in a way you might expect - my grieving mom's heart has had quite a week, and this was like a breath of fresh air to me. wow.

here is a blog post i wrote last week about a similar subject - in fact, the five year mark...

http://urthmama.blogspot.com/2013/03/five-years.html

thanks so much again.

xoxo,
Erika

urthmama.com

Laura said...

I was only introduced to your blog today and I shed tears reading of Jack's accident. I don't exactly know what to say after reading this post, I only know I had to say something. Your writing is stunningly, achingly beautiful and as I look at the beautiful pictures of your beautiful boy, I cannot help but think of my own two beautiful boys, one 4, one 8. I cannot begin to fathom the depths of your pain but I can see the two tracks of pain and beauty, sadness and joy. Your love shines through. Jack's love shines through. And I don't think it's obsessive at all. It's life, it's beauty, it's love. Thank you for sharing...

Anonymous said...

I look forward to reading your blog. I too lost my 10 yr old daughter almost 2 years ago to cancer. Somedays it feels like yesterday and other days it feels so long ago. I mention her name several times a day to Everyone. I never want her to be forgotten. She will always be my daughter. To read other bereaved mothers stories helps me get through each day knowing that I am not alone.

Lisa C said...

I couldn't read this post on the day it arrived in my inbox. I began it. Began to weep for your loss and grief and had to close it.

That friend who wants you to move on? He/she doesn't understand the "two track existence of life and loss". Only someone who has experienced a profound loss can possibly come close to understanding.

My sister in law's sister lost her littlest to leukemia this year. Her blog recently has been about cleansing her list of friends. It's been 4 months and she's already getting comments to 'move on'. It's heartbreaking but her strength is inspiring and the clarity of her posts is helping us to remember the priority of life. Good friends, support and love.

Much love and support to you.

Happy belated birth day to both you and Jack.

Michelle said...

Anna - I have learned so much from you. Because of your candidness I am not afraid to be real with those in my life who may be going through any stage of grief. Acknowledging the grief and the suckiness of the situation somehow seems to open the floodgates. Thank you for words to give to others who hurt. You are a gem.

Amanda said...

Anna-I get it. I lost my mom (way too soon) to breast cancer almost 4 years ago. I used my blog to grieve. I still do from time to time but sometimes I feel like maybe, if you only know me from reading my blog, it seems like that is all I am. This was beautifully written and explains so eloquently the need for a safe place to work out the grief.

Ann Imig said...

I don't worry about you. In fact, I might if you didn't show up to write here. You don't seem obsessed. I just pray for you for peace and grace and easier days.

Anonymous said...

dear Anna
Two tracks. I get that. You have put eloquently into words something I have known intuitively for a very long time. Thank you so much
Sally

Alison Tompkins said...

Thank you so much for this. I just lost my mom (61 years old) a month ago after a nasty 6 month bout with cancer, 3 of which those months were spent in a nursing home. I have two young children at home so yes, I need to function. I need to grocery shop, I need to volunteer at school, everything. But then there are times when I wonder if people are looking at me when I do these things and think, man, she must be fine already. Then I have moments of "pull it together- it could be worse." I couldn't imagine losing a child and I could never have imagined the pain of losing my mom and the fact that my kids will probably never remember her. So thank you for allowing me to feel like it's okay to grieve and it's okay to not have it all together either. Thank you for sharing your life to help me in mine :)

Rach said...

You speak the absolute truth Anna. Beautifully, powerfully. Keep turning over those thoughts, keep playing with those words. You have someone reading who feels the things you feel (I'm sure you have many). Lots of Love, Rachel