Monday, December 16, 2013

Different

Margaret and Tim were making snickerdoodles after church yesterday when they ran out of flour. We decided to borrow from one of our neighbors rather than go to the store, so Margaret and I bundled up and traipsed across the street. My neighbor apologized for the huge pile of blankets in her hallway, and I laughed, thinking of all of the times Jack, Margaret, and friends had stirred up our old house, moving things around as part of a game. I glanced to the right, and saw that three kids had set up a sort of ramp of pillows, blankets and couch cushions to slide down the carpeted stairs to the basement.

As Margaret and I carried the flour back home, I started to cry quietly. I think she thought I was missing Jack, which of course I was, because it was hard and wonderful to see those cute boys who reminded me so much of him, but I was missing her old life, too, when there were made-up games to occupy a Sunday afternoon. Kids around the kitchen table cracking each other up, talking about nothing and everything. When Margaret had the easy give and take of kids in and out of our home, and the noise and chaos they brought with them.

Our house is quiet now. We use electronics to fill the hours and the silence. With the exception of the clothes strewn all over Margaret's floor, and the shoes Shadow insists on stashing around the house, things pretty much stay in their places now, which is nice, except when it isn't.

People talk of the hustle and bustle of these days leading up to Christmas, but we don't really feel it.

But we make plans. We go to a play and out to dinner. We go to church. Tim and Margaret bake delicious cookies from the recipe she learned in Home Ec.

We're doing okay.

We're doing.

It's just very different. And different takes more getting used to than one might think.

48 comments:

Kirsten said...

Love to you Anna.

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

That's the feeling that just keeps washing over me over and over right now. This life is not how I imagined or dreamt it might be, and who was I to dare to imagine? It's just taking a lot of getting used to. Hugs to you all, Anna.

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

That's the exact feeling I am having right now. This isn't how I imagined or dreamed my life would ever look like. It's taking A LOT of getting used to! Hugs to your family Anna.

Paula said...

So poignant! Every stage of life requires adjustment because it is "different" than what was before, but your "different" is beyond compare. I admire your strength, and your words describing your life and your feelings. I hope this season brings your renewed strength, hope, love, friendship, and all that is good in this world. God Bless you and your family.

Karen said...

A new normal. Not always fun, especially at this time of year.

Jill Carroll said...

My heart aches for you. That has to be so hard.
I really like your adoption idea. You are such a good woman and mother. Think of the home and love you could provide. Your home can be noisy again. Margaret will be in on the noise.
I wish I could give you a big hug!

Penny said...

Anna, as a mother of three grown kids who are very close to each other, it tears me up to read your words. I know how much of your pain is for Margaret and the losses she isn't even aware of yet, in her future to come. She is so lucky to have you and Tim as her parents, people who aren't afraid to address this and acknowledge this enormous loss because it's going to come up again and again and again in her many milestones ahead. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I'm so glad that you are so open on this blog because I think you are helping a lot of people by sharing your grief.

Stephany said...

Amen! The oh so quiet still gets to me sometimes (it has been over 5 years since my daughter became an only child)... You say it so well.

LauraBeth said...

Sending my love and prayers to you, Tim, and Margaret...

Hugs, from the other side of town

Anonymous said...

Always sending love your way, Anna. And thinking about your beautiful children. I hold you all close in my heart.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry! That sounds so very hard, to feel your loss and Margaret's, too. But you did borrow the flour. That's important that you did that.

And you worked SO hard this summer to move. You went through a lot--deciding to move, and making offers, the enormous work of packing, and dealing with ants getting into the storage, and all the logistics of what to keep and donate. That was a lot work that you all did, to get to this place where it's different, but you're doing okay. Just making that change took so much courage and strength, and you're also working on the book, which is important, too. It would have been very understandable to give it another year at the old house, just to heal a bit more and take it slow, but you knew this was what was right for your family, and so you went for it.

Rach said...

I've started about five different comments and none of them convey my thoughts as concisely as I would like.

I'm sorry. I'm just sorry. It's so hard. :o(

Hugs,
Rach

Theresa said...

we just went North for the annual rowdy reunion and there were empty chairs, making it a lot less rowdy. sometimes holes area vacuum. xo

Theresa said...

we just went North for the rowdy reunion and there were empty chairs making it much less rowdy. sometimes space is a vacuum. xo

Karen L. said...

Different is hard. May you and your family continue to find strenght through the Lord to "do it" differently now. Prayers for you all now.

Jennifer Marshall said...

Sending hugs. Miss you. xoxoxo

Alison said...

Love to you and yours, Anna. xoxo

Joyce said...

Praying for you and your family this holiday season.
Much love,
Joyce

Jamie Reese said...

❤️❤️ Everything is quiet here now too. Different is difficult

claire plante said...

Love and hugs to you, Anna, and to Tim and Margaret too. I think of you all the time.

xoxo
Claire

Peg said...

As you know, I really struggle with this...handling our new normal. I have the opposite problems where our new is too chaotic, too loud, too raw. All I have on this one is you are not alone. People think we should already be used to the different, but truthfully I don't think I ever will and that often makes me so sad. Hugs and love to you. Hang in there sweet friend.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

My sister lost her child almost two years ago. I have grieved with her, but I know my pain is not the same as hers. There have been moments when I have felt deep anguish and at those times I think I am getting a closer look at her reality. In that light, I extend my most sincere sympathy to you as you face the challenge of creating a joyful home for your husband and daughter in the midst of unimaginable loss.

If your daughter’s smile tells anything about her, she still knows joy. Look at her with those cookies! I envision her growing up to be a strong, loving, compassionate woman with a wonderful relationship with her parents. I will continue to pray for all of you. Thank you for your honesty in sharing these difficult days.

Anonymous said...

We have the same "quiet" in our house. I miss our old life and seeing my son play with his older sister. Your blog helps me a lot...knowing that others are going through what we are.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

I wish I had wise words of wisdom for you Anna. Sending love and hugs!

Anonymous said...

Love and Hugs to you, Tim and Margaret!!!

Heidi Cave said...

I'm crying. Love you. So, so much. Thinking of you. So, so much.

I love that photo of Margaret. She is such a beauty.

Beth said...

Your honesty is so beautiful. Maybe time for a sleepover with Margaret's friends? I know it's not exactly the same, but...

Maggie May said...

Hi Anna. I am reading and listening and praying for you and your family. Your daughter's smile is full of light.

stacy said...

Hugs to you and your family.

Alexandra Rosas said...

Different, as in never the same. As in, so much loss it's hard to place where it's felt the most. Different, where we try and find all the pieces to put together what we once had... realizing, it's not rebuilding as the books tell us, as much as it's starting anew.

It's all so new.

xo Love to all of you this holiday season. xo

Greta @gfunkified said...

Different is hard. Different takes time. Thinking of you, Anna.

Allison - The House of Hendrix said...

Sweet Anna, I burst into tears reading this like I do with most your posts but this week I am exceptionally vulnerable. Our pastor took his life this past week leaving his 3 young children. I too am a mix of emotions. Praying for peace over us all this holiday. Love to you.

Lisa C said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Not just Jack himself but everything that went along with "him".

It sounds like you need a sleepover. to fill the house with girl chatter and laughter, even just for an evening.

Katy said...

Love you Anna, this breaks my heart. You write these things so well.

cynthiasolc said...

"Different", yes that can say it all and nothing at the same time. I know.

I kept thinking of what I could write, but there are never any words. I just pray God keeps giving you the grace to focus on the love you share for both your children, your husband, your family and friends. To keep focusing on the love you share with us readers, specially the ones that are going through the same loss and looking for some hope.

God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Sending comfort. Wow. Your writing is so poignant. My heart aches with you.

I am sure the Holidays make it even more apparent that somebody is missing. Wishing you and your family a wonderful and Merry Christmas!

Big hugs, NoVa Mom Jen

Sherri Newman said...

It just takes the air out of your sail at times. Thinking of you all this Christmas Season! Hugs! Sherri

Sherri Newman said...

hugs!

anymommy said...

It sure does. Beautifully said, Anna, as always.

Lady Jennie said...

I have a lump in my throat.

Wishing that different didn't have to hurt so much or feel empty (ever).

Erin Margolin said...

Different is difficult, there's no way around it. I know it doesn't begin to compare to what you've been through, Anna, but… when I read this, it made me think of the holidays right after my parents split up. My dad came out & moved out in early November, and then BOOM -- holidays hit.
It was quiet and different and, just… not normal in our house. It was a tough pill to swallow.
And while time has helped, it hasn't solved everything.
There will always be a scar.
hugs & love to you and your precious family.
xo

Melissa Dale said...

Anna-
I believe and am thankful that God has something amazing in store for you and your family in 2014. Peace and Joy are coming your way!

As for the quiet... It is during the quiet times that we are able to hear God the most.

Much love to all of you and I pray that God heals your aching hearts.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Different....that is a hard word to take in. I can only imagine the different and how heavy it is to carry. My prayers and thoughts are always with you, Tim and Margaret.
(((((HUGS)))))

Britmum said...

Anna, my husband lost his older sister when he was 8, thus becoming an only child. He says he really missed having someone to play with. However, his parents didn't encourage lots of friends etc to come back to the house, and he didn't have lots of cousins that he was close to, so it was a strange and lonely existence. It sounds as though it is very different for Margaret, she has an extended family and you all have friends and support through your church and your neighbours. Make the most of that.
I will be thinking of you over Christmas. Blessings.

Lorenne said...

Your posts so often strike a chord with me. I love knowing I'm not alone in this grief experience. I know what you mean about "different." We have a bunch of kids at home still, but without the youngest here, it's "older" with a lot less crying and screaming in mock terror as brothers chase around the house. Very few toys strewn around the house anymore. Our 8-yr-old son stopped playing with their toys when our daughter died. He got interested in other "boy stuff," which is fine, but like you said, different. It really hurts. Especially at Christmas. I appreciate so much your perspective and willingness to share your feelings. XOXO

Chimmy said...

love you, anna <3

thinking of you guys as you continue down this very different path...

much love,

chimmy

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Lisa A said...

How beautiful and grown up she looks.