Monday, September 8, 2014

Three Years Today



Three years ago today, we weren't perfect, but we had a rhythm; the pieces of our family fit together so precisely, so genuine a complement, one to the other, that to imagine one of the pieces gone would have been an impossibility. 

We felt on the cusp of something good. Was it a great year ahead in school? Was it, with the grueling business of raising tiny ones behind us, that Tim and I could just be in wonder for a little while, really enjoying the neat people our kids had become? 
Instead, we lost Jack that September 8th.
The balance is gone from our family, our lives, but we move forward each day. We eat family dinners. We watch America's Got Talent and the Amazing Race, just as we always did. It has been three long years since we've seen our son, touched him, heard his perspective on things. If he was not a loud kid, why are things so quiet around here? Still, at least once a week, I'll think, "Wait until I tell Jack this!" or "What's Jack going to do while Tim, Margaret and I are at soccer?" as if he has just been in another room all along.
It would be hard to pinpoint what I miss most. Because in my mind's eye, Jack is no longer 12, but is now 15, so I also miss things that I don't even know how to recognize or name. Glimmers of a teenage boy and early manhood that were just an idea when we lost him.
I guess the thing I miss the very most is the way I could just grab him, whenever he walked by me and give him a hug or a kiss, and he'd let himself be pulled close, let his hair be ruffled. Perhaps he'd be balking at that by now, twisting away from my gentle grasp. But I don't know.
It gets easier. It does. One truly can have hope and joy and laughter and growth after such a loss. Tim, Margaret, and I are walking, living, breathing proof.
But that doesn't mean I don't still wonder sometimes if all of this has just been a bad dream.
Jack,
We Love You. We Miss You. We'll Never Forget You.

160 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and your family every day but sending extra prayers and hugs today.

Anonymous said...

I think about you all every day and pray for peace but especially today.

Alison said...

Today, I hold Jack, you, Tim, and Margaret in my heart. Much love to all of you. xoxo

Megan said...

Thinking of you and Tim and Margaret today, Anna. Thanks for another beautiful post about your beautiful son.

Stephanie said...

Oh Anna. My heart is still raw for you for your loss. I thank you for sharing it and Jack with all of us. Love to you ad your family.

Anonymous said...

You are surely an example of grace and beauty in the face of great tragedy...may you find peace today and always

Brandi said...

Love and prayers for your family today. <3

Tracy said...

Holding you in love today and always. Xo

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how much your experience has touched me. I don't know you but grieve for Jack anyway. Thinking about your family more so today.

Lisa said...

Thinking of you all today and everyday.

Rose D'Angelo Designs said...

You have all been in my thoughts and prayers every day. Strength and love to you...

A Speckled Trout said...

Ticking off years and looking back is what comes with parenting, but ticking off the absence defies imagination. I doubt Jack would ever pull away from one of your hugs or miss piling on the couch with all of you for the Amazing Race. You will always be four. xoxo

Devany LeDrew said...

Thank you for always sharing him with us as well even on the most difficult days.

Devany LeDrew said...

Thank you for always sharing him with us as well even on the most difficult days.

Stimey said...

I'm thinking of you and your beautiful boy today.

Ann Imig said...

Tears. Hugs. And huge high-fives for hope. Love to all of you.

Kir said...

Thinking of you today and always Anna. Hoping that you feel comfort in the knowledge that you are being wrapped in a web of love every single day.

Much love to you, Tim and Margaret on this very hard day.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Hope in life is what we desire. To ever believe that there would be a presence of hope after a tragic loss has always been incomprehensible to me. You have changed that for me Anna, you have brought some of my greatest fears to a place of an awareness of comprehension. I'm not sure where I would be today without reading your Blog posts for strength. I've know for many years now that a life without Faith cannot be lived. If we can't believe in the hope of seeing our loved ones again in Heaven or the fact that they are still present here on earth in other ways, what would be the point of getting out of bed each day. Thank you. Keeping you close in my heart today and praying for your comfort always.
(((HUGS)))....Debby

Susan said...

God bless you as you face each day, and especially on this day. Prayers for grace and courage from Munich.

Michele said...

Thinking of you and your family, and especially Jack, today. I echo the thanks for sharing Jack, and your story, with us.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you today, Anna.

Loukia said...

Thinking about you today, and every day, Anna, but especially today. Your story is the one I think about all the time, because nothing has moved me or made me more emotional as a mother. I think it's also your grace, and your words, and your ability to move forward the way you while always still remembering Jack in such a loving way. So much love to your entire family. And prayers for Jack. xoxox

Robin @ Farewell Stranger said...

So much love to all of you today.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Thinking of you today, Anna - and, yes, he probably wouldn't be letting you ruffle his hair at this point. Which of course would tempt you to do it all the more, just to tease him...

Galit Breen said...

Holding you in my heart, Anna.

Colette Nichols said...

As it is raining horribly here in Phoenix this morning, it is fitting that this would come up on my news feed. What a great loss, but what a strength you show. Lifting you in prayer today.

Michele from IL said...

Thinking of you all and lifting you up in prayer today.

juli said...

Your words have helped me and my family overcome our own loss.Thank you so much for that. Today, I'd like to share a song with you that has helped us, as well. I hope it brings you comfort today and in the days to come.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtp-p7qFI2I

Angela said...

Sending so much love to you and your family today.

ella said...

Three years. Doesn't seem possible. Holding your family extra close in my thoughts today.

TheNextMartha said...

Sending you a hug.

kimberwidmer.com said...

Oh Anna… I wish so much that this isn't the journey your family has been called to. Such an innocent idea, such a tragic end. You have been given such a sweet voice for grief, loss and perseverance… and you use it so well. Praying for your family as you mark another year without him, but so thankful you still feel him near. Hugs to you, friend.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Sending SO much love Anna. Today and every day.

Karen L. said...

Praying especially for you and your family today, Anna. May our Lord bless you with His comfort and strength on this hard day. So looking forward to reading your book and will continue to pray that the Lord will use it for His glory----Jack's smile is huge today with the Lord.

Wendi said...

All my love, Anna.

IrishRN07 said...

crying with you and praying for you this gray morning. Hugs to your beautiful family. xoxo
-Maureen

tracy bates said...

I cannot even imagine the horror your family has lived through. Your work honors Jack, and the love you have for him, by shining a light through the darkness of grief for others.

Deb said...

With eyes full of tears I read this and remember the first time I read your post almost three years ago. Praying for you this morning and asking God to comfort and sustain you on this anniversary date. Thank you for sharing your precious son with us all. Blessings to you Anna.

Jules said...

You are all in my thoughts & prayers today. May you find comfort in the many memories that you shared with your wonderful Jack.

Anonymous said...

So honored that you've shared the last three years with us. Sending you peace and prayer today from the midwest.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of your beautiful family today and sending much love from Canada. Your rare bird Jack will never be forgotten.

Janet

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Thinking of you and your family Anna! I know it's a life long journey, but you have come a long way in the last three years.

Paula said...

Thinking of you and praying for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your journey and touching us all.

Lesley said...

May you, Margaret and Tim feel the warmth of the many thousands of people whose lives you have blessed with your words. You stand today, and every day, as the most beautiful example of making sense from that which is senseless, use from that which seems useless and hope from all that is hopeless. Thank you.

LisaAR said...

Thinking of and praying for you and your family. Thank you so much for sharing your journey--it means a lot to so many. Hearthugs to you.

Joyce said...

Thinking of you and your family with much love! xo

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you all. Wishing it was a dream and that our world still held your rare bird.

Luann Meyer said...

Thinking of you and your family today, dear lady. Most of all thank you for sharing Jack!
Your raw feelings strike a chord in my core.

Lisa said...

Thinking of you all and sending peace and prayers for comfort.

Jen said...

Much love and prayers. Thank you for your sharing always. It gives me strength. Some of it, I know since I walk the same road, but it encourages me to keep walking. You are in my prayers, all of you, for peace and unity. Blessings Friend!

Jessica Watson said...

Thinking of all of you and wishing you peace Anna. xo

Tonya said...

Sending love and peace. xo

Heather said...

My heart breaks for you all over again today. Sending prayers and love.

Jill said...

My heart aches for you. I am so very sorry that this happened. I still remember where I was when I heard the news that it happened and it took my breath away. Many hugs.

Momza said...

Today will be a long day. A day full of emotional waves that will roll in and out, over and under. My hope for you all is that for each overwhelming moment, there is a sweet tender mercy that gives you comfort and peace that Jack is still nearby...in "another room" as it were, and knows of your great love for him. Thank you for sharing your mother-heart so purely. We are blessed by your grace.

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

sending you love, prayers, and peace. XOXO

Lisa said...

Thinking of you today, Anna, and sending much love. And looking forward to seeing you Friday night and hopefully giving you a hug. xoxo

Annie said...

I just read a review of your book on Huffington Post. It said something like if your readers show up, then you will continue to show up. So even though I do not know you, I like to think that because I grieve with you and pray for you and your family and continue to read your blog, I'm somehow making a mark on your journey towards wholeness. I hope so. I guess that is really what prayer is--God's energy making movement in the world in spite of the distance between us.

Stephanie Scheel said...

I am a friend of Kate Hood and have followed your story. I am in awe of your strength and perspective. I have 2, 11 year olds and it breaks my heart to even think about this kind of loss. I look forward to reading your book and I send you much peace.

Arnebya Herndon said...

Holding all of you close to my heart every day.

Natalie said...

Sending you so much love and wrapping you in virtual hugs. Today and every day.

Annie said...

I just read a review of your book on Huffington Post. There it said that if we show up (to read your blog) then you will continue to show up. So even though I do not know you, maybe sharing your grief and keeping your family in my prayers and reading your blog somehow can impact your journey toward wholeness. I hope so. Perhaps this is how prayer works, that God's healing energy creates movement in the world in spite of the distance. I hope that you feel the comfort today from the many prayers being said for you and your lovely family. Thank you for sharing.

Lyndsay W said...

Thinking of you and your family with prayers for strength and peace.

MrsTDJ said...

The words are never easy, but somehow you find them. Hugs and love!

Anonymous said...

We miss him, too, at every age and stage! We will never stop praying for your precious family and thank God for the hope we have through his Son, Jesus Christ. I am thankful too that God placed him in a family that prepared his sister to deal with such a loss. Hugs & Prayers always! Karen

Debbie A. said...

There are no words but your words were perfectly said, as always.

Kerry S. said...

Love to you Anna and your sweet boy Jack whom I never met but now love too.
Sharing in your sadness today.
Please know you all are in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

Extra big hugs today. I think of you and Jack often. You have greatly impacted the way I live and love my boys. I try not to sweat the small stuff so much anymore. I can't wait to read your book. Best, NoVa Mom Jen

Salvimom said...

I cannot believe its been three years. In my minds eye, it was just yesterday that I stumbled upon your blog and realized this tragedy. Anna, you are truly strong and blessed. I honestly don't know how you've managed to be so graceful during something that tears a person down. Your words, as usual are a thing of beauty. I'm glad beyond all else that I get to read them. Prayers for you and your family, and many loving thoughts about your boy. God Bless You.

Ury Salinas
Seattle, WA

luv2run said...

ALWAYS thinking of you and your dear family!

Hugs

Peg said...

I started reading your blog before Jack died. I honestly don't remember how I stumbled onto you but was hooked by your funny writing. The day of the storm we were pulling together last minute details and packing up because Kieran and I were leaving for a long weekend in Montana for a friend's wedding. We barely made it to the airport due to flooded roads around our house. I heard about a boy dying once we got to the airport. It was days later that I found out it was Jack. I was so sad for you, Tim, Margaret and sweet Jack. I was absolutely shocked and am still 3 years later. I'm proud of all of you (including Jack) for inspiring others to live bigger, better and in their faith no matter what it is or what state it might be in. Thank you for always supporting me on my blog. I'm thinking of all of you today and hope you find solace in knowing so mamy people are holding you and your family in their prayers. Again, as always, I am so sorry for your loss.

heather_r said...

Thinking about you and your family today.

Anonymous said...

I wrote about jack in a school essay I did this past week, I've been thinking of him more often as the 3 year anniversary as come closer. You and jack are in my prayers.

Elaine Alguire said...

I just thank you for continuing to share your heart and this journey with us. You know I am thinking of you more today than usual and Tim and Margaret too. Love and prayers to you all...

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you, thinking of Jack, today. Thank you for continuing to share your journey and thoughts with the rest of us! You are much loved.

KelBel said...

I remember September 9th was the day I started reading your blog. I have been tuning in ever since, because you have done so much to teach me what it is to be a mother and a godly woman. Thank you so much for having the courage to write about these things.

Angela McKeown Momopolize said...

Thinking of you always, but especially today! Sending big hugs and prayers your way.

Anonymous said...

My tears are flowing for you today. Sending you and your family BIG LOVE and strength today.

Priya said...

I think of you and your family all the time. Thank you for sharing your grief with us. I wish it didn't have to be that you had it. I hope you feel much love today as you honor your son, your changed family, and your healing heart.

GrahamForeverInMyHeart said...

A very charming and handsome boy...what a loss.

Anna said...

I loved Kristin Shaw's review of Rare Bird. It mirrored so much of how I processed you, Jack ... I have learned so much about how to support people during grief from your openness and huge writing talent. I've never had one, but I saw a billboard today for a Doritos Taco Loco and I think I'll treat myself and continue to think of Jack. Much love to you. ~ Anna

Anonymous said...

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

Casey D said...

Anna, thinking of you, Tim, Margaret and Jack today. Lots of love.

Rachel Gentile said...

I am thinking of you and your family on this very difficult day!! Prayers for your continued healing and strength!!! <3

Rachel Gentile said...

Thoughts are with you and your family on this difficult day!! Prayers for your continued strength and courage. Thank you for making a difference!!!! <3

Anonymous said...

Anna, I can't even begin to imagine what you are all going through, but I send you my love and my prayers.

Your comment about thinking Jack is just in the next room reminds me of a piece of writing which is well known here in the UK but may not be familiar in the US. It's by Canon Henry Scott Holland and is called "Death is nothing at all" and starts
"Death is nothing at all / I have only slipped away into the next room"

It's a beautiful piece of writing and may speak to you. The last 3 lines are an amazing comfort, I've found, although I have never experienced a loss like yours.

You are an incredible family, all four of you.

Cheryl said...

You are all in my prayers today - although I don't think there is a day when I don't think of your family.

Anonymous said...

I've never posted, but read religiously and think of you often. Sending prayers and thoughts your way.

Leigh Ann said...

Thinking of you today, Anna. Hugs and prayers to you and your family.

Amanda said...

Reading your blog allows me to grieve for my son as well. Thank you for that.

angela said...

You, Tim, and Margaret are in our prayers today. Jack has touched so many lives.

Chris Carter said...

Anna,
I have recently read some gorgeous reviews from various bloggers, and I needed to come by to tell you how blessed I am to learn about you and your amazing message.

I will be buying your book and promoting it as well, and I will be praying that you embrace the joy of success in sharing your journey, your heart, and your faith.

I literally lost my breath when I read of how your son passed. There is nothing more horrific than a trauma of this magnitude. You are an inspiration to many wounded souls, and I pray you continue to draw your strength from God and those whom you lift into His arms through your story.

darsden said...

Sending Love & Prayers

Anonymous said...

So so sorry for your poor sore heart. You are doing so well to keep a thread of positive in it and still be present for your people. I will be praying for you for the times you dont feel so strong, or at any peace

Anonymous said...

I pray peace for you and your family. God bless.

Karen M. said...

Thinking of you today! This was really well written. We will celebrate my baby boy's b-day tomorrow, who should be turning 7. We only got to have him for 8 days. I think about what he would be doing, what kind of a person he would be, etc. but you're right, it does get easier and we have found joy. Just with a shadowy feeling of always missing someone.

Anonymous said...

I remember meeting you at the very first MSG8 meeting, you were the first mom that I met and you were carrying Jack in his car seat. He was about 5 months old and was such a beautiful baby. And he was a beautiful boy, inside and out. I remember how you were so nice and how I remember thinking I was glad to be in that particular group. I know Sept. is a horrible month for you, but I'm glad we met then and I'm always here for you Anna. Think about you guys often. -NL

Anonymous said...

You and your family are in my heart and prayers! xo

Gretchen said...

Love you Anna. My john sounds so much like Jack, and the idea of only having him one more year (he's 11) breaks my heart. I can not imagine your pain. Hugs & prayers.

Anonymous said...

For you and for all who have suffered the unthinkable loss, I pray you find peace and continued strength as you navigate through the depths of overwhelming sorrow.

Anonymous said...

Love and peace from the city of brotherly love, Anna. Thank you for sharing Jack with us.

Claire Plante said...

Anna,

Ever since Jack died, I have been obsessed with the sky, marveling at its beauty. There was an unmistakeable change. "Was it always this beautiful and dramatic, or am I just now noticing it?" I often ask myself. And I don't really know. But what I do know is that it makes me think of Jack, and you, and the endless, indescribable love between a mom and her boy.

Love,
Claire

Tara said...

Much love to you, Tim, Margaret, and Jack. Thank you for inviting us to share this journey with you, it is an honor and a privilege to "walk" with you, pray for you, be with you from Seattle.

Pam@OurAdventuresInHomeImprovement said...

My prayers are with you today and everyday.

Pam

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post, thank you for sharing. Jack was a special boy. xoxo

Jess said...

Thinking of you all today. Admiring the strength and grace you've all shown in the past 3 years. Hoping you have a peaceful night.

Anonymous said...

Anna- we are perfect strangers and yet through your beautiful writing, i have learned so much and been inspired; I mourn your loss and feel your pain as if it was my own. Thinking of you on this especially difficult day. Stay strong!

Jenn said...

Love your strength and courage. You are my role model everyday. Love you, Tim and Margaret. XXOO

Jenn Marshall said...

Sending love to you, Anna, and Tim and Margaret today and every day. I think of Jack all the time and feel so blessed to know him through your writing. xoxo

Katherine said...

Today I listened to a sermon online and the verse the speaker was preaching on was Luke 1:37 "Nothing is Impossible with God." The whole time I was thinking about your family and what a wise and wonderful boy Jack was. I'm thinking about and praying for you today.

Louie said...

Hi Anna - as I sit here in a thunderstorm and pouring rain, I opened today's paper, The Island Packet, here on Hilton Head Island, SC and read an article entitled "Grief of a Mother". The subtitle of the article was not lost on me nor was the fact that we are both from VA, I am a graduate of J.E.B. Stuart in Falls Church, VA. As a mother to a son, your story drew me in and I decided to come here and let you know that I care. Nowhere in the article I read mentioned the date of when Jack was lost so imagine my shock when I see today's other posts, "Three Years Today". That, in someway, to me at least, has to be kismet, more than likely Jack! He sounds like a wonderful young man, I know you and your family remain so proud of him. Please know that you and yours are loved by many, even those you don't know.

Erica Kain said...

I think about Jack and his magic all of the time. Much love to you.

Dianne DS said...

Sending thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

Janet said...

Oh Anna, even though we've never met, I think of you and Jack and your family so often. Especially so today. Sending hugs and love <3

Noah's Mom said...

Thinking if you Anna, Tim and Margaret on this day and sending my love. Jack will forever live in your hearts and this beautiful child will always be remembered by all of us that have been touched by him and your story.

OSMA said...

Just coming here to add my love without wisdom, my heart with beaming hope.

xoxo

Rachael S. said...

Thinking of. you Anna. Xo

Anonymous said...

Writing late but you and your family were in my thoughts and prayers today.

I just received a notification from Amazon that "Rare Bird" was downloaded. I don't dare start reading on a school night, for fear I would miss work tomorrow. However, I have a date with your book and my porch rocking chair on Friday afternoon...and maybe a glass of wine or two.

Hoping that you survived the day and there was some laughter with the tears.

Hugs, Theresa in Denver

michiganhome said...

I came upon your blog last week when i did a search on wood stains and saw the picture of the beautiful table you refurbished, (Table Transformation, February 2011). In the side bar, I saw Rare Bird, and thought, "Oh, she has a book out," and clicked on the link. When I read the tagline, I stopped. How poignantly all the heartbreak of what happened was crystallized in that one sentence, "Because one day..." I didn't want to know any more, closed the window, then closed the window to the blog, but not before bookmarking it. Yesterday, I opened the bookmark. And what I didn't want to read about the other day, I saw staring me in the face, in the form of Jack's beautiful face. So I read.

As others have said, you honor Jack by your honesty and generosity in sharing your story, in your ability to convey details about Jack's personality that make us feel as if we know him. You honor Jack by leading others to hope.

Thank you, Anna. I pray for continued peace for your family.

Lisa C said...

My heart aches for your loss. Every time I look at one of my children and see the space they fill in our family, I can't imagine how we'd handle it.

Much love to you all, always.

Anonymous said...

Keeping space in my heart for you today. XO

Meg said...

Hugs and prayers for you all

Molly said...

I have been blogging for a long time but your story is one that has touched me more than any I have ever read. I will definitely be reading this book. To honor you and your journey through grief. And to honor Jack. I bet he is so proud of you.

Lady Jennie said...

Love you.

Jacqueline said...

Love and prayers! xox

www.robinbotie.com said...

Anna, I'm thinking of you and Jack and sending my best wishes out from Ithaca, New York. Thank you for sharing this heart-warming post about your beautiful son.

j*e*n said...

God bless you and your family!!

Mags said...

Your story has touched my heart. Thinking of you and your family this day - and pretty much every day.

Melissa Dale said...

Anna- It's been a while since I've posted a comment but I received your book today. I took it out of the box and held it in my hands but couldn't smile as I would having received some other book. My son said, what's wrong? I told him that I was happy to receive the book but that I was sad for the reason the book was written. I know you know what I mean. I am looking forward to reading Rare Bird. As always, thank you for sharing your life with the rest of us.

Cynthia said...

So painful, so excruciatingly painful. This post is a hard one to read, my friend. I love you and miss you so much, and that Jack... how I miss that fast talk, and that tiny body, and that awesome hair, and insanely smart mind.

Anonymous said...

The book is so beautiful Anna!

Congrats!

Annie.

Alexandra said...

Prayers to you, tears and sincere love to you. Hoping that just a bit of what I hold in my heart for you finds its way to you tonight. I love you, friend.

Anonymous said...

Loved your book Anna. I read it last night. I thought it was very brave and I thought about how you must be feeling very vulnerable right now as it is released into the world. Art, of any kind, takes on a life of its own as it goes out into the world. It is no longer just the creator's work -- it belongs to everyone who reads it and discusses it. This can be scary and sometimes frustrating (when you are occasionally misinterpreted, for example). But mostly good. And I hope you feel free to just let the book fly free and not worry too much what others take from it. They take what they take.

I guess the way I think of God is the way the mystics think of God. He is not "over there." He is not outside of us. And in fact, there is nothing but God. There is ONLY God. This includes damaged linoleum tile. That's God too. Because he is ALL things, his perspective is infinite. What we experience as a span of time unfolding, is experienced more like a painting from the cosmic-god perspective. All things have already happened, all things are already in place, fit together perfectly, like legos. Not because of predestination, but because the concept of time itself is a human one -- and God only knows NOW. And NOW, for God, is everything that has ever happened or will happen in this life and the next.

Anyway, I was intrigued by your habit of "encouraging women to connect with one another." Now that's a blessing I could use, like you couldn't believe. If you write about it, I'd read it.

You did great. Your book tour will be both good and hard. Take someone with you if you can -- someone to be your protector.

love, E. in VT.



Marinka said...

Thinking of you, Anna, and your beautiful family. Always xo

Cathy Hasecke said...

So beautifully said. You are such an inspiration to me and I think of you often.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you a lot this past week or two as I always do near back to school time. My thoughts have been with you at this time and I pray for strength for you during the book tour.

But don't forget you don't always have to be strong.

Rachel said...

I just finished Rare Bird a few moments ago. I've been reading your blog since Momastery linked to yours after Jack passed away. Your book was heartwrenching and inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your family with your readers. Your family is in my prayers.

Heidi Cave said...

Thinking of you and your family, holding you in my heart. All my love...

Rachel said...

Anna,
I've been reading your blog for years now and have never left a comment, but I finished reading Rare Bird tonight and I wanted to say thank you. Writing the book and trusting readers with your family's story must have taken so much courage--thank you for writing it anyway. Tonight when my three-year-old son Charlie pulled out some Legos to play with, I told him I was reading a book about a boy named Jack who also loved Legos. Somehow, somewhere, I hope Jack saw Charlie's smile. Sending love from Minnesota.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack's Mom,
I have been a follower of your blog and story for quite a while now... I just finished reading rare bird...front to back and everything in between. I cried with you, and my heart felt every detail so much that the pain was immeasurable. The one thing that radiated so clearly through the entire book was your love for Jack. Thank you for sharing your story with us...prayers and love for you and your family.

gomom247 said...

I read your story for the first time on Monday through a link on my childhood friends' blog, Momopolize. I'm in awe of your writing, even when the message was beyond heartbreaking. As a mom of a beautiful son and daughter myself I I totally connected and can't imagine how I would deal with that kind of crushing grief but I hope I would be able to mirror your strength some how, some way. Know that I have thought of you and your family all week and even found myself looking for signs of your Jack everywhere I go. Thank you for sharing your story. Wishing you much success on your book. You deserve it.

Sara said...

I had never read your blog or heard Jack's story, but a couple of days ago a "random" link popped up on my Facebook newsfeed with a link to your book Rare Bird. I am a therapist. I work with women, couples, and families. And I get anxious when grief comes through my door. So I swallowed any desire I had to stay in a happy little bubble where the unthinkable doesn't happen, and I made myself download your book with the hopes that it would make me a better therapist.

I have read the entire thing in two days, and wept so steadily in my bed for your Jack that my husband stopped playing candy crush on his iPad to hold me while I read your words.

Thank you, Anna, for sharing Jack with me and the world. I will most assuredly be a better therapist, better equipped to be a cushion for someone's pain instead of an elixir. What I wasn't expecting, and what I'm so thankful for, is that after reading your beautiful, loving words, I'm a better mother, wife, friend…human.

I'm just better.

Thank you for your willingness to share your heart so honestly. Three years later, Jack is making people better. Perhaps he will never ever stop.

Much love to you from Tennessee.

Amy Wouda said...

I just started reading your book yesterday and after getting half way through I had to check out your blog to learn more. I lost my sister in a car accident 10 years ago. I was 17 she was 18. Reading your book definitely brings many horrible memories forward but although I have been doing a lot of crying I also am strangely loving remembering the horrible times following her death. I am hoping to get my mom to read your book as I am sure she will be amazed at the likeness of your experiences. Thank you for sharing your horrible, wonderful story. You will forever be in my thoughts and prayers. Anniversary's are hard and as a family we always try to do something special on that day but it always feels terribly awkward for me. I hope you found something that fits for your family to remember him.

Brooke said...

My first daughter was stillborn in December 2010, and I relate so much to what you wrote about missing Jack and missing who he would be today, three years later. All those ages and stages... I'm so sorry for your loss. I'll be thinking of Jack.

Geri said...

Still reading. Still grateful for your words. Just finished Rare Bird in less than 24 hours. It was wonderful, beautiful. Thank you for writing it.

Jen said...

I am so sorry. I lost a friend this year this date; a great friend and mentor. may they be rejoicing in Heaven together. Praying now.

Denise said...

You have such a gift with words. Thank you for expressing the unspoken thoughts that so many have. My copy of Rare Bird arrived in the mail this week. I look forward to learning more about Jack.

Sharon M. said...

Jack always reminds me to appreciate the people I love a little bit more every day. He reminds me to be a little more patient, a little more kind, a little more generous, a little more sensitive and tuned in to what others' are going through. I just wish that you did not have to pay the price for that. Thinking and praying for you and your family.

Michele said...

I just finished! Your book is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your everything! As I read today, my oldest, who just happens to be a Lego-loving, faith-filled little boy, decided to open the sliding glass doors so he could hear the birds tweet. Out of the blue, he just starting tweeting back. I, honestly, looked up from your book, thinking this is so strange, and when he caught my gaze he just said, "What? They are talking to me!" Your Sweet little Jack is talking to all of us! Thank you Jack's Mom! We are listening!!!

The Crafty Angel said...

I just finished listening to the podcast with Glennon, and I'm still teary. I remember when you lost Jack. And it has stuck with me because of his love for legos, something my now 12yo son has adored forever. I hurt for you then and I hurt for you now. I will be getting a copy of Rare Bird asap. I've had loss in my life....not that of a child, although my disabilities ended our hopes for a larger family. Thank you for writing this gift. I'm so sorry that Jack isn't with you. My heart and prayers are with you. Xo

Florida Mom said...

Anna, I am reading your book, and just got to the part where you say, "yes, it gets easier, but first it gets harder". My 27 year old daughter introduced me to your blog after my 21 year old daughter died by suicide. That was 20 months ago. So for me yes, it is continuing to get harder, and I'm looking forward to the day when it's a little easier. People that know tell me the first two years are the hardest. I will know on Dec. 16 if that's true or not. I ordered your book the day it became available, and little did I know that my daughter ordered it for me also. So now I have a copy to give to the next mother I meet that needs it. And I have met a lot of grieving moms over the last 20 months. I've read almost half your book in one sitting. THANK YOU! I am imagining the pain you went through as you wrote, because I know how painful it is for me to write about my experience, but also how necessary it is. I am so happy with your title and subtitle. I'm one of those readers that "voted" for that title. Our Julie was a bit like your Jack I think, a rare bird. She saw the world through a unique lens. We called her "Julie Bird" and we have collected hundred of "her" feathers, since she left us. Each time I read your blog, I pray for you and Tim and Margaret. I especially pray for Margaret, because I know how tough life can be for adolescent girls, even ones that don't carry the burden she carries. Peace and Hope are my wishes for you, and for me and my family.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say something about this: "I know acting as though everything is fine won’t help one bit either , because it’s not the truth, so I give her metered glimpses of my grief, while still trying to appear as stable as possible."

The wisdom, the sensitivity, the compassion of this is PROFOUND. It may seem merely responsible and normal to you, but take it from me, it is an extraordinary display of love and parenting. It is instructive for me and it is amazing that you were able to be this in the midst of a challenge more difficult than any other on this earth.

Rebecca said...

I read "rare bird" in a little less than 2 days and today it is on its way to a friend who lost her 18yr old daughter on July 11th to an asthma attack. My mother died Feb 3rd or 4th (they never figured it out) of this year and I am overwhelmed with grief. 3 months after her death, my spouse took my step-son (who I've known his entire life and have parented since he was 6) and left my daughter and I to our grief. I've seen him once since May and while he is alive and well, I miss him very much. My daughter has never not known him as her brother and becoming an only child has been very hard on her, especially so close after losing her beloved grandmother. Needless to say, your book resonated with me in so many ways...Losing a child is every mother's worst fear and I've witnessed it happen to a friend three times now, all senseless, stupid accidents that make no sense. Thank you for sharing your truth, grief and MOST OF ALL, your JACK with me. Thank you for making me feel a lot less crazy and for giving me a tool to help my friend who is reeling just 2 months after the loss of her youngest child, her only daughter. Jack was clearly an incredible being and your love for him is so strong that I know it will help others heal.

annie said...

I finished your book last night. I've followed your blog but the book put your story into a greater context. I'm grateful for it. Although I didn't lose my daughter, she was diagnosed with cancer as a baby. I know the grief of leaving behind the life you thought you would have for the one that is suddenly in front of you. It's hard. When you share your heartache, it resonates with me and the burden is somehow lighter. And not least of all, the hope of your faith shines through. Thank you so much.
Love.

Lisa Whittle said...

Reading Rare Bird right now. So moved. Thank you for being honest. Do you accept prayers from North Carolina? :) Sure hope so, since some went up for your family today. What a handsome boy, your Jack. ❤️

Jessica Russell said...

It's been an honor to be witness to you on this journey. Thinking of your family today.

Carol Vitalis said...

Anna,

On July 15, 2013 my oldest son Alex drowned in the beautiful St. Croix River. We live on the river and have great respect for it's majesty. He died of cold water shock and my daughter,nephew and niece along with many friends were with him. His body was held gently over night by the river until it could be found the next day by the divers. The longest night of my life.
In my grief process I have found myself often without words to describe what I am feeling. In reading Rare Bird you have given voice to so much of what I am experiencing. The parallels are numerous. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing and your grief with us. You are not alone.

Peace and love - Carol Vitalis, Franconia, MN

Nadine said...

I'm new to your blog, having just this minute finished Rare Bird. I remember seeing the story of Jack's death in my feeder (has it been 3 years already?!) and remember clearly not wanting to read the details....There But for The Grace of God go all of us who let our children (play in the rain, cross the street, ride a bike, leave the house...) -- I was compelled to buy your book after an endorsement from Stacey at Any Mommy Out There. I lost a brother to illness at 13. Your interpretation of all of the relationships in the family and how they change is so spot on. I never realized how my Brother's death impacted my relationship with my Mother until I became a Mother and realized what his death did to her, and how strong she had to be to just take another breath. Your Jack, he is a beautiful soul. You can see it in those eyes. Thank you for sharing your story, and continuing to share your story, so beautifully.

ellen said...

I have only a few pages of Rare Bird left and it has been a good read. Thank you for being willing to share so much of your life with people.

This Sunday marks 16 years since my brother's death from brain cancer. I miss him every day.

Denise Pannell (mrspicasso) said...

August 13, 2006. That is my date. On that day, I lost my 13 year old son, Nate.
My aunt recently read your book and told me to do the same. I haven't bought it- yet, but I did want to "meet" your son and honor his memory before I do. Our biggest fear is that our child will be forgotten. Although I never met Jack, I will never forget him.
And, ironically, my younger son's name is Nicholas Jack, but we call him Jack. It's a strong name.
God Bless.