Monday, June 13, 2016

1,000 Reasons

This is my 1,000th post on An Inch of Gray.

I suppose I could try to do a re-cap of the last 9 years, or make a "Best Of" list. But as I stand here at the kitchen counter, Andrew strapped to my chest, his gentle breathing in sync with my own, what I really want to do is say THANK YOU.

Life can be painfully lonely sometimes. I don't have a particularly difficult time making friends, but there are always blank spaces longing to be filled with love, understanding, and support. Rough edges call out to be smoothed with fresh perspective and empathy. And I don't care whether we are 5 years old on a mini soccer field, or 50 and making a scary life change, having someone cheering us on makes a real difference.

I have an embarrassment of riches in the cheering department because of you.

Some of you showed up long ago to read of my trash to treasure makeovers or funny little stories about parenting Jack and Margaret. Others came when the horrible news of Jack's death spread like wildfire throughout the blogging community. You could have refused to click over, wanting to shield yourself from the pain you knew you would find here. But you came to read, pray, and bear witness. You helped save my life. Some read Rare Bird and wanted to follow up and check on us, or perhaps to get a feel for where your own grief journey might lead, newcomers in a club no one ever wants to join. News of our miraculous God-gift of late in life pregnancy may have landed others here, not so long ago, because who doesn't like to hear of beauty from ashes and see a newborn's gassy smile?

This community amazes me, and I'm grateful for each of you.

I'm just a person who likes to make people laugh, although I know I sometimes make them cry. I enjoy picking up an idea, turning it around this way and that, exploring it with my words, wondering if my thoughts might connect with just one person out there. I like to be real, because being fake seems like it would be exhausting. I like to point my toes toward hope, and sometimes I find myself walking toward it and embracing it before I even know I'm moving.

Our world can be scary. There is a lot of hate out there. People tear each other down. Differences are magnified, hatreds fed and tended to until they flare up and consume.

I want to thank you for the love, for the real friendship and connection that absolutely can happen though a screen, and for being lights in my world, and THE world.


Sharon in Indy said...

Now there is a light for the world!! And thank you, Anna, for showing us that no matter how dark it gets, there is light to be found. Not easily, not always, but existing and growing.

Idena said...

So glad I found your blog. Your writing is beautiful. (And so is that baby!)

Kerry S. said...

This put tears in my eyes. Much love back to you Anna.
I came from Momastery and cried and stayed.
I read your book and was awed. I didn't know it would help me to read it, as I had not suffered a loss like yours, but when I finished it I truly felt like you had given me a gift. Thank you.
I am so happy for you and your sweet new baby Andrew. (I know Jack is too)
<3 to all of you!

Thoughts for the day said...

So precious. You have gone through rough places of the heart and then God sends you a precious little rose... a little bit of joy in fact a LOT of joy. And HE is healing your heart and that is good. I love your little blog and I wish we could have coffee together and share matters of the heart and how life is just a day to day challenge.
God be with you... always.

Unknown said...

This post makes me cry with all the beauty and HOPE that's in it.

ella said...

I came after hearing about Jack's death, and have stayed over the years because your writing speaks to my soul, and I love your sense of humor, your faith, and your realness.

Happy Blogiversary! And could Andrew BE any cuter??? So, so sweet.

Love ya!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I'm so grateful to have been here for all of it. Every moment was a gift - even the hard parts. Thank you, friend.

Unknown said...

I don't comment much, but I have followed your blog since right before Jack passed. I love reading your posts. They helped me get through a different kind of grief. Thank you for the privilege to follow you.

Unknown said...

Saw your post today so just had to comment what a precious little baby God blessed you with! May God richest blessings be yours

Joyce Rice said...

Thank-you Anna for sharing your life with us, for sharing sweet Jack with us.

Andrew is absolutely adore! xo

Gigi said...

You give us a gift every time you post - whether it leaves us crying or laughing.

Andrew is so adorable!!

Anonymous said...

I found your blog because of Jack's story, I stayed because your writing makes me laugh, cry and frankly, be a better mom. I consider you a friend I haven't met (is that too creepy? ) . And Andrew is just too adorable!!

Relatively Retiring said...

I have been silently reading your blog since I stumbled across it just before Jack's death. I always admire your honesty, even in the most bleak of days, and to see that wonderful baby smiling now (as well as his shocked big sister!) gives the most tremendous boost to my day. My very best wishes and love to you all from across the very large pond.

Fiona, Lilyfield Life said...

beautiful words as always. isn't the blogging community amazing. your Andrew is beautiful also.

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing!

Can't believe that baby is already smiling! What a sweetie :)

erinlovesjolene said...

Okay, now I'm the creepy commenter who won't stop but Andrew is truly a remarkably beautiful baby. Really. :)

Anonymous said...

1000--wow. What a milestone, Anna! I thank YOU because your blog has touched me like no other. Since the days of Jake and Molly, your clear and insightful prose has made me laugh, cry, grieve and love. Thank you for taking us on your journey with you.

If I knew you in person, you can bet that we'd be good, good friends.


monique said...

Andrew is a baby doll!
What a smile he has.
I just started reading your blog last week.
One evening I was click, click, clicking away
and ended up here. I did a bit of reading, and
I have Rare Bird in my Amazon basket as I type.
While reading I found out that you were right next
door in VA. I'm in MD.
I remember the accident with Jack because, well,
the media. I'm glad to discover that his family has carried on
and now have Baby Andrew.
(I lost part of this comment, so let me know if you find it)
Your writing is a beautiful gift for sure.
Thanks for letting me read your words.
Take care,
Monica said...

Thank you for sharing your amazing life journey with us.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I arrived when Jack passed away. Kendra had introduced me to you. I look to you for strength and hope. Your an exceptional writer and your always inspire me. ((Hugs))

Anonymous said...

I was brought to you today from a work colleague. And although I haven't read a lot of your posts (actually just this one��) I will stay. I, too, lost a child suddenly and chose to have another baby late in life. I also have a blog and am in the middle of writing a children's book on losing a friend. I look forward to sitting down and reading about your life's journey. And though I don't like the "club" we belong to, there's some comfort in knowing you're not alone. Take care. ❤️

Jenn said...

I found you when news of Jack's passing spread through the blogging community. I felt like I knew you for years that first time we had lunch you made me feel so comfortable when I didn't know what to say other than you amaze me and I hope I have your strength some day when I lose someone I love so much. I never knew Jack in life, but feel like I know him because of everything you have shared about your sweet boy. I think of him often. Thank you for opening your heart here and in person. Love you Anna!

LisaAR said...

Happy 1000, Anna! And thank YOU for all that you have offered me in thought and heart. In this crazy cyber world, I feel like I know you--at least some of you--and you have no idea who the heck I am, but...this is the way of this world. I am grateful to be able to share in your experiences and pray for you and cheer you on--thanks for sharing your journey!

Stephanie Sheveland said...

You're amazing and I love you.