Thursday, November 3, 2011

Risky Business

I think the shock of what happened is starting to wear off. I tell myself that perhaps this is one of the longest crazy-ass dreams ever, and I’ll still be able to wake up from it. When I awake, it will be September 8th, the second day of school. I’ll be worrying about how to fit all the baseball and soccer practices onto the family calendar and wondering when sweater weather is going to start.

Jack will still be alive and well.

I think one of the biggest hindrances to getting me to stop rowing down the river of DENIAL is the fact that Jack was not a big risk-taker. He was not a real rough and tumble kind of guy. Jack was more comfortable building with Legos or sitting around on his friend David's back porch while they cracked each other up than being all that adventurous.

When I worried about Jack, which was often, it was that someone would DO SOMETHING TO HIM, not that he would be in an accident. My fears centered around bullying and sexual abuse since Jack was small for his age, quirky, and on the quiet side.

That's why we were careful about Internet use and choosing a summer camp, and were extremely selective and prayerful about sleepovers. I knew the statistics, and they weren’t encouraging. Tim and I were considered too overprotective by some.

So we did worry. But about an accident like this? So sudden? So violent?

Inconceivable.

As a toddler, Jack would walk to the very end of our little driveway and his toes would not cross an imaginary line there. When my friends found out I wasn’t a spanker, they would ask, “Yeah, but what if Jack ran into the street? Would you spank him then?” “Uh, well, I’m not thinking that’s going to happen,” was my reply. Na├»ve, perhaps, but he was just so cautious.

When he was in second grade, I did have to yell at him to be more careful on his bike in our cul de sac, but in general I spent more time trying to get him to be more adventurous than to be more careful.

“Jack, do you want to ride this roller coaster?” No way.

“Skateboard?” Not really.

“Go in the ocean?” No. 10 years of beach trips, and the sand suited him just fine.

“Shoot a rifle off of Uncle John’s back porch?” No thanks.

“Ride your bike outside our cul-de-sac?” Uh-Uh.

“Walk to a friend’s house in another neighborhood?” Nope.

"Go on a dirt bike?” Are you kidding?

This is the kid who, thankfully, was alarmed when his neighborhood friends played with matches and ran home to tell me immediately. “MOM, there was even lighter fluid nearby!”

After Jack completed the slowest time imaginable on the dinky go-kart track during a beach trip, his friend Nathan said, “Sorry you lost, Jack.” Jack was like “Huh?” The snail’s pace had felt plenty fast for him.

Jack carried his car booster seat with him on outings until he was a rising 5th grader, and even as a 12 year old felt the safety of the back seat suited him just fine, thank you.

He chose to attend the one-week session of his beloved summer camp rather than the two that most kids his age did, because the longer sessions had "high adventure" activities and he was worried he’d be pressured to do something he wasn’t comfortable with.

How different is childhood today from our childhoods of being outside all day long, our parents not having a clue where we were. Night sledding. Being dropped off at the mall. Getting rides home from goodness knows who. Going to the pool by ourselves all day, every day. Riding bikes to the 7-11 or into Washington, D.C., with nothing more than a dime in our pockets for a pay phone call.

Jack did love the outdoors, and the increasing freedom that growing older allowed. Unless, of course, there were bees around, which would send him running. He loved to geocache, hike, go caving and climbing. He and his friends climbed onto the neighbor’s (low) carport roof from a stone wall. He liked to climb trees and rocks. He loved to ski with his dad.

So he wasn’t a couch potato, but he was not a big risk-taker either.

I find it strange that in all my Mama-worrying, and I did my share, I was focused on social and sexual risks, but an accident like Jack's never crossed my mind. I still don't understand why neither I nor the other parents who let their kids play outside in our neighborhood that day recognized the risks, even those who knew the kids going to the creek.

So here I am, exactly 8 weeks after the accident, and I still find it so hard to believe that that Jack is the one who is gone.

I keep saying,

Jack?
Jack?
JACK???

Really???

I just never would have guessed that.

Here's hoping I blog in my sleep and this is all just a very bad dream.


P.S. Roller blading was something Jack wasn’t sure he wanted to try. Look at these pictures of Margaret helping him out at a birthday party in December. Blurry but so sweet And that's not a miniskirt he's wearing; it's a long t-shirt.




72 comments:

Melissa said...

Anna, I've been reading yours posts since I heard about you from Vodka Mom. There is nothing I could possibly say that would take a shred of your grief away but I just want to add my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family for the loss of your sweet Jack. I didn't know him of course, but I feel like I'm getting to know him through your writing here. What a wonderful boy he was. I cannot even fathom the pain that you're in, but my mothers heart shudders and quakes at the hint of it and I find myself aching to bring him back to life for you. I think of you and your family every single day and have prayed for you all as I will continue to do. God bless you and I hope you will feel Jack's spirit with you for all the days of your life.
Melissa

Kim @ A Brush of Whimsy said...

Sometimes I don't really know what to write, but I want you to know I'm here listening and appreciating sweet Jack and his awesomeness. I've thought of the "shirt" several times today and wish like heck it hadn't gotten washed.

The Bipolar Diva said...

From my grandson dying I realized that what we see when tragedies happen are the dark threads and knots on the bottom of the tapestry that's being created. We can't yet see it in it's full glory. It doesn't take the pain away, it only gives me hope.

~from my front porch in the mountains~ said...

Anna,
My friend Katie lost her son 18 months ago. Very different circumstances yet you share the same incredible pain no Mama should have to bear.

Right after Henry died, Katie posted this~
"This is an unholy pain."
That was the post. All of it.

Those words have stuck with me since then.

I lost my only child at birth, never to be able to have another.
My heart thinks of you..every single day.
xo, misha

link to katie's blog. Also watch Henry's Story to understand.

http://mamapundit.com/2011/11/i-dont-want-to-be-mary-todd-lincoln/

Anonymous said...

Sending you more hugs from Australia.

I know Rach has posted on your blog before, but just in case you haven't visited her blog, she can be found at http://hannahandlily.blogspot.com/

Your circumstances are very similar, and I can only hope that her magnificent spirit may help guide your path. She is 4 years ahead of you on her journey.

Love,

Jane

Laura at Ms. Smartie Pants said...

When you talk about Jack's character it reminds me alot of my son. He moved out recently and I was cleaning his room this week, going thru his closet and his things. I don't know how you are doing this. I thought of you often! I hug him a little tighter these days! thanks for that

irv family said...

How can washing my sons clothes today hurt me so deeply. Thinking of you. Hugs!

geri said...

Anna, I just started reading your blog, it was referenced in another blog from a mom who also lost a child. I started reading hers because she had lost a son, and we lost our 25 year old son in June of 2009, he was our oldest, also had one younger sister who is devastated by his death. Our daughter says what you wrote Margaret said "i don't want to be on only child". It is unbelievably hard to be in so much pain ourselves, and see our daughter and husband in so much pain too. another layer to it.

Your son was beautiful, beyond beautiful. The love and happiness your family shared shines through in every word you write and every picture you post. Thank you for sharing him and your life. My son died older, and in a very different way, a drug and alcohol overdose, but what I could so relate to in this post was the disbelief in how our sons died, because our son was also very cautious and somewhat fearful when it came to risky things when he was jack's age and younger. I still cannot wrap my head around him even trying a drug, never mind becoming addicted and dying young from it. It is all too too sick-making, what happened to our boys, although the circumstances were so very very different. It doesn't make any sense at all. I think it takes a long long time for us to come out of denial that they are truly gone, because that is such a harsh reality to have to face. i tell my grief counselor that I know he isn't coming back, and she says there is probably a part of me deep down that still has a hard time believing that. i loved your post on patience, it spoke to me because I have been saying that recently, i need to just be patient with this whole grief journey, and believe that it won't always be this hard. the people who have gone before me and had to do this particular journey tell me that is true. and i also wanted to say how much i appreciate your honesty, how seeing other people's children who are still alive is so brutal, that is the word I use alot too. not that i don't want them to be alive, I just don't know why nick couldn't be alive too. sending prayers and empathy.

Anonymous said...

I, too, seldom comment on blogs. However, yours compels me to write. Thank you so much for sharing precious Jack with us. I have a 14 year old son with some challenging special needs. Too often I see only the challenges and fail to appreciate the wonder of his blessings. Thank you for your continued help in correcting my perspective. However (and this is why I haven't written before), please don't misread my comment as saying that all is ok because your loss is working toward a greater good. NOT my point. I would gladly give up this lesson of love you continue to teach. I cry as I read your words and as I look at photos of your beautiful boy. But in this inconceivable grief through which you write, know that God is at work through Jack and through you in the hearts of many. And know that, even when I don't know what to pray for a family grieving a loss such as yours, that I claim God's promise on your behalf that he won't leave you comfortless. And the promise that the Spirit intercedes with groanings for us when we know not what to pray. I know not, Anna. But He does.
And thanks also for that early-on post of the I-phone findings, the Bible verse, etc. Such a wonderful reminder that this is but the here and now. Jack is not gone. Merely gone ahead.
Thank you again. Please keep sharing him.

The Woven Moments said...

These posts, these testaments of love to your son, are so beautiful Anna.

Though I feel a little like a voyeur peeping inside the most painful act in your life's play, I'm also grateful to be your witness on your journey.

((Hugs))

luv2run said...

Thank you for sharing Jack stories!

Hugs from a stranger!!!!!

You did nothing wrong!

Life isn't fair!

You are doing hard things!

Prayers your way today and everyday!

luv2run

Carrie said...

Anna, I was just thinking this week how I am still in denial. I truly haven't really been able to wrap my head around this being real and permanent. This despite the fact that I think about Jack all the time...but then I think, that couldn't have really happened.
Carrie

Rach said...

I always said, "God? Okay, I get it now. Ha ha. The joke is over. Send her home, please." It just didn't seem real. Some days, it STILL doesn't seem real four years out.

Hannah was my overly cautious child, so I too couldn't imagine her accident EVER happening. Like her, your Jack's accident just doesn't make sense. At all.

I'm so sorry you are going through this. I'm so very sorry.

As always, hugs and prayers,
Rach

Formerly known as Frau said...

Sending you my strong loving arms to wrap around you hug you and pray...it doesn't make sense this horrible accident...((hugs Anna hugs))

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

When I woke yesterday, I thought about work and then my son's job loss. As I stayed in bed those few minutes, I thought about the first thought that must wash over you each morning, and I prayed for you.

Love to you as always.

And I have to say, except for the Oliver Twist and being super smart, so many of Jack's qualities are those I saw in my son when he grew up. Risks? No thanks. He was the kid that sat in the kitchen talking to the mom when others watched scary movies.

Susan said...

Anna,
Tales of your beloved Jack remind me so much of my own (extremely cautious) boy.
I am sure they would have been fast friends.

8 weeks. I have been reading daily and to me it feels like yesterday that I first heard of your story. I continue to pray for you.
xo

Anonymous said...

Anna, I have been meaning to send you one of our families Jack reminiscences(sp), but am a hesitant commentator! Several seasons ago in a baseball game Sean got called out on a strike that he felt was not a good call (of course!). Several of his teammates agreed and one even called out loud enough for the umpire to hear "that was a bad call" (or something along those lines). Well, the umpire was an adult and did not appreciate the advice so kind of stormed over to our bench and demanded to know who said that. The boys all kind of sat there silently intimidated and your Jack stood up on the bench and said "I did!". Well, evidently the umpire was so surprised he just went back to the field. Sean (and I am sure all the boys) were very impressed by Jack doing this and we have always remembered that story. Jack may have not been adventurous, but he was brave.
Thinking about you every day,
Karen Hilger

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I know. I still can't believe that happened. Why Jack wasn't the one to see the danger and call the water wading off...

But Anna - I will tell you again (and again and again) that there is NO way that you could have predicted that something like that would happen. I would have handled that day no differently. A 12 year old can play in rain. A 12 year old can walk over to a neighbor's house unsupervised. And especially a 12 year old who has always been so careful and responsible. So thoughtful. It was a night where everything that could go wrong DID go wrong, and you could never have seen that coming. The whole thing is so seemingly impossible that people who believe in fate would call this obvious proof. But I don't believe in that kind of cruel fate.

I believe that some things happen for a reason and some things just happen. This just happened. And it shouldn't have. Not to a family with such careful and responsible (and thoughtful) parents.

You are a wonderful mother and even if you did include accidents in the worrying repetoire, this still could have happended. Because who would think that a creek that has been a trickle for hundreds of years (wasn't it a thousand) would have turned into a river after just a few days of rain?

I'm sorry that the numbness is wearing off. I know it has to...that it has to get worse before it can get better...but I still wish I could protect you from this horrible pain. I wish we could all take pieces and share the burden.

I love you.

ella said...

His hands on 10 and 2 in the car and his legs carefully spread out for balance on his onlines, a look of complete concentration on both occasions. As a mother to a carefree wild child, I'm confused by a child so cautious but it makes me smile. What a sweet boy. What a happy boy.

Karol said...

This post resonates. I recall for months after Laynee's accident we would so "Okay, I am done with this, she needs to come back now." Reality of eternity was and still is unfathomable. And like you, we had many fears for her but drowning was not high on that list. We were cautious with the pool but she hated the water, clung to anyone who took her past her ankles in the water. I worried that she would crawl under the fence and be hurt by the horses that she loved so much. I worried that she dash out in front of a car or chase a kitty into the cornfield and get lost. I worried, but not so much about drowning as everything else. So often I ask, "really" She drowned??? My little girl who wouldn't go near the water on her own drowned???" And why did I dare to think that it wouldn't happen?

ALI said...

Huge hugs. Prayers to you & your family continue.

Today's pictures caused special prayers for Margaret (which is also my middle name), as she was me. I used to hold my older brother's hand because he was to scared to actually order his 2nd hamburger at McDs & I was too young to handle money. She loved helping her brother & that is a feeling I know well!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your boy with us. Seeing now how cautious he was makes it all the more unthinkable! I found comfort in the 7 stages of grief when I lost someone. I would go online after my loss, trying to find something that would help me figure out what I was dealing with. I would read it over and over again even though I could memorize it after a while. I hope it can bring you a small little piece of comfort. Sending you much love, Patti from NYC
http://www.recover-from-grief.com/7-stages-of-grief.html

L said...

Anna.
I have actually been waiting for this post. I have wanted to scream from the rooftops about cautious Jack and protective Tim and Anna. I actually have screamed it in the car a time or two or twenty. I have suspected others of maybe judging or questioning him or you and been ready to launch into my ANYBODY BUT JACK speech. No one has judged, but I have given my speech to anyone who would listen.

You say it so much better though. I love, love, love this description of him. Right on the money. I adore the skating pictures - what perfect shots of those two sweeties and their different personalities and their love for each other.

Inconceivable. Absurd. Impossible. I still don't believe it.

Thank you, commenters, for rallying around Anna with love and also for sharing your own heartbreak. I love you for it.

Liz

Catsngrams said...

Anna I know where you are at. I lost a grandson at the age of 14. He has been gone 9 years now and I miss him everyday. But I know he is watching down on me and saying don't cry for me grandma I am fine. I am watching over you and we will be together again. Jack is now your angel and he is by your side everyday. Look for the signs. Each time you think of him

Marinka said...

My thoughts are always with you and your family and I continue to pray for your strength and peace.

Thank you for sharing these glimpses of Jack with us. I recognize these traits in my children, too.

xo

Meredith Self said...

Jack. What a darling.

Chad, too, is one I have to encourage to take risks. Chad-- in act quite unusual for his nature-- played in the overflowing creek behind our home that tragic night 8 weeks ago. I didnt even know he went back there It could have been him. It could be anyone, any time.

I'm sending so so so much love every day, Anna.

Mariann Alicea said...

Anna -- I, too, am so sorry the numbness is wearing off. Like others who have commented, when I learned about Jack's accident (the day after the Church service - I was at Classical Conversations and a mom therfe knew we were former DCS-ers) -- I immediately looked at her and said, 'Oh, no. Not Jack - that's not something Jack would do.' And I remembered him at the National Cathedral field trip in third grade wearing safety goggles and chiseling a piece of marble -- carefully, deliberately, slowly. Tanya Ingham has photos of the field trip and the Roman Feast - wonderful photos of Jack - in the scrap book the class made for her. You, Tim and Margaret are in my family's thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry -- so sorry. Mariann Alicea

Stimey said...

I can only imagine how unreal this must feel to you, because it feels that way to me too. You are such a good mom. It is so unfair that we can't protect our kids from everything. It is so unfair that you can't get a do-over, because I so wish you could. I have nothing but hugs and love for you today.

Meredith Self said...

Liz- Just read your comment. Thanks for that. And so much love to you, too. xoooo

Theresa O said...

Anna,
Wow...reading your blogs, reminds me so much of myself and my feelings. I always call myself a "paranoid mom" ... because I am. I always have been. My 10 year old Zach is my biggest ray of sunshine, and yes, I admit I am more than extra protective over him. I don't let him outside without me being outside whether it be washing the car, watering flowers, sitting on the porch, trying to appear like I'm not a worry wart mother-something to where I have a glimpse of him riding his bike, because I worry about something happening to him - most likely kidnapping. A fear for some reason, I have always had. He too is small - 10 years old, 59 lbs, 50 inches. My fears at school are the same you have - especially the bullying due to his size.

The other day, it snowed 7 inches where I live - Zach and I were building a snowman...and behind me in the woods I heard a branch crack and fall....so of course I freaked out and told Zach to come over by the driveway where there are no branches. My mind thinking that a accident can happen at anytime, and then Jack came to my mind. I find myself so much more paranoid! But then I think to myself, I can't ALWAYS be there to protect him. I have to let him spread his wings and fly on his own...eventually. Not ready to yet.
Your blog about how "brave" you were to let him stand in the Walmart aisle and look at matchbox cars while you frantically ran through the store grabbing the other things you need, reminded me EXACTLY how I would be. Yet, I don't think I'm brave enough for that until he is about 14! : ) I don't know where I'm going with this. But I do know how much your feelings with Jack, the way Jack was, really reminds me of how I am with my son, and how my son sounds so much like your Jack. And my heart breaks for you each and every day. Every night I kiss Zach goodnight, I contiously think of you and Jack. And I would give ANYTHING in the world to be able to give that back to you. You are an amazing person, and as I have mentioned before on here, Jack would be more than proud of you as his mom, and just the amazing person who are throughout these past several weeks. I wish you moments of peace through each and every upcoming day. And I pray you can always feel him in your heart...he is there.

Nothing is impossible with God.

God Bless you all!

The Empress said...

Bursting into tears for you, and what you must be feeling.

I'm so sorry.

DawnGes said...

Dear Anna.
Dear, Dear Anna.
Dear, Dear, Dear Anna.
Dear, Dear, Dear, Dear Anna.

Ok. I'll stop. You get it already.

Love, Prayers, Hugs (as you want them), Repeat.

agent99 said...

Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts with us. I so remember the days of waking up, happy and excited....only to realize after a few minutes...."Oh, right. My baby is profoundly handicapped. Beyond my wildest imaginings. My life is drastically changed." (Rett Syndrome) It took everything I had not to pull the covers over my head and weep. And I remember how worried I was during my pregnancy, of all the terrible things that could happen to my baby. turns out, it was a huge waste of time -I was worried about the all the WRONG things!! Thus, I have tried hard to quit worrying. I haven't been entirely successful, but Rett Syndrome is a daily reminder to pay more attention to whatever in my life is going right, than what might go wrong. Through your blog, it's clear that you are working through this tragedy. You'll never be the same, but you WILL heal. My thoughts are with you and your family.

Kirsten said...

Those pictures of your kids on the roller blades are priceless. Praying for you Anna!

famous67 said...

Hi Anna...
I found your blog through Twitter after your horrible night. I have been thinking of and praying for you and your family since then. I said to my husband that he must think I am crazy; crying for someone I have never met. I was compelled to comment today because, like other commenters, I have been enjoying getting to know sweet Jack through these posts. You see, I too have a 12-year-old 7th grader, and this post really spoke to me. My son Matthew is right there with Jack...one of the most cautious boys I have ever met, quiet, shy, and quirky. I think, if we lived anywhere near each other, they would have been very good friends. I cannot imagine the pain you are going through. I have hugged Matthew even tighter than usual after learning of your tragedy. Please know that I am praying for you, and keep posting.
Hugs & virtual love...

OSMA said...

Dear Anna, I write with tears streaming because I too have a super cautious boy. As parents, we feel totally responsible for protecting them from perceived dangers. This said, there was absolutely no way you could foresee dangers that were not on your parental radar. He was in an area you couldn't have imagined if you tried. As the shocks lifts away, I pray for the day it happened to fade into the distance and moments of his laughter, his love, and his life keep you company and help you forge ahead. It is impossible to understand why you must endure this nightmare. I have tried to make sense of it and have found myself angry with God for taking away your light....until I forced myself to think about it differently. He didnt take him away, He lifted him up. Too early in our opinion but I guess we don't get to vote. I SO wish we got to vote. Thinking of you every single day and as the denial recedes please know we are here wanting to take on some of the pain for you. xoxo.
P.S. I'll be happy to show Anonymous (8:05) flippant for you. I can do that with one hand. One finger to be more exact :)

Suburban Correspondent said...

There were so many of us that day who let our kids outside to play. "Look at all that water! Wow!" Myself included - I sent my 3 youngest onto the golf course with their 14-year-old brother to see the creek and how high it had risen while I puttered around inside, safe and warm. Until it occurred to me, belatedly, that maybe it wasn't safe and I hadn't warned them not to go in the creek itself and I went running out there, desperate for the sight of 4 brightly-colored raincoats, one belonging to a complete non-swimmer. It took a long time to find the kids (they had wandered far afield); by the time I found them, my heart was in my mouth. I knew how lucky I was that none of them had thought it okay to try wading in what had become a raging torrent and that none of them had slipped down a wet bank while attempting to get closer to the water. I still feel sick thinking about it.

We're just so unused to dramatic weather around here - who would have thought a rainy autumn day could turn out to be a killer? I heard about your son that evening and knew it easily could have been any of our children that day.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could have given Jack just one hug.

Thinking of you and your family always, Anna.

Leslie said...

Begging God for unimaginable, but real, peace for you and Tim and Margaret is all I have to offer. And I do BEG Him. So, I thank God that other moms who have suffered so are holding your hand a bit in these comments and letting you know you're not alone. Thank God they are brave and strong enough to talk about this with you.


Margaret - what a sis. What a treasure you have in her. Praying for you all.

Lisa said...

Oh, how my heart aches for you. I pray for you every day...and I, a perfect stranger, keep hoping it's not true. Not that beautiful boy...the one who I have come to "know" in the past 8 weeks...

I offer you my prayers and thoughts. I hate that this had to happen, and that it is real. Much love to you....

Rachel Elizabeth said...

My heart is breaking for you. I've been away from the blogging world for a while and I read what happened to your sweet boy last night. I have no idea what to say so I'll just I'm so sorry for your loss but so happy you had him in your life to make the sun shine extra bright for a while. I'll be reading and praying for healing for your family.

Lindsay said...

Oh sweet, sweet Anna--
I don't even know you personally, but I feel so honored to be getting to "know" you through your writing. What I would give to be able to take some of your pain away and help your family to bear it. I pray that even as the numbness begins to wear off, that you will find moments of peace somehow, and that Jack's sweet spirit will be with you ALWAYS! Praying, praying and praying some more...

Ann Imig said...

Maybe denial is some kind of cushion you can lean on for now.

Wishing you endless cushions.

Mirjam said...

I have no words for this, I just can't imagine how you must feel.
Sending you hugs and prayers and lots of love. Mirjam

Katie @ Cayenne Paper said...

Hello Anna,
I think it takes a big risk to have faith and love God, yet Jack did in a big way. Many people unfortunately do not believe in God's love because they can't see it or feel they are unworthy of it or of Him. But Jack not only saw and felt God's love, he chose to spread it to others with Operation Christmas Child. That takes a big risk.

Would it make you feel any better saying that he was "careful" rather than not a risk-taker? That's shows his intelligence- he enjoyed doing other things like solve puzzles and build things rather than run around with the wild boys. He genuinely cared for his family and others and that takes a big risk!

Honestly, though- I think it's a huge risk to climb rocks and go skiing. That's way too scary for me! ;)

Hugs and prayers through Cyberspace... Katie

P.S. Hopefully you received my email about Operation Christmas Child. Let me know what you think??

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you too. So sorry for your suffering.

Acceptance of such awful events takes time; you couldn't rush it even if you wanted to.

How I wish this accident had not happened...

Wishing you peace, wholeheartedly.

Vegan Eden said...

Keep breathing,
Keep writing
We all care deeply

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Wish I could sit with you an put my arms around you holding you tight. ((HUGS))

Kelly R said...

I love these pictures of the roller skating! Their personalities really shine through. What a sweet big brother and precious little sister. They remind me so much of my own children. You are always in my prayers Anna. I pray you keep on writing. As the shock wears off I pray god continues to give you gentle reminders that your sweet boy is safe and happy and that one day the 4 of you will be together again soon. What you are going through right now is unimaginable to me yet I am drawn to you and your posts. Please know you have someone in Florida that considers you a friend and will continue to pray you through your days.
xo

mgh said...

I just want to rewind! Isn't there any way to turn back the clock?!
A couple of weeks ago I took my daughter to see the new Footloose. All I remembered was Kevin Bacon and dancing. Somehow I had forgotten that the central theme of the movie was recovering from the death of a child. Near the end of the movie, the father says something like this... All parents just want the same thing: for their children to come home safely.
There were just tears running down my face.
I prayed for you and Tim and Margaret.
There is no turning back... but it turns out like the movie... that one day you will feel like dancing again.

Anonymous said...

Your descriptions of Jack's careful ways could be about my own kiddo. It pains me to think of what life could have in store for us, even though I too verge on paranoid overprotection.

Thank you for continuing to share your burden with us, Anna. I am learning so, so much from you.


love,
jbhat

Rashmi said...

Anna,
I think of you often. Your words, your wisdom, make me a better mama to my daughters. Your son Jack, will always live through your words and memories... those of us who never got to meet him, now feel like we knew him.. what a sweetheart of a boy. Many hugs to you.

Kim said...

thank you for continuing to share your journey. we will continue to pray you along.

lcurtis said...

I have read your blog from the day of the tragedy. Tearfully, every entry I might add. But not until today did you strike common ground. You see, my daughter was pregnant with identical twins. Breezed through pregnancy like it was nothing. A size zero girl measuring 48 cm at 35 weeks. Giving birth to two babies by emergency c-section when they saw the cord wrapped around baby Ryder's little neck only to find out within one minute he had been gone for several days. There was nothing anyone could have done. But the cord thatstents he common thread with your entry. although I never knew my grandson,Ryder, I had prayed for him without ceasing. Prayed for his stomach, ears, fingers, wife, salvation, eyes, etc. BUT NEVER that the cord would not wrap around his neck. You see the doctor had said from week eight God has placed a membrane between the boys, unusual but extra protection.
so, in my grief that continues eighteen months later I am drawn to your posts as they parallel with my life. I am so sorry. Tearfully and with sincere and true physical pain in my heart for you and your family iprahthat each of us will gain new strength every day from God and others He so randomly but yet divinely places in our parh. On my knees for you, Lisa Curtis

Aimee said...

A tragic accident like Jack's was just very unfortunate. If I were in the same situation, I would say "GO FOR IT" too! I never would have thought that the outdoors with his friends would be considered DANGER. Jack's accident is surely going to keep me much more aware as well as other parents when dealing with mother nature.

I'm not a perfect parent, no one is. I will never forget the time when I left my 1 yr old twins in the tub and ran down the hallway to grab a towel. To my horror, I saw Nick's head under water while he was struggling to get up. :( I was lucky, I was arrived back in time to lift him up. Well...it really saddens me that others are not as lucky.

It's normal to feel guilty, but it's not your fault. I'm sure Jack would agree. :)

applesbabe said...

Anna, how I wish I had found your blog earlier instead of under these horrifying circumstances. I haven't commented often because the words I have typed seemed so hollow.

I wish there were deep words of inspiration that would ease your pain or turn back time to before.

Thank you for sharing Jack with us. For letting us share in your grief. Instead of being defeated by this loss you are allowing God to use it for his glory

Wishing I could give you a giant hug in person--

Amy

K A B L O O E Y said...

I think my comment was lost -- my apologies if I double up. The pictures of Margaret shoring Jack up at the skate ring are beautiful. What a telling, specific detail they capture. I'm the cautious soul and my daughter the bold one, so it's left to me to worry about freak accidents, while she boldly, impulsively swerves through life. That worry is absurd, of course, since the nature of these tragedies is that one can't possibly guard against them. Lightning strikes regardless. On a totally different note: when was that Yankee cap washed? Maybe it's still funky?

Amy said...

I am so very sorry for your huge loss.. If words could only help.

I am a mum to 3 great kids and also cannot imagine what you are going through right now. I am so sorry.

Anonymous said...

Sweet Anna,
You love your babies...with all your heart,soul, and very breath....You have wanted to protect them from every possible foul...I Want to scream for you...NOT JACK! When you talk of going into the water...stripping down...rational or not?? I'm ready to strip down for you...I know this feeling...and I am so so so very sorry....There is no blame here....You were encouraging your precious son to LIVE to ENJOY to be a KID! and you know...as people have stated as in the baseball story...which I love..Jack was brave...your cautious smart handsome boy was very brave...Thank you for sharing for being so raw and transparent...I also love the photos at the rink..They share a beautiful bond. I am praying for you and your beautiful family and your precious Margaret...who had such a special role in helping Jack be the best Jack he could be...She is so very special...a light in this world...As you are...This post...like all of yours... gives an insight and provokes others to savor to taste what is special in their own lives...God hasn't given us tomorrow yet...so we must be present and appreciate...Your blog all these years is packed full of appreciation and the love you have for your family..Know this...no doubts...no regrets...Those thoughts don't come from the Lord...Gosh darn your kids are loved...Now that does:) Thinking of you and yours and lifting you up...You hold a special place in my heart..Melanie in NC

Anonymous said...

More hugs from Australia.

xoxox

Anonymous said...

Anna,

I started reading your blog a day after Jack died. I have been a long time reader of many blogs but never comment but your story has so touched my heart. I join the chorus of others that nothing you did was in any way unsafe. I have three children and would have let the older two (youngest is one year old) go out that day and they are much younger than Jack. I know that nothing will take your profound sorrow away, but I truly hope that you can absolve yourself of guilt.

Several weeks after Jack died, a close friend's 6 month old baby died and someone in my sister's social network was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer right after she delivered her first child. Terrible things happen for no reason at all. What I thank you for is sharing your feelings with us during this terrible time in your life. The loss of my friend's baby and your Jack has changed the way I relate to my children. As a person I'm very future focused, often to the detriment of what is happening in the here and now. A shift has happened in me, every day I'm focusing on simply being with my kids and husband and loving them as I know that the future is not guaranteed and all I really have is this moment with them. That way, whatever happens, I will know that during the time they had, they felt my love. Also, I have never been particularly religious, but am feeling a presence in my life and considering giving going to church a try. So, Jack through your beautiful writing (and truly, you do have a gift in that regard) is changing lives. Thank you and know that you and your family are often in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Has the thought crossed your mind that he could have been pushed? You mentioned he was cautious, and that someone might have bullied him. I know kids can do mean stupid things, I was bullied as a child. I'm sure he was a wonderful boy, This is so sad...I pray for ya'll

PeachPrenni said...

Anna,
I would struggle with this too. I have mentioned that my Jake is so similar to Jack. He is very cautious and not a risk-taker. And the bees...he's terrified! So, if I were to lose Jake in the same manner, I wouldn't be able to make sense of it either. It makes no sense! And I don't think it ever will. But maybe that's better? Maybe it's better that you didn't lose him to one of the risks you had so carefully warned him about. I don't know. He was using his free will, being a boy, maybe testing his bravery? But what happened is not okay, and I don't understand it. And I'm sorry. So sorry! -Annie

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Loving you, Anna. That's it. [praying for you, too, but that's a given!]

Julie said...

It just doesn't make sense does it? It seems like one of life's cruel jokes.

Hugs, hugs and more hugs.

Julie

A "friend" praying for you in MD said...

I am up late and praying for peace for you and all those who love and miss Jack. Praying that you are having a peaceful night.

Usemeplz said...

it's horrible..i pray for all of you..

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Oh Anna, I just don't think this will ever make sense. I am so sorry for your pain and your loss. Hearing Jack's story makes me smile and cry, all at the same time. What a sweet boy!

Lisa G.in CT said...

Dear God,
Thank you so much for Anna and Tim and Margaret and Jack.I know what precious children each one of them is to You. I pray your strong comfort and a sense of peaceful presence for each of them tonight and every night. I thank you for Anna and her willingness to share her broken heart with us.I thank you for their marriage, and pray you would strengthen it and bind them together during this horrible time. I pray for Margaret - may you fill her days with strong friends, good memories, a sense of peace and a new hope. May you bless her and keep her and cause your face to shine upon her. May you make her strong and healthy, and may she be a blessing to Tim and Anna. And Lord, I thank you for Jack - for his life for his gifts, for his quirkiness that so blessed his family. I thank you that you have privileged all of us bloggy friends to know him, and pray that you give his parents and sister glimpses of the peace and joy and all encompassing love that surrounds him even now, especially now. Lord, I lift up all the needs of this family - that you meet every one through your Spirit and your people, and that you give them the "peace that surpasses understanding". In your precious Son's name, I ask this.
Amen.


Anna, thank you again for sharing. I pray more every day for you and Tim, and for some reason, especially Margaret. God bless. Please know how deeply all us strangers care, and I am so very, very sorry for your devastating loss.

the mama bird diaries said...

I don't know what to say except that we will all be here for you, in anyway we can. xo

for a different kind of girl said...

Every day, I think of you and your family, and every day, when that thought hits, I stop and say a prayer. I wish so very much that it could be more, that it could be better.

Lisa said...

He reminds me so much of my boy, the little freshmen who does not even weight 100 pounds, he never takes a risk, always has his feet on the ground and thinks things over. I also keep him close to me, I think that is a good thing, you will have so many memories. Love you and always praying