Think of the worst thing that you can imagine as a parent. The one that gives you nightmares that wake you up in complete and utter despair and pain. For me, that worst thing would be the death of one of my children.
That is exactly what my friend Anna, who blogs at Inch of Gray, experienced first hand. Three years ago yesterday, Anna’s son 12-year-old Jack drowned during a flash flood near their home in Virginia. She wrote about the loss of her son on that terrible night on her blog, and you can’t read it without crying.
Anna decided to write a book about her and her family’s experiences. When she asked if I’d like to review her new book Rare Bird, I was hesitant at first. Because I knew how hard it would be for me to read and how much it would hurt, though I never knew Anna when this happened and I had never met Jack. But after hearing her talk about the book – the fact that Rare Bird isn’t just about loss and sadness, I very much looked forward to reading it.
Rare Bird is about the loss of Anna’s son Jack, but it’s also about more than that. It’s about grief and the grieving process, and learning to live without someone that you couldn’t imagine living without. It’s about learning to live life again, differently, with her husband, Tim and her daughter, Margaret, but without Jack.
In Rare Bird, Anna allows us all to meet and get to know Jack. I love that she doesn’t just focus on him being a perfect child – we get to know his quirks and the good and the bad. We get to know him and he is a boy that you would want to know…the kind of kid you would want your kids to be friends with. She also explains what happened during the flash flood: how she felt before, during and after the tragedy. She describes the aftermath of it; the days and months that she was left numb and in great pain, but also knowing that Jack was still a part of their family even though he was gone.
I think my favorite part of Rare Bird is Anna’s realness. She allows us to share in her grief, but also in her hope and joy. She admits that her faith wavered (mine did too after Jason’s mom passed away) but how she also needed her faith to get her through those days.
Is Rare Bird hard to read? Yes – from the standpoint of being a mom and not being able to imagine the death of one of my children. But it’s so full of hope and positivity that it is worth it. On some level, you feel all of her pain. But the feeling that came to me after finishing the book was hopefulness.
You can now purchase Rare Bird through Amazon here:
Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love
Thank you Anna for sharing your story with us, and for sharing Jack. He is an amazing boy and I’m so glad that I got to know him.
Find her at an Inch of Gray.
Find out more about Rare Bird at Anna’s author website.