Sep 132011

I know that you are worried and that you want to know. But I won’t discuss Jack, Anna’s baby, here. His life and his death are Anna’s stories to tell.

I can only tell you my story- what I saw with my own eyes yesterday.

I went to Jack’s memorial service. It was as brutal and beautiful as you might imagine, times infinity.

There were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of guests there. The pastor said that in his thirty year career, he’d never seen the sanctuary so full. Most of the guests – children, adults, teens, elderly- wore teeny Lego cross pins.

And in the middle of the service, we witnessed a miracle.

Anna, Jack’s mother, stood in front of the masses of mourners and delivered a flawless, tearless, divinely inspired tribute to Jack and to the power of faith. I have never seen anything braver or more exceptional in my life.

Please, don’t respond by saying – “Oh my God. I could never do that.”

Because what Anna taught me yesterday is that a mother can do the impossible for her child.

Maybe you could do what Anna did yesterday. Because Anna is just a woman who decided that she would not stop mothering Jack, she would not stop honoring her son just because he left the Earth. And so trusting God to help her, she stood and spoke with power and love and her voice did not quiver, not once. And she honored her boy and proved true his belief that With God, Nothing Is Impossible.

She proved that scripture, her son’s life verse, to be true – in front of hundreds of grieving people. Many of whom, like me, had been experiencing a crisis of faith since hearing the news. Many of whom, like me, had spent some time shaking fists at God and then doubting His very existence. Many of whom, like me, walked into that memorial with less faith than they’d ever had in their lives and walked out full to bursting.

As I watched her, in utter disbelief, I thought-

Anna is a Mother. With a capital M. I am witnessing the essence, the transcendent power of motherhood. It seems, somehow, that Jack’s death did not rob Anna of her role as his mother, but intensified it. Capitalized it.

Anna Mothered all of us yesterday. She comforted us, she strengthened our faith, she ministered to us in her darkest hour. I don’t think she set out to do that. I think she just refused to quit mothering her boy. I think she just wanted to do justice to her son. He was her miracle and so she honored him by performing a miracle of her own. I will never forget it as long as I live. I will never forget her regal posture, her visible resolve, the mixture of tenderness and toughness in her face. Anna, standing on that stage, will forevermore be my mental image of “Mother.”

I have been praying for Anna and her family in a million different ways since I heard the tragic news about precious Jack. And I am still praying. But my prayers have changed since I saw Anna speak yesterday.

Now my prayers sound less like “Help them.” And more like “Help them. And please help me find the strength and faith that they have. Help me Mother like Anna does. Help me believe like she does. Help my son learn what her son knew. Help my daughters trust God like Anna’s daughter does.”

It’s like, this tragedy had me so afraid. So very, very afraid. I was having so many selfish feelings – if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone. It could happen to me, to my son. Terror. How would I survive being separated from my only son?

Anna taught me yesterday to quit being afraid, because nothing can separate us from our children. Not even death. I don’t understand it, I’m just telling you that Anna proved it.

I know that Anna will hate this, but I have to say it anyway.

All of my other heroes have been bumped down a notch or seven. Anna is at the top of my hero list, now, and forever.

Her name is Written In Blue.


If you’d like to leave words for Anna…please head to her blog.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  38 Responses to “Anna”

  1. I am new to your blog, but I have followed Anna for a while. I sat in a pew 20 days ago as one of my friends delivered the perfect eulogy to her almost 4 yr old baby boy. It was beautiful & she has become one of my heroes. Our sons, only 20 days apart in age, have the same syndrome & I pray daily that I never have to endure what she is right now. Still praying for Anna & her family.

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  19. […] see, I was reading Momastery the other day and I stumbled across this post from a year ago. I was reading Glennon’s story about Anna’s story, about death and fear […]

  20. Man…I wasn’t tearless. Or without quivers. I wasn’t stoic nor was I brave. I was thrust into a role I did not and do not want to be in. After 8 plus years of being her champion, I had to let her go at the age of 11. The brain cancer robbed us of our time together here.

    After reading the way you describe Anna, I’m left feeling less than about myself.

    But I know I did my best girl proud…as she always did me.

    But I am not stoic or remarkable. I am and have been a blubbering, hot, angry mess since that terrible morning.

    • You ARE remarkable. Nobody shows their remarkable-ness in the same way. And nobody else carried your baby through 8 years of cancer. This mother thinks YOU are amazing and strong. You get to be angry, you get to be whatever you need to be to survive. Sending love and hugs.

    • Wendy, you were, and continue to be your remarkable YOU. Bless you all.

    • Wendy, sending you hugs. After battling just a short time, I lost my six year old son to a brain tumor as well. My only comfort in being robbed of my son was that I got to say good bye. Anna’s story has really affected me and I feel deeply for her. Its okay to be a blubbering mess. It helps you to work through it until you find your every day strength. XO

  21. We mamas find the strength from God to do the miraculaous and seemingly impossible. I, too, had to say good-bye unexpectedly to my son Owen after he suffered complications from a febrile seizure at day care his 2nd day there… When it came time for his memorial service, I was so surprised at the courage and strength I felt to get up in front of hundreds and read a letter I wrote to him. It was a moment of transcendence, for sure. Though many told me they could never get up there and do what I did, I think they really mean to say: “I hope I never have to.” Owen died in August of 2010, and everyday is still a test of faith. Peace and blessings to Anna!

  22. ANNA- I can only imagine being in that sanctuary- the Holy Spirit was present and you did the only thing you could do, like you have always done-Thank you from the bottome of my heart for your heart. I’d love to give you a big hug at this time!

    G- I am loving your blog- just came upon it and can’t stop reading- you are gifted with words that touch the spirit.

    All my love, Marie

  23. That was an absolutely beautiful tribute!

  24. Crying. Wow. She is amazing!!! And I’m praying for her and her family. Thank you for sharing….she sounds like a true hero.

  25. Thank you so much for this post.

  26. I sat with a friend on Labor trying to find words of comfort while talking about the loss of his 5 year old daughter…I had no words..I still have no words. Jeffs daughter was the youngest to have a lung transplant …… at 3 months old … worked but than she battled Cancer and died at 5 years old. Jeffs wife than gave birth to another baby…This baby severly autistic. I could not offer anything to this man……I tried everything to assist Jeff with ideas of how he could move on. Nothing worked and it is still not working…Fortunately Jeff and his wife, his highschool sweatheart are still together and have each other. After reading this post…..I now can send this website to Jeff. Any inspiration at this point is so desperately needed. Momastery posts are so important to all of us….

  27. This is a beautiful story, filled with love of our Awesome and the knowledge that LOVE conquers all…I truly know many will never experiance or understand this, but I am glad to see the faithful spirit and the loving message to a friend.

  28. I recently too had the privilege to witness a mother’s amazing strength and resolve to accept the horrible loss of her 4 y.o. to cancer. The family’s testament of love to their son was delivered by the father in the form of an amazingly moving eulogy at the funeral. Talk about inspiration! I too chanted the usual, “I could never do that!” in my head; but he did. And his son’s legacy will be one of love, strength, and faith.

    I love your perspective on dear Anna’s memorial G… you do have such a delicately wonderful way to see the brutiful truth in just about everything. God bless Momastery!

  29. G-
    I’m sitting here crying into my coffee while my 6 yr old takes her violin lesson. Tying to muster up the courage to send this to my twin sister (my lobster) who lost her baby 2 years ago on the fourth of July. She too sat at Harpers memorial service with her husband and delivered an amazing tribute that just left us in awe. I am in awe daily of her courage and her strength yet I think her faith in God has been tested. She has lost faith yet she still stood there and was able to do like you said the miraculous because of the love of her little boy. I pray that shw finds that faith that Anna has. I thank you for sharing this and I look forward to reading your blog. It’s crazy how a few paragraphs every few days can change my perspective of the day but it really does. Keep on doing what you do so well. I know your readers are so glad you do:)

    • I am a twin sister too and my twin sister is my lobster. And I am a mommy to a baby girl named Harper. She is asleep now. I cry thinking of your sister and the pain of losing her Harper. I love her more than life itself and I feel for your sister and all the mommies here. I send you love and peace and thank you all for sharing. It can’t be easy but it must be talked about or it will be like it didn’t happen. You all have touched my heart.

  30. oh. my gosh. This is a beautiful post. What an honor to witness.
    God bless all of you.

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