Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love
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"I wish I had nothing to say on the matter of loss, but I do. Because one day I encouraged my two kids to go out and play in the rain, and only one came home…."
On an ordinary September day, twelve-year-old Jack is swept away in a freak neighborhood flood. His parents and younger sister are left to wrestle with the awful questions: How could God let this happen? And, Can we ever be happy again? They each fall into the abyss of grief in different ways. And in the days and months to come, they each find their faltering way toward peace.
In Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson unfolds a mother’s story of loss that leads, in time, to enduring hope. “Anna’s storytelling,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, “is raw and real and intense and funny.”
With this unforgettable account of a family’s love and longing, Anna will draw you deeper into a divine goodness that keeps us—beyond all earthly circumstances—safe.
This is a book about facing impossible circumstances and wanting to turn back the clock. It is about the flicker of hope in realizing that in times of heartbreak, God is closer than your own skin. It is about discovering that you’re braver than you think.
whole first year after Jack’s death, Joe walks up our long driveway to Daniel’s grandparents’ house so he and Daniel can walk to school together. Almost every day, before I’ve had breakfast or even a single cup of tea, I see both of the boys Jack was playing with during his final moments on earth. They are healthy. He is gone. It’s not as if I wish they were dead; I’m just devastated that Jack is. And seeing them alive nearly every single morning intensifies the pain. The paper shades from the
wasn’t in a church, so I knew it wasn’t a memorial service. You were sharing an important message, Anna.” We can’t know then that on Mother’s Day weekend I’ll speak to a packed theater about the crisis of identity that comes from losing that which is most precious to any mother. Then my best friend, Diana, experiences Jack in her room when she wakes up during the night. She sees a form and senses a peaceful presence that disappears once she is able to identify it as Jack. I don’t know what
balance of the two here cannot negate the loss of the one “there.” Stupid math. thirty-one Christmas is here. We keep all our traditions the same for Margaret’s sake. I think of last Christmas, when the kids heard there would be a Nativity play at our church on Christmas Eve. Since they both loved to act, they immediately agreed to participate when Tim wanted to sign them up. After a few practices they were less enthusiastic. Kids as young as four were in the play, so at fourth and sixth
the God I believe in is active right now, pouring compassion out on my own little hurting life. And that Jack’s soul is alive and well. I take them not as a shout, but as a caress, or a holy whisper: “I’m here … Never will I leave you or forsake you … Didn’t Jack say nothing is impossible with God?” thirty-four I open the church bookstore one night hoping a major orchestra concert will bring in new customers. It’s one of my first attempts to be out of the house in the evening after such a long
Sparks novel, the dog, smelling Shadow on me, would keep coming over from his lawn to mine, until the man invited me over for a beer and then, well, you know. We’d find out his wife left him and I was recently widowed (sorry, Tim!) and the healing power of the river and the bald eagle family soaring overhead would bring us together. But this is neither a horror movie nor a novel, so I go inside and watch TV, wondering if I’m good enough and strong enough to write a book. I wonder if breaking