July 14, 2011

The Best Case Of the Worst Scenario

I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful.

I find myself thinking of these words between the rising and setting sun, as the weeks and months click over and move into the past.

But what I have found to be remarkable about these words is that I don’t need to remind myself of them. It’s not as if, in the middle of the sometimes intolerable sorrow, I need to dig deep and remember what I’m grateful for. Nor is it conjured up, a coping mechanism to get me through. Instead, this gratefulness is always just there, as with my grief, and together they seemed to have formed a balancing act that allows me teeter totter my way through the day. These two powers reside somewhere deep inside the cavernous parts of my being, both existing together without being forced or contrived.

For how can I stay in the dark when there is my Kari? How can I keep sinking when there is my Stella? How can there only be sadness when there is my life, which is still filled with more beauty than I could have ever imagined?

Some days my grief shouts louder than my gratitude, leaving me in a paralyzed state of sadness. On these days, I would trade everything good in my life to have Margot back. But some days, like today, I close my eyes, stretch out my hands, crank up the volume and let the gratitude wash over me, one person and experience and fortunate circumstance at a time.


Mary Beth said...

I can completely relate to this feeling. And sometimes I think living through hell really amplifies the gratitude--dear, sweet Universe thank you so very much for the good things in my life. But then comes the feeling, "it's not enough, because she's not here."

Thinking of you and all your beautiful girls.

Anonymous said...

Oh Josh, you are like a breath of fresh air in the midst of a sometimes seemingly endless battle for understanding! Kari, Stella, and even Margot, are blessed to have you in their family!

May God continue to give you glimpses of unending hope and love which you so richly deserve.

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear you speaking a little more positively. I've been so concerned that you were sinking too far into your grief. Even in the midst of unthinkable tragedy, God is good--all the time.

Josh Jackson said...

Dear anonymous,

This might be the most inappropriate comment I have received since my baby Margot died just a few months ago. I think almost anyone associated with grief, professional or not, Christian or not would disagree with your assessment.


Abby said...

Yep. Pretty inappropriate. Obviously, Anonymous, has never lost a child. I'm so sorry Josh & Kari for your tragic loss. Hopefully Anonymous will reconsider his/her comment and retract or repost. As always, thank you for sharing your incredible gift of writing with us all. Much love to the 'Jack' family! Xoxo.

Abi Q said...


Anonymous said...

I just read your blog for the first time and am moved beyond words. Your love for your family is evident and beautiful. May you find increasing moments of peace.

Hope's Mama said...

Wow, had to stop myself from headbutting laptop screen at anon's comment. Seen a lot of that in the past three years. My bet is, as someone else pointed out - obviously never lost a child.
Your last paragraph was so powerful, Josh. I too have a careful balance of gratitude and grief and some days one outweighs the other. In both instances, this is perfectly ok. It is just the way of things in our post babyloss lives and we're all just doing the best we fucking can with the shitty cards we've been dealt.

Anonymous said...

I did not write the comment that speaks of sinking to far into grief.

I agree Josh, Even Jesus asked that he not have to go through the grief of death. The pain of separation was so great that he did not want to go on the journey of grief.

It is not a journey that anyone of us would choose, and you are traveling this path with grace, and honesty.

Sari said...

Your writing always has such truth and beauty perfectly weaved together... unfortunately, not everyone can see the beauty that emerges even in the most raw and difficult parts of our grief. They just don't understand that we will never be the same people we once were. And, the fact that they don't recognize the enormous devastation that the death of a baby causes bereaved parents, kinda makes me feel more sorry for them. Sending love and comfort. MISSING MARGOT WITH YOU ALWAYS!

brianna said...

"Some days my grief shouts louder than my gratitude, leaving me in a paralyzed state of sadness."

These days still exist for me too, but now they come less frequently. On some levels I think grief has only broadened my gratitude, not taken away from it. But I can also relate to what Mary Beth says, sometimes nothing is enough because he is missing.

Also...saw in my Google reader today something cool over at Apartment Therapy. So great for you guys. Hopefully it will bring some much deserved attention to the beautiful work that you guys do.

Amanda MacB said...

This is one of the most honest and beautiful things I have ever read. You all continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. - Amanda (a childhood friend of your wife's)

Groves said...

It is ironic that in supposedly "speaking up" for God, your anonymous commenter showed a soul-less, brittle callousness that seems about as far away from the gospel as anything could get.

I am SO glad you replied, Josh, and didn't let that snake slide by.

If there's anything harder to stomach than a self-righteous sermon from one who is clearly UN-acquainted with grief (UN-like Jesus, who thankfully is quite well acquainted with it and doesn't spout wretched little sermons like yours, anonymous)...I'm just not sure what that is.

Josh, your writing is beautiful and rich and alive. I have wanted to comment before, but worthy words are so hard to find. Yours are *so* worthy. You honor Margot, you honor Kari, you honor Stella, and you honor God in a way that few people could ever pull off.

Tonight I couldn't bear to be silent, especially when someone felt free to be so heartless.

I hope you keep writing. You make me want to give blood and platelets and understanding and compassion. This world is a better place because you're in it.

Margot, no wonder you matter so much and are missed so much. You come from a family that knows what love is - and shows it. My heart aches for missing you along with them.

Admiring your restraint and diplomacy in replying to your rude visitor.

Hopefully someday we'll all have as much grace as you showed,

Cathy in Missouri

Sarah said...

so much honesty and grace in this post.

the image of grief and gratitude pulling at eachother and trying to find balance is so relevant for so much of life.

hoping you find strength amidst the grief, and joy within the gratitude.

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