Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Holidays

I am just beyond moved by the response to my last entry. THANK YOU, everyone who left a note or sent an email to tell me how much Jack means to them, how often they think of him, and how often his name is said, the whole world over. I knew my little boy was so special, and so loved, but it is easy to forget sometimes. You all reminded me, and that is just the absolute best feeling in the world. Thank you thank you thank you.

Kelly left a note saying that she told her son a butterfly he'd seen was named Jack, which is just too cute. I know every butterfly I see, I say, "Hi Jack!" I love that some of you think that too.

This time of year is that word again... bittersweet. Jack went to CHoP on November 13th of last year, and died on January 2nd. So the entire holiday season Jack was in Philly and we were going back and forth, and really, Jack's life spanned the holidays. I have always loved this time of year, and I still do, but everything about it is reminding me of Jack. The weather, the music, the decorations, from Halloween straight through Christmas, it all takes me right back to Philadelphia, to the hospital, to that little bed by the window. To watching the snow fall outside his window, seeing the nurses hang their holiday decorations, listening to Christmas carols on Jack's music box, seeing Jack in his little elf sleeper. In some ways it's comforting, it's a wonderful time of year to feel close to him, and I know for the rest of my life, not a holiday will go by that I won't feel Jack all around me, remember the Thanksgiving and Christmas we spent with him.

But it's hard too, and sad, and I wish I wish I wish, every minute of every day, I could go back to last Christmas, go back and hold him one more time, see him in his little Santa hat, kiss his forehead, hold his hand. Just one more time.



On a happier note....

There are TWO toy drives being done in Jack's memory for this Christmas. My mom's neighbor is collecting toys at her Cookie Swap party this year to donate to St. Joseph's hospital - it is so incredibly nice of her, and I am really honored that she is doing this in Jack's name. She gave my girls the most beautiful bracelets for their birthday, each bracelet spelled out the girls name and she had a little "J" charm hanging off each one. I love them, and I loved that she thought of Jack that way. It was just so perfect. The party is December 7th and we will be there! (YAY COOKIES!)

The second one is being organized by my husband's cousin - it is AWESOME, she is putting a lot of work into it, and again I am just so touched that she is doing this. All the toys are being donated to the Children's Hospital of New Jersey, which is a great hospital and also where Katie had her heart surgery.

The genius part (that I wouldn't have thought of...) is that she set up an Amazon Wishlist, so anyone can order a toy and have it shipped directly to her. If you would like to donate a toy (which would be really really nice of you!), here's the link:

Baby Jack's Toy Drive Wishlist

We are going to help bring the toys to the hospital the weekend of December 20th. I have no happier memory with Jack than being with him Christmas night opening the toys that Santa had left him. I hope someone else feels that joy this year because of my Jack and these amazing women and the toys they're collecting.

And finally, not to leave my crazy girls out.... our visit to Santa today. It could have gone better.



(Kate is in a very shy phase lately.... Charlotte would have been fine, she walked right up to him, but Katie's SCREAMING started to freak her out.)

24 comments:

rachael said...

oh my gosh, the girls look so big! i cannot believe how quickly our little ones have gotten, can you?

the toy drive is such a phenomenal gesture and a fabulous idea...i am definitely participating, even if it is something small!

i never got the chance to comment on your last post, but i wanted to let you know that we think of jack often in our house. and i always hesitate to tell you this, but every time i hear the song, your song, i always say "hi baby jack. make sure you go give your mommma an angel kiss because she sure misses you."

sending you lots and lots of hugs...and prayers that you can find peace in the upcoming holiday season.

rachael said...

oops. it was supposed to say some peace...

Mountain Girl said...

Okay, I sorta chuckled when I saw the picture with Santa! The girls do NOT look very excited about Santa! I'm sure Jack will make your holidays bright this year. He sure was a cutie pie!

Beth said...

Great picture.... you will all get a big chuckle about it in years to come, I'm sure. :)

Beautiful post, as always. I also wanted to let you know that whenever I hear the Alicia Keys song, I think of Jack, too. Always. He certainly has touched so many... including myself, even though I have never had the pleasure of meeting you all.

Anonymous said...

We all have a picture (or two) of a crying baby with Santa. That is just the way it is. But they are still precious to have and wait till they get a little bigger and show them these pictures. What a wonderful idea for the toy drives. God bless these ladies and God bless you, PJ, Katie, Charlotte and Jack.

MrsAmber (The Nest) said...

I think the toy drive is an amazing idea. I don't even know you but your family has totally touched my heart. I just donated 3 items to the toy drive and of course 2/3 items I chose were "Jack" related.

Cortney said...

Pictures with Santa always crack me up. I've never seen a great one. Either the kid is terrified or the Santa is a creeper! Thanks for sharing!

Souza Sisters said...

I have never left a comment on your blog before so I am coming out to say hi! I can't tell you how much your story touches my heart. I think of your sweet Jack and your story often. I too understand how bittersweet the holidays can be. I lost my first set of twins, Brian and Lillian a few days after Christmas. My daughter also passed away on January 2nd. There are certain holiday songs that make me cry. And I just feel like someone is missing... (((Hugs))) to you and your family...

ps... Love the pix with Santa:)

Emily said...

I love the pic of the girls with Santa. Priceless. I am sure Jack had a chuckle looking down on his sisters that day...

I can't imagine how bittersweet the holidays must be for you. Wishing you some peace and comfort.

LOVE the toy drives. What a special way to honor sweet Jack!

Jen said...

My 5th son and my last baby is "Baby Jack" Yes he is 7 now and not a little baby, but he will always be my baby as your Jack will always be your special boy. Everytime I say my son's name, I think of you and your family. Makes me grateful for my healthy boys and I say a quick prayer for Jack's parents who I know still have aching hearts. My prayers are with you.

Jenn said...

The girls are so adorable and tall! Thanks for the information about the toy drive, I am always looking to do something like this at the holidays. I'm looking forward to doing whatever I can, even though I always wish I could do more.

Randi said...

I think of Jack. I love Jack and I love your girls. I love your family.
Randi

~Kylee in CT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lori said...

I just ordered 7 gifts off of Jack's toy drive. Within my circle of friends we normally each have to buy for 7 kids but this year we decided our kids have soo much that we should pick a charity or make a donation. I have been trying to find something really meaningful and then this morning I read your blog. My dad is fireman so I tried to chose some of the gifts that was fireman "themed" and of course I could not pass on Jack's Garden.

Jack, your girls, and your whole family are in my prayers. God Bless and Happy Holidays!

~Kylee in CT said...

I know Rachel and she sent me (and others) an note about your Toy Drive (on facebook). I am going to have my fiance (since he's the breadwinner) purchase some books that are on the Amazon list this weekend.

I am part of challenge called "Buy Books for the Holidays" (I have a book review blog). We you allow me to post about your Toy Drive on my blog? I'd love to do more to help than just buy a few books.

[previous comment deleted because I am a dope who needs to slow down and read before posting]

Amy (MyColonyNJ) said...

I just ordered some stuff from the Amazon list. The list was a great idea - it allows so many to send things from all over.

Jack is always in my prayers

Gillian said...

I am LMAO at the pic of Charlotte and Katie with Santa.. that is CLASSIC!!! :-)

I'm so happy to be a part of Jack's Toy Drive as well, a gift is on its way from the "Hopewell Contingent", lol

Amanda said...

I love the girls Santa picture :) And I posted Jack's toy drive info on my blog and I emailed it to all my friends and family. Hope the memory of Jack will make the holidays brighter for many more people.

Erin S said...

I'm a devout reader but never a poster to your blog. I just wanted to let you know that I purchased 3 toys for the toy drive in memory of Jack. I don't have any children due to my own infertility issues, but I would much rather spread the love I have for children by giving them a little something to make them smile during such trying times.

Thank you for giving me a chance to make a child happy.

Patyrish said...

I agree with Rachael, the girls look so big in their Santa picture!

I had to laugh at it though, it reminded me of one of me and my sisters when we were little.

I can imagine this time of year is HARD. I know that after four years I still have a rough time with Makily's birthdays...and she is still with me. It is just such a stark reminder of how hard things were those first several weeks, how close she was to death, how shocked I was with her diagnosis. I can imagine you feel all the same things this time of year except on a deeper level. I know you miss him so much.

Also like Rachael, I think of you and little Jack EACH TIME I hear "your song" too. It always makes me smile. You and your angel Jack.

Anonymous said...

I think of Jack everytime I hear his Alicia Keys song-your song, and your writing has touched so many

Cristy
(Ct Nestie)

Sarah said...

Sooo...I just wanted to let you know that I thought of Jack today. Long story short, it involved toddler mittens and thinking about his chubby little boy hands. And it made me smile.
Thank you for giving me (us!) permission and, to some extent, instructions on how to proceed. No one wants to the the one, "that girl", so to speak. SO...thank you for, once again, having the courage to address it head on.

Sarah said...

I LOVE the new pictures of the girls! Seriously, those are three of the cutest babies ever. Now please excuse me, I have to go wipe the drool off my face from those blue eyes...

Shell said...

Meant to tell you after your last post (I got distracted I guess, something shiny??) that I think about Jack all the time, we may never have met but he is often with me!

Also, I sent a couple things off the Amazon list for Jacks toy drive, I hope you guys end up with more toys than the hospital knows what to do with!