Team Charlie Lives

 Jack showed confidence in painting
his face for the Old Dominion football game...
    but he showed BIG CONFIDENCE
painting it for the visiting team and for wearing a tiger blanket draped around his shoulders.
(During Old Dominion Homecoming)

  Go Towson Tigers!

Jack became Student Council representative because he really wanted to bring  1920s Day to school..... Of course his idea was met by confusion and disinterest by the others students-What young child knows or has those clothes in their closet?! 
Gaela took him out that weekend to provide the perfect cure for his disappointment... 
In the weeks after our loss of Charlie,  Jack began painting dragonflies all over the garden fences...
Although the December vines look bleak, they rebound with color and hummingbird blossoms in the Spring for all of Summer... We had dragonflies by the hundreds and would sometimes put out a blanket outside the garden to watch them fly over us in the evenings....
October, 2011 
We all chose a "Because of Charlie..." something new that we could begin or enjoy.  Jack's choice was electric guitar...
Jack found PASSION in music! His birthday gift. He goes to electric guitar lessons twice a week and is playing so quickly now...

So, I tell Jack I want to snap a picture on the way to guitar lessons... sweaty from neighborhood football, he messes his hair up with happiness for the pic.

I told him this was like taking a picture of baby's first steps, first words, or first birthday.
            What was HIS milestone?

I told Jack how far he had come and how proud I was of him...

He had overcome a lot of personal pain.  His early instincts were to keep his head down or sleep or refrain from friends.  Shyness. Embarressment. Even the teachers had noticed... the failure to laugh... the head on the desk.... These were the early days of school....

He agreed with me about his progress and said, "Want me to tell you how I know I'm doing well?"

He recounted a story about a boy in his class who didn't want to win a puppy calendar in a raffle that day.  The boy said his dog had died two years ago. The calendar would make his mom cry and his whole family sad.  Jack said he thought in his head, "Well you need to get over that." (ha)

Jack said to the boy, " Well, my brother died this year and I wouldn't mind a baby calendar and MY mom wouldn't cry."

And there it was... an ownership of a life fact.  Planting his feet and putting it out there and not with him or in him.  Out there. That's it- A life fact.

And Because of Charlie he entered the studio to spin his fingers all over those strings and head bob and smile...He told his guitar instructor the story and he howled and gave him a Hi 5 "attaboy".

This picture is my child's graduation from The Blame and Shame Grief School....  unbelievable.

​  Click below to see Jack's concert, May 2012.
This was written 12/2011... prior to the loss of James.  We will update our new progress on our blog.   In December we wrote, "Jack is healing beautifully...  Of all of the children, Jack  is  our biggest artist.  He has healed because he has sought out healthy outlets for his expression.  He loves the messy process of art of any kind, and so it was natural for Jack to continue to pursue these ventures in his healing... They were his pathway out.  Jack continued to be big, bold, and colorful and this chased the sadness, shame, and hurt away.  He is my only child who doesn't think about wearing 2 different colored socks to school when he wears shorts.  We admire our Captain Amazing..... Jack, you are winning.  
Fall...On Crazy Hair day, Jack had blue paint and glitter in his hair....  
He was Jack Frost.  
Naturally, for Jack and the rest of us, the loss of his best friend James has been especially difficult. Unbreathable.  These brothers spent their days together and Jack, despite being 6 years younger, was automatically included in any activities that James and his friends were involved.
Out of respect for Jack's privacy, I can't comment specifically on how the loss has hurt or changed him but, I can say he is on the mend.  He is moving.  He is surfing.  He is surviving.