In today’s episode, I speak with Jack’s mom, Anna Whiston-Donaldson. Jack died in 2011 at the age of 12 in a freak flash flood while playing at a neighbor’s house. Anna had (and still has) a very popular blog post at the time entitled An Inch of Gray. After Jack’s death, the family’s whole world was turned up-side-down. As we all know, each family member had to find different ways to try to cope with their grief. For Anna, this meant continuing to write her blog. She said that ‘her readers kept showing up so she kept writing.’

Her writings about her grief were raw and full of emotion which led to her being discovered by an agent and then a publisher who asked her to write a book. The resulting book, Rare Bird, is a painful, honest and real book about grief. Reading it helped normalize my personal feelings and those of many others. Anna now speaks all over the country to groups about parental grief. This has become her passion, as it has become mine. We both strive to help people who walk this path with us, and perhaps even more importantly, help those who will walk the path after us.

Today, we talk about our personal journeys as well as struggles that we have heard from others. We discuss the impact on surviving siblings as well and how sometimes, they can feel isolated and out of place. Anna’s new book, A Hug from Heaven, is a book for grieving children. Being there for each other as a community of grievers is important; helping our surviving children not feel forgotten is vital. 


Ways to Connect With Anna

Learn more about Anna by visiting her website:

Follow her blog:

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @aninchofgray

Follow her on Instagram @annawhistondonaldson

Purchase her books by clicking below:

For Rare Bird:

For A Hug From Heaven (children’s book):