Monday, December 31, 2012

A Bit About 2012

I guess it's to be expected that I might usher out 2012 and race to drag in 2013 but that's not the case.  2013 means a full year to come of no Christopher and that's not something I'm interested in.  I think I'll stick with happily hugging 2012 for a while thanks.

Two thousand twelve was wonderful - for the most part, eleven months of it anyway.  There were so many great aspects of it, why would I wish them away so fast?

January: Of course it began with Christopher's birthday on the 9th.  He kicked off the new year of birthdays in the family.  He had the first one on the calendar.  The big deal about him turning seventeen in 2012?  Driving after 9pm... UGH!  I dreaded that - he constantly brought it to my attention beforehand too.  He'd smile with that shit-ass grin and remind me that once he hit that magic age he could stay at Bailey's beyond 9 because he took drivers ed.  I hated that!! I loved having the law on my side so I had someone else to put the blame on for making him come home so early... I leaned on the rules and used them to my advantage.  I used to tell him how lucky he was to use Skype once he got home so he could say goodnight to Bailey.  Somehow I guess I hoped that would ease his annoyance.  I would text him at 8:30 so he knew it was time to say goodnight to her.  I reminded him that he was so fortunate because “skyping” wasn't available in the 80's with my boyfriend... nor were cellphones.  I told him I shared one rotary phone with a long cord between 11 of us.  Like he cared?????  He didn't.  He wanted to stay at the Wind's.  I don't blame him.  I used to text Bailey's mom and tell her I was coming over too - her house was so much fun!!! I was envious.  My place was quiet and boring.
I don't recall much about the winter, other than we really didn't have snow.  That was great for him, of course, because he was my “shoveler” and “car cleaner offer”... I know he reveled in skipping those duties.  He was good, however, at warming up the cars in the morning.  He would start them up and let them run a while so they were toasty when we would head out for work and school.

June brought junior year graduation which was exciting.  Junior year is in my opinion the toughest. Chris took some hard classes but finished with a 92.  WHEW!! I was so happy once SAT exams were finished as well as finals and term papers.  I say it like I had anything to do with them... I didn't.  I guess I just commiserated because I remember going thru it myself junior year of high school.

June also brought the beginning of football.  Camps began.  Oh my, was Chris out of shape!  He came home groaning, sore, tired and hungry.  He twisted his ankle too but he was also excited.  These camps meant he was headed into his senior season and that was something he had been waiting for!  As a junior plainsman (pop warner football) he looked up to the varsity players in awe.  He thought they were NFL stars. He loved it when they talked to him and gave him pointers.  Once June hit he was sorry he didn't listen to my advice and go running in the Spring.  He should have!  I got the giggles when he could barely walk up the stairs.  "What's the matter Chris?" I'd ask him.  He'd do that famous eye roll and grunt with each excruciating step of the stairwell.  Eventually he toughened up and those calves were like rocks again.
We spent a bunch of time looking at colleges thru Spring and Summer.   I used up almost all of my vacation time.  It really was our summer 2012 vacation.  We went to Springfield, Assumption, UMass, Holy Cross, U New Hampshire, SUNY Cortland, St. John Fisher, U Maryland, U So. Carolina, SUNY Albany and Marist.  There were some colleges that liked Chris for football and some Chris liked whether they liked him or not.  We had a lot of fun.  Every place we went we had to try the cafeteria... No visit was complete without the dining hall experience.  He never found one he didn't enjoy.  He tried breakfast, lunch and dinner at some - all in the same sitting.  I know he would have put on the freshman fifteen no matter what school he picked. Probably would have been more like thirty.

When SHEN football tryouts approached things got a bit more intense.  I remember the day the roster was posted; Chris sent me a text "I made the team!"  I got the biggest kick out of it.  Of course you made the team I thought to myself - you're a senior how could you not????  You've never missed a year since Kindergarten!!!  But it was cute he didn't assume it.  It made me grin at my desk at work.  I loved his random texts.  I still think I'm going to get one... I wish I would.

Once Fall hit, Chris made team captain.  Oh my God I thought Mike would broadcast it to the world. I don't know who was happier but I remember we were all thrilled.  Never could I have expected that my son would hold a leadership position like that at such a big school!!!  How prestigious but what big shoes to fill!  Good thing he wore a fourteen cleat!  Coach Clawson told me Chris was a great leader.  Loud when necessary but not often - and when he was - the team listened.  I have never heard Chris yell, or get loud.  Sometimes he'd get excited on Xbox but never did he raise his voice or get upset.  I wish I had some of his locker room talks on video.  Those are something I have never seen and that's an atmosphere I'm not accustomed to.  That would be different for me.  I'd enjoy that.  I like thinking about it.  I wonder what he said to motivate them???
Fast forward thru the season to the last playoff game.  The SHEN kids gave it their all but Shaker had it all going on that night.  Both wanted it but Shaker had that extra something to propel them to the victory.  I never said it out loud but as a mom my heart lied with a Shaker victory.  (Sorry Coach!) Shaker had never gotten that far and I could feel the happiness pouring out of them.  It was impossible not to want to see them win in my opinion.  Don't get me wrong, my heart burst for Christopher and SHEN and it was heartbreaking to see Chris linger on the field after it was over but I was so happy for the Shaker boys.  Is that wrong?  Chris was the last one out on the grid iron, so distraught we sent Bailey out to get him.  Some of his teammates were already showered and gone and we couldn't get Chris off the fifty yard line.  He was sobbing and sobbing and in a heap on the ground.  
I always found it interesting how men could fall to pieces during a sports loss, isn't it just a game??? Apparently not.  I believe I understood more about it that night when I felt my sons sorrow. It's not just a game, it's life.  A very important piece of their life that remains forever more.

Well, that brought us into November the 27th which was Chris and Bailey's one year anniversary.  I had the pleasure of helping him fund the evening as well as choose the dinner menu.  He called me on the phone at work because he couldn't find the mozzarella sticks.  Hello?  The freezer might be a good place to look!  That's where we put them when we bought them at the store...  I wasn't there for the date but I found the remnants of what must have been a good time when I got home from work.  There were tealight candles on the table and Diana Krall music playing on my ipod.  Now that's cute :-)  Do seventeen year olds know who she is?  Mine did. Seems he must have paid attention to my musical selections when I didn't realize.

So, 2012 was for the most part a magnificent year for me.  I had my son for eleven months!  Better than 2013 when I won't physically have him for any.  I'd like to remain in two thousand twelve if God would allow but I know he still has plans for me.  He wants me to keep moving forward.  So I will. But only if you stick with me too.  I don't want to carry this load alone.  You make me feel better. You respond to me and share my grief.  You make me feel less lonely.  You tell me stories of your family and I like reading about you because it takes my mind off my worries.  I see the same names reply on my blog and I feel as though I have new friends.  I DO have new friends!  Who would have ever thought we'd meet and share these sort of details?  Maybe you find it as helpful as me?

I hope you'll look back on 2012 and remember all the great things that happened rather than wish a full year away.  There must be a handful of things about it that were wonderful and unique?  I know I have plenty.  Many more than I noted here.  I so wish I was just heading into 2012 so my son was here with me still.  I will relish everything I can remember and I pray you'll do the same.  Enjoy 2013 and all it has to bring but don't trash 2012, it's way too meaningful to all of us.

Thank you for reading. Happy New Year!


  1. Happy New Year to you as well, stay strong and thank you for sharing so much about your wonderful son. We'll be here for you anytime you need us. To listen and to lean on. Thanks as usual for your inspirational words and unbelievable strength. May God Bless you in the New Year!!!

  2. Happy New Year to you also Regina. I am as I have said before so inspired by your strength and courage. I read your blog faithfully everyday and what you have written I listen to your words and definitely take a closer look at my life and my children and because of you will never take anything for granted. As the new year comes upon us my life will be going through some difficult changes and because of you I feel that I have the strength to get through them and come out a better person. My thoughts and prayers are with you everyday and God bless you for being such an inspiration.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I think your words must be helping to heal many broken hearts. Blessings to you in 2013.

  4. Happy New Year Stewart Family. I love and enjoy your readings each day. Whether I read them first thing in the morning or last thing before I go to bed I always try to make time to read it. Your strength is so inspirational. Both my sons played pop Warner and as my youngest son finished up his last year in his pop Warner year I became emotional. People say sports is just a game but if you read or see clips of football its a very emotional sport. As I read your reading today and you were talking about Chris on the fifty yard line my son Hunter has experience a lose three different times in the semi-final games in pop Warner. Sure it wasn't high school, college or the NFL but it meant something to him. You see Hunter is a kicker and as big dreams to one day play in the NFL for the New York Giants. He had this fall to experience the greatest high of his pop Warner career of winning the Capital District pop Warner Jr. Midget championship. I cryed. When this whole thing happened with those four beautiful kids my heart broke for you parents. May 2013 be filled with warmth and strength from everyone. Thanks for your writings.

  5. Your writings are beautiful as you are. Keep the faith you have because we need you to share it. You inspire so many.
    Happy New Year to you and your family and God bless all of you.

  6. Just as you feel you have found a friend in us, I have found a friend in you, although I am much, much younger. thank you for sharing. YOU make me feel less lonely in my own grief. Your story makes me choke up, but I faithfully read each morning. It heals me.

    Happy New Year Mrs. Stewart and everyone! I pray that the New Year brings happy memories to replace the pain. Keep pushing, keep laughing, keep smiling, keep remembering. That's what I do these days.

    Lots of love,
    Hannah Cowley

  7. Dear Mrs Stewart,
    I have never made a New Years resolution until this year after closely following this tragedy.
    Besides the usual "treat every day as though its your last" kinda thing, I am resolving to be a better mother to my children. When I see photos of Christopher, I see a happy kid and teenager.... I see a young man who has the respect of his peers, is a kind boyfriend and a wonderful son.... for that YOU can be proud of and take credit for! My resolution is to be a mom to my girls as you are to your boys!
    Chris's photos speak to us, your blog intrigues us.... he will NOT be forgotten... we shed tears for Chris every day....we think about you every day and pray for all of the survivors. You and Chris have inspired change in thousands of us Mrs. Stewart.... God bless you and your beautiful son.

  8. I've been reading your blog from day one and I think it's incredibly inspiring that you're sharing your story so soon after this tragedy. I lost my boyfriend 5 years ago this month in a skateboarding accident (he was hit by a car while riding; we were both 20). Looking back on that time the one thing I regret is not talking. I shut down and cut off the world for a long time and I think it took me so much longer to heal because of this. I can't imagine how Bailey is feeling right now, how you're feeling or the rest of Chris' family and friends. Just remember that your son has touched so many lives, even lives of people he never met (myself included) and that something good can come out of this situation if you let it. I'm sure that Chris is looking down on you and wishing you a very happy new year.

  9. I really can't get enough of your blog I sometimes wish it was longer because I enjoy your stories so much. I may not know you personally but now I guess we can consider ourselves "cyber friends" lol I don't know maybe a little corny :) You have the strength that is amazing!! Please continue writing. As a mom I know where you are coming from our kids excitement & joy is ours along with the sadness and disappointment they feel. My daughter received her dance teams 1st place trophy a couple weeks ago because the mask she wore slipped over her eyes & she could not see the entire dance.. boy did my heart sink as soon as I saw it happen but then to watch her continue dancing like that I could not have been more proud. Of course as soon as she was done I ran over to her wrapped my arms around to let her know I was one proud Mama Llama (not sure why she calls me this) LOL. I pray for 2013 to be good for you but I know you would like to stay in the first 11 months of 2012. You are wonderful mom keep up the great work <3

  10. Regina, I'll stick with you! I,too, didn't want 2012 to end, I lost my Uncle my Dad's older and only brother in July and I don't want to leave him in 2012 and my Dad and I go alone into 2013. I understand your feelings and I feel a bit guilty comparing what I feel to what you do. I went and got a tattoo to memorialize him, I'll send you a picture. It makes me feel that he is with me. As long as you will have me I will be there! I prayed for everyone tonight but especial prayers for you at church!
    2013 I am not ready but here we come!!

  11. Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope 2013 bring you peace and comfort. I wish you all the goodness and kindness and inspiration you bring to so many. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories.

  12. Regina, I hope 2013 is a kinder year to you and your family. Thank you again for sharing your memories and writings with us. As long as you're writing, I will be reading. Wishing you and your family a blessed new year. I hope the new year brings you some peace.

  13. May 2013 give you continued strength! You are an inspiration to me! My daughter and i will make a special toast to Chris on his 18th BDAY on January 9th!

  14. Regina I have commented once before on you blog i just wanted to say thank you i have started a blog and subscribe you to it i think i dont know how this blog truly works so i hope i did it right I wrote a little bit about you and how you have too influenced me i look forward everyday to reading you blog again thank you and happy new year

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  16. Regina, I never miss a day of reading your blog...first thing in the morning! You truly are a very special person! Chris was lucky to have you for a mother. I have never been more inspired by anyone until I started reading your blog. I have 4 children and because of you, will never let a day go by that they do not know how much I truly love them. Don't get me wrong, I have always loved them and always let them know that but I am ashamed to admit, I don't know their hands! You are one of a kind!
    I will always keep you and your family in my prayers.

  17. Dear Gina,
    Thank You for sharing this with us and Happy New Year to you and all the families and friends. Your writings are so special. I continue to pray everyday for you and everyone, and I hope you continue writing. With each story you share, you bring us all a little closer together. That's a pretty amazing gift and one I look forward to receiving and sharing everyday. Yesterday at work, the main topic of discussion was on the lines of getting the heck out of 2012 and hoping for a better new year. This morning I have a whole new outlook, Thank You once again for opening my eyes to many things I took for granted. Your writings are helping many people in many different ways. We will always be here for you Gina. Always In My Thoughts And Prayers, I Love You, Eddie

  18. Happy New Year Regina. You are such a bright light in all of our lives. And Chris's light shines through you as well. How fortunate for the entire community that you have chosen full expression as a mode of healing. You heal us each day. You allow us moments (for me in the morning over coffee) to steep in gratitude. They are moments of sheer Grace that carry with us throughout the day. I have 3 teenagers (well, one 20-year old and 2 teens) and last night my husband and I kept vigil with 3 sighs of relief as each checked in with a text upon their final destination well before midnight. This physical life we have been given is so fragile. It is all we know, and so we fear. But we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and the physical realm need not be all that we know. I think you find this in your continued connections with Chris's spirit - the signs you spoke of days ago, and more ... the all enveloping love that is holding you up and keeping you strong just now. God Bless you. Your friend, Terri.

  19. Regina ~ I have read your blog since you began but have never commented. January 1 is a good time to start! Not sure if you remember me but I am your sister in law Lisa's cousin. We were in her and your brother John's wedding back in 85! Anyway, I just want to say you TRULY are an inspiration. When I read your blog I say to myself "what on earth do I have to complain about" and there is nothing! Event though your Christopher can not be with you physically in 2013, he will always be in your heart. May you continue to inspire in the upcoming year. God Bless and Happy New Year to you and your family.

  20. I love reading your blog. Your writing is beautiful. I love reading about your sons. I have read it every day, since you started.
    I pray for you often. God bless you!!!

  21. I read your blog every day since you have started. I pray for you and your family daily.
    Chris and my son played on a couple of Jr. Plainsman teams together.
    Keep the beautiful memories coming. Not only are the comfort to you they are to others.

  22. I don't know you but I also lost a son. My son Christopher died 3 weeks before his 5th birthday in 2007. He had cancer and died from bone marrow transplant complications. My heart goes out to you and your family. I still have a hard time every new year knowing it is another complete year I will be without my son. It sounds like Chris was an amazing young man and I hope your memories help you get through each new year.

    Trisha Ramsey

  23. Although I have not commented on all of your posts, I have read all of your entries since you began and look forward to reading them every day. Your writing is simply beautiful and inspirational, and I believe a gift you have been blessed with, a gift that allows you to tell everyone about Chris. I have truly enjoyed learning about who Chris was and its not hard to see what a remarkable person he was, and I look forward to learning more about Chris, as well as the rest of your family. I think a lot of people, including me, can relate to a lot of the things you've talked about in each of your entries, and I think helps guide all of us in how we go about our every day lives. I recently sent you a message on FB regarding a connection I have with the Stewart Family that I just recently learned about, and hope some time soon you will have the opportunity to read it. Your family has been and will continue to be in my prayers. May God bless your family and continue to give all of you the strength to move forward each day in this new year.

    Linda DeDominicis

  24. I couldn't wait for 2012 to be over. New Years Day 2012 was the last time that I saw my mother alive. She opted to have a heart procedure to repair a valve on January 6th but unfortunately didn't survive the surgery. We didn't expect that. I can't believe a year has passed. It hasn't been the same since.
    Once again, you've opened my eyes to something that I was missing. I invited her for New Year's Day dinner at my house. We had ham, potatoes and some amazing carrots. (I got the recipe from Bon Appetite). She loved them! It was a great dinner. We talked about her upcoming surgery a little, but didn't make a big deal of it. We hugged and kissed goodbye, wished each other a Happy New Year and off she went. I'm grateful that we had that last dinner. I'm glad that I made it for her and that she was able to relax and do nothing but enjoy it. How lucky I am that we had that day! Your blog today made me realize that. So instead of looking back at 2012 as the worst year of my life,(which was exactly how I was feeling), I'm going to reflect back today on all the good that was in it too. I turned 50, was given an amazing party, got to see the Grand Canyon, had many special gatherings with family and friends...and my Mom was by my side through every bit of it (I believe that). As you enter into 2013, know that your Chris is right there beside you too...every step of the way. God Bless you and Happy New Year :)

  25. Regina--
    As we enter 2013, my hopes and wishes are that you will continue to write. I have found a friend in you and feel so blessed to be able to be a part of your life, your family and most of all Chris. You may not want to write one day but will the next and that's okay. I feel the connection.

    I've learned to Pray more and be more spiritual and to ask for help when needed in 2012 which is huge for me. I'm hoping this will continue.

    Wishing you happy days to come. Day by Day.
    Xo Lela

  26. This was so touching. I saw a boy leaving Olive Garden yesterday who reminded me of a slighly slender, younger version of your Chris, and I immediately thought of you. How young and innocent he looked, how his mother probably worries each time he leaves the house, and how happy he looked to be hanging out with his friend. Not much unlike your precious son, I'm sure. Anyway, it made me think of you and how hard this NYE must be, after Christmas, for just the reasons you stated above.

    I too enjoy reading your posts and believe you have a gift for writing. I'm sure Chris would be proud. I hope you find some solace in 2013, and that good things, as good as good can get given the loss, come your way. While I know it was not a task you signed up for, or want, I believe you are going to bring inspriation to people in more ways than one.

  27. Regina....I will be with you each and every god bless you and yes I consider us friends as well...Love you Kathy

  28. I read your blog every day and now its become my morning routine to look for it ...i cant image the pain you must be going through but i do hope your many happy memories of Chris will help you to get through 2013 ... Linda

  29. Mrs. Stewart

    I love reading your blog, I read it everyday. I have even inspired some of my friends to read it because I enjoy it so much. I am only 22 and I don't have a family of my own but I want you to know you are in my thoughts and prayers every single day. I hope 2013 brings you strength and hope. I only wish I could have met your wonderful son, you should be so proud of him. Thoughts and prayers always.

    Cat Rinella

  30. Regina, I love love love reading your posts!!!! They are so inspirational and uplifting! I don't know how you do it but I want you to know you have made a huge difference in how I do things everyday! I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Christopher, although I feel like I've known him all my life from reading your blogs, but I do know Jeremy! If Christopher was anything like Jeremy, which it sounds like he was, you raised 2 unbelievable kids! Jeremy is the kindest, sweetest, most polite boy I know! And I mean that from the bottom of my heart!
    I have had some great losses the past couple of years. My mom at 69 was also killed in a tragic car accident 3 years ago and my dad at 71 had an attack 2 years ago this past Thanksgiving and passed within a day. Although their deaths were both sudden and tragic they lived long healthy lives!
    I too have had many many experiences where I know one of my parents is around. At first I thought I was imagining things but I now know it is true. I was soooo distraught after my dad passed my sister convinced me to go to a psychic ( not really a believer in that kind of stuff but she went to her and the things she told her were pretty amazing) Figured it couldn't hurt! She told me things no one could have known! Believe it or not I felt as if I had some kind of closure. I felt like my questions were answered. I knew that they were safe and at peace. If you ever want to go her her name is Tracy Fluty email phone 331-9376.
    Know that you, Mike, Jeremy and the rest of your family will remain in my heart and prayers everyday for the rest of my life!
    God Bless,

    Sharon Montagne

  31. My heart hurts for you everyday. I put myself in your shoes and cannot even begin to fathom losing my four month old son in 17 years. One of my best friends in high school lost her boyfriend due to a drunk driver on thanksgiving morning. It was so hard seeing her everyday knowing her heartache. I hope time will heal your wounds and allow you to keep helping others as well as yourself.

  32. Hi Regina,

    I hope you can find a measure of comfort in this poem -- its meaning has sustained me through some dark days.

    What though the radiance which was once so bright
    Be now for ever taken from my sight,
    Though nothing can bring back the hour
    Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
    We will grieve not, rather find
    Strength in what remains behind;
    In the primal sympathy
    Which having been must ever be;
    In the soothing thoughts that spring
    Out of human suffering;
    In the faith that looks through death,
    In years that bring the philosophic mind.

    -- William Wordsworth, "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood"

  33. Regina, I wish you much healing and peace in 2013. I love your reasoning for hanging onto 2012 it was such an amazing year I am grateful that you have those memories to carry you. I do believe that God has a plan for you, and although we do not understand His timing we must let His will be done. Even when it just plan sucks! May God Bless you Mike and Jeremy with a grace filled new year and much deserved peace.

  34. Dear Regina,

    I have been reading your blog faithfully after it was forwarded to me by a mutual friend of ours. At first, I thought I would just read it and not comment-what could an Everymom like me possibly be able to say to you that could come close to capturing how you feel? Then, I realized, that was the POINT you were making. For us to step out of our comfort zones and practice more acts of kindness. It was selfish of me to just be a taker and not a giver. Thank you for giving me that insight, and like so many others have said on here, you have given me incentive to become a better mother. To touch and feel the hands, to feel joy and not stress over the college process, to love and take time to be with our kids and just have fun.

    There is something so poignant in your writings, I can't capture it but I do believe you have a gift to speak the language of the heart. Also love your humility in this post ("Never could I have expected my son to hold a leadership position at such a big school")-wish more parents had these thoughts and feelings.

    One Day At A Time. The strength and love of those around you will see you through.



  35. Regina, Thank you for sharing stories with us of your son, He reminds me of youngest son, he is 8. Football is his life he, eats sleeps and breathes football. I hope someday that he to can be a great leader, for his fellow teamates, if not the captain, at least stand by his team mates and make them proud! I have been reading your blog everyday,It has become priority to my nightly ritual. God bless you hun, and goodnight!

  36. This is my first ever comment to you, but I read every post that's posted. I'm 21 and graduated from Colonie, so I never met your son or anyone involved in the accident. But I feel as if I did know them. I've followed everything ever since a few days after the accident, wondering how both Bailey and Matt were, and seeing all of the pictures of Deanna and Chris and all the comments left for them. They really seemed cherished in their community. I smile a lot reading your posts because your son seemed like a really great son and person. He seemed like a really funny person, who didn't take life too seriously, and had a great time no matter what. I love finding more out about him with every post. I especially love when you talk about how much he eats. It's just so funny and you seem like you really knew him well. I hope you're getting better each day and I really could never understand the pain you've been through, but I'm sorry about it. I know that although you like writing your thoughts down on this blog and helping people, you'd give it all up just to have your son back. You seem like a great mom. I'm sorry for everything you've been through but 2013 will make you a lot stronger and you'll always have Chris watching over you everyday. I look forward to reading every entry, although I wish you never had an entry to write. I hope it gets easier without him. You're very lucky you knew him so well as a mother and that he was a great kid because you have so many memories of him. I'm glad for that. Anyway, I just wanted to leave my first comment ever saying I've read every entry and I enjoy the things you say. Good luck with everything you continue to overcome and always stay strong. Also, I'd like to say to Bailey & Matt: I admire you both. Many high schoolers are not as strong as you both have been and also many do not have to go through as much as you've been through. I'm glad you're both getting better and have so much love around you. Stay strong too and know Deanna and Chris are always watching over you, letting you have new opportunities.

  37. Regina, I did not know Christopher but my son did. He speaks so highly of him. I read each of your posts and struggle to truly grasp the magnitude of your loss and how it is you manage day to day. Honestly, I just don't know how you do it. I feel guilty that I still have my son who is so close in age and life stage to Christopher. Life is so uncertain. This last post has prompted me to comment though I'd prefer to just lurk and read. Anything I have ever thought of posting just seems so inadequate.

    In my attempt to try and make sense of this and imagine being in your place; one thing that would help me greatly would be to know that my sharing about my son's life was in some way helping others to be better. Deeply changed and different so that the improvement in their lives would be attributed to my son. Then his goodness would live on.

    I simply wanted to say that I too have been changed, deeply. Though I never knew Christopher, when I read your words describing him I feel connected to him and motivated by him. I feel responsible to act in a way that fills in the gaps I see in my own behavior with my children that you so eloquently illustrate about your relationship with Christopher. Even more so, I cherish the moments and life events you speak of as time is so precious and cannot be taken for granted. I've always known this due to my own losses I've endured early on in life, but the loss of a child is so different.

    Being a person of faith, I pray regularly for you and your family. I firmly believe that though God does ALLOW suffering he never WASTES it. Look at what He allowed His own Son to endure. In my work I regularly have an opportunity to share my faith and hear others stories and learn from them. With all that I am I know two things when I think about your family and I don't need to have met you to be certain of it. The first is that God has placed each of us here for a time and a purpose by His perfect design. The number of days we are given are in no way a measure of the impact we can have. Many people spend their entire lives and achieve far less than your son has. Though here on earth for only 17 years he surely achieved a life of significance which has pleased his Creator. The second is that God loves you and He loves Christopher. He made us in His image. Because of this you can be certain that He will make something beautiful out of your loss. You remain faithfully in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  38. Regina- You remind us all, each day we have on earth or with anyone we love is a gift. My daughter is home for the break from her first year at college (she is my oldest). I'm loving every minute I have with her. Like so many others have said, sometimes it's hard to read your blog, because I could be you. I don't know how I would do it, I guess you have no choice. Thank you so much, your helping all of us love a little more each day.

  39. You are an inspirational person and I commend your strength that allows us all a glimpse of how blessed your family is and to what an exceptional son you raised...God Bless!

  40. I took a day off the computer yesterday for reasons I cannot get into, but I took the time to go back a day and read your blog entry from yesterday. It is truly beautiful and Chris would be proud. I wonder if he did what my kids do when I gush over them or point out their amazingness. I think it's important that they know daily (if not hourly) how we feel about them and their accomplishments.

    I comprehend what you wrote about wanting to hold on to 2012, but you moving forward is so obvious in your writing. It's so obvious that the journaling is keeping you close to Chris, but even without the journaling/writing, you would be there anyway. I truly believe that. As I said in today's (January 2) blog response, I'm glad you are journaling because it gives those of us who aren't close to you, the opportunity to know you are as okay as you can be, and it gives those of you who cannot physically hug you and try to take away the pain, the chance to emotionally hug you and show our support.

    I don't know why I feel so connected and need to respond to these blogs every day other than to say I am a mom who is devoted 100% to my children, as you are to yours, and I feel close to you because of that. I don't have a lot of people who understand the way I parent, and don't understand the sacrifices I have made for my kids, but I believe you do, because you have done that yourself. I see so many similiarities in your child "rearing" and it makes me feel better to know there is at least 1 parent (MOM) out there that gets me, even though you don't know me. When I read your blogs, I feel reassured in my choices (not that I needed them) I've been parenting for 23 years.

    As you hold on to those precious memories from 2012 and before, let us help you move into 2013. Try not to hold on to the date on the calendar as much and more so hug the memories, because like you said God has plans for you and forward is the only way. We are here to walk that path with you, if you chose us to be a part of it and we will support you through it...

  41. You amaze me with your strength. I was having a hard time finding the good in 2012 for a bit. I am friends with the Rivers' family and this has been so very hard for this whole community. If you can see the good in 2012, how can I not see it? My "baby" graduated high school. My son (2 years out of college) finally found a job in his field. My daughter is in her senior year of college and looking forward to "real life." Another son found a new love after a painful broken engagement a few years ago. Another son and his wife are expecting a baby in the spring, our second grandchild. Wonderful friendships have been started and continued. Thank you for opening my eyes. Keep writing--we love it and you!

  42. Happy New Year. I have been thinking of you and the Rivers family quite a bit and what you must be thinking and feeling to have the year change to 2013. I'm so attached and affected by your losses that I forget that I too have had a couple of losses in 2012. My Uncle and a lifelong friend of mine father passed, both from cancer. I saw my uncle the day before he passed and I have many regrets that I didn't visit with him more.

    I love reading your blogs. your words are inspirational. I feel the I have to respond so you know that you are not alone. I'm here holding you up and passing you as much strength as I can.