Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Being in the moment

I had a really tough day at work.  Seemed to me to be the hardest one yet - but if I had to take a guess I imagine I'll have plenty more hard ones to come.  I can't wait for the easy ones to arrive.

It bothers me a lot not to have a grip all the time.  Experiencing the normal ups and downs of life are what you and I can relate to together.  This new life I'm leading places me on a different rung from most of you now.  I think those of us who have lost children are a select group.  I'm in a special club of sorts and I'm not especially glad to be in it.  I don't want to be here but I'm really trying to get used to it.  Well, "used to it" is not exactly what I mean... But I'm trying to identify with who I am now and what Chris's death entails in my life.  Being me right now sort of feels like being a kid who is dreading that first day at a new school or having to speak in public.  the anticipation of it is terrifying.  There's a tremendous fear in me and I hate it, especially when I try to think too far ahead.

I really do understand why people grieving tend to look at one hour blocks of time and can't whole-heartedly commit to future events.  I know it will get better.  Time helps.  Right now I have trouble.  I try to be patient with myself and I take a lot of deep breaths.  Thankfully I am able to remind myself to slow down and regroup my mind to work within a smaller time frame.  I understand the one hour at a time idea very well these days.  I've heard people say it but now I must live it.  This is very new to me.  So many new things are happening...

Sometimes I don't know what comes over me.  I never know quite how I'm going to wake up or how my day will progress.  I may start out fine but fade deep into thought as I sit at my desk.  It may be a while till I drift back to my work tasks.  The brain is kind though, in my opinion... At least mine is.  It allows me time to digest what's happening and gives me the latitude to do something about it.  Thankfully my co-workers leave me alone a lot.  Quite obviously when they see me I appear deep in thought (which I am).  I pray I give them articulate answers!
I had a strange thought yesterday while sitting quietly reflecting on the scholarship basketball games last week.  I really enjoyed the night.  All of the events, even the sad part of watching Bailey cry when she received her green 69 SHEN jersey.

I got to wondering if I truly was feeling "Regina's" joy or had Chris climbed inside me to make me joyful?  Did he take over for a bit to see me thru the night or was it me who experienced the happiness?  
When I was in sales, years back, we had a term "fake it to make it".  I wonder if that's what I was doing that evening.  I mean, I have no experience with being the recipient of a huge scholarship check on behalf of my son... Would you??? It all seems so surreal and crazy. I'm wondering if Chris took hold of the night for me to see me thru it.  I really had a good time.  I loved the crowd and the energy in the room and the games were exciting and fabulous!  I loved watching my nephew and having my family all around me.  It was a true pleasure seeing everyone and feeling their positive vibes.  I loved meeting the Shaker staff finally after having spoken with some of them on the phone and it was my honor to shake their hands and give them hugs.  They have been so wonderful in taking care of the children.  I felt happy.  I just hope it was genuinely me feeling that way.  I do know Chris helps me though.
I want to get far enough into this new role to where I don't mind being out in public.  I'm not there yet.  I don't like people looking at me.  I don't like anyone trying to read my face to see if they can figure out how I'm doing.  I don't want anyone analyzing me.  I'm sure some of it is fabricated... And maybe I magnify things to a level they really aren't - but I feel like I'm on display and I don't like it.  It will subside at some point.  I guess it's just because this is all so new, but you wouldn't like it either.  I prefer being anonymous in some respects.  In another way though, I want to represent Chris to the best of my ability.  I don't want notoriety for any sake but my son's.
I like my blog because I can talk to you freely without you looking at me.  I know many of us use our computers in that respect.  I can safely talk to you from here and be comfortable and you can reply in the same manner.  I hope that's OK with you for now.  We may meet at some future point and that might be good for both of us.  For now I'm happy with our relationship and I'm glad we've become friends.  Give me some time to adjust if you would.  I'd appreciate that.  This is all a bit overwhelming.  

Thank you for reading.


  1. So sorry you had a difficult day yesterday. Hopefully they become further apart from each other. Just take one moment at a time. It hasn't been that long. Sending you a hug.

  2. I'm so glad that you're getting it out.. Please don't feel that we want to read just your good thoughts.. We want to help you thru the low and the very low as well.
    I would feel the same way about being in the public eye. For you to just get up and shower then go to work is an amazing feat on your part. Go easy on yourself. Do what's best for you.. And not what you think others expect of you. We're not going to forget you or Chris.

  3. You have every right to take it easy and take it slow. That's what I've been teaching myself; that it's alright to be sad, that it's going to happen, and when these waves crash down on you, it's alright to take a step back.

  4. Though I try hard not to judge (a la I can't know what it's like to walk a mile in your shoes), I do think your thoughts and feelings and behavior are all perfectly within the boundaries of your new normal. I hope the outlet you've developed through your blog helps in processing the myriad of emotions that surround you hour to hour. I loved hearing your reaction to being at the Siena game last week -- that seems like Chris' way of bringing you joy. As you say, you've been thrust into a club you'd rather not belong to...but it seems like you are well on your way to embracing it as a force for good. Hope today is a better day.

  5. I get up every morning and read your posts, they make me appreciate every little thing my kids do. I complain at times about the"noise" they make , I now appreciate the noise, I appreciate every second of being a mom....this tragedy has touched many people in the 518 area and far beyond. Opened a lot of eyes...but still should have never happened. I cant imagine your family's grief.... I pray for healing and strength for you all...

  6. You are going to have good days and bad days and you are entitled to them. My wish for you is that the good will won over the bad but that takes time. One day at a time. I hope today is a better day for you. God bless you and again thank you for sharing.

  7. You take all the time you need dear lady! Gentle, easy, kind to your soul. Rock yourself as if you were rocking and holding one of your own babes and do whatever you need to feel peace in the moment. There is nothing else to do! God bless!

  8. I agree, take all the time you need. In the meantime, I also read your posts every day and they are truly inspiring and enlightening. They remind me every day to appreciate every moment with my boys (3 and 6 at the moment). You say thank you for reading, I say thank you for writing.

  9. Regina - thanks for your continued writing and willingness to share your journey. I read your comments when you post and I see a very healthy grief process unfolding. Blessings to you from a fellow member of the club that we all don't want to be a part of. Hugs.

  10. "Fake it to make it". It's a philosophy that will serve you well through time. Thanks for sharing. We all want to support you, so it's good to know what you want and need. <3

  11. Today would of been my son's 9th birthday. The last seven years has taught me that I will become "familiar" with the loss, but never fully adjust. I pray our boys are playing together today. I can't wait to see my boy running someday and I hope Chris is right there holding his hand. God bless and thank you for helping me to remember the good times.


  12. One thing i can say for sure is as a parent myself I am build a new me with your daily blogs. Im hurts me though that this has happen and you struggle with every waking day but know you have inspired many people and I hope to some day meet you. Your a great person and together with your new friends here, we'll get u through this in time. Have A Great Day!

  13. Our sons played Jr. plainsmen together once or twice on the same team.They both played for Shen. They knew each other. I am sure at some point we stood by each other at some game. We do not know each other. I feel like I do now. Since the day of the accident I have kept you in my prayers many times a day. I read your blog every morning. Some days I cry with you and some days I am smiling and nodding in agreement.
    I continue to think of and pray for you and the other families many times a day.

  14. "Fake it to make it" is a tool I have used in the past that does help. It's hard to show that vulnerable side to close people, let along strangers! Sometimes pushing, or faking, actually releases endorphines that will take over the brain and allow you that get-away you need to make it through the hours. I won't even say days, because we all know, that days are too long, especially now.

    Try to remember, that you can enjoy something or someone and still be grieving. Allowing yourself to experience life alongside your grief is exactly what you need to balance the pain of grief.

    Taking care of yourself is an absolute NEED during this time. You are obviously already doing that! Hard as it is, getting out, accepting the love and support... but on those quiet, hard days, consider taking care of you... exercise or eat something delicious or dare I say it, healthy food! It helps you relax and even though you may resist this, do something that brings you pleasure (such a being around safe people who accept you unconditionally, going out to dinner, shopping, watching your favorite television show, dancing, or going to a game). Doing these things does not mean you are not grieving but it will help provide the energy for the difficult times.

    You can talk safely, behind your computer screen! I know I read your blog and sometimes it takes me hours of reflection before I can find the words to write back to you. I never want to say the wrong thing. I re-write my responses a lot sometimes, and other's it flows out of me effortlessly. (Hence the length...). You might chuckle at this, yesterday I got a "warning" from your blog administrator because apparently my response was too long! Split it in two, because I had to send it all! There was nothing I could eliminate! Sorry about that.

    God bless, hoping today has bright moments knowing we care for you!

  15. Prayers and love to you.I wish you peace in this difficult journey. I am moved to read your words each day. You share the beauty and magic of love.

  16. Regina~
    Every moment brings something different. Please know that we will be with you each step of the way (or as long as you want us around) and through whatever you want to share with us. We appreciate that you are willing to share your heart with us each day. Thank you for continuing to push your way through this. I am continually praying that God will carry you and give you the strength to adjust.
    Thanks for sharing.

  17. I just found this old poem I wrote in 2005. I wanted to share it. I went through a rough patch (for a few years actually) and some of the poems that came out of those times, I can hardly remember writing. But here it is:

    Sitting all alone wondering still,
    All this time -- how do I fill?
    Hours go by where I sit and think,
    My thoughts and feeling I must not let sink.

    Most days I'm surrounded by many,
    Chaos and commotion there is plenty...
    How to become comfortable with all or nothing,
    That's the hard part, I need something.

    Every day I'm right where I'm meant to be,
    Trusting God will help me to see.
    It helps me to understand the loneliness,
    Guide me, to turn it into advantageous.

    I was taught to not fear being alone,
    Thank God for the phone!!!
    I might sit and joke,
    but truly that's only me blowing smoke.

    I struggle each day with the ups and downs,
    However, I'm chosing to smile, not frown.
    When the days have been tough,
    I need to learn to not be so gruff!

    It is said a smile goes a long way,
    I am trying to convince myself of that every day.
    To live each day to the best of my ability,
    and in this, I won't have early senility!

    ©Justine Crowley-Duncan
    Latham, NY July, 2005

  18. My wish for you is Peace, Harmony, and Abundance.
    thanks for being you Regina!!

  19. Sending you a gigantic eHug Regina....thank you for writing and sharing your feelings, your heart....we have the easy job on this end, but am so glad that you can feel our care and support and that it brings you comfort. I think of you and the Rivers family every day and continue to keep you in my prayers.

  20. Just wanted to send you a BIG HUG (((((((((())))))))).....

  21. Regina, I've been reading your blog and FB posts daily since that fateful day. You put your heart and soul into your writing. I think you are an amazing Mom with remarkable strength. Whether you are telling us stories about Chris when he was younger or sharing the emotional roller coaster you are on, I am always touched. I continue to keep all four families in my prayers. Sending you a big HUG and hope that you're having a better day today. One day at a time...

  22. Regina,
    I've been following your blog, and ever since December 1st, I've been so deeply saddened and affected by what happened to these 4 innocent kids, and of course their families. Having gone to Shaker myself, and now living in Clifton Park, this tragedy felt so close to home. I look at my two boys (ages 2 and 4) and newborn daughter, and can't help but think about you and Deanna's parents. I imagine that when you had little children you never thought about something so horrific happening, and that breaks my heart. You have shared so much about yourself and your beautiful Chris with us, please know that he will never be forgotten, even by those who never met him. You are an incredibly strong woman, and are so remarkable in how you're coping during this unthinkably painful time. My heart hurts for you, and want you to know that you're in my prayers daily. You are truly amazing, and although you wouldn't have chosen this new life for yourself, you clearly have tremendous faith in God's divine plan. God bless you and your family... so many people are on your side and pray for your continued strength and peace.

  23. Regina, Im so very sorry that you have to endure this. You should just worry about what YOU need to feel better each day. Dont worry about any of us...We are the ones that are suppose to be helping you get through this..yet you seem to be the one helping all of us. You should be able to respond to who you want ...when you want.
    You have been so strong & kind at all these functions that you have to endure. I hope and pray that the public knows enough to give you some peace when you are out and about. Praying for you...

  24. Peace, healing and hugs sent your way! One day at a time, actually one hour at a time....make it minute to what you can when you can...don't worry about what you can't do when you just can't doit. Everyone will understand and things WILL get done eventually...all in time Regina. Be patient with yourself you still need time to heal and adjust to what has been unfairly thrown at you. In my prayers... God Bless

  25. Dear Regina-
    You and your family truly remain in my daily thoughts and prayers.

  26. (((HUGS)))

    If someday we meet I will probably shy away and fade into the background. I'm just one of hundreds or more reading your blog. you are in my thoughts every day. I pray for your peace and strength each day.

  27. Regina:
    I've tried to comment on a few blog posts now and have lost everything. So hoping this one goes through...
    We will continue right by your side (so to speak) with this new you that you have to adjust to. I'm most grateful that you really have found it so helpful to share your heart, share Christopher, share your pain and your happiness. I do hope one day we'll meet. My kiddos are 6 & of each. But for now I hold this friendship VERY dear.

    God Bless You!
    Xo Lela

  28. Hello Regina,
    As a mother that lost a son in a motorcycle crash I want to assure you that, yes it does get better but it takes a very long time. I too had panic attacks if I had to go out in public but I am relived to say that they have subsided for the most part. It has been 4 years and 4 months since my son was killed and in this past year I can honestly say things are getting better. The loss of memory, and sharpness to details still has not returned, I don't know if it ever will. People look at me in real surprise when they are talking about something that I obviously should remember and I can not recall at all. I think there is real post traumatic stress after such tragic events. I feel very blessed because I had my son for 29 years and he had 2 sons, 8 months old and 2 years old when his accident happened, so I still have that piece of him , but on the same note my heart breaks for them because they will not have their own memories of their daddy. I also know for a fact that my Matthew is around me all of the time and I take great comfort in that. I am sad for anyone that doesn't believe that God is our strength because he is the only reason I am still sane, for sure. I just wanted to share with you some of my experiences, sometimes it is helpful to know what other people have experienced while dealing with such tragedy. It did help me when I spoke with other parents that had gone through similar loss. Thank you for the blog, I think it is so beautifully written and so very honest and open. God bless you and your family.

  29. Thank you, and God Bless.