Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Enjoying the moment.

I don't know why it took the tragic loss of my son for me to realize just how precious life is.

It's not like I haven't always been aware of how fragile each life is, but for me, I tended to believe nothing like this could possibly happen.  I went thru my days with some sort of attitude that this would never happen in my house.  It couldn't possibly.  My sons are too full of life for death and anyway God would never do that to me.  They're just kids; they won't die until they're elderly.
Well, now I have a new perspective.  Life is so amazing and special and loving others is a tremendous gift.  I know I hurt because I love.  God gave me the gift of my sons.  The depth of love I feel for them is both exhilarating and debilitating.  Nothing can paralyze me more and stop me in my tracks than the love I have for my boys.  The feelings are not even completely possible to put into words.  I feel tremendous pride at the mere sight of them. I've always been scared for them as they grew up yet excited for them and the new experiences they face.
My boys inspire me.  I like to show them off and introduce them as mine.  I will forever get a kick out of it when someone says "Oh you're Jeremy's mom!" Or "Chris is your son? I love Chris!"  What parent wouldn't enjoy that little moment in the spotlight on behalf of their child? "Yes! He's mine" I'd love to respond.  Still do.  I have two sons, always two, two forever.
What I have all of a sudden come to appreciate thru this tragedy is to enjoy the moment. I'm sipping tea as I write.  It's really good.  It's not just a drink that I have every evening anymore.  It actually tastes better now because I seem to pay attention to it.  I've had this same exact cup of tea nightly for years.  Why does it taste better now?  I think because I’m taking the time to notice it.  I'm glad I'm enjoying it.  It's a small piece of my night that I have come to take joy in.  Yes, it's only tea - but tea is all I'm talking about at the moment.  I've been able to enjoy the moment many, many other times too thankfully.

Maybe the mind allows these kinds of new experiences to help offset the pain? There's a lot that's new for me since December and I know I've been delving into a new part of my brain that never had to work quite like this before.  I have never experienced profound grief.  I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that Chris is gone for real.  My mind spins so much sometimes that I think it balances itself out by alerting me to nice things too - like enjoying the moment.  Does that make sense?  Well, it seems to be the case for me.  I'm sure a psychologist would be able to explain it.
I find when I look too far ahead I get out of sorts.  It's too much for me right now.  But when I focus on a shorter span of time I do much better.  I'm sure it's a loss of control thing... Makes sense after feeling I've had no control of the situation that I'm now in.  But when I savor the moment it seems to ground me and I get my footing back underneath me.
I hope you don't suffer an experience like mine in order to enjoy the moment.  Try not to race through events like family dinners, evening baths or bedtime stories.  They may not happen tomorrow night.  Take this little nugget from me and try to pay attention and slow down just a bit.  Taste the tea you sip and the bite of food you eat.  Sit back and watch your kids splash in the tub or giggle at the story you read even if they've heard it twenty times already.  Every moment to enjoy what’s happening in your life is special.  Don't let it slip by.

Thank you for reading.


  1. I think part of the reason your experience touches and resonates with so many people is the fact it gives us a glimpse of how truly fleeting and precious life CAN be. Yes, we all smugly expect nothing could happen to us, we are good, normal people. We go to church, we save for college, we support a charity, but then something happens, some unspeakable tragedy so close to home, literally and figuratively and it stops us in our tracks.
    I know this has reframed things for me slightly. Not totally, I still am not happy about the kid tracks, but I do let them slide more. I hope you continue to focus on life’s daily pleasures where you can find them, the cup of tea, the yoga class, time with a loved one. Peace.

  2. I don't know you at least not for real, but your writing has been a true gift to me these past few weeks. You are beautiful and very gifted as your son was. My current path makes me particularly open to what you offer. Thanks for that!

  3. Here's to your new found equilibrium (as I raise a cup of Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine blueberry tea through cyberspace). Happy Tuesday.

  4. Thank you for the reminder...Carpe Diem...we all forget sometimes to slow down and enjoy the moment.

    "Scale back your long hopes to a short period. While we speak, time is envious and is running away from us.Seize the day, trusting little to the future."
    Horace 65 B.C.E

    As always your message Regina is well received...I truly miss those day reading to little ones, walking to the playground, midnight snow dates and reading "because a little bug went Achoo!" for the millionth time(the book btw my eldest took to college with her!) If only we believed the time would fly by so quickly we would have slllloooowwwwed down to savior it more.

    Thank you for the reminder we know all too well Christopher could have just as easily been one of our own! Having lost a sibling when I was 10 definitely opened my eyes to life's fragile moment, I learned at a young age that we are not immortal.

    God Bless you and thank you for the reminder to live in the moment! You are in my prayers!


  5. Wishing you many more precious moments, and for those that are difficult, the strength to get to the next ones.

  6. Hi Regina - I am a 1998 SHEN grad and I have been reading your blog every morning.

    As I was reading today's post, my 4-yr-old woke up and came and sat down with me on the couch. He saw the last picture of Chris in today's blog and asked who that was. I replied, "His name is Christopher". He then asked if he was in heaven. I have not discussed Chris or the accident with him at all, and we look at photos on facebook all the time of our friend's children, so this was not something new to see a photo of a child online. He just somehow saw that beautiful photo and his innocent, insightful, 6th sense that children sometimes have kicked in.

    Of course, I replied, "Yes, he is in heaven"

  7. Dear Regina,
    I found your blog several weeks ago, but couldn't bring myself to read it then because it brought back memories of a time about 20 years ago when my nephew and 3 of his friends were also in a horrific car accident. It was right after the Shen/Saratoga homecoming game, the boys were 16, celebrating, and sadly, 2 of them died that night. The strange thing is, that for whatever reason your blog called out to me yesterday when I got home and I decided to test the waters and read your first entry. I continued and read your 2nd, your 3rd and on and on until I had read them all. My heart broke with yours and laughed with yours. What a beautiful and generous gift you share with us in the story of your Christopher, your Jeremy and yourself. Thank you, for opening your heart and allowing us to 'meet' your family and walk this path with you. I look forward to reading more of your entries and pray that God continues to shine His light through you. In closing, I'm adding a link to a beautiful song that I draw strength from in times of loss. The song is called "Goodbye For Now" and was written by Kathy Troccoli after her Mom had passed. She sings the feelings that we hold in our hearts...it is simply an amazing song of love. I hope I'm not being too forward and that at some point you are able to listen to it and feel comfort. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8q_7iVQF0w
    (The link can be copied and pasted to your browser)
    Thank you again, for the generous gift of your story.
    Diane Loviza

    1. Diane--

      Wow. I haven't thought about that night in a long time. Never forgot it, just haven't thought about it. Damon Jones and David Brahmer... My sister was a Saratoga cheerleader around that time and my cousin investigated that accident, as well. What a horrible, horrible tragedy that was for everyone involved, especially the other four boys in the car. Funny how many connections there are among us and how interwoven this community really is. Thank you for your post--it's good to always remember, even when it's painful and sad. The boys deserve that from all of us.

    2. So true...things may fade back a bit, but it doesn't take much to bring them right back to the front of the line. I will always be thankful for the memory of Damon stopping at our car in the parking lot after the game. He popped his head in the window and yelled "I LOVE this family"! In my mind he is forever 16, and forever happy! Here's to faith, family and friends and to making it through the dark side with the help of all three.

  8. Regina,

    I love this post! Ever since I started reading your blog everyday and since the accident I have slowed down a lot. I try to enjoy every minute with my children. I dont get so frustrated at the little things and I cherish the moments. Its funny you talk about tea because every night my daughter and I share a cup of sleepytime tea before I rock her to sleep. Thank you so much for your inspiration and sharing your life. You really have changed a lot in my life.
    Thank you!

  9. As I sit hear sipping my Nettle tea (I received it as part of a Christmas gift and haven't stopped drinking it since), your words speak to me once again. I read everyday and hold onto whatever message you leave for us. I'm thinking differently about so many things now. This blog is doing that for me. I read the other comments and see that it is changing other lives, too.
    Last night I walked by my son's room and he was sitting at his computer. I looked in and said, "Do you want to play some WII bowling"? With a big smile on his face, he said "sure". It has to be at least three or four years since I played WII bowling with him. We played two games and he beat me both times:) It was fun. We chatted through the games. He gave me some advice on how to hold the WII remote as I moved my arm.
    I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't have taken the time to play that game if it had not been for this blog. I'm so much more mindful now. Thank you Regina. Thank you Christopher. God Bless.

  10. When you write about the reality of how precious life is, I revert right back to my son's spine injury days... I didn't date the one poem that I wrote years ago, but it seems to be in the 2005 or 2006 time frame when I was writing much more. This was right after (or during) my son's spine injury and recovery. It was a 16 month reality check of how life can change in a split second. Much like what you wrote about. For us it was the reality, that for most things in life, we have no control. This injury happened to him, affected us all. While we were in it, along with the spine surgeries and rough recoveries, we had no idea what tomorrow would bring for him. We were forced to slow down and realize what was important.

    I believe I always did that to a point, after learning the Serenity Prayer at another difficult time in my life with a very ill family member... But I'm going off the point here.

    I hope these two poems help you. I know I did not lose my son, but we were so scared during his injury and recovery with all the unknowns, and these are what came out of me...


    This year I've learned the meaning of gratitude.
    Since I've frequently been told, I needed a new attitude.
    Even thought it might not yet seem so clear to those looking in,
    We've grown so much as a family, let me begin...

    Living our lives to the fullest, one day at a time,
    Affords me the option each day, to see my kids shine.
    To see them grow and mature,
    Makes me understand it's all worth the good and bad we endure.

    Such God given talens, to mold and expand,
    They are growing to be such a beautiful young lady and handsome young man.
    Even with the struggles and pain,
    We've all managed to stay sane!

    We've had our set backs this year past,
    But the experiences that have unfolded, are in my heart to last.
    We could have dwelled on the negative,
    But each experience, we've decided to turn positive.

    To be given a new chance each and every day,
    To fix the struggles and pain to make them work so we can say...
    I'm not going to dwell on what I cannot change,
    Let's focus on the positive and the bad we can rearrange.

    ©Justine Crowley-Duncan (11-22-2005)


    In a second so much can change,
    Leaving no choice, but life to rearrange.
    Fear and sadness take hold,
    New life's lessons ~ us they mold.

    Positives we are forced to see,
    Bad times we learn to flee.
    Grasping most importantly the courage to grow,
    Letting go of anger is best you know.

    Learning to see the little miracles in each day,
    Giving us all the opportunity to say...
    Thank God for putting life in perspective,
    And allowing us the opportunity to accept this.

    Thoughts and prayers from family and friends,
    Getting us through this to journeys end.
    Feeling blessed each and every day,
    For those who have gone out of their way!

    We will forever be aware
    Of all you've done and how much you care!

    ©Justine Crowley-Duncan

    I have learned to savor every moment, and gush with pride over everything they do. I've even been hurtfully accused of bragging, but I am proud! It's these moments that make life worth living. I learned long ago that tomorrow is uncertain and I'm going to overflow with pride because I can. I know in my heart that Chris and Jeremy know every second how you feel about him, and because of your words I feel validation as a Mom that it's okay to show them off and introduce them as mine. As you so beautifully put... "What parent wouldn't enjoy that little moment in the spotlight on behalf of their child? "Yes! She's/He's mine" I'd love to respond."

    I’m terribly sad that you have a new perspective because of what happened, but I truly believe, from what I have read, that you did live life to the fullest and enjoyed every second with your boys. I see it in your memories. It’s because of those strong memories and pride that you can so eloquently share!

    God bless…

  11. Your words never fail to inspire and redirect my life. The loss of Chris and Deanna did not teach only you to appreciate life more, but people all across the capital district. I, too, had gone through life thinking something could never happen to me or one of my friends. I had an aura of invincibility. Now though, I realize my mortality more keenly and the mortality of everything around me. Life is short; beautiful, but short. I choose to enjoy it now, even the "bad things." Thank you for helping me each and every day.

  12. You will never know how much your post have affected me and how I now deal with my children. I no longer ask my son to lower his voice, to stop bouncing his basketball in the house or to stop yelling at his video games when he's not winning. I now enjoy the noise because thanks to your post I know it can be silent in my house in a blink of an eye. Thank you so much for opening my eyes.

  13. Sleepytime Green tea...my before bed beverage. Tide Sport w/febreeze...I bought to wash my son's baseball clothes (smells awesome...I wonder if he'll notice). I have been reading your blogs daily, sometimes I will gather my family around and read it aloud to them all. My kids are 10, 14, 19 and 22. I can't imagine life without them. I can't remember the last time that I read to them all at once. I notice a change in everyone. They all seem more patient (for the most part). They all stop and listen to the other rather than talk over each other. Your blogs are amazing. We don't know one another, my kids don't know Chris, Deanna, Matt or Bailey but they all seem to feel the loss and the pain in their own way. Reading about Chris to them makes them smile. My son who plays baseball reminds me so much of Chris and his passion for football. I used to find myself "busy" for reading, playing, talking...there was always laundry, dishes etc to do. Not that any of the chores went away...I just found the time to sit and enjoy the kids. Thank you. Thank you for showing us to stop and enjoy the moment.

  14. Hi Regina! I hope you can continue having these magical moments and remembering the little things. I am sure you have them tucked away in your heart.

    I still just shake my head at how Strong and inspiring you are. I know you say it's hard for you to process things when you think too far ahead so you take it one day at a time. You just have this Amazing Incredible strength. I admire you so much. I am proud of the Mother that you are to your children because boy does it show just How much you Love them. I still hold you and Christopher in my heart. Think about you throughout the day. I often wonder how Jeremy is doing with it all. If he has that amazing strength like you do...

    I pray your Heart heals and I pray that Christopher will never be far from your heart.

    ❤❤Xox Lela

  15. It's funny, once my kids started school I became Ashley, Daniel, Jeffrey or Connor's mom! At school I was Mrs. Sheriff. A few years ago a co-workers daughter was getting married and her son-in-law's sister was a teacher at my kids former elementary school. I said please tell her Mrs. Sheriff says hello, not Denise, because she'll have NO clue who you mean...LOL! So I know exactly how you feel when someone asks about your kids! I think it's our pride as parents coming through! As my youngest son will graduate from HS this year, that role will diminish more and I miss those days but cherish the memories. Long gone are the days of bath times, nightly bedtime stories and bedtime rituals. For those of you with young kids enjoy them. Time really does pass quickly. And I say to all of you enjoy every stage of your children's lives! I know so many people who are so devastated when it is time to send their kids off to college. I look at it as another adventure, another stage in their lives and a time to be enjoyed with them. As I get ready to enjoy my nightly cup of tea before bed, I plan to really savor it. Thanks again Regina for the thoughts you share today. We should be thankful every day for all we have because none of us know when it could all change...in just an instance!

  16. Dear Gina,
    Each day after reading your story, I am reminded of just how precious life is. I have several close friends who have lost children, and while my relationship's with them have become stronger, it was always very difficult for me to accept the fact that at any moment I could be in their shoes. My thoughts were similar to yours. Nothing could take my children from me, they're to full of life. I get a reality check everyday now, and do my best to appreciate everything, to enjoy the moment, to realize just how fortunate I have been. Thank You.
    I read this writing you shared with us yesterday morning shortly after you posted it, and then I re-read it. When I got to work, it was very cold out, about 9 degrees and windy. Everybody was bundled up and basically not happy to be there. A carpenter friend of mine was standing there as I approached, and as we made eye contact, I smiled at him. His comment to me was " look at you, all full of smiles this morning!! " I simply replied " what's not to smile about, we're both here today." He laughed and said you're right, it picked him up. So Thank You again, he enjoyed that moment without reading your story.
    Always In My Thoughts And Prayers, Love You, Eddie

  17. Aunt Gina- Unfortunetly for me as well, it took such a tragic accident for me to open my eyes and really "enjoy the moment". Alexandria is a sophmore already! Only two years younger than Christopher. Where has the time gone? I have held her even closer since December 1st and I have made quite a few changes in my life. We have all made changes. The other night after Nana's birthday party some of us cousins got together and talked, laughed, and really got to catch up with one another. You're right, tomorrow is not promised. I will love and laugh every day and make the best of it. It is such a shame that something so tragic would make us realize that what we have is more precious than we could ever imagine. Call an old friend that you haven't spoken to in awhile, send a "hello" card to distant relatives. I know I have been, and will continue to reach out to those of whom I have lost touch with. I have 35 cousins and a majority of them live within half an hour of me. I am going to make a stronger effort to see them more than just once or twice a year. I love you Aunt Gina and you continue to inspire me on a daily basis. Love, Anita "Rita"

  18. Regina- My daughter is in her first year of college, she transferred to a new school this semester. I took her out last Thursday, she's so happy. She was going to the college hockey game Friday night. I got a call about 10:00pm Friday night she got hit in the head with a hockey puck. She is fine, but things could have gone very differently. I cant stop thinking how lucky we are, and my life could be so different right now. I would blame myself for letting her transfer. Understanding how we have no control is hard to accept. Each day we have with people we love is a gift.

  19. I wish I had read this blog earlier this evening as I sped thru bathtime and quickly read a book to my 5 year old and not so patiently sat thru a book that my 8 year old read to me. sometimes taking in the moment is difficult but i will try and be better.

    Your brother, Eddie's response brought a tear to my eye when he mentioned the quick conversation he had with a friend. "smile because we are here today"

    I hope you are having good days and you are able to smile at least once during the day. as I sip my coffee tomorrow I will think of you and Chris.

  20. Hi Regina,
    I am on the west coast, and was introduced to your blog by a friend of mine who's sister-in-law back east introduced her to it.
    First let me say how sorry I am for your loss. No parent should ever have to experience the loss of a child.
    My name is Caren, and I, too lost my son. Kyle was the youngest of my 3 boys, and he passed from brain cancer when he was 20 months old. It was 17yrs ago on Dec. 4th.
    I started at the beginning, and have read every post. This on caught me the most as you said the following that I found so profound and would like to share with others. " Life is so amazing and special and loving others is a tremendous gift. I know I hurt because I love. God gave me the gift of my sons. The depth of love I feel for them is both exhilarating and debilitating. Nothing can paralyze me more and stop me in my tracks than the love I have for my boys. The feelings are not even completely possible to put into words. I feel tremendous pride at the mere sight of them. I've always been scared for them as they grew up yet excited for them and the new experiences they face." AMEN
    And when you said " I have two sons, always two, two forever."....I felt so many emotions....mostly love and cheering in my heart!! I remember early on wondering how to handle the question of how many kids do I have. Honestly there was never any question. I have three sons, always three, three forever! I have and never will deny Kyle's existance in my life and in the lives of those he touched!! You put into words perfectly what I have felt the past 17 years.
    You are very brave to be writing this blog so soon after losing your son in such a tragic way. I am so grateful to get to know you, and of course Chris. You both are an inspiration to me....and obviously to so many! I know how healthy this is for you, and I am so proud of your courage to do it!! What you are sharing is such a gift...to Chris, to yourself, your family & friends, and to anyone who has the privilege of reading it!
    Wishing you peace, stength, love, support, and courage every step of the way...day by day!!