Monday, January 14, 2013

How are you doing?

Yesterday I talked about me.  Today I thought I might concentrate on you.  It does me good to step outside what I'm living and try to take a more global view of how this tragedy has fanned out.  There have been layers and layers of people affected by all of this.  It bothers me a lot.  I just want all of you to know I'm thinking of you and praying for you to heal.
How about the first ones on the scene?  The first responders, the state police and witnesses to the accident. What did they see?  I'm sure it was traumatic.  Each call that comes in to the emergency squad must make them nervous.  This one couldn't have been good to drive up to.  Were they scared?  Shocked?  Did they just jump right into action?  I'm guessing yes to all the above.  The innocent parties driving on the Northway that night didn't deserve this experience.  I wonder if they have nightmares now or need someone to talk to.  I hate that they carry this.

What about the hospital staff who helped Matt and Bailey and those who had to break the news to me?  Now they too have this vision to live with.  It might not be the first time they dealt with death but I'm sure they will never forget December 1st and December 2nd 2012.  It isn't right.  
My extended families and friends now have the burden or worrying about me - on top of carrying their own grief.  As if we all didn't have enough on our daily plates beforehand?  Now they've been cast into a new position of answering questions from their friends and co-workers about me and about the tragedy.  I've leaned on them to help me make arrangements and phone calls which I didn't like asking.  They had relationships with Christopher, close ones.  Why do they now have to be responsible for speaking on my behalf when others have questions?  Of course I realize people are concerned and those who know me are the best to share information.  I just don't like that they are being cast into this new role.
There are also the classmates and teachers and staff at SHEN.  They're all trying to help each other thru this crappy situation.  Why do they have to do this?  Don't they have enough to do regularly?  Now the kids are having more difficulty concentrating.  They don't have answers as to why this happened and none of us can help the other with a satisfactory reason.  There isn't one.  High school should be a happy time, a challenge academically but among the best days ever.  
Now they've had a massive wave wash over them and they're struggling to breathe.  I'm hopeful together we'll work thru it but I know we'll never get over it.  I'm thankful they each help one another but I can't help but feel angry that there has been a tragic memory imbedded in their minds.  I ache at the thought of a parent needing to hold their child thru their tears and feel the loss of not knowing what to say for comfort.  I know the staff at school is in the same boat.  The kids lean on them yet the adults don’t even have a grasp. It's heartbreaking.
Then I look at Matt and Bailey.  Why did this happen to them?  How come they have been asked to carry the experience as well as the physical scars?  One look and you can see they're special but this accident is beyond what any child should be saddled with.  I do know they'll succeed and prosper but it will take time and support.  What I hate is that they'll be forever changed due to a night they had no control over.  Being subjected to something beyond our control is infuriating.  These are the best kids ever, kind and sweet.  As much as I know they will one day be better than ever, I can't help feel anger that they didn't deserve this.  I don't like it's been put upon them and I hate that their parents and siblings need to walk them thru this healing process now. 
The layers of people this spreads out to is mind-blowing.  Look at you.  You've been moved by it.  You may not even know Chris and you might not even live anywhere near Clifton Park.  You've been affected.  It's a shame.  Why is it that you shed tears and hurt for my son and this situation?  How come it happened at all?  So many questions, so few answers...

I know I've barely touched on the sea of people this tragedy has touched.  There are little children asking questions, elderly who wonder why a teen was taken while they're still here,  friends from high school who are at a loss for words and want to help but don't know what to do and governmental officials now reviewing laws.  I just wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you.

I hope we continue to lean on one another, share our grief and become better people.  I know I'm more aware of my feelings and situations more since this tragedy.  I'm more tolerant and patient.  If you can find the good in it too then we will make the 518 area and beyond a nicer place to live.

Thank you for reading.


  1. You said it. This affects everyone However, I think we have a choice to make this into a blessing or make this into a curse. This can change us for the better or we can choose to ignore this. I think you know which ones I choose.

  2. Hopefully you can track the number of hits on your blog so you know each day how many lives you've touched. Some days I really am left speechless and don't feel as though I have anything worthwhile to contribute, but I just want you to know that I am hear reading. You may recall the little bald-headed character associated with WWII who left scribbled reminders of his presence, "Kilroy was here." Perhaps it's time for a universal cyber character to dispense similar messages.

  3. People ask me why do you follow this blog or situation so closely. I say because I have a fifteen year soon to be sixteen and will be driving. It scares me to death that the laws let children this old get behind the most dangerous machinery. Like you I will have him text or call me when he gets to his destination. I will have him text and call when leaving his girlfriends house. No matter where he is I will have him do this as a part of his routine. After so many tragedies that I have heard of teenagers that were taken so young when on the road I feel they need to up the driving age or put a bigger curfew on teenagers at any given age not to drive. I got my license when I was eighteen and I am still scared to get behind the wheel. Its not my driving I am worried about but others around me.
    Thanks for your words each morning.

    1. the one thing i wanted to mention is the fact that often the drivers doing the wrong thing..arent teenagers.
      as it is in this case.
      I feel that the laws that need to be changed are ones that make drivers who are recklace...who have had DWI's...who keep getting speeding tickets..and other violations..
      these people that continue this behavior..need to get there license permentally suspended!

    2. Bonnie - I feel the same way you do! I am scared to death for my daughter when she gets behind the wheel or is a passenger in someone else's car!

      Regina - Thank you everyday for your writings! Chris's and Deanna's deaths have affected so many and I believe you make a difference everyday by helping us and your family heal! Your writings are heart breaking, funny and thought provoking! We will be here everyday for you to lean on and visa versa!

  4. "Kilroy was Here"! That's a great idea Maryann! As for how I am doing? Same as the above, I read every day and don't always think I have anything worthy to write. Yesterday was a blessed day for me. Bailey responded to my message via Facebook. I never expected that she would even read it. Then my family was seated one table away from the Winds at dinner last night, and there was no one else in that side of the restaurant. It was awkward bc I had to force myself to not accidentally stare and I didn't make contact and I was cautious of the volume of our dinner conversation. Our friend's grandmother was killed by a drunk driver last week and I just didn't want the Winds to accidentally hear it. I'm sure they had no consciousness of us at all, and that's good. I mention all this because I felt very protective of them. And that's good. I fell protective of Bailey and Matt, who shouldn't have to carry this load. And that's good. I really comprehended yesterday that I am so invested in this because in 1989, when I was 15, I couldn't do anything about my own tragedy. Now at 38, I can. I can support, I can pray, I can attend events, I can help lobby for better laws. I can count the blessings. Big and small. And that's good. Thanks for asking.

  5. This tragedy has inspired me to be all that I can be. A better mother, wife, student, daughter, employee because in a split second it all can be taken away. I have a new found appreciation for life and even though my daughter is only two I hug her a few extra seconds (or however long she will let me hold onto her tightly) because I know now what a gift life truley is.

  6. Good Morning , as you have all said including Mrs.Stewart this tragedy has effected each and everyone of us near and far...To lose a loved one is so extremely difficult... My son lost his dad to cancer at the age of 8. I still don't have the answers to give him. Very very sad. I also lost my dad so around the holidays most difficult , we let off balloons together for our dads ;0(.. I pray every day for Chriatopher, Deanna, Matt and Bailey.But MOST of ALL I pray for you Mrs.Stewart....

  7. As I read your blog each day, I try to find one thing to focus on that can help you. Today I chose to focus on the definition of COMPASSION, as it sums up everything you wrote, about all those affected. The definition -- according to Miriam Webster -- for compassion is: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.

    So many are affected because we care. It has shown a large number of 518's and beyond that have good hearts... That don't want to pry... but who were invited in by you to get to know Chris. It shows that we want to alleviate the amount of pain you are in, although we can never fix what happened, and I know for me that loss of control or ability to fix, is frustrating...

    When I was younger I faced a lot of death. It shocked me and I wasn't old enough to understand. I lost a close school friend (due to a brief illness) when I was 12 and she was a twin; At 13 I also lost a dear friend of the family who was 5 years older than me to a tragic accident, and that same year I lost both my paternal grandparents. It was eye opening for me how fragile life is... When I was 23 and 6 months pregnant I lost my boss, and very dear friend, who was killed in a tragic car accident. As tribute, I named my son after him. Each time I lost someone in my life, I asked many of the same questions that you did above. Even viewed from the eyes of the first responders, one of them being my boss' wife, who worked in the hopsital where he was taken. It still bothers me, those unanswered questions... I still don't have the answers...

    The death of my boss when I was 23 was the one that really had me consumed for such a long time. Mostly beceause I was older and could start to rationalize that it could happen to anyone, at any time. And unfortunately is still happening. December alone with Chris and Deanna; the loss of a local Marine and then Connecticut. Someone close to me asked me why I was so wrapped up, when this didn't affect me personally. That made me sad that she didn't understand. It did affect me, because I have a teenager who had questions; sorrow; and compassion. It did affect me, because I was at the escort for the fallen Marine, and a part of the group (along with my daughter) that honored him and his family. It did affect me because I hurt for the parents of all those children... As a parent, how can you not have compassion and hurt for those who are hurting around you. In December 2012 alone 29 parents lost their children, and those are just the instances I know about...

    Sadly death is a part of life, but I know I would prefer that God chose those who don't want to be here. I prefer that God chose those who are sitting in jail for life, who caused so much pain. I would hope that God would spare someone who is so sick, instead of taking someone who was just beginning to live... But that's not fair either. Who am I to ask God to change his overall plan for each and every one of us? I chose over the years to find a way to focus my grief and stop torturing myself with a miriad of questions by simply deciding that it was God's will and plan to bring these people home. God needed them for greater reasons. It doesn't help all the time, but it calms my mind to these things I have no control over.

    I guess I went off on a tangent again...

    God bless

  8. This tragedy has forever changed me. Even though I didnt know Chris I feel like I know him now. I have a different outlook on my life. I have slowed down my crazy life, making more time to spend with my kids, and not getting aggravatted with everything little thing. I am enjoying life more and have more paitence than I ever did before. I look forward to reading your blog everyday. Its the first thing I do in the morning before I start my day. I think about Chris, Deanna, Matt & Bailey often and I pray for you and your family . I hope you continue to write for us who are inspired by you! I look forward to what tomorrow bring.

  9. I ask myself often what draws me to read your blog. I don't know you and I didn't have the pleasure of knowing your son. I'm not sure what it is but I do feel connected to you. I think about you every day and hope that you're doing OK. I thank you for sharing such a personal journey with us. The questions you ask are unfortunately questions that will probably never be answered. I guess that's something we all have to learn to accept. I can tell you that I've always been very aware that my family and I are blessed but since this tragedy I work harder to live a life of gratitude. Stay strong Regina, you are an amazing woman.

  10. Thank you for asking. You are an inspiring woman. There have been days for me when your blog is the only thing that made sense to me. I thank you again. You have touched many hearts. <3

  11. Regina,
    I cant believe how amazing you truly are. You have inspired so many. I had a family member die in a car asscident at 18..she got hit by a drunk driver..she too was a senior in HS..actually she went to Colonie.It was 1986, and her mom is still so sad..and hasnt been able to really talk about her too much. Even though she didnt know you and isnt from Clifton Park...she attended Chris's funeral ,.as a way to try and heal herself. After all these years..she is now actually doing so much better.And the reason is because of the way you have handeled yourself thru this tradgedy. You have shown so many that as horrific as this is...something positive must come from it. Awareness must happen, laws must be changed.
    I loved todays blog, you said it so many of us are grieving because all of us moms know that what happened could have happened to anyone. That even when you are driving and doing the right thing..bad things can happen. Bad things happen to good people. There are no guarantees.
    I know for me personally, and for my 3 girls who go to shen has caused us to all be a little kinder...a little more tolerant ...and also caused the hugs to be more often and a little longer.
    Your strenght and kindness inspires us all to be better people.
    im so sorry you have had to endure this..but i thank you for strenght..
    God bless you

  12. Regina ,
    You should be focusing on you and not worrying about others.we should be there to help you.i do hope something comes out of this tragic accident.that maybe laws will be changed for the have friends mow that you have never met but are there cheering and crying for you.i wanted to give you a hug so bad the night of the game but was afraid you would think I was some kind of wack job.

    I hope bailey and matt have become closer BC of this awful tragedy and stay the best of friends.friends are the most important thing.someone to lean on.and Regina you have that in all of us.god bless your family

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  14. This blog has given me so much awareness. There isn't a day that's gone by in six weeks that i don't think of you. This is what I wake up to, what I read with my morning coffee. When my mind wanders on my way to work it's to think of you. For the first time since the accident I traveled to Albany and back. I couldn't put it out of my mind. Recalling four children, carefree on their way to a basketball game. Traveling south, putting myself in their shoes. Traveling north I refused to open my eyes. I hoped and prayed with all my being that they didn't suffer. My sadness is never far from reach. We all have to keep moving. What you are doing here is truly therapeutic to those around you and I hope it is for you too. You have touched my life immeasurably. I wish for anything it wasn't because of that day. Thank you. Again.
    Please know that I am reading. Every.Single.Day.

  15. Regina,
    I sent your blog to one of those first responders on the scene I will not go into to too much detail, because he is a private person, but I do know it has affected him profoundly. He is a friend of mine and actually a well know name in the area and a teacher/coach. We just spoke Friday he asked how Bailey was doing. He shared quite a bit about the whole evening, I could tell he still struggles with what he had to deal with.

    I know he was hurting emotionally for a long time due to what he saw. He said there has been about 4 calls that have really weighed heavy on his mind,this accident being one of them.It was about 5 days after the accident that he didn't wake up crying. :-(

    It is just so thoughtful of you to reach out and care about how they are doing...but it does not surprise me, you definitely seem like one of those, how are people, more than a look at me people!

    God Bless,

  16. Regina truthfully I'm sad. Sad to see you and your family and all the others go through all this. Sad for Bailey and Matt. I worry if they will get through this. So much to deal with at such a young age. Sad for the loss of lives. Whole thing just stinks period. Sad to see someone with such a bad driving record still has been given a license to drive. Our system is bad and fails miserably. But on another side of this we are reminded of how fragile life is. To enjoy every second of every happiness that's given to us. To love hard and true and to not take life for granted its a gift. But a temporary one. So live life to the fullest and don't waste time. Treasure it!

  17. Dear Gina,
    Thank You for writing this and your concern for us, that is so admirable. I had a difficult time responding to how you are. I knew what I wanted to say, and I tried several times, but I just couldn't put the words together properly, so I trusted in that old saying " sometimes it's better to say nothing at all". You're absolutely right that this has affected layers of people, thousands of all age groups, and we hurt. And you're also right about all the questions that have no answers, and there's no handbook given to us that we can find them in, not even the Bible, but we keep our faith in the Lord for his decision, and learn to accept his decision, and carry on somehow, someway.
    I can only speak for myself, but know I'm among many based on the replies, that this tragedy has changed my life in many ways. My eyes are open wider to seeing the the things I've taken for granted for so long, I embrace them everyday now. I pray everyday, that's something I haven't done for a long long time, and it makes me feel good. This blog you ve shared, and your feelings, they are so powerful in what each one delivers. It's difficult to put in words, but for me they are something I long for to help me through another day, to appreciate everything a little more, to try and find the words that might help you get through another day. I guess that's how I'm doing.
    When I first learned of this accident, and came to terms with it, I tried to be as neutral as possible on its cause and the driver until all the reports were in. That being said, my outlook on it now has infuriated me. How is it possible this man was ever allowed to operate a vehicle again? The ugly truth, money bought his way out of it. The root to all evil, the way our system works, it's disgusting and disgraceful. My anger is present, and I apologize for that, but I will end this by saying that I pray the lawyers and judges who have defended and permitted this man the PRIVLEDGE to continue driving are aware of and perhaps reading this Blog. Was it worth it? Always In My Thoughts And Prayers, Love You, Eddie

  18. I believe this happened so we take a moment and cherish the people closest to us, be more aware of the decisions we make, be more aware of our surroundings and just be thankful for life. I think this tragedy taught some (hopefully many) people compassion and we should look out for one another.

    Through your blog I have learned to focus more on my family, give them more hugs and communicate with them more.

    thank you for everything you have given me. I hope someday I can return the favor.

  19. Regina, I give you so much credit for your strength.With all you have going on,you still find time to think about the many followers and supporters you have made since the beginning of this horrible tragedy. May we learn from you and get added support and strength as well as give it back to you as we all lack both in our lives. I know I get alot from you as i hope in some little way I help you too, and I THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT! Have A Great Day!