Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I've been thinking about the meaning of 100%. You know, one hundred means all, the whole, everything.

In Christopher's life, seventeen equaled 100%.  My dad? Forty-seven equaled 100%.  My great Aunt Theresa?  One hundred one equaled 100%.  Why is that?  How come people die at all ages?

When I thought about having a family and raising children it never dawned on me that seventeen would be my son's 100% complete life.  What percent does that equal out to yearly? How much of his life was spent daily?  Yes, I know there's a mathematical equation for this.  My question is more hypothetical.  My mind can't do the math nor do I really want to.  I'm just thinking out loud.

I never got pregnant with such thoughts in my mind.  I feel blindsided in knowing the life I had planned for my son will never come to be.  He will have no children.  I will have no grandchildren from him.  Now I will only wonder what they would have looked like, what their names would be and what their personalities would be like.  This is tragically unfair.
Christopher's 100% has thrown me for a loop.  It's not the 100% I was hoping for or expecting.  Who would ever expect a child's 100% to be complete before high school ends?  I've been thrown an enormous curve ball.  I was planning forward toward college for him, a career, marriage, children and old age... I expected Chris would repeat the same process I'm going thru.  Why wouldn't I? I want it for both my boys.  I can "want" all I want, it's not happening.

I'm trying to make sense of it when I totally object.  It's way out of line with everything I ever hoped for and looked forward to.  I'm dragging my feet on accepting it, I know this but I'm trying to reason it out with myself and God.  I will continue moving forward but I do hesitate and stumble.  My future plans for Christopher have been halted.  I need to embrace that his 100% is complete in the eyes of God and he has done all he was supposed to do.  The trouble is, I want more.  I'm not done with his 100% even though God is telling me so.  I believe God asks me to pick things up for Chris now.  I'm listening.  I hear you.

I wonder what my 100% is?  Will I grow to be eighty-seven like my mom?  Or one hundred one like my Aunt?

I also got to thinking about the quality of Christopher's 100%... as well as mine... and yours.  Have we done the best we can?  Is there room for improvement in making each day count?  Have we learned something new each day or shared one of our skills with someone else?  Maybe even just acted as a listener instead of being the talker?
Since Chris passed at seventeen years, eleven months then that's approximately 6,540 days.  I wonder if he felt they were good quality days?  Did he make the most of them? What would he have done differently if he knew seventeen was his 100%?
It gets me to thinking about the preciousness of life.  The meaning of not taking things for granted has struck me in a new and profound way.  Yes, we've all heard the words over and over from a multitude of people but they make so much sense!  How do any of us know when it's our 100% or that of someone we love?  Only God knows this.

Chris' 100% was sudden.  Others 100% is expected, either because of old age or because of a slow progressing, fatal illness.  Some peoples passing is easier to accept because there's some warning to it.  A chance to digest it over time even if we object and plead and deny it.

I'm going to make a conscious effort to make my days more productive.  I have no idea exactly what I'll do but it will be something positive, even if it's just a small gesture.  I have a refreshed sense of realizing that tomorrow is not guaranteed.  I know I can do better.  I wont beat myself up over not doing more in the past, I'll just focus forward and be a better me now.  Chris would like that and I can see God is teaching me a lesson which I'm hearing and learning. I'd like to feel good about my 100% when the time comes.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Wow, that was very powerful-a different tempo for you! I am privilaged to know you and Chris through this. I have one daughter and she is 12. Thanks for helping me to appreciate every day that much more.

  2. Good Morning Regina!

    I feel your pain and confusion but also your faith , hope , and love. I cannot get over how relevant all of your blogs are and I thank God that you, with his help, are helping not only yourself through this tragic time but others. Your clarity amazes me! Perhaps most of us who follow you have not experienced your pain and hurt but I think all of us can put ourselves to the questions you bring to the forefront.

    Have we lived our 100%? I have not but I try everyday to find the positive in life and the good in all. I think as we get older we do start to believe and accept that each and every day is a gift. It is one more day on this earth to do something, anything that allows our life to have meant something. Getting to know Chris has been a pleasure. It seems your son truly did live his 100% each and every day. Everything you have told us about Chris proves what a character in life he was and what a good soul. Now he has everlasting life and will comfort you from above. I am pretty sure you can feel his arms wrap around you. I know if I try I can feel my father's wrap around me.

    I am sure Chris is so proud of all that you have accomplished in such a short time and you Regina should be proud of the son you raised and of the person you are and are emerging to be. May God Bless You and continue to enable your goodness to shine through!

  3. 100% means being the most YOU! Chris was 100% Chris. You are 100% YOU. It does not mean DO MORE, be more productive, strive more. Perhaps it even means strive less and flow more.

    One of my favorite Homily's from Fr. Butler is the one when he talks about how we "show up" at "Heaven's Gate"... (first a deep contextual reminder that Heaven is here and now and the gate is a metaphor for our openness of heart to accept the infinity which is God into our lives). So here is how we show up... It's in one of two ways:
    1) We show up holding all of the "stuff" we have done right in our life... with pride we show God all of the accumulated good will and good deeds. We come with arms full and show and count the ways and say "Here God is all 100,000 good things I have done in my life." And God says... "Yup... and you forgot about all these other million good things you also did. Now put it down and give me a HUG!"
    2) We show up with all the "bad stuff" full of remorse and begging for forgiveness... how we wish to be better and we beg to be worthy. "Here are the 100,000 bad things I did in my life." And God says "Yup and you forgot about these other hurtful things you did as well. NOW... PUT IT DOWN AND GIVE ME A HUG!"

    Regina I believe God wants us, as children, to live in the joy of this world while we are here. To be aware of the gift of physical life and therefore to live it fully each day. Chris embodied that! Deanna embodied that! They lived their 100%... and so must we.

    Be alive. Notice life ...as you do. And share ...as you do. And continue to be open to receive from us. Through the joy... Through the pain...

    We love you. Put it down and give us a hug!

  4. That was amazing and inspirational. I know that I have said this before but your words... thoughts and insights motivate me and I am sure motivate and inspire others ...

  5. This is by far the most amazing post so far. I think about this everyday since the accident, since Nana died, since my best friend died. I think about it now more, however, because I see that 100% can happen at my age. I never thought about it that way, that all of a sudden, it could be over. However, I have faith that it is only when the value of our life is at 100% that the length of our life will be at 100%. We won't go before we are meant to. Who knows what it was that Chris and Deanna accomplished that made their lives whole. We could guess forever. Our God is a good God though, and he will not take people without reason.

    Just as you have pain thinking about the future, I have pain in that too. I wonder about Chris and Deanna all the time even though I didn't know them. Moreso, I wonder about my Nana. She told me she would pick out my wedding dress with me. She promised me and told me all these things about the future, but after one day of gardening in her garden, she hit 100%. I wonder if something she did that day put her to 100% her capacity. I think it did. I wonder if that's what happened to Chris and Deanna. Probably.

    I struggle with faith lately. I struggle with the idea that there was a plan for all of this, a plan for my pain, a plan for the pain of those around me. The "Why's" seem overwhelming. "How" and "When" are other big ones. Someday, I hope I figure it out. If anybody else does, please share. It doesn't seem fair at all that good people die. It's even scarier to me that my 100% could have been that night. How easily my friends and I could hit out 100%s together. But maybe if you're not meant to you won't? Now I'm just confusing myself. I just want answers.

    Mrs. Stewart, I'm sorry this post probably was incoherent and no help. Sometimes, I'm confused. Scratch that. I'm very confused lately.

    Love to all.

  6. Oh and one of those t-shirts? I'd buy.

  7. I read this post first thing in the morning but didn't respond right away but I wanted to sit with it a little while. This is a big one. This hits me hard because I am actively involved with Aces For Adam on Facebook, a page I started to support my friends and neighbors. Adam is 4 and battling stage 4 neuroblastoma and it's just awful. I have faith and hope that he will make it through and I do everything I can daily to help them. It's unfathomable to me that 4 or 5 years could be his 100%. I don't know you personally but I feel like I do, and so I have moments when it is unfathomable to me that Chris and Deanna's 100% was 17 years. Whether it's slow to come or sudden and unexpected, a short life doesn't feel like 100%.

    Then I go back to my basic faith. I believe in the life everlasting, and so 4 years, 17 years, 47 years, 100...they are all just miniscule fractions of the real 100%. On the darkest days, that feels like a small consolation, but it carries me on in the long run.

    I came across this quote when planning a post on Aces for Adam just now:
    "The important thing is not how many years in your life but how much life in your years." ~Edward J. Stieglitz

    It seems to me, Chris lived his 100% every day he had. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Hi Regina,

    I gave this post a lot of thought today.. I've mulled it over thru out the day..
    I always say that I'm a work in progress.. Most of the time I have the best of intentions and hopes.. And yes I do fall short of these expectations quite a bit. No one is harder on myself than me. I always want to do more! Volunteer more, give more, listen more, etc..
    I do know that I try hard and sometimes I just have to accept that. If I give my all and don't do anyone harm.. Sometimes that just had to be enough for the day..
    As long as I love , give and be present in the moment with the best of intentions.. And chip away the bucket list .. With God's grace.. Tomorrow is another day.

  9. Today's post reminded me of this:


    Thanks for writing....

    1. WOW....that was a very powerful read! Thanks for sharing the link Ruth!

  10. this was a very inspiring post. I will be thinking and reflecting on this for days. Thank you for giving me something to think about. Am I living 100%? Is my family living 100%? If something should happen to any of us would we be happy with how life was? content? ok? full of regrets? are we living the best life possible? Lots to think about. and thanks to you I will be changing my life and my family's.

  11. My mind and my heart were struggling with a response to you today Regina. I read your blog at 6:30 this morning and I have been struggling and writing, and re-writing since.

    How can I possibly respond to the fact that Chris’ 100% was completed in the eyes of God and that he did all he was supposed to do by age 17 and 11 months? Especially when I read your struggles that you weren’t done experiencing his 100%. What mother would be? I try to put myself in your position and it reduces me to tears every time. As I continue to try to respond to this, I’m again reduced to tears and a complete lack of what to say. I cannot tell you the things I’ve deleted…

    Like you said, he had college; marriage; children, all ahead of him. That is the normal progression. In the normal course of raising our children, how can we comprehend 100% could be accomplished before all that? I guess that’s why we have prayer! I know I pray for a full life for my children. Before I prayed for a life long enough to get my kids to be self-sufficient, and now the prayers are changing. There are no answers. Just the common responses that are embedded in my brain… that you’ve heard or already said.

    I have come to believe that we die exactly when we are ‘supposed’ to. I grew up learning that God had our birth and death pre-set and that God made us for a reason. I “chose” to believe that because anything else would drive me insane. Possibly I chose it to “simplify” the answers to these hard questions, because there truly are no answers, especially when we are hurting.

    God planned the days of our life in advance, choosing the exact time of our birth and death. The Bible says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" [Psalm 139:16]

    Faith is about trusting God even when we don’t understand His plan. What choice do we really have? Trusting in God’s plan is all I know. Trusting in God’s plan has helped me through some pretty tough times. I learned a few times in my life to surrender to God’s will and just not fight what was happening. It didn’t make it any less sad, or easier, but letting go of the struggle made the days less hard.

    I guess all I can say is that what we get out of each day depends on what we put in. And that is entirely up to us. Chris sure seemed to live life to the fullest and I’m sure, had he known 17 years and 11 months would be his 100%, I cannot imagine he would have done anything differently. Out of everything I have learned about his tender years, he knew how to love, show love and give and receive love and do it with a zest for life! How many 17 year olds can say that? I guess there is a reason we don’t know when our time will come. I can’t imagine knowing a date and time and how I would function given that timing.

    It’s our challenge to live our life to 100% and since all we know we have is that which is right in front of us, we must live each moment to the fullest. I learned when my son got hurt, to live life to the fullest and I believe I have accomplished that. I don’t question what God has planned for me, or any of my loved ones, but I truly hope that when that time comes for any of us, like you, that I will feel good about the way I lived my life.

    As I end this I want to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry you are faced with all these questions and all the things you are struggling with because you had no warning and had your life changed instantly. I hope all the responses you are getting help you in some small way. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up over not doing more in the past, focusing forward is the only route… you are doing amazing and you are amazing.

  12. Regina,

    You gave us all something to really think about today. I've never thought about it in the terms of 100%. I have often wondered why some die as small children and others live to the ripe old age of 100. Why do some suffer a terrible illness and others are gone in an instant? But then I am brought back to my upbringing and the teachings of "ours is not to wonder why and God has a plan for all of us" even though I never think it's fair when it is a young person! I always try to enjoy each day of my life and have tried to teach my children that. I learned at a young age, you just never know what life has in store for you. As I have mentioned before, I was 24 when my dad died of a heart attack 16 days before my wedding...69 was his 100%

    One of my favorite quotes: Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...it's learning to dance in the rain.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs and peace.

  13. Wow. What an inspirational blog. It does really make you think. If I can take away one big thing and you hear it all the time but you have put it in a very beautiful and moving way. Live every day as if it were your last and do not take life for granted. Thank you again for your inspirational words and feelings. God bless you each and every day.

  14. What a powerful blog. I have thought about this since I read it yesterday. Never thought about life in this way. I went running yesterday after I read this and was my mind focus. Thanks for sharing.
    I would like one of these shirts. We have some of the others already, but I really want this one. Where can I get it? In fact I want two.
    Prayers Always

  15. What a great blog. I have to tell you I have started to give 100% and look at life in a different view since the accident. I faithfully read your blog everyday and some days I dont comment but its the first thing I do everyday when I wake up. I was sick the last few days and unable to do anything and all I could do was think about your blog. Thank you for helping all of us see how precious life is and to embrace each moment. I think your doing a great job ! I love that shirt and I would like one. Where can I buy one?
    Thank you!

  16. Powerful, and inspiring. Thank you.

  17. I have been reading all of your blogs, but this is the first time responding. This post really struck a chord with me and got me thinking about things. I lost my Mom almost 4 years ago. I know losing a parent is not the same as losing a child; I've realized this more since having my own child 2 years ago...I would do anything for him! This post got me wondering if I was living my life and raising my son in a way that would make my Mom proud and happy about. My Mom was the best and my son will never meet his Uma. It's not fair that he won't experience the same memories that my nephews got the chance to with my Mom. But I talk to him about her and show him pictures of her all the time. I know that my Mom has been with me through every step of the way and will always be there for me...even if it isn't the way that I want or need. I guess I just wanted to say Thank You...thank you for being so strong and inspirational; thank you for helping me see that it is OK to feel and think some of the things that I do; and most importantly thank you for letting me read this! Chris would be so happy and so proud!