Sunday, February 10, 2013

Around town

Last Thursday afternoon I quickly stopped at Panera Bread for soup (of course) before I headed to the WMHT studios to tape the Health Link segment with Benita Zahn.  I didn't know it at the time but one of the employees recognized me.  She did not reveal she knew who I was until later when she posted me a note on the RIP Chris Stewart Facebook page.

First of all let me say to you from one mom to another, I'm so deeply sorry for your loss.  It doesn't matter what the age, a child who passes in an untimely manner is devastating.   Miscarriage, stillborn, two weeks, two years, seventeen years... I don't think any age is easier than another.  We love deeply and with all we have and the pain sits on the surface of our emotions regardless.  Grief is so hard to maneuver.
What I also want to anyone who sees me and wants to approach but is at a loss for words is; do what you feel is right for you in the moment.  If you want to stop me and just say "I'm aware of who you are" then fine, do that.  If you feel you'd like to say more, do that too but if you don't feel comfortable speaking to me than just do me one quick favor... acknowledge to yourself that you know who I am and say a quick hello to Christopher.  
Let him know you see me and that I look OK and I'm doing fine.  It would make my day and be a really nice gesture even if I never know you did it.  There's something about it that makes me feel like it eases Christopher's worry.  
Sometimes I think he's up there worrying about me.  Don't get home and regret that you were afraid to speak to me.  Life is too short for regrets and anyway, I'm just another mother. I'm a member of this community, same as you.  I just happen to have had something quite public occur in my life and my face is now recognizable.  I'm very approachable.  You won’t be reminding me of anything I'm not already acutely aware of.  I do realize my son has passed away.  And turn the tables for a sec, do you consider yourself approachable?  Would you be bothered or annoyed or put off if someone said hello to you?  I'm no different.  
We all live here together.  We shop in the same places from time to time and eat in the same restaurants.  I would think the only time I would prefer to be left alone is when I'm with my family and actually in the midst of a meal.  That might be a bad time to chat; other than that I can't really think of a time that a quick hello would ever be an issue.
This blog has really been a godsend to me.  Not because I get to talk about Chris and Jeremy and SHEN and my childhood (which I have to admit I love to do) but because I have met many of you now and we actually have virtual relationships!  I even met a few of you out and about.  One of my readers had a brother who passed away and she could not find a Chinese lantern anywhere to light with her children on his one year anniversary.  We made arrangements to meet and I gave her a red one (his favorite color).  I need to check back in with her to see how her night went.  I also chat with another woman who is going through two incredibly trying times these days.  The two of us will be meeting shortly for a hug and a coffee.  I can't wait.  She says I inspire her but she is the strong one!!!
I'm writing early because I'm on my way out to the Shen/Shaker basketball game.  It's a fundraiser for the exorbitant medical expenses Matt and Bailey face on a weekly basis.  
My heart just breaks for them and for the pain and suffering they endure.   Not only did they lose their friends, they've been physically beat up and are recovering.  It may seem like every time you turn around there's another fundraiser and you're probably right but you would never be able to wrap your head around the size of the bills.  I'm sure you know what your own insurance charges for the simplest of procedures... magnify that.  
Thank God we have such an incredibly giving 518 and beyond.  These fundraiser gatherings are helpful in so many ways.  Thank you for giving and for participating!  It's helpful beyond anything I can explain.

Thank you for reading.


  1. I look for you often... and I can promise you this - I am perfectly comfortable with giving you a HUGE HUG. I send so much love to you every day and hope that we one day meet!

    I am missing another event this morning due to track meet (sectionals). But I wonder if we could get a community thermometer/yard-stick going (maybe online?) to see when we are approaching the goal of full payment for these medical bills. I cannot help but be angry that we live in a country that has such a health-care system that these families are stuck like this. But OK, willing to channel that anger into doing good. I know we all want to make it right. Seeing the goal, and maybe even surpassing it, would be an energizing thing. Some families might not want the shared financials... but it would sure help the cause!

  2. Hi Regina!
    I live in Greene Co. But shop primarily in Albany, Colonie, Latham....I'm always secretly looking for you. I'm so afraid of passing you out somewhere in which I would like to say a few things. I just don't think I need to post it on the Blog for everyone.

    Always have my eyes glued...and always on my mind. It's nice to think of someone and check back to see how they are doing (like the Blog).

    I don't comment all the time. I do have lots to say but I don't want what I say sound like everyone else's posts. Please do know, never far from my heart and mind.

    With love
    Lela. Xo

  3. If I do see you out somewhere I would love to give you a big hug. We have met in the past but it's has been many years since I have seen you. I hope you have a wonderful time at the game. I hope lots of money is raised I work in the medical field and know how expensive costs can be. Thank you and God bless.

  4. You are so kind and wonderful.. I hope I do have the privilege of meeting you someday. Chris is with you every day and always XO he knows you're okay.

  5. Regina,
    Gregory Maguire,(author of "Wicked" & other great books), posted this poem by Louise Gluck on his FB wall. It reminded me of you. Small, frail, yet strong and determined to make the best with what life has given you. We watch you, like we would watch the small bird in this poem, amazed at your persistence and endurance, and by watching you, we believe that there is hope for all, and that "Spring" will come. Thanks for letting us watch, and helping us believe.


    A bird was making its nest.
    In the dream, I watched it closely:
    in my life, I was trying to be
    a witness not a theorist.

    The place you begin doesn't determine
    the place you end: the bird

    took what it found in the yard,
    its base materials, nervously
    scanning the bare yard in early spring;
    in debris by the south wall pushing
    a few twigs with its beak.

    of loneliness: the small creature
    coming up with nothing. Then
    dry twigs. Carrying, one by one,
    the twigs to the hideout.
    Which is all it was then.

    It took what there was:
    the available material. Spirit
    wasn't enough.

    And then it wove like the first Penelope
    but toward a different end.
    How did it weave? It weaved,
    carefully but hopelessly, the few twigs
    with any suppleness, any flexibility,
    choosing these over the brittle, the recalcitrant.

    Early spring, late desolation.
    The bird circled the bare yard making
    efforts to survive
    on what remained to it.

    It had its task:
    to imagine the future. Steadily flying around,
    patiently bearing small twigs to the solitude
    of the exposed tree in the steady coldness
    of the outside world.

    I had nothing to build with.
    It was winter: I couldn't imagine
    anything but the past. I couldn't even
    imagine the past, if it came to that.

    And I didn't know how I came here.
    Everyone else much farther along.
    I was back at the beginning
    at a time in life we can't remember beginnings.

    The bird
    collected twigs in the apple tree, relating
    each addition to existing mass.
    But when was there suddenly mass?

    It took what it found after the others
    were finished.
    The same materials--why should it matter
    to be finished last? The same materials, the same
    limited good. Brown twigs,
    broken and fallen. And in one,
    a length of yellow wool.

    Then it was spring and I was inexplicably happy.
    I knew where I was: on Broadway with my bag of groceries.
    Spring fruit in the stores: first
    cherries at Formaggio. Forsythia

    First I was at peace.
    Then I was contented, satisfied.
    And then flashes of joy.
    And the season changed--for all of us,
    of course.

    And as I peered out my mind grew sharper.
    And I remember accurately
    the sequence of my responses,
    my eyes fixing on each thing
    from the shelter of the hidden self:

    first, I love it.
    Then, I can use it.

  6. You are so loved and so cared for by all of us. We will always do everything we can to help.


  7. Regina - I cannot believe you wrote this blog before the Shen/Shaker game and this is the event, I chose to introduce myself to you. I struggled with wondering when/if I should walk up to you and introduce myself or not. I did go to the Zumbathon at Shen but I guess just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to walk up to you.

    Had I read this blog first, I would have felt like I had your permission to introduce myself, but instead, I mustered up the courage to walk up and talk to you, give you the hug (which until last night I was only able to do emotionally) and to tell you, to your face, that you and your family are in my prayers. I don’t even remember most of what we talked about, but I know you “sort of” met my daughter as well. She wanted to hug you also, but couldn’t get through and then when we were leaving you were busy. Maybe another time. But she was happy to meet you. She even said you were pretty! I agreed, and I thought you would like to hear that.

    Being able to talk to you, without the computer screen was important. I even got to pick on you about your soup and toast while your friend was urging you to eat your Swedish fish. I thought that was funny and that you defended your soup and toast. It was nice to see you. I even saw my face in one of the pictures in today’s blog. I had no idea anyone was taking pictures behind us at the game when I was talking to you. I did notice a man sitting next to you with a camera later, and wondered if he is the man that takes some of the pictures for your blog, the “now” pictures.

    It was also nice to watch the two schools, live, play against each other and be able to cheer for Zack and the other Shaker guys. We personally know 2 boys on the Varsity Team and 1 girl on the Varsity team and I’ve been trying to get Ally to go to the games for years. Last night, while we were skating at Guptils after the game she said to me, “the games are fun, we should go to more of them!” Kids… She was honored to sing the National Anthem at last night’s game. But we would have been there regardless.

    I enjoyed meeting your brother-in-law and having the time to hug Bailey again. We knew her family years ago, but it’s nice to be able to talk to her parents again and give them hugs and let them know we are there for them, if they need anything. I even got to meet Matt Hardy and his mom today at the pancake breakfast, and give them both hugs and talk to them. It was an emotional weekend. The faces and names I have come to know over the last 2 months, and prayed so diligently for, I was able to hug and pay my respects. I was even able to smile with each of you, and that was such a surreal feeling. I was glad to be able to say we could go to both of these events to help comfort, show support and maybe even help in some small way.

    Witnessing you at the game, hugging the players and the other families there, witnessing you talking amongst those around you, and reading what you write in your blog, Joel Olsteen’s quote sums you up perfectly, since you tend to frequently infer that you are ordinary. To that, I mirror what he says: “God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.” Chris is witnessing your strength and poise and is certainly with you. I did notice the cross you were wearing and wanted to comment on how beautiful it is. I believe it is Chris’ and I love that you wear it. I got a tug on my heart when I saw the cross. I’m sure he is prouder than proud that you are wearing it, carrying a piece of his heart and strength with you every day. I feel blessed to have met you and while, I don’t look for you in stores or shopping centers, I will be sure to keep my eye out for you at any upcoming fundraising events. You are, today, and the days ahead, in my thoughts and prayers.

    God bless...

  8. Hi Regina,
    I just wanted to thank you for being at the Breakfast on Sunday. You continue to amaze me with your kindness & grace you show to each person you meet.You spoke to so many on Sunday.. You must be so exhausted going to every event, talking to so many people..yet we would never know it.
    I cant imagine what that support means to Matt & Bailey. Those 2 wonderful kids have such a long road ahead of them..and with you in there corner, it must make this a little more bearable,
    You are a pillar of strength to this community. The lessons learned by watching you, will last a very long time.!
    God Bless you,

  9. My family and I were all set to go the the game. got our tix in advance, then Nemo came small and uneventful and postponed our Friday family night out. Saturday both of my boys had basketball games and by the time we got home we were exhausted, so we did not make it to the game. I was only slightly upset because the moment we decided we weren't going to make the game my body relaxed. I think I was anxious about being in the same space as you and now I could put it off until another day. and now here is this blog that answers my questions on how I should react when I meet you, which I hope is someday soon.