Sunday, March 3, 2013


The grieving process is a powerful one.  It's like a volatile stock market; highs and lows, ups and downs.  Picture a heavily traded commodity; can you see the graphic of a high peak and a plummet to a low valley?
I feel like that.  Sometimes I walk an even line, sometimes I'm way up and other times I need to be given a hand up from the floor.  I know this is all a part of grieving and coming to terms with the tragic loss of my son.
Grief is a pretty broad spectrum though.  It encompasses lots of emotions.  I thought I'd touch on feeling pain.
My pain has lots of sides, including physical, mental and emotional.  When Chris first passed I literally had a physical heart ache.  My chest felt bruised to the touch although there wasn't a mark on me.  It wasn't heart palpitations, it was sheer, true pain as if someone used my chest as a punching bag.  I would try to rub it gently to soothe the soreness but I could barely touch it.  I didn't realize until later what I was suffering from was, and still is, a broken heart.  The anguish hurt me physically.  It took weeks to subside.  It's still really tender but thankfully not so bad that I have to lie down like I used to.  It was terrible.

Pain is challenging, especially when it's unexpected.  It's like a brick wall that all of a sudden appears out of nowhere.  One minute things are fine, the next - this wall hits head on like a sledgehammer and everything starts hurting.  Mind, body, spirit; shattered.  My pain slowed me right down.  I don't even think I was crawling after being given the news of Chris' passing.  Time stopped but the pain roared in like that thick brick wall.

I didn't know how badly I hurt, I think going into shock helped ease my mind a bit because I couldn't even articulate how I felt.  I’ve never experienced it before.  Everything seemed to move slowly.  I know for certain my brain started comprehending that way.  I struggled to understand what everyone was saying.  My normal sharpness was gone.  I didn't have a good sense of what was being said or what was going on.
I hurt so profusely on the inside it caused me to stop and acknowledge it.  I had to face my fear I guess.  I've never been burdened with excruciating pain before.  It demanded I take notice and think about it.  Realizing I was in the midst of a trauma was one thing but what to do about it and how to handle it was something else.  I thought I'd jump right out of my skin it hurt so badly. Third degree burns would have been more welcomed.  At least I could see them and know I needed treatment.  The pain in my head and my heart were of a different nature, not anything some ointment would heal.

By paying attention and accepting I was in the midst of the most gut wrenching pain a parent can feel I think I helped myself along.  I know I took a breath and told myself to just let the feelings wash over me.  It wasn't like I had any control over them; they had invaded me like an unexpected flood.  There was nothing I could do but acknowledge they were upon me and I was helpless at that moment.

I did learn though that when I hurt I tend to pray a little louder.  My faith in God becomes more apparent and I seek him out to get me over the hurdles.  God is able to refocus my mind and calm me down.  I let him know when I can't carry the hurt and he hears me because I feel it.  He's got my back.  He eases my worries and makes me feel better and stronger.
Many of you have asked me how I do it.  How I go on after losing my son.  Some say they wouldn't be able to.  My response is; how do I not go on?  I'm still here.  God hasn't asked for me yet.  He asked for Christopher.  I really don't want to go on without Chris.  I prefer God leave him here longer.  I miss my son.  But how do I do it?  I must.  It's not a choice. I'm here and I will move on with each day the same as you will.  I have to do it as best I can and as happily as I can because God and Christopher want me to.  Because I have things to do still and I have Jeremy to raise.  I didn't have a choice in Christopher leaving but I do have a choice in how I opt to continue living.  
I'm still up and down like that stock market graphic but my dips and spikes are not as drastic.  I pray three more months from now they'll be even less frenzied and I’ll be even more stable in my understanding of what is going on and where I'm headed.  I hope you too have a grasp on the challenges in your life and that you're aware of your feelings - be it pain or anger or frustration.  Let it have its moment in your body but be cognizant it's not going to win out.  Be strong and steadfast in knowing you can get thru it.  You have no choice.  You need to continue living too.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Thank you - you have been such a blessing to me and to all who read your wonderful blog. May God keep you and may you feel Him holding your close when you need it.
    Denise Rossi

  2. Thinking and praying for you all the time Regina. Thank you for sharing something so personal with all of us.

  3. Hi Regina,
    I read your blogs every day. Some make me laugh, some make me cry. I also have a 18 year old senior and my heart just goes out to you on your family's loss. I think you are an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories.

  4. Thank you for your courage to share the most vulnerable of emotions. This deepens our understanding, empathy, and faith... And by expressing the unimaginable I hope that it helps you as well. Naming our worst thing can sometimes take the edge off of the power of the pain. May you continue to gently heal. And may we all help to catch you when you fall. You are right... you are meant to go on. Thank you for that.

  5. You are such an incredible women! Thank you for sharing. I live in Clifton Park....have followed this heartbreaking story from day one. Such a loss. I have no words.

  6. Regina,

    I hope you can access this link and download the audio file. It's really helpful guidance on dealing with grief, loss, pain. It's called the "fire of loss" from a wise woman Tara Brach. I lover her wisdom "love is embedded in grief" is one of the things she says. And there is an "allowance and openness to grieving" that is required. Try cut-and-paste in your browser if this link is not active.

  7. Regina- those less drastic spikes you feel as time goes by, that is the coming of peace in your heart. And I have been praying for it for you since day 1. God grants us his peace in his time. Keep the faith, as I see you are. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Regina...I am glad your spikes are not as drastic. I am happy you have your faith to help you as you heal. When my kids were all going to religious ed and then through the Confirmation program, they would always grumble about having to do so and why was I making them. My response was always the same, "because you are building the foundation of your faith and some day you may need to call upon it. If you do, you'll thank me."

    I am in awe if your grace and attitude. Thank you for sharing.
    hugs and peace

  9. Regina,

    Your ability to capture a feeling,emotion or even the pain you experienced and then use descriptive language to describe it perfectly is amazing. I can actually see, feel and hurt with you, because the talent you have to put an emotion into something concrete an image we can relate to. I truly believe with your talent you could actually succeed in describing what a color looks like to a person who has been blind their whole life.

    I am pleased that the peeks and valleys have lessened over the last 3 months. I pray for your healing everyday. I am glad that in your time of need you ran to God and did not turn your back on him like you very easlily could have. Remember if you are sad let that feeling wash over you and let it run its course, if you are angry yell,yell at God even,many a famous men have yelled at Him in the bible, he won't turn his back on you either, He understands! Please stay strong and if you have the valley moments please lean on those you love, who love you!

    Christopher and Jeremy are so blessed to have you as their mom. We are so blessed to have you as our blogger. Much love and peace to you today and always!

    God Bless, XO

  10. I highly recommend two books by Roger Rosenblatt on losing a child: "Making Toast" and "Kayak Morning." Although his daughter was the mother of three, her death was sudden and equally senseless. He knows of what you speak.

  11. You've hit home with me this morning. You probably know how much pain I've been going through and, like you said, I guess it's just something we need to work with. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. I started to think that I was crazy or that there was something wrong with me. Then I realized, maybe I'm just blessed. Maybe you are too. We are blessed with the opportunity to live more fully now that we've seen how fast life can go away. We are blessed with the knowledge and the proof that God will take us through our storms. Thank you for blogging about this today. Once again, you've helped me in ways that words cannot even describe. I hope that writing it out helped you too. I know things like that have helped me.

    PS: Yesterday I was making chocolate chip cookies and thought of you. I can't exactly explain why but I think I was thinking about how my brother was probably going to swoop in and eat all of them, then it went to "That sounds like something Chris might do," so I laughed and said hi to Chris to let him know I was thinking about him and his momma, then I thought, "If only I had Mrs. Stewart's address, I could drop some off." So yeah. That's what happened yesterday.

    Sending lots of love and prayers

    1. Hannah,
      I responded back to you on the social media page. It is ironic that I responded to that before I read Regina's blog today on pain. I guess I could cut and paste it here as it is so fitting. I attended church this morning with Brian and my family as I always do. My husband and I teach Sunday School to a sr. hi class 9-12 grade. Every first Sunday of the month we worship together in the sanctuary and I ask the youth to participate in different parts of the service. This morning the sermon was best summed up with this scripture from
      1 Corinthians 10: 13-15. "No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it." The message continued to speak of "life is so short" and "how are you going to choose to live it". I felt like Chris was sending us the message to live life the fullest, however you can, everyday and in everyway. Reach out for help if you need to. There is always someone there, even through prayer. And now I am finding people are reaching out to each other through this blog. I find this a source of strength.

      God Bless You Hannah,
      Mrs. Shellenback

  12. Regina,
    So well put. My friend who lost her 11 year old son exactly two months before Chris called me numerous times yesterday and I just had to listen and couldn't offer much advice. I wish I had answers. Her pain is so raw and so fresh in her mind as if it happened yesterday. She wishes she were taken that day. My answer to her is she must go on for her other children. Lane would want her to. Her other children need her. I cry on the other end of the phone, but as silent as I can so she can't hear me. I am hurting for her as I am hurting for you, Regina and hurting for all the families from the awful accident. My heart hurts. We all handle grief differently. Me...not so well. Obviously. Like you, Regina, my heart physically hurts. Hurts like you described as bruised. Four years after my dad's death I still feel that pain. I can't get it to go away. It is nothing in comparison to losing a child. Not even close. Regina, this is why you tug at our hearts. We all relate in some way to you as a mom and your feelings are so real. Your talent of relaying your thoughts are effortless. Thanks again for sharing your feelings and allowing us into your life.

  13. Regina,
    You are always on my mind, always in my heart and always in my prayers.

  14. Regina,
    My heart is with you. Todays blog really hit home. I got thinking about my mom. How did she and how does she do it. Losing.b my stepdad and the love of her life 7 years ago. She is unable to work because she has been disabled since 1984 when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She sits home all day everyday alone unless I stop by or call her which I do at least twice a day ( call her). She amazes me with all her health problems and times that she tells me that she wishes God would take her she still finds the strength to carry on. I just want to thank you. My thoughts are with you everyday. God bless

  15. Regina, your blog today ripped at my heart. As with anyone with an ounce of compassion, my heart ached for you, and for the past 3 months and for the highs and lows you obviously go through on a daily basis.

    As one who holds so emotionally tightly to my children, I cannot begin to imagine the physical pain. I started getting nervous about her going to college and she's only a junior! I can only explain how I felt when my son was hurt, or when my daughter was suffering emotional detachment from me when court ordered to visit a person she didn't like. I know those feelings like they were yesterday and can relate to that physical pain, the not being able to breath, but yet, kept moving... Almost moving too much because when forced to slow down I couldn't get out of my own head.

    I hold you and your feelings in utmost regard as I'm inspired by your strength and your honesty. The fact that you can sit and write this out and share it with so many shows your strength and your "grasp" that you have taken a hold of. I know Chris is right there by your side helping you through this. I believe I can understand the connection you two had and I have to believe he is helping you.

    I had a long conversation with a friend yesterday in Virginia who is helping her daughter work through the loss of a classmate due to a 1 car accident. We had a long "identical" conversation that mirrored your social media blog and the fact that the sister of the boy who passed found out on twitter. She was traveling abroad for school and due to phone issues, her parents couldn't get in touch with her and twitter got to her first...

    I did also want to share with you a scare I had. As we left Erie, PA yesterday my mom headed to Pittsburgh and I headed home with Ally to NY. I battled snow the whole way home and didn't like it one bit. I spoke to my Mom an hour into our trips home and she called me to check on us and told me she was an hour from home. That was the last I spoke to her. She never called me to tell me she got home and I started to get nervous. I called her a total of 26 times on her cell phone and probably an equal number on her home phone and got nothing. I really started to panic around midnight. She was driving home alone on a highway and my mind started messing with me. She is okay I will tell you that, but I didn't hear from her until 7:40 a.m. this morning. She is actually mad I panicked as I did. But the part that I needed to tell you is that when I woke up for the 12th time around 7:30 this morning, and tried to call her, my phone battery was at 69%. I had taken it off the charger to have it next to me to try every time I woke back up again with a start. At the 69% mark I was crying and said "Christopher if you are listening to me, please find her, if she is okay and make her call me!" Not 3 minutes later she called me. I burst into tears and had a long talk with her about being more aware of her actions (like I'm the MOM) and we had a nice talk. My mom is a very independent woman and doesn't like to be told what to do, but closing in on 70 years old, and living alone, I told her she needs to be aware that living alone has it's disadvantages when I cannot get in touch with her. I reminded her at 4:27 PM yesterday she told me she was an hour from home and promised to call me when she got home and she never did!

    So I have to thank Chris for intervening because when I looked down at my battery and it being 69% I begged him for his help. I have to believe, even though he never knew me, I finally got in touch with my Mom! He's still holding true and I thought you needed to know that. So for that, I thank you.

    God bless...

    1. Justine, I so bet Chris did. He seems like a kid that would go out and help anybody in any way he could. I ask him for favors like that sometimes too. When I was taking off for my college visits, it was windy and gusty and it felt like the plane was going to fly off of the runway. I asked Chris and my Nana with their angel wings to pick us up and take us safely away.

      Miracles happen.

      God bless you, too, Justine.

  16. Regina
    I cannot comprehend your pain. Losing a child is the most horrible thing a person can go through. After my 21 yr old Uncle was killed by a drunk driver my nana was never the same.. she wouldn't stay in the house she didn't want to go on.. they had to move.. Then when I was 17 my 17 yr old cousin died in a freak accident, by then my nana had died so thankfully she didn't have to go through losing her grandson too. But my Aunt had a completely different view than my nana did.. She believe that God took Scot for a reason, that he needed him more than she did.. I worried so much when I had my children because my Nana lost her son, my Aunt lost a son, my cousin lost their daughter.. so much pain.. Even though I lived through all that pain, I haven't a clue what pain you are feeling.. the fact that you share that with us every day is amazing. I look forward to reading your blogs..
    Thank you for sharing

  17. Regina,
    You know im NEVER at a loss for words...but this blog today has left me struggling for the words to say to you.
    .the heart wrenching pain you something that as a mom, it makes total sense to me. you are putting into words what I , along with 1000's of others have been thinking these past 3 months..which is "how in Gods name can a parent get thru this HORRIFIC tradgedy" many people that are your friends,...neighbors...strangers...are worried how you will walk thru this nightmare. After reading what you wrote, it is clear that you are doing what you need to do each day..each hour to get thru this to the best of your ability. You are focused on Jeremy...and have showed all of us what faith is. As i told you before, my sister in law died at 18 in a car accident by a drunk driver. so for the last 23 years I have seen what this has done to my inlaws and my kids dad.I have also lived with the fear of this since I had my 3 daughters...who are now teeenagers.. It is heart is a pain that is unlike any other. to loose a child at ANY age is loose a child the prime of his an idotic reckless just WRONG! You have shown all of us, that as bad as this are going thru horrific process ..walking thru the step at a time. You often say you wonder what to say when people ask how you are strong... Dont wonder anymore...after reading todays blog.. everyone knows FOR SURE that you are one of the strongest, kindest ..most appreciative person I know. And I have been forever changed by what happened on December 1st to you,Jeremy, Mike.. the Rivers, The Hardys (Matt who i have known since kindergarten ..and close friends with my daughter) The Winds..and your Sweet Bailey. I will NEVER FORGET. God Bless you...

  18. Regina...
    When i just went to publish the above response...the number that came up in the wierd thing we need to enter certain numbers and letter..
    Heres what came up
    69 CRO12

  19. Hi Regina,

    I don't know where you come up with the words to describe so eloquently and descriptively, what you feel. My words would be a jumbled mess that no one else could understand. It's almost like I can somewhat picture the emotions you describe so well. . So raw and personal. It makes me just want to give you a big hug and wish the pain away.
    I understand when you say what choice do you have but to go on?! Your drive to go on is almost like you have a mission to accomplish. I know that mission is for Chris's life to not have been in vain. It wasn't. He continues to live on in many hearts and now even in the hearts of those that didn't know him. I think you have good things ahead that you still want and need to do.. We'll be right there supporting and learning from you and from Chris. I'm excited to see what lies ahead for you in honor of your son. When you feel the support and love from this community... Please pass it on to your husband and son Jeremy as well.. I know this is your blog and you like to keep your family separate and not speak for them... I just want you and them to know thoughts are with them also...

  20. Thanks Regina. We are glad to hear Chris is still "teasing" you!