Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Yes, it's me, sorry I haven't blogged in a while.  I was fortunate enough this past week to take an unexpected trip to California and accompany Bailey to the set of the television taping of "Splash."  

If you've never heard of it, this is its first season on American TV and it spotlights a cast of celebrities who learn how to dive (even off the four story,10 meter, platform) and they are judged on their performance and technique with one celebrity being eliminated each week.
Through the power of social media and persistence by a friend of the Wind family, we were offered entry tickets to the taping of the season finale.  This was very exciting to hear! It was unexpected but very welcomed news because, Olympic diver, Greg Louganis happens to be one of Bailey's idols and he also coaches the celebrity divers!  It seemed perfect news to hear because Bailey is struggling to get back on the board and we all know she has tremendous promise and talent to share with us. She needs that one karate chop to get her confidence back in gear.

Personally, I felt that if we could get Bailey in front of Greg he might be the inspiration needed to re-motivate her.  Little did I know about all the people we were going to meet.  I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful trip full of kind, caring individuals.  Let me share some of the incredible moments...
The day before the show was taped we were invited by Greg to spend the day at the practice pool with the celebrities as they each trained with a personal diving coach.  How would we have ever known that three past Olympic diving coaches were on sight all day! Bailey had the opportunity to talk with them, seek advice, learn some motivational visual techniques and assist them as they worked with the celebrities.  All three know Baileys future coach, Dave Parrington, in Tennessee. Seems the diving world is a small one at this elite stage.
Bailey also got to meet most all of the celebrities and they shared with her how they overcame their fears about getting on the diving boards and platforms to perform their dives. As most all of us can agree, there's no way we would ever consider diving from four stories up.  We would need to be pushed probably - if we even ever agreed to climb the stairs!!! These celebrities have never taken a real dive in their lives and really worked hard trying their best.  They practiced on trampolines and with harnesses around their waists to learn the skills.  All I did was sit by the poolside watching with Bailey's mom and her Aunt Donielle yet looking up at the 10 meter platform was beyond intimidating.  I had a pit in my stomach each time someone stood at the top and that was before they even dove or jumped!
I can say, whole heartedly, the day spent at the practice pool was among the most promising days I've experienced since Chris passed.  My personal goal for this trip was not in meeting celebrities, it was gleaning as much time and advice from those who could motivate Bailey to stay on course with her diving career and college plans at the U of TN.   That is something I, unfortunately, cannot help her with.  All I can do is remind her she CAN do it and Chris wants her to stay on track!!  I KNOW he wants to watch her from above as she excels and nails this sport.  For me, I take satisfaction in knowing I have done my best to do what I can for Bailey but the frustration comes in knowing I have to work within the boundaries of things I can control.  I cannot bring her boyfriend Chris back.  I cannot bring her best friend Deanna back.  I CAN reach out to anyone and everyone within my grasp to ask for help.  Together we are a powerhouse.  I know this because I have experienced it.  Every one of you has given me virtual hugs and words of wisdom to help me and I will do the same for Bailey and for others.

I know the power of prayer.  It works.  I've gotten through close to five months now because of the prayers and sense of community I have been blessed with.  I know working as a team and conquering fears is more powerful than ever trying to go it alone.  People want to help, there's satisfaction and good feeling in assisting others.  Plus there is that one other thing that I am reminded of daily; it's NOT my time to go, nor is it yours!  God doesn't want me or you yet and so we need to do our best with the hand we now hold.  There's room for improvement for all of us, even just the slightest touch.
In this instance, I can't say what will come of Bailey's future because that is up to her.  I know I will continue to pray with all my might that she follow the path she laid out for herself before this accident occurred. I don't want the accident to sideline her.  I want it to inspire her.  It has its place in her life and her world but it doesn't have to hold her back.  In fact I believe it will make her stronger. Her life story can either collapse or flourish.  I prefer flourishing!  Good needs to come of this tragedy and nothing would make me prouder than to watch her excel and overcome.  My son dated a winner.  
I know Christopher is right there agreeing with me, and probably yelling at her to get up and get on with things.  She has too much potential to cave in.  It would be a waste of diving talent but more so a waste of a love of life.  Bailey is full of goodness and it needs to be shared.  I pray it happens and I'm doing my part to push for it.

Look up some of these names if you want to see the incredible talent we were fortunate to spend the day with: Greg Louganis, David Boudia, Steve Foley, Wendy Lerew, Scott Reich ,Cassidy Krug, Nicole Eggert, Drake Bell, Rory Bushfield, Hank Baskett and Pat McAffee.
Who knew I would meet an Indianapolis Colt and a Philadelphia Eagle at a diving practice????  My son loved NFL football and the Eagles were his favorite team.  Nobody needs to tell me God works in mysterious ways! Hank and Pat were very important s parts of my trip and I will add they were two of the nicest people I had conversations with.  I know I'm blessed as I found inspiration on this trip too!  I was going for support purposes and reaped an unplanned reward myself.
May I also add that my desire for Bailey to get back into the swing of life is not solely aimed at her. It is directed at each one of us.  These sorts of tragedies can derail all of us in many ways, even those who didn't know the kids.  I beg each one of you to learn that good outweighs bad all the time. Grieve and be sad for any of your problems but know enough to realize you can't let it stall you.  
I'm thankful to be able to grab myself (when I'm low) and realize that Chris wouldn't want me to stay there.  What is the benefit?  There isn't one.  It becomes selfish when it goes beyond sadness to debilitating.  When life is so gloomy there seems no point.  I feel fortunate to say I don't feel like this, but I see some who do right now and it's frustrating.  I have the heaviest heart every single day and I miss my son so desperately. Some days it feels as though my heart is going to leap straight out of my chest, through my skin and bones, hit the ground and stop beating. It's not going to happen, that's irrational, but I do think it.  On the flip side though, I have also been blessed with two of God's greatest creations - my boys!  I held and nurtured one for seventeen years and he was a treasure.  I have memories galore and pictures to remind me and love in my heart that runs deep. (I think I'll keep my heart inside my chest cavity for now thanks).  My remaining son is still here before my eyes and I adore him.  God is granting me the opportunity to watch him flourish and grow and I am so thankful. I will continue to do for Jeremy all the things I can and I pray to sit at his college graduation next year as he crosses the stage in person for his diploma.  I pray to see him though medical school and move on to his professional career and enjoy a personal life that fulfills him and brings him tremendous joy.  I have much to look forward to, as do you!

Please make the most of your days, your experiences and your life.  It passes quickly. Make it count!

Let me take just a moment to thank my high school classmates and alumnae from The Academy of the Holy Names.  They sent me on this trip!!!  None of this past week’s events were gifted to us.  The offer of entry to the show was the only certainty (which was free to everyone fortunate enough to get in and we were guests of Greg Louganis).  My high school was behind me financially to make this happen.  I so appreciate the opportunity to escort Bailey and witness her conversations with the trainers and see her smile.  I was dragged to the Hollywood walk of fame and through the fancy homes in Beverly Hills just for fun. I couldn't have asked for a nicer few days away knowing my son was happy I accompanied her.  I could feel his presence daily and it made my heart happy.  I felt like I was doing something to help as Bailey navigates her new life.  My heartfelt thanks to all my AHN classmates for your generosity.  You did good ladies!!!

Here's hoping each of you has the insight to recognize you have two ways to go in the face of a problem; you can collapse and fall or you can dig deep, find strength and push forward. I pray you find strength.  You only need the tiniest tidbit to get started, those around you will pull you the rest of the way.  I've experienced it and I recommend it.  Please, please, please dig deep, don't give up!

Thank you for reading.


  1. I love your blog - glad you're back. Also glad you were able to take some much needed R&R for yourself.
    Take care -

  2. I will be praying for Bailey and I hope she will be able to move forward with her life. Everything you said is so very true you have to keep going. My husband died and that was something I didn't think I could get over but I have manage there will always be days where I miss him and he will always be in my heart always and I will always love him. But it's time to move on I know he will be cheering me on.

  3. Wonderfully written, so inspiring. Thank you so much for that!

  4. Regina,

    All I can do is smile :-) with tears in my eyes. God is good, that's for sure...that is why the eagles player was there...again I do not believe in coincidence...This is so beautiful and your kind words for Bailey heartwarming (and so true I might add, she is incredibly talented, a GOOD person and I believe in her too...she IS an amazing kid!!!!) So glad you got the opportunity to do this. Can't wait to watch the final show to see if I can see you all in the crowd!

    God Bless you Regina, It was good to see your blog!
    XO, Annie

    PS the dated a winner thing...yeah I am positive that goes both ways!!!!! <3 <3 <3

  5. What a beautiful blog. I check all the time. I do keep you and the Rivers family in my daily prayers for strength and peace.
    I pray often for Bailey and Matt for strength, healing, faith and may more things.
    Thank you for taking the time to let us know how things are going.
    So glad the trip was a success.

  6. Regina- Welcome back, it is so good to hear from you! I'm so happy for you all that you were able to have such an incredible experience together-it's an amazing story! I think of you all constantly, and continue to hope and pray for your healing. It is obvious that Bailey is such a courageous teenager, so full of grace, and with everyone's support, she has the power to make the most of her future. And we all have the power to make the most of our present. Your writing is so beautiful, and I am glad you are doing well and still able encourage and inspire those around you. Thank you for sharing!


    BTW- You're right- it feels GREAT to help and I am so grateful for the opportunity to do so. I'm wondering how plans are coming along for your memorial event for Chris? My job is seasonal so summers are a good time for me to lend a helping hand. Please contact me if there is anything I can do for you!

  7. Regina,
    Sounds like an awesome experience. Plus meeting an Eagles player to boot! I hope Bailey finds her way back to diving. It would be a shame if the accident stole that from her as well. I will pray for guidance for her as she continues her path of healing. I cannot imagine being one so young and having lost so much. I hope she was able to take away some knowledge from the divers and celebrities, which may be of help to her. You're both lucky to have each other. I wish you well on your continued journey of healing. As always I find wisdom in your words and they make me stop and think.

    Thank you for sharing. It was good to hear from you.
    Hugs and peace

  8. Mrs. Stewart,
    I've been wondering how you were doing. I was following Bailey and you all on your trip via facebook and twitter (quietly lurking, as I say), laughing at the pictures she posted and sending prayers for a much needed good time and inspiration. I'm glad that it seems you found it.

    I'm also glad that you seem to be gaining strength a little bit more day by day. This blog was great; it was so inspirational and exactly, as always, what I needed to hear. Sometimes it feels as if things just don't get easier. Sometimes they feel unreal. I have established a bit of a motto these days. When I'm in a rut or a hard situation emotionally dealing with the turmoil sent my way, I think about those I admire. I think about you, Bailey, ...so many others. Then I ask myself, "What would Mrs. Stewart do? How would Bailey handle this? How would my Nana approach this?" It's worked well thus far. Thanks for being you.

    As for you, Bailey, if you read this, I know at least a bit how hard it is getting back to doing what you do when something is missing, especially when they are connected. My friend who passed just over two years ago had done a little bit of rowing before I did and so, after she stopped, gave me her rowing machine to use to practice when I couldn't get on the water. My nana came to every swim meet within a three hour drive from where she was. She was the one who wrapped me up in a towel and held me when I cried at my first diving meet when I (unsuccessfully) attempted my first back dive. My nana was never able to see me row, but would always ask me to send video, call me after races, text her pictures of me with my medals. I know how it is. I haven't gotten back in a pool since she died. I can't walk past the rowing machine without crying. Just this weekend, I had to participate in my first big race without my nana. It's so hard. At the start, I couldn't help but start crying because I knew that this race wasn't one I was going to be able to talk to her about. These days, I like to think that when I'm moving that fast, she's picking up the boat and flying us on her wings. I'm going to get back in the pool and get on the board this summer so that I'm closer to heaven. I'm going to repair that rowing machine and use it with pride. It's baby steps. I'm not going to lie. It's hard. But you can do it, if anybody can. You're four stories closer to Chris on that board just as I get to travel along side my nana when I row. Take your time but never forget how precious time is. I'm sending love and understanding your way. Mrs. Stewart has my number if you need to talk about this.

    Mrs. Stewart, you have a blessed day. Keep your chest out and your head high. Let the love of Chris shine down on you always so you can feel the sun on all sides.


    1. Hannah - this is beautiful. This is everything I tried to say yesterday but was unsuccessful and deleted what I wrote! Bailey will get there she just needs a little time to do it! i can't begin to imagine how overwhelmed she must feel.

      Bailey - you can do this. Take your time but you will get there!

      Regina - glad to hear that you had a wonderful time and got the chance to relax a little. Also, I am glad that Chris was with you and you got to meet some players from his favorite team! Love it that our angels are with us all of the time.

    2. Hi Hannah,

      As always this is just beautiful! You are such a sweet girl! I have missed seeing your post as well as Regina's.

      Good luck at your regattas!!!

      Stay classy like you are!!! XO, Annie

  9. Regina,
    It is wonderful to hear from you. I am so glad you had a wonderful time and got to meet some great people. I hope after your trip that Bailey has the strength and courage to get back to doing what she loves to do. She has to know that she has the whole 518 area behind her as well as yourself, Matt and the Rivers family. We are behind you all. I pray every night that all of you are doing ok. Thank you for sharing and God bless.

  10. Regina today has to be one of the most insightful and inspiring blogs I have read from you. I was waiting to hear how your trip with Bailey went. To hear how supportive you are of her reaching her full potential is just so amazing in light of what you are dealing with. I knew from reading past posts you have done so much already in helping her to heal and being there with her in CA is a true gift both you and her will look back on for years to come. I can only imagine how hard it is to sit and watch someone (who you love) be so incredibly sad and debilitated by what Bailey has gone through, and I know so many are rallying and praying that she will come out of this stronger, as you mentioned.

    I know you say you want to see good come out of this and I know that the mind plays evil tricks so seeing good is hard. But you have managed to show a community of mostly strangers, something so unbelievably amazing. The ability to stay positive (even if it's only a portion of the time) but so positive to share such powerful words and thoughts with us, to try to show us another way of not only looking at things but also at living.

    I read today's blog twice already and welled up with tears both times. The love and compassion you have for Bailey is so obvious and so tender and I believe her family feels the same for you. But I'm also so glad you found inspiration and strength from your trip as well. God knew where you needed to be and had many involved, it seems, to get you to where you needed to be. That's just so powerful in itself.

    I've thought of you daily and think it's pretty powerful again, that today your blog came across my path. This morning my odometer turned to 73,069 on the way to driving Ally to school at 7:19. I had to do a double-take to see both 69 and 19 on my "dashboard" and thought of you and Chris and Deanna and of course the families and stopped and said a prayer instantly.

    I hope you are still feeling the virtual hugs and prayers and know we are here for you. I'm hoping the inspiration gained from your trip fuels your heart and soul for a good long time. Looking forward to seeing John Gray's interview with you. :)

    God bless!


  11. Good Morning Regina!
    Thank you once again for your insightful , heartfelt words. They inspire me as well as I am sure countless others to live life to its fullest. You can triumph after tragedy and you have made your family , friends , and virtual friends very proud! Bailey is so lucky to have had Chris and now she is doubly lucky to have you. You are a wonderful role model and mentor for her and you understand her grief and her trepidations which I am sure has created a never ending bond between the two of you.

    I think about you , Chris , and your family very often. I say a prayer for you all each and every week as I wait for Mass to begin. I was worried that you were having an increasingly rough time but I see you are persevering through the stages of grief with love and dignity and gaining unbelievable insight. I thank God that he is seeing you through and through his grace and goodness has transferred many of the virtues to you. On you they are not wasted as I see continuously how you "pay forward" all of his goodness.

    May God continue to bless you and yours!


  12. Hi Regina,

    It's so good to read a blog entry from you! You've been missed.. But I do hope you've been kind to yourself.
    As I was reading your post.. I kept saying to myself.. She is truly a treasure and absolutely amazing. To be able to inspire others as you navigate your way thru an unbearable grief leaves me speechless.
    I think of you and Chris and (Bailey) too frequently. The grace with which you have demonstrated I have no doubt has been a pillar of strength for Bailey. My heart breaks for her as well. She's lost so much.. I do believe that she's strong enough that she won't lose her sense of self.. But I still worry. How much can this young girl take? I hope that she realizes that it's more than OK to go on and thrive. It's a huge feat considering she's lost 2 of her biggest support systems. Thank God for a loving family and you Regina. You are an incredible role model. Anyone would be lucky to have you as their friend, mother, supporter, cheerleader. I'm not quite sure where you get your strength and grace. To forge ahead and always looking for the positive. Why do some wallow in their self pity over minor things and others teach us how to be better people while dealing with incredible loss?
    God really did break the mold when He created you.. What a loss for all to not have Chris here to carry it on. But it does sound as though Jeremy has a wonderful life carved out for himself. I have no doubt that he'll be a terrific doctor who will also make a big difference in this world. How could he not.. He's a Stewart!

  13. Hello to you....
    Well....you made me cry... AGAIN! Cry in a good way. I am so happy you had such a great trip! Thanks for sharing it with everyone and for being such an amazing source of support for Bailey!!!! You inspire me to be better!

  14. Hi Regina it's Melissa from Success! I just saw you on TV. I am so sorry for your loss. If there is anything I can help with please let me know. You and your family are in my prayers.

  15. Regina,

    It is nice to hear from you. It looks like you had a great trip! Thank you for your inspiration! You are always in my thoughts.


  16. Oh that's awesome! It looks like it was such a fun day with so many highlights! I went to see a taping of Anderson this winter and loved it but your day looks ten times as exciting.


  17. Hi Regina U don't know me but I started reading your blog as soon as u started writing the I have follwed the story of the tragic accident & like several others was very torn up bout it & my heart goes out to you and all effected. I didn't go a day with out reading your blog I read it to see how u were doing & make sure u were okay. Until I. Had my own tragedy to deal w/ my niece who was only 29 came down w/ a virus a few weeks after back surgery we were very close kept in touch daily hung out regularly. After a week of being in the hospital she passed away Feb 2nd she was my sisters 1st born I felt like my heart was ripped out & just wanted to close the world off & not be bothered. I didn't want to believe it was real like you said in past blogs you don't think it will ever happen to you until it does. It has been a little over 3 months now since her passing and I will begin to read your blogs again they are very motivating & helpful God Bless & stay strong I give u a lot of credit its a horrible thing to go through...