Friday, May 10, 2013

Senior Prom

There's a big event coming up this weekend and my heart is heavy.  Senior prom...
I remember going to prom each year in high school.  It was so exciting to dress up, find the perfect gown and head out for a magical night.  It was Cinderella-ish. What annoying fun it was to pose for all the photos with parents calling out "look over here" or "just one more in case that one didn't come out".

Spending time figuring out how to wear our hair, what shoes would be comfortable to walk in, knowing a jacket was necessary but not wanting to wear one for fear of covering the beautiful dress. Yes, I remember.

I also recall the dapper guys! Stunning tuxedos (even if they did wear powder blue in 1981!) and spiffy shoes.  They all cleaned up so nice.  Proms were a lot of fun.

One of my favorite things to do was take in all the gorgeous gowns once we arrived.  The sea of colors and styles were just so beautiful.
This year I'll be participating in pre-prom photos but from a very different position.  My son won't be going.  Well... Not physically.  I do believe, however, that he wouldn't miss it.  He'll be there with his best pals and his best girl.  I'd bet anyone on it and I would win.  Chris will be there for all of it, for pictures, in the limo and at the venue.  This is a special night!
One of Christopher's best friends, Alan, has asked Bailey to the SHEN senior prom.  I couldn't be more proud.  My son would be so happy - he IS happy.  They will all be there together and that is just a wonderful feeling for me.  I'm glad to participate in pre-prom festivities and will fight thru my feelings of grief.  I wavered back and forth for a long time and was on the fence about showing up or running in the other direction.  I know I need to be where my son would want me and so I will be there.  The kids will get a kiss from me and a gigantic hug.  I'm so incredibly proud of them.  
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around my loss.  These events are so jolting and surreal. They're like a frightening, repetitive wake up call.  We purposely bought Chris a tux last year because we knew he had four proms to attend between junior and senior year (Shaker and SHEN). Purchasing was less expensive than renting four times.  All we knew we needed to invest in was a new vest to go with each of Bailey's dresses.  We thought it was a good idea. We only got two uses out of the tux. Well, Chris did anyway.  
But guess what? Although Chris isn't going to the prom, his tuxedo is!  Alan and Chris (both linemen) have the same build.  We gave Alan the tuxedo with our heartfelt blessings in knowing how meaningful it would be to us for him to wear it on prom night.  He was so glad to receive it!  We couldn't be more proud of Alan, Bailey and all the students for pushing forward and enjoying this senior event even with the sadness of Chris and Deanna being gone. We want the kids to continue on. Our hearts would be broken worse if they skipped it!
To the SHEN Class of 2013 please enjoy your night with gladness.  Be safe in your choices and your driving and embrace the entire night.
And if you should see Alan tearing up the dance floor like nobody's business, it's a safe bet that Chris has something to do with it. That boy loved to dance!!

Thank you for reading.


  1. Oh how I have been thinking of this day and wondering how you were doing and what you were thinking, you truly are amazing. God bless you for what you have given all these kids the strength you have instilled in them and the love you have showed them is possible. Chris will not only be on that dance floor he will be next to you prom night smiling and thinking how proud he is of his mother and what a special and truly amazing person you really are!!!

  2. "Some friends may lift you up, but true friends never let you down." Alan is a *true* friend. Thank you again for sharing your love and spirit with the world. Our community still cares. Keep the love in your heart always.

  3. Never does a day go by that I do not think about all of you and this horrific tragedy. You are an amazing person and I am in total awe of you! Please know that I say a prayer for you every day - you are such a special person!

  4. Regina,

    Wow.. That's incredible and you're incredible! What an absolutely wonderful story of love, friendship, and the human spirit. From start to finish this post was amazing on so many levels.
    You're love for your son, your generous spirit and devotion to Chris's teammates, classmates, friends, and especially Bailey reduces me to tears. Yes... Chris will be there! As planned you will also push past the overwhelming desire to hole up in your house and celebrate with the Shen Senior class. What an incredible role model you are to them!
    To Chris's good friend Alan.. What a wonderful young man he is... But that's no surprise as this special group of kids were a tight group that were role models to young and old.
    To Bailey... I don't know where at her age she gets the utter strength as well to carry on. I give her parents lots of the credit.. But I know that you also continue to have an incredible effect on her and her well being.
    I believe they are all carrying on with Chris's spirit. Who he was and strived to be. They will be the ones to carry on his legacy. Keep his good heart alive inside of them.. And never ever forget where they came from and his effect on their young lives. Chris had a purpose ... And I believe he did it well!

  5. Alan- now that's a kid with class! He's a good friend to invite Bailey in honor of Chris, and I think it's wonderful that she has chosen to go. I'm sure it won't be easy, but I hope they all have a lot of fun. And they will if they keep the joy of Chris in their hearts.

    I hope that you will feel that joy as well when you participate in the pre-prom activities. If you know that is what your son would want, I believe that is what keeps his spirit alive in your heart, and it keeps you alive too. And I "ditto" Lise's comments above- you have lead all of these kids, and the community, with your strength and love. I've been thinking of you constantly in the last two weeks knowing this event was coming up, and I will continue to pray for a safe evening, full of joy and peace for all. God's blessings to you. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Regina,

    "He'll be there with his best pals and his best girl." I just could not hold it together when I read this..."His best girl!" Regina, that is just so sweet to say. You simply amaze me! You just keep pushing through for Chris. Your drive to keep going, your passion to help Bailey keep going, your love for both your sons, your love for all of your sons friends, your sons girlfriend, your kindness to EVERYONE!!! It just really humbles me and makes me re-evaluate my actions and forces me to try harder to be better. I struggle being always being kind and I have not been through anything like you have!

    Regina, if I could be 1/2 as kind, good, loving and caring as you...that would be awesome! You ARE a very special lady...and I feel blessed to be able to read your blog and hopefully grow myself from what I learn from your kindness. Regina, I am a better person when I think about how you are, because it makes me want to strive to be better. It helps me focus on being kinder and doing good.

    Thank you for helping me on my journey and reminding me as you so often show us..."It's not about is about God and others" You could run away...but instead you have decided to move forward and push through the tough times to be there for Chris and Bailey and Alan (by the way what a great guy!!) and all of the seniors at Shen.

    Keep on rocking Regina...because you are just so incredibly ...good!

    XO, God Bless, Annie <3

    1. Annie,
      This was so classy and so true. It was hard for me to find the words to respond to this one, but you said it all about nine million times more eloquently.

      Stay classy like you are <3


  7. Much love to you Regina. For myself...I couldn'nt face my son's. I'm so proud of you and your strength. I always thought I was strong but it was just too overwhelming for me. I was there in spirit but my heart was home shattering into what felt like a zillion pieces. He would have graduated in 2012 but passed from a car accident in October 2010. When I read your minute I am bawling like a fool, the next I'm laughing hysterically thinking about memories that your memories have triggered of mine. Many days I was strong and there is many day I was not. May Chris see you smiling on the days you do and may God carry you on the days you can't. You will never forget, nor will you ever be the same, but life goes on we just learn to live our lives in a different way. God Bless You. :)

  8. The Lord has truly blessed you in a very special way, Regina. How you've conducted your life and so tenderly cared for those around you these past months, while suffering so unbearably, is nothing short of heaven sent. And if ever there could be a "Mother of the Year"...well, Christopher always had one!

  9. Regina - I send you support, love, hugs and positive thoughts for this weekend. I know Chris will be present and helping Alan to tear up the dance floor. I wish all of Chris, Deanna, Matt and Bailey's friends a fabulous time. I wish Bailey has a fantastic time and can let herself enjoy!

    My daughter will celebrate her senior prom this weekend and I hope she cherishes the good time as I will cherish the special time we will have in getting hair and make up done!

  10. Regina,
    What a special young man Alan is. I am sending thoughts and love to Bailey, Alan and the Shen class of 2013. I hope they have a fun and magical night. I know it will be bittersweet. Chris and Deanna will be there right beside them tearing up the chancellor. My daughter will be attending the junior prom in 3 weeks. I am still going crazy getting things done. Finally got shoes so we can have the gown altered (talk about cutting it close). Like you said the hairstyle, makeup, accessories and so on. I hope that everyone both juniors and seniors have an amazing time. My thoughts are with you Regina today and every day. God bless.

  11. Regina,

    I am truly amazed by your spirit and willingness to give to others. I am in awe of you. Alan sounds like a wonderful young man. I am sure Chris and Deanna will both be there in spirt tonight. I hope all of the kids have a wonderful time. Like you I have many fond memories of my proms, as well as the pre-prom activities of my own kids. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers as you go through the pre-prom activities tonight.

    Thank you for sharing,
    hugs and peace

  12. Mrs. Stewart,
    Bailey looked so beautiful. I know Chris was right there on Prom night, dancing with her and being there for her. It can't be easy for him to be away from her either. I know that she carries him with her, though, so they are never truly apart.

    There are signs everywhere that our loved ones are still here. At States, there were so many that I was overwhelmed with emotion. Sometime, we'll have to talk about signs.

    I pray that Chris sends you a sign very soon. I'll talk to my Nana. All amazing souls must hang out together in heaven; I bet they're right next-door to each other.

    With love,

  13. Regina - I did not see this blog/post until just now. I was completely moved, yet again by your strength and your endless support and nurturing of Bailey. Not only Bailey, but Chris' friends, more importanly Alan. You and Bailey are truly amazing to me, how you both look out for eachother and shower eachother with support and love. You giving Alan, Chris' best friend, Chris' tux to wear to the Senior Prom with Bailey... Bailey leaving you your Mother's Day gift... you are two very rare, strong women who are obviously helping eachother through the pain and loss. Chris is obviously so present in your lives and it shows in everything you both do.

    I was moved by the pure genuiness and strength of Alan going to the prom with Bailey and wearing Chris' tux. I cannot imagine the bittersweet emotions that came from that gesture, by everyone! I was moved by the strength and grace of seeing Bailey in her gorgeous gown going to the prom with Chris' best friend. I was thrilled to hear how receptive the entire Shen Senior Class was and how supportive they continue to be. Not that it surprised me though. Chris and Deanna have left a legacy that I hope ripples through the students that walk through the years at Shen. The reminders and memorials that are there will help keep their legacies alive for years to come. So many are doing all they can to make sure Chris and Deanna will live on through the lives they touched and continue to touch.

    Seeing you all in the picture smiling while I know inside your heart was breaking reduced me to tears. I am forever enamoured at your strength to taking each event, each second, each moment and living it in the way you believe Chris would want you to. The bond that you and Chris share, to this day, is just so powerful and it shows in all of your actions, in your powerful words and in your face.

    I thought about you all weekend when I heard about the Prom (and instinctively had a heavy heart for I know how much it must have tugged at many hearts because Chris and Deanna were not with all their friends phyically) yet the were most definitely there in spirit. Obviously on Mother's Day you and Debbie were in my thoughts and I just now read the post Debbie wrote to Deanna on Mother's Day. I wonder why I ran across these today and not Friday or Sunday? Chris and Deanna's numbers both appeared to me again today at a moment when I needed to be pulled out of what I was in and I sent them both a hello and a prayer.

    Then I turned on the computer to read not only your blog, but Debbie's Mother's Day post (as I type this is 9:19)...

    You send such a powerful message when you said "We want the kids to continue on. Our hearts would be broken worse if they skipped it!" As you all move through these very precious days, you will continually be in my thoughts and prayers.

    God bless...