I miss my life

I don’t know what’s going on with me lately. I’ve just really been struggling. You’d think after nearly fourteen and a half years, I’d have this whole grief thing down and be on a smoother, less rocky path.

I think I just get weary of the journey at times. Unless you’ve been there, I don’t think people realize how much effort it takes day after day, year after year to get up every day and face this reality, this life without our child, this life that is so much different than we had hoped for, planned for, expected. Some seasons or holidays take more energy than others. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries – sometimes they’re hard-to-face, emotional times that require more energy and effort than other times.

I just celebrated my 61st birthday. I was 46 when Jason died. How can I still struggle so much at times after all these years? When Jason died, I remember writing in my diary, pleading with God for something good to come out of all this loss. I prayed that the positive impact of Jason’s life and his beautiful, loving spirit would radiate out like ripples from a stone being thrown into a pond and impact the people he knew for good. I prayed that something meaningful would come out of such a senseless death, out of so much loss. Joe and I always felt, from the moment of Jason’s birth, that God had a special purpose for his life. And then he died at age 19. My beautiful, wonderful boy. After all these years, I still don’t see the “greater good” or the reason for so much pain.

Sometimes the loss overwhelms me, especially around birthdays and holidays. They seem to be times of introspect and reflection. I look at my life and wonder what it’s all about. I see a woman who still deeply grieves the death of her son. I see a woman who is lonely and unsettled. After all these years, we still haven’t found a place to be “at home.” We sold most everything in our nearly 3000 square foot home when we left Washington, and, believe me, I mean most everything! We bought a 1700 square foot house and some furnishings when we moved to Oklahoma, but then sold it all again when we left there three years later. We rented a furnished one-bedroom condo when we lived in Florida and now rent a furnished one-bedroom apartment in North Carolina. Most of what we own is packed and stored in less than 25 boxes. We don’t own the couch we sit on, the bed we sleep in, vacuum cleaner we use, or most of the dishes we eat on.

It’s not like we haven’t tried to find a house to rent or buy or a place to “anchor.” We have.   Housing is expensive where we live, and we just haven’t found anything we can afford that we really like enough to move. I’m not sure this is the right place for us, anyway. We just don’t know where we fit. I feel adrift and have felt that way since we left Washington. And now, it looks like our daughter and her husband may be moving away from here. I don’t know what I’ll do without her. I know she needs to live her own life and I want her to be happy. She’s been through so much and deserves to be happy. It’s just that I’ll just miss her so much.

I miss feeling connected and confident, knowing the direction I was headed, knowing my family was safe and happy. I miss imagining a future that looks bright and full of possibilities. Sometimes I look at my life and can’t believe this is my life now. Things just haven’t worked out the way I thought they would. We are so unsettled, disconnected in so many ways. We struggle to make friends, to fit in. We work, but to what end? We do this and that, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to have any meaning or dispel our restlessness. Our grandchildren live on the other side of the United States and we hardly know them. I expected to be one of those grandmothers who was involved in her grandkids’ lives, taking them places, doing fun things together, making crafts, baking. I expected to be wanted, needed, loved, hugged. Our relationship has never been easy with our daughter-in-law, so that makes it difficult as she does not encourage or foster our connections with our grandkids much, if at all, even when we visit them. It makes me so sad.

I was looking forward to Jason getting married and having kids. I could just imagine little Jason’s running around our house, along with our other grandkids. Joe has told me that he, too, expected us to stay in our Washington house for the rest of our lives, having a place for everyone to come home to visit, playing with our grandkids there. I’ve never known anyone so involved with his kids as Joe, someone who gets so much enjoyment spending time with his family. He’s a wonderful man with an amazing heart for kids, both his own and others. How do we put broken dreams to rest? I don’t know. What could have or should have been – it trips me up sometimes. The losses of what we no longer have trip me up sometimes, too.

My sister is coming to visit in a couple of weeks. As I was doing some cleaning this morning in preparation for her arrival, I got so frustrated with the less-than-adequate vacuum cleaner that is part of our furnished rental that I just yelled, “I miss my vacuum cleaner!! I miss my own stuff!! I miss my home!!  I miss my life!!!”

Silly to miss a vacuum cleaner, I know. It was just the symbol of the frustration, loneliness and sadness I’ve felt lately. I keep on trying. God knows, I keep on trying. Each new day, I keep on trying to find a purpose, trying to find meaning in the day, trying to do the best I can, trying to find the positive and good, trying to be thankful, trying to find a reason to go on. Sometimes it takes a lot of energy to keep on trying, and I simply run out of the energy reserves I have and get weary. I guess I’m just weary right now, needing something to go right.

Tomorrow is another day, and I will rise to try again.



This entry was posted in Birthdays, Death of a child, Frustration, Grief, Jason David Carney and tagged , , by Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective

My name is Becky Carney. My husband, Joe, and I have been married for 46 years. We have two living children, Eric (43) and Jenna (38). We lost a baby in utero at 19 weeks in 1987. In 2002, our middle son, Jason (19), and his best friend, Alina (20), were broadsided by a drunk driver who was going at least twice the speed limit. They both died instantly. This blog is written from my perspective as a bereaved parent. I don't claim to know what it's like to walk in anyone else's shoes. Each situation is different; each person is different. Everyone handles grief differently. But if I can create any degree of understanding of what it's like to be a parent who has lost a child, then I have succeeded in my reason for writing this blog.

20 thoughts on “I miss my life

  1. It breaks my heart to hear the sadness in your blog Becky. I just see that you need to be surrounded by your own “things” and have your own place…and soon. Danielle, who was 27 when I lost her in 2004, used to joke with me that I had her in my 30’s so she could look after me in my “old age”, so every birthday I have I weep that she is not here as time passes. From my perspective I find that volunteering at the hospital/oncology gives me a purpose and has certainly given me satisfaction. The patients and nursing staff don’t know of my sadness and it is good for me to have this outlet. There are no easy answers. My thoughts are with you. Much love, Janice xx

  2. Oh Becky, thank you for sharing your heart! It is exactly what I needed, right now. It has been 13 yrs for me since my daughter died in a car crash. I cannot thank you enough for expressing how I feel too! For the most part we appear to have gone on with our lives. Actually, we HAVE gone on in our lives. Yet, it is so very different, isn’t it. It now takes so much effort to embrace the day, especially around bdays and holidays, like you said. You are blessing to me, and I would imagine that you are to many other parents too. Thank You! -Jeannie

  3. Becky, I really feel for you. It sounds like you are struggling with so many losses. Losing dreams of what you once imagined your life would look like is huge. I have noticed that whenever I’ve struggled, all of my losses come back to haunt me. It becomes overwhelming.
    You have gone through so much and your current situation sounds joyless. I’m so sorry. I am hoping you will find something that will lift your spirits. It will come and surprise you. Recently something like that happened to me when I least expected it. That is my wish for you.

  4. Rebecca, my heart goes out to you. I am a mere rookie at life after the loss of a child. I am only going on 8 weeks but I understand what to you mean about feeling God had a special purpose for your son’s life and then not having the future you imagined. It sounds like you have the same comforts I do – writing, prayer, family and have tried to create a meaningful life. Joe sounds like a wonderful man. I pray that good will still come from Jake’s life and I have the feeling more good has already come than you know. The good may not always be apparent but I have to believe God sees a bigger picture. It may not seem like much but you have done me good by reaching out and sharing your story and by visiting my blog. I know you are weary and discouraged so I am praying for new rays of light and joy in your life. By the way, I am only a state away – Virginia.

  5. I’m not nearly as far along as you, but I have already cycled through periods where I feel more “victorious” and ones where I’m drowning. I think that our grief work never ends. That certain life situations, stages, opportunities or changes bring us back around to a place we thought we had passed. I think healing comes in waves just like grief. Praying for you.

  6. Becky, your words are my words. I have not experienced the many moves or your familiar possessions in storage, but I still feel the loneliness and disconnect you do.

    I am reading a book by Timothy Keller, “Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering”. I’m only reading it because I feel I can trust him. He begins by what I concluded some years ago – our Western world thinking is so different from other cultures when it comes to loss, pain, and suffering.

    This doesn’t take away our sorrow, but it does shed some light. Many of us are already hurting with our child’s death and what follows makes it worse. People, friends distancing themselves, feeling the chill in our churches, and more.

    Keller also talks about how people experienced death throughout the centuries and seemed to be able to deal with it differently than we do today. Understood. We live in a very different world, but nevertheless, has that world created an inability to endure? Impatience? We want answers and we want them now?

    I, too, prayed and had the typical “God has a purpose” mindset for my son and had given my whole life to my faith. I never let go of God after Chris died, but I sure let go of many – what I call – over emphasized biblical truths which created an imbalance.

    My faith made me feel invincible to anything.

    When Chris died, God revealed himself to me in a very different way. His sustaining me made me a silent witness, being able to let my light shine after tragedy. Not because I had to conjur it up, but because the joy of the Lord is always there. Not necessarily happy, but joy.
    That’s not to say I am the same. I am different. I miss my old life, no doubt. It’s almost like I don’t know who I am now.

    But here I am, not teaching women at church or praying at prayer meetings… but am keenly aware of people the people outside of the church… those who go unnoticed. Somehow, through this intense journey, I have more joy and find myself reaching out in small, friendly ways to people at the cash register, etc. Not preaching to them, not trying to get them to church.. but just letting my light shine (love) and letting them feel Christ in me.

    Last week I had a fortune cookie and it read: “What is to give light must endure the burning”.

    As a Christian, I understand what that means. I have accepted it. Because if I don’t, it will cause me to lose my footing and I will be worse off than I am now.

    So, we hang on. Or should I say, God hangs on to us.

  7. Rebecca, so sorry to hear the pain in your blog. We lost our son last year. He was just a few days short of his 55th birthday. He was a disabled vet and had at one time lived on the street. We tried to get him to live with us and let us help him, but he refused. At the time of his death he did have his own apartment He died in his sleep. His life seems so full of pain – and we ask ourselves what did we do wrong? what could we have done differently? Praying for you that you will find peace.

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