My name is Becky Carney. My husband, Joe, and I have been married for 43 years. We have two living children – Eric (40) and Jenna (35).
In 1987, we lost a baby in utero at 19 weeks. That same year, my dad’s health failed to an extent that we had to put him in a nursing home. Within six months, he passed away. For a long time, I thought of that as a “very black year.” I had no idea that it could get much blacker. In the very early morning hours of March 3, 2002, a drunk driver going more than twice the speed limit broadsided the car our son, Jason (19), was driving as he took his best friend, Alina (20), home after watching a movie at our house. Both Jason and Alina died instantly.
Born on July 29, 1982 at 9 lbs., 10 1/2 ounces with auburn hair that quickly turned blond, Jason was a ray of sunshine from the get-go. He had so many wonderful qualities – beautiful blue eyes, wonderful smile, a laugh that contained and gave so much joy; warm, generous, loving, thoughtful heart; empathetic, generous, giving spirit. He valued his friends and loved hanging out with them; he rarely met a person he didn’t like and saw the best in everyone. A game player – chess (his absolute favorite), video games, volleyball, basketball, board games. Intelligent – studying to be a computer engineer; tutored students in math. He gave great hugs and brightened up a room just by walking into it. A great young man; a wonderful son, brother, friend.
In a split second, he was gone and our lives were changed forever.
My goal for writing this blog is to promote understanding – for bereaved parents and for those around them. I do not claim to know what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes nor do I claim to speak as an expert on grief. I would not presume to know what anyone else is feeling nor what they are experiencing. Everyone is different; each situation is different; each grief and griever is unique. The only thing I know is what we experienced. But, if my speaking about what we went through can promote even a small degree of understanding, then I have accomplished what I set out to do.
Although I had never been one to journal, I started writing the week after Jason died and have continued to write with a modicum of regularity since then. My intention is to use those journals as a platform for speaking about my “side of the coin” as a parent who has lost a child. I want to speak as honestly as possible about what we were going through or felt at the time, but it is not my intention to hurt anyone or create a sense of guilt in anyone we knew then (for the most part, I have changed the names of people when referencing them by name). As I recently told a friend, from the very beginning there was a lot I understood with my head, but there were many things my heart did not comprehend. I know many people just didn’t know what to do or what to say to us. I know that I didn’t handle some things well or I reacted out of hurt. I’ll be the first to admit that. There are many things I wish I could go back and change or do differently. But, if there is anything that can be learned from my experiences that would help someone else or prevent additional pain to another bereaved parent, then I have succeeded.
Dedication: To Mary Sutton, my walking partner and friend – for your continued and consistent friendship. Even though we didn’t know each other well before the accident, you kept inviting me to walk with you until I finally took you upon your offer…and you became my best friend. You are forever in my heart. Thank you!