About Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective

My name is Becky Carney. My husband, Joe, and I have been married for 42 years. We have two living children, Eric (39) and Jenna (34). 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.

Conversation with the gal who cut my hair

My conversation today with the gal who cut my hair went something like this:

Me: How are you today?

Her: It’s been rough. My dog died yesterday. It’s like losing a child!

Me: I’ve lost a child.

Her: You know what it’s like then! It’s like losing a child, isn’t it?!

I decided to let it go. It would not have done any good to try to explain that losing a dog is not even on the same planet as having a child die. I don’t understand how anyone can even equate the two.


© 2019 Rebecca R. Carney


Matters of the Heart

This is a tough time of year for me. It has been made much tougher this year because my husband had a heart attack the day before Thanksgiving. We were supposed to be flying out to visit my sister in Oklahoma, our first vacation this year, but ended up spending Thanksgiving in the heart wing of the local hospital.

The doctors called his heart attack “mild,” said it was “ideal” in that he went to the emergency room as soon as he had symptoms. He has one artery blocked 100% and another blocked 75%, but has developed collateral arteries to help deliver blood flow where it needs to go. His heart damage is somewhat limited and the heart function for pumping blood out of the heart to the rest of the body is not too far below normal (55 being ideal; Joe is between 45-50). They are not taking any invasive steps (i.e. putting in a stent or performing bypass surgery) at this time, but are treating with meds and lifestyle changes. The concensus of the cardiology team was that putting in a stent would disturb the blockage and release debris that could cause further damage to his heart, a stroke or another more damaging heart attack. Should he have further symptoms in the next three months, they will take more drastic action.

In the meantime, we are making drastic lifestyle changes, ridding our house of any “bad” foods and drinks Joe is not supposed to have and replenishing our cupboards with heart healthy foods. We have been heading in that direction, anyway; this just landed us there immediately and in no uncertain terms. Right now, Joe is only supposed to walk no more than 10 minutes twice a day and not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds. He will start cardiac rehab in January and will be on the Ornish vegan diet for 9 weeks during that time. I’m not gonna lie – as meat and fish lovers, this is going to be a stretch for us.

This has been really hard on Joe. As a guy who hasn’t even taken an aspirin for as long as I can remember, the possibility of having to take a number of meds every day for the rest of his life is frustrating. Being limited in what he can do is also frustrating. Joe has never been one to sit still and he keeps trying to do things he shouldn’t be doing. Not having family close by and no support system locally is also really hard.

This whole thing has really rattled me to my core. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt how tenuous our grip on life can be. People we love with all of our hearts die. Jason’s death proved that to me. I can’t imagine my life without Joe. He’s my world. He’s all I have. I don’t know what I’d do without him. The odds of having another heart attack after the first one go up exponentially. That’s a scary fact.

I love my husband more than I could ever put into words. He’s such a special man – funny, kind, thoughtful, unique. I call him my Energizer Bunny – he never seems to run out of energy. He’s running on empty right now, though.

If you believe in the power of prayer, please pray for Joe. I’d greatly appreciate it.

Thank you.


© 2019 Rebecca R. Carney

Everything I own

Sitting at work today, working away while Pandora plays on my computer, and a song comes on called “Everything I Own” by a group called Bread. There are times when words from a song just hit me right in the heart. Perhaps not all of the words fit, but sometimes it strikes a chord with the longing that I feel in my heart. This song is one of those.


Everything I Own

Lyrics (partial)

…And I would give anything I own,
I’d give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own,
Just to have you back again
Is there someone you know,
Your loving them so,
But taking them all for granted?
You may lose them one day
Someone takes them away,
And they don’t hear the words you long to say
I would give anything I own,
I’d give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own,
Just to have you back again
Just to touch you once again


Jason, oh, how I wish I could have you back again.


© 2019 Rebecca R. Carney


As a boy I thought of Heaven as a glorious golden city, with nobody in it but angels, and they were all strangers to me. When my little brother died, then I thought of Heaven as that great city, full of angels, with just one little fellow in it. Then my acquaintances began to die, and the number of my friends in Heaven grew larger. But, it was not until one of my own little ones was taken that I began to feel a personal interest in Heaven. Now so many friends and loved ones have gone there, that it seems I know more in Heaven than on earth. Now, when my thoughts turn to Heaven, it is not the gold walls I think of — but the loved ones there. It is not the place so much as the company that makes Heaven seem beautiful.

Author unknown

from Forever Remembered Compiled by Dan Zadra and Marcia Woodard, © 1997 by Compendium, Inc.

Once in a while, I cannot help but long for my heavenly home where Jason, our baby, my parents and grandparents, Alina and so many other friends and family have gone on before. I, too, no longer think of heaven in terms of its promised physical beauty, but in terms of the beautiful loved ones who are waiting there. I look forward to a day when our tears will be wiped away once and for all, where death and sorrow will be no more.


© 2019 Rebecca R. Carney

We Remember Them

At the rising of the sun and its going down,

We remember them.

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,

We remember them.

At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,

We remember them.

At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,

We remember them.

At the beginning of the year and when it ends,

We remember them.

As long as we live, they too will live.

They are a part of us,

We remember them.

~from Gates of Prayer, Judiasm Prayerbook

Jason David Carney

July 29, 1982 – March 3, 2002

My precious boy, I will never forget you. I love you.


© 2019 Rebecca R. Carney

Sit with me and be my friend

I was sitting, torn by grief. Someone came and talked to me of God’s dealings, of why it happened, of why my loved one had died, of hope beyond the grave. He talked constantly. He said things I knew were true. I was unmoved, except to wish he’d go away. He finally did.

Another came and sat beside me. He didn’t talk. He didn’t ask me leading questions. He just sat beside me for an hour or more, listening when I said something, answered briefly, prayed simply, left. I was moved. I was comforted. I hated to see him go.

~Joe Bayly

from Forever Remembered Compiled by Dan Zadra and Marcia Woodard, © 1997 by Compendium, Inc.

No longer the same


I look at this picture of me with my precious boy, and I see a woman so happy she can barely contain her joy. Happy, open. I know that it’s me, but it’s the “before” me. The “after” me no longer looks like this. I smile, I laugh, but not like I used to. And I no longer look like this. I don’t even know who she is any more, that “before” person. The journey I have been on shows on my face and in my eyes. I no longer beam when I smile. My eyes reflect a sadness that runs deep and never goes away.

I miss you, my precious boy, today and every day.

© 2019 Rebecca R. Carney