Wishes…

I look at the pictures of Jason on my Nixplay digital photo as they rotate in the frame that sits right by my desk at work. Oh, how I wish I could go back in time to hug that precious little boy, tickle that cute little guy under his chin and hear his infectious laugh, play a card or board game with my lover of all games, bake chocolate chip cookies with my beautiful boy, sit and watch a movie, just BE together doing anything.

I love looking at the pictures, but some days the pain of his absence is almost too much to bear. Photographs and memories will never take the place of actually spending time with my precious boy.

I love you, my precious boy. I miss you with all my heart.

~Becky

© 2020 Rebecca R. Carney

Integrity

1f4362aafec4392ef99f84318a38010aOfficial definition: Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.

Synonyms: character, decency, goodness, honesty, morality, probity, recited, righteousness, rightness, uprightness, virtue, virtuousness. Honesty, honor, integrity and probity mean uprightness of character or action. Honesty implies a refusal to lie, steal, or deceive in any way. Honor suggests an active or anxious regard for the standards of one’s profession, calling, or position. Integrity implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or pledge. Probity implies tried and proven honesty or integrity.

(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/integrity)

Unofficial definition: Doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

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Jason had great integrity, a heart to do what was right. He was honest. He was trustworthy. He was the guy that parents knew they could trust their daughters to go out with. He was the type of guy that showed up to work on time and did the best job he could, no matter what else was going on around him or whether anyone was watching. He was the guy that was kind to anyone.

In one of his college classes, a fellow small group project member had plagiarized a portion of Jason’s paper, one that Jason had generously consented to allowing the guy to read in order to help encourage this person’s effort in writing his own paper. The professor recognized enough similarities and called both of them in for cheating. Jason was horrified that his integrity was being called into question when he had simply been trying to help the other guy succeed in the class. Thankfully, the professor recognized what was going on and who was the real cheater. Jason’s integrity showed through.

My husband also has a great integrity. It’s one of the things that drew me to him. Joe worked in telecommunications, with his clients being some of the major hotels and universities in the greater Seattle area. He worked with the White House communications department, the office of the President of South Korea, actors, sports stars, major business companies. When working with government departments, he had to be cleared by the FBI just to step foot on any floor of the hotel the government entity had taken over. The thing about Joe is that he treated everyone with respect, whether his dealings involved the White House or the maid cleaning the toilet.

Jason was the same. He approached life with an openness, honesty and integrity that was just amazing. He was a true friend to his friends. He loved his family and friends unconditionally, forgave unconditionally. He was not embarrassed to show that he cared. He hugged those he loved, no matter who was watching. He was true to himself and his values. Whatever he did, he did with his whole heart and with integrity.

Integrity is treating people with respect, whether they are rich or poor, whether or not you personally benefit from the way you treat that person, whether or not anyone is watching or will every know what you did. Integrity is your actions matching up with what you profess to believe on Sunday. Integrity is not trying to make someone look bad just so you will look better. Integrity is owning up to your mistakes, genuinely saying you’re sorry, and trying to do better the next time.

Jason’s integrity is one of the things I miss about him. It is what inspires me to try harder and to do the best I can, no matter the circumstances.

I miss you, my precious boy.

~Becky

© 2020 Rebecca R. Carney

My heart is not immune to the pain

IMG_1352After 18 years, you would think the pain would be less. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it’s just not. Some days the pain of Jason’s absence is excruciating. Yesterday was the anniversary of Jason’s death. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and cried and cried. I went to work with puffy eyes, doing my best to pull myself together and do the best job I could.

For some reason, today has been worse than yesterday. I’ve been on the verge of tears all day. My Nixplay digital photo frame that sits right beside my computer monitor at work shuffles the pictures I have on it. There are pictures taken recently, but there are also pictures of my precious boy. I have recent memories and photos of things we’ve done, but I have no memories and no photos of Jason since March 3, 2002. Pictures are no substitute for the real thing. Pictures of Jason over the years make me miss him so much.  As I said yesterday:

Whatever memories and photographs we have of Jason are the only ones we will ever have. There are no graduation, wedding, birth of children, family or holiday celebrations or any other memories or photographs we will ever have of Jason past the date of March 3, 2002. The opportunity for additional memories and photographs died right along with Jason, along with his future. In our minds, Jason will forever be 19 years old.

Perhaps it’s the awareness that we are approaching the date when Jason’s absence from this earth will be equal to the time he was here on it. I long for the day when I will see him again.

It’s been a really rough year or so for us – my husband’s heart attack, difficult work issues, money issues, health issues, chronic pain issues that I’m dealing with, and more issues than I care to share. I feel an unsettledness in my soul that just won’t go away. I long for something to go right, a break from the constant struggle to keep my head above water and my heart right. I long to lay down in that pleasant pasture beside still waters to just rest for a while. I have no idea where that is or if it even exists. This rough and rocky road I’ve walked on for so long is getting very wearisome and shows no sign of ever ending until I step from this earth to join Jason.

I look at the pictures from when Jason was alive and realize I really had no idea how really great I had it at that time. I had a vague sense that God’s hand of blessing and protection was upon me and my family, but now I feel like I didn’t appreciate to the fullest how wonderful that was until God removed his blessing and protection from me and Jason died. I had no idea the hell we would be required to walk through when Jason died and in the years since then. We’ve had too many days when it’s just a plain struggle to get up in the morning and keep on going.

18 years. Can it really be 18 years?

I miss you, my precious boy, more than words can say.

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~Becky

© 2020 Rebecca R. Carney

 

Longings

Jason David Carney

July 29, 1982 – March 3, 2002

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I wrote this last year and wanted too share it again. 18 years. I can’t believe it’s been 18 years. I miss Jason as much – if not more – than I did on that fateful day he was taken from us, March 3, 2002. My heart breaks with his absence every single day. My arms long to hug him tight. My eyes long to look into his beautiful blue eyes. I long to see his beautiful smile, to hear his musical laughter. Oh, how I miss you, my precious boy.

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March 3, 2019

I’m going to be honest. This is a really rough time of year for me. Tomorrow is the anniversary of Jason’s and Alina’s deaths at the hand of a drunk driver.

“Anniversary” is such an out-of-place word to use when talking about the death of a child. “Anniversary” is usually used in conjunction with a happy occasion. If a person says, “It’s my anniversary,” there is an automatic assumption that that person is celebrating the number of years he or she has been married. It’s a happy occasion commemorated with dinner and gifts and congratulations.

I know people use the word “anniversary” when talking about other things, too, though. 9/11. War events. Floods. Mud slides. Not every anniversary is celebratory.

For the first couple of years, I hated the 3rd of every month, beginning with that first March 3, 2002. It marked a horrifically agonizing, lonely, and excruciatingly painful time – Jason had been gone one month, two months, three months. At the two year mark, I sort of switched to years. Two years, two and a half years, three years. It sort of reminded me of the way I marked the ages of our kids when they were little – giving their ages as so many months and then switching to so many years. Instead of marking the celebration of life, it marked the number of agonizing days we had walked the earth without Jason.

Jason has now been gone 17 years. I can’t believe it’s been that long. It seems like forever ago…and yet yesterday. I still tend to rebel against even the thought of it. I remember that day as clear as a bell, every single thing. My heart is still so broken. I miss him so much. Grief lasts as long as love does – forever – and we will forever have a Jason-sized hole in our lives. He had so much of life to live, so much to give. As one friend said, “The world is a darker place without him in it.”

I hope you will take time to remember Jason and Alina tomorrow, the lives they lived and the people they were. We, their families, are the “keepers of the memories.” I’m sure each and every bereaved mother or father would say that one of their greatest concerns is that their child will be forgotten as the world moves on without them.

If you would like to honor Jason tomorrow, you could play a game of chess (Jason’s favorite game), bake and share some chocolate chip cookies (Jason loved to bake chocolate chip cookies), give someone some flowers (Jason generously gave flowers to those he loved), share an act of kindness (Jason was the most kind and loving person I have ever known), be nice to a stranger (Jason knew no strangers), hug your family and friends tight (Jason gave awesome hugs), listen to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata or Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “A Mad Russian’s Christmas” or many other songs he loved.

If you are so inclined, you could take time to write down a favorite memory or two to send to Jason’s and Alina’s families. No matter how long or how many years it’s been, we would love to hear them. Our address is 2154 Emma’s Grove Road, Fairview, NC 28730.

Julie Lindsey, a homeschool mom, generously gave and prepared a scrapbook for Marie and me. She asked us what we would like in them. I had asked that the scrapbook contain photos I didn’t have and written memories about Jason from those who knew him. It just happened to be around the time when people were writing victim advocate statements to present to the court for the sentencing of the young man who killed Jason and Alina, so most of the efforts went to writing letters to the court. I am very thankful for those who wrote to the court and have copies of all of those letters. It was a lot to ask for at that time.

Whatever memories and photographs we have of Jason and Alina are the only ones we will ever have. There are no graduation, wedding, birth of children, family or holiday celebrations or any other memories or photographs we will ever have of Jason past the date of March 3, 2002. The opportunity for additional memories and photographs died right along with Jason, along with his future. In our minds, Jason will forever be 19 years old.

Thank you for taking the time to remember Jason and Alina. We appreciate it.

~Becky

© 2020 Rebecca R. Carney

My Dream

I don’t dream much – or, at the very least, I don’t remember my dreams.

I haven’t dreamed of Jason in a very, very long time, but I dreamed about Jason last night.

I dreamed that Jason came home to visit us from college. I was so ecstatic to see him – beyond ecstatic. I couldn’t stop staring at his face. It was so wonderful to see his face again. He seemed concerned or worried about something, so he wasn’t his usual cheerful, smiley self. In my dream, I was waiting for him to smile his beautiful, sun-shiney smile. I took his face in my hands and just smiled at him for a long time until he didn’t look worried any more. He couldn’t stay long and had to get back to school.

In my dream, I sat down on the floor against the wall after he left and cried and cried. I was so sad that Jason had to leave. I was so sad that our daughter and other son lived so far away from us (which is true in real life). I felt so alone (which is also true in real life).

I woke up crying. I miss my boy so much. I miss his smiling face. I miss everything about him.

~Becky

© 2020 Rebecca R. Carney

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.

~Becky

© 2019 Rebecca R. Carney